In preparation for the latest Sims 2 expansion pack, Freetime, I’m reviewing the previous pack which I’d missed. Bon Voyage is essentially a remake of The Sims: Vacation from 2002. It’s a bit better then Vacations for various reasons, but it’s nowhere near a must-have for anyone other then Sims 2 enthusiasts.

You can book a vacation to one of three premade destinations (far east, woodlands, and the tropics) by phone or computer. You pick how long you want to stay, where you want to stay, and who’s coming with you. Each destination has a price rating to let you know what kind of costs you’re looking at. You can, for example, stay in a small hotel on the cheap (relatively), or go for broke – literally – and choose to stay in a top-end resort. Where you stay matters only as to where you’re sleeping at night and the amenities close at hand. Since you’ll be spending very little time there, don’t worry about it too much.

Each destination has a different culture, and therefore different things to do, eat, see and buy. In the tropics you can go swim at the beach and tour a pirate ship wreck, whereas in the woodland area you can engage in axe throwing and log rolling. The far eastern setting sees you raking Zen gardens and visiting pagodas. Each area also has it’s own style of dress, local gesture you can learn, and a special native that you can meet, like the far east’s ninja, seen here.

Your sims all carry cameras now, and can either take pictures themselves or ask someone to take a picture of them. These pictures can then be made into an album that your sims can order for themselves. This alone is a neat idea, especially since your sims get all kinds of goofy poses they can do in the pictures. You can also pick up souvenirs that you can display when you get back home, as well as random treasures.

Sims can go on tours that can produce good or bad results for them. For instance, I went on a boat tour in the tropics and my sim got a rash, which was very irritating. Your sims can also order room service when in their hotels so that they don’t have to cook, even when not out and about. In the end, the ultimate goal is to have such a good vacation that when your sims make it back home they take benefits from the vacation with them.

The graphics, naturally, haven’t changed, and neither has the sound or presentation. Of course, we weren’t expecting them to, so that’s not a big deal.

The bottom line is, is this a worth-while upgrade to The Sims 2? If you’re someone who plays regularly, then yes, this will be a good purchase. Your sims need a good bit of money to go on vacation, and therefore see all of the new content, so a new family will not be in a position to take advantage of Bon Voyage’s fun stuff for quite some time. If you don’t play The Sims 2 very often, and are looking for that next big pack to get you back into it, then no, Bon Voyage is not it. The Sims 2: Seasons was a much more expansive pack then this, and that makes it a bit of a let down. I hope Freetime can provide more bang for the buck. Alphasim out.