I reviewed The Movies awhile back and touched upon the monotonous micro-managing deeply. What I didn’t touch as much on was the actual movie making process. I bring that up because, even though it adds a new dimension to the story mode, Stunts and Effects is all about making movies.

Let’s count down the things I really like about this expansion pack: Miniature cities/sets, a blue screen set, a green screen set, scrolling backgrounds, overlay filters, new weather effects, new costumes and new scenes. What do they have in common? They all relate directly to making movies, and not to the main game. This is because, for all of the fun that can be had in the main game, it’s hampered by the aforementioned micromanagement and plays out fairly slowly.

The Movies never really was about the ‘build your own studio’ part, anyway. Most everyone who gets it just wants to make movies. In this regard, I can’t recommend this expansion pack enough. It has all you need to make your magnum opus that the original game hampered so badly due to it’s lack of – what else? – stunts and special effects.

However, the main game takes the micromanagement factor and makes it even worse with the addition of stuntmen. Not only do you have to train and keep track of more peons, now you have to make sure you cast them up with actors who they kinda, sorta, almost look like. If you cast an asian girl as the stunt double for a black man, the audience is going to flip out. Ok, so it’s not usually that much of a mismatch, but with the limitations on staff size, you’ll never have enough stunt performers to make pairs with the stars you want to use.

And even when they do match the scene can still go wrong if the performer fails the stunt. This results in a lower rating, less experience, and possibly injury. Build your hospital – a new building – where you can get to it easily – you’ll need it often. Still, with the sandbox mode allowing you to disable the whole stunt double issue, it all gets back to making that blockbuster movie you’ve dreamt up. And that, my friends, is worth the $29.99 price tag. Alphasim out.