Looking at The Sims 2: Apartment Life

Looking at The Sims 2: Apartment Life

To call The Sims series of games a phenomenon is a gross understatement. The first game launched in 2000, with the official sequel coming after several expansion packs in September 2004. Taken as just The Sims or as the series as a whole, this is the best selling PC game of all time. The Sims alone sold more copies than any console game ever. Now, four years after the launch of the sequel, the next big sequel is set for next year, as rabid fans anxiously await the more-open-world The Sims 3. Before that, however, EA has one last expansion pack for number 2, to tide fans over and perhaps tease an upcoming feature of the next iteration.

A preview of new features certainly seems to be the name of the game here. The main purpose of Apartment Life is to move your Sims into an apartment building, which has a much more interesting neighborhood to explore, complete with common areas in the apartment building itself. Free Exploration of your entire Sims world is the number one feature for 3, as well. What about everything else though? Is this worth buying for gamers chomping at the bit for more Simming?

The first major difference is in the families. Up to 4 playable families of up to 8 people (and two pets or NPC roommates) each can live in one apartment building. The other apartments will be occupied by NPCs, filling the building and providing the urban feel. A single door opens to your apartment, and that’s the only way in or out- no climbing down the fire escape for your Sims.

Of course, apartments are usually rented, not owned, and your Sims will have to pay rent. Due to the funky time in the series, rent is weekly, every 7 days, as revealed in a fan chat Maxis developers held this week. They filled gamers in on quite a few other ins and outs of the upcoming game, as well.

Pets are welcome in the apartments, without restriction. There is a new death and a new supernatural character (both staples of expansion packs), so watch out for Murphy Beds and Witches (who can learn several spells during their life). The new neighborhood hosts apartment lots with some ready-made examples. Buildings can hold as few or as many individual apartments as the player wants, so townhomes or duplexes are possibilities. Roommates can be player controlled (with a cheat) or NPCs, but both will pay rent; it’s simply divided by how many people live there. Butlers are new as well, and will take care of your house or apartment all workday long. In addition, Social Groups (like Bohemians and Techies), ownable helicopters, and oddly enough, ceilings all make their first appearances here. Tons of new objects accompany the big new features, as usual. Basically, this is a big, true expansion pack, carrying new features, people, objects, and especially new situations for your Sims to live in.

People are still trying The Sims 2 fresh from the beginning, even today. In the week ending August 2nd, it shot back up to the very top of the US Sales chart, showing incredible legs. Expansions took two of the other top 10 spots, and this new one will undoubtedly sell well. Maxis/EA confirmed this as the final expansion pack, so after this one, it’s full speed ahead to The Sims 3.

The Sims 3 had a few new details released at Leipzig Games Convention, as well. The game will be released February 20, 2009 worldwide, and will offer a standard edition alongside a Collector’s Edition. The Collector’s version includes the game, a Sims Plumbob USB Drive, an exclusive in-game car, a tips and hints guide, and some Plumbob stickers. Current estimates have approximately 13 kajillion units selling in the first week.

The Sims 2: Apartment Life expansion pack is due on U.S. Shelves August 26, for $29.99, and in the U.K. August 29, for £19.99

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