I bought the original Sims on the day it came out back in February of 2000, and subsequently bought up all of the expansion packs, even after I’d lost most of my interest in the game. As a matter of fact – Trivia Time! – my nickname, Alphasim, came from when I ran a Sims website called The SIMSNation many years ago. I also bought The Sims 2 as soon as it came out as well, and played the heck out of it. However, just recently have I got around to buying the expansion packs. So, since Sims 2 came out before e-AAGH.net existed, I’m only able to review the expansion packs. First up, Pets.
Sure, the original Sims had Unleashed, but the pets therein seemed so static and uninspired that I didn’t play it much. Sims 2: Pets, however, is very entertaining and much more streamlined, in much the same way Sims 2 was over The Sims. The create-a-Sim feature applies to dogs and cats as well. I’ve been able to create my dog in-game, which is no small feet since she’s a Lab/St. Bernard/Husky mix, and therefore unique in appearance. You can layer textures and colors across your pet to create whatever look you want. If you want an authentic breed, you can select from a large catalog in-game as well, and then you can customize it from there. You pick fur types, coat smoothness, accessories and collars. Once you’ve got your pet, it’s off to the main game. It’s there that the game gets a little more complicated.
In-game, you need your Sims to care for the pets’ needs since you can’t control them directly. It takes some time to get a feel for the animals and their wants and needs. Is the dog bored? Hungry? Tired? Sure, you could just check their needs panel, but its then that they become just Sims and stop being pets. It’s much more intuitive to interact with your pets with your Sims as you would a real pet. You can also teach your pets commands that allow you more direct control over them.
Keeping them under control becomes nightmarish when your Sims are all out to work or their sleeping, and therefore cannot scold the animal. It’s even worse if the misbehavior your dog is engaging in while out of your control is one of your Sim’s fears. I started creating a yard for my pet to be able to go outside and then locking all doors to pets other then the one that goes to the yard. Now my dog can’t knock over trashcans or accost people and animals on the sidewalk, but can still go outside to relieve herself.
In all, this is a fun addition to The Sims 2 if you like animals. If you don’t like animals in real life then I don’t think this is for you, but for people like me who love their pets, this is a great addition. Look for reviews of more of the expansion packs soon. Alphasim out.