As you probably know by now The Sims 2 is on its way to the Mac, thanks to Aspyr Media. Some of you I'm sure are ecstatic while some of you have, no doubt, rolled your eyes a few times at the mention of another Sims game. But there's a reason The Sims became the best-selling game of all time and why a sequel may be on its way to eclipsing the original in sales in the years to come. So for those of you interested in the game, read on. For those not, go back to your hack and slash game.
Sequels are hard. Trust me, I know. I was given the task of being the project lead on Myth II: Soulblighter back when I worked for Bungie in 1998. But unlike Maxis, we had a short 9 months to finish the sequel. In the end, Myth II is considered by many a classic while others think we completely duffed it.
Maxis worked on The Sims 2 for nearly four years and decided to do what we did at Bungie when we worked on Myth II: don't mess with success. Fans of The Sims will easily be able to get into the game but will notice some rather nice subtle differences that make the sequel feel like a new game.
New Look SimsThe first thing you'll notice with The Sims 2 is that it looks fantastic. Thanks to a fully 3D engine featuring realistic lighting, characters and objects in the game look more realistic than ever before. If you zoom in close, you can even see detailed facial expressions such as frowns, smiles, smirks, and more.
The game also comes with an extensive character editor so you'll be able to completely customize the look of your Sim. Here you can add a beard or a 5 O'clock shadow, give him or her some cool shades, a spiky hairdo and much more. After fiddling with this tool I was able to create myself in the game. But, of course, 30 pounds lighter and much more handsome!
All the updated graphics, however, does come with a price. You will need a pretty quick processor to run The Sims 2. Although the official system requirements haven't been released yet (as of press time), you can pretty much bet you'll need a super high-end G4 or, better yet, a G5 to run the game at good frame rates.
The Ageless WonderOne of the most obvious changes from the original is that your sims now age over time. When I first played the PC version I kinda didn't want my sims to die off but having their offspring grow to become adults makes the game more of a challenge so I was ok with it after a while (there is, however, an option to turn off aging in the game if you don't want your sims to die off). Your sims will move through six different stages of development starting from babies, then toddler, children, teens, adults, and, last but not least, elder.
Your sims, of course, act differently based on their age. Babies will scream when their diaper is wet or when they're hungry and teenagers will tend to seek social things like going out and boyfriends and girlfriends. The nice thing is that eventually all your sims have distinct and unique traits, wants, fears, and more.
One of the other cool aspects of the game is that if your sims have kids, their offspring will look somewhat like their parents. Not only that, but they'll inherit some of their parents' skills.