Google+ bekijkt De Sims 2 Studentenleven uitbreidingspakket

donderdag, december 16, 2004 - 22:20

"Once a student has managed to graduate, four new careers will be unlocked to them adding even more reward to gameplay."

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The Sims 2 University

The Sims finally goes to school!

If you've read about The Sims 2 at all on this site, you'll know that we regard the game and the series with some fondness. For all of the ribbing we've given the game because of its outrageous sales numbers, it's easily one of the strangest and most interesting interactive entertainment series that we've ever really seen on any of the platforms. The Sims 2 simply added a healthy helping of features and improvements that made the game more interesting from both a creative and gameplay perspective. One of the biggest additions was the addition of life cycles letting sims could be born, grow up, grow old, and die. And because of this big addition, the crew at Maxis were finally able to create something they've wanted to from the beginning, have sims find their way to college! A while new segment of life called "Young Adulthood" has been added to take advantage of that impressionable age and create the first expansion (there will certainly be more) called The Sims 2 University.

After a teen sim has managed to wade through the confusion of high-school, first loves, and graduation, they can take the option to move off to a university and begin a new section of life. These characters officially become their own family to represent their newfound independence (though they retain the last name and will eventually be able to move back home) and will have to start nearly from scratch. Friends from home can also come to the university, but for the most part, all of your Sims will have to meet and interact with a slew of NPC students.

Each neighborhood in The Sims 2 University will come with a university town associated with it. Sims from different neighborhoods won't be able to go to the same university, but that doesn't mean there won't be plenty of students to interact with at school. On the contrary, there will be plenty of trouble for your budding adults to get into like pranks, parties, frats, sororities, secret societies, cheating, stealing, working... pretty much everything you need as a student. But before any sim can get any of these things, they have to move in...

One thing about going to college is the relative restrictions it will place on an entry year student. If you've been to a university of any sort in real life and lived in the dorms, you'll probably remember that knocking down walls and redesigning was... frowned upon. Such will be the case here. When moving into a dorm, each student will get a private room (noted by the picture of the sim that owns it on the door) which they can decorate with items and wall hangings. No reconstruction allowed. Students will have to wait for any real creative outlet until they move out to other housing.

The Sims 2

One of the really interesting things about moving into a dorm is the fact that your sims will, for the first time, be living with NPC sims. They act like any of the townies that your sims interact with on a regular basis. The only difference is that they're around all the time and will create interesting clashes of personality that you might not normally see in a perfectly crafted household. In order to keep some mystery about the students as well as help on the system requirements, these NPC rooms will fade out when a sim you control isn't physically in that space. The neat thing is that you can see what each of the NPC sims is doing inside their room such as having fun, studying, or whatever else it is they do so you can know whether to send your own sims in to socialize. An especially cool feature is that these NPCs can now be brought into the neighborhood as controllable characters, allowing relationships to grow and these sims to age.

Once your sim get fed up with living in such cramped quarters, they'll have to make enough money to afford moving elsewhere. While each student will be given scholarship money (it's still up in the air if the amount will be affected by high-school performance), they'll have to look into other means of keeping the cash flowing into their pockets. Plenty of new odd jobs will be available for students that need the extra influx such as working in a cafeteria, bartending, and hustling at billiards. If they're on the devious side of things, there are other routes to "making" money that I'll get into in a second.

Once a sim has enough money and has managed to make friends with the right people, fraternities and sororities will become available. Brothers and sisters of the Greek system will invite sims they like into their respective houses and begin a pledging period. If any of your sims have the weighty "responsibility" of being an active brother or sister in the house, they can use their influence over the younger pledges to get them to do things. We're not talking elephant chain here, but cleaning the house, doing homework, or pulling pranks are way up on the list.

Houses like these will let players more easily throw parties thanks partly to the new objects that allow your sims to enjoy themselves more. Items such as the "juice barrel" on which players can do keg stands... of juice, or the multi-hosed bubble blower shaped like a gigantic mushroom where sims can sit on cushions and enjoy all the happiness that... bubble blowing brings.

Meeting the right people can also lead to more interesting propositions. On every campus is a secret society that will only open up and even be visable on the map once a sim has been accepted. Members of this society can not only hack into the campus computer to change their grades but will also be able to use the special counterfeiting machine to keep their coffers full. Of course, there are some risks involved with these kinds of activities. While Maxis isn't certain how much random coincidence will be involved, the police will find out about these nefarious actions and come to arrest your scrawny little sim's butt and throw him or her in jail. Whoopsies!

The tricky thing for these student sims will be keeping all of their responsibilities in line. Making money and friends is great, but if the grades start coming down, the scholarship goes away and students will have to leave school and become a working stiff like the rest of us. If they can manage to graduate, several awards wait for good students that are hard to ignore. Thankfully, influence can play a pretty good role in keeping these needs filled for sims that like to party more than study. This special kind of currency is built up through gaining friends and keeping them. Influence can then be spent to get other sims to do certain tasks. For example, it's actually possible for a sim to make his or her way through school without actually doing much homework if they're popular enough and have the influence to spend.

Each semester, those that manage to do well in class will be presented with the opportunity for reward. For instance, after the first year sims will add a new want slot giving more options for sims to increase their status while after the second year the one time ability to change aspirations will be made available. So a financial character might decide to switch his or her focus to romance. That seems to do a good job mimicking the great changes that many students undergo during the college experience.

Once a student has managed to graduate, four new careers will be unlocked to them adding even more reward to gameplay. While EA doesn't want to let the cat out of the bag about all of them yet, we did get a chance to talk a little about two of them today. One, the paranormal career, will obviously focus on the "science" of those things that are not quite of this world. The career reward item actually allows sims to resurrect the dearly departed! It's an interesting twist made even more interesting because an amount of money must be paid to the grim reaper in order to get dead sims back. Pay too little and the resurrected character may just wish he or she was back in the grave. If the reaper complains about your tight wallet, he'll bring the sim back to "life" by making him or her a zombie. While these zombies still live out their lives, they'll walk different, have serious problems with social abilities, and not be able to have children. It may not be extremely nice, but it sure is funny. Story tellers, begin your storyboarding!

The Sims 2

The other career focus was ecology. This career obviously has a much different focus for sims, but receives a career reward equally as brilliant. Once reaching the rank of rogue biologist, sims will gain access to the mighty cow plant. This disgustingly freakish creation has an amazing animation set to accompany it and will please any gamer that loves the fantastic side the Sims series shows every now and again. Basically, this thing is half-cow and half-plant. When properly fed and taken care of, this friendly flora will allow a player to milk its udders (hanging conveniently off of the underside of its toothy maw) for the Elixir of Life, which grants longer life to sims. Better yet, if you don't feed the plant, it will begin to get hungry and look for a snack, which will be anything unlucky to get close enough. Taking a cue from the denizens of the deep, this cow plant waves his cake shaped tongue around to draw sim people in close enough to gulp down in one bite. They're a rather convenient way to dispose of unwanted guests and pesky neighbors.

These are the kinds of things that Maxis is really trying hard to keep flowing into the product. These Sims moments and discoveries are really the driving personality behind the experience. A bunch of new actions, such as various brilliant pranks, pillow fights, hacky sack, and even "hanging-out" create a complete college experience for any sim. As usual the team of animators seems to be right on with their cartoony depiction of real-life in this unreal world.

Along with the animation are all of the new objects. Some of them will even serve more purpose than mere "things." The pool table allows talented sims to hustle opponents, the new musical instruments let several sims come together to play music for fun or profit (they'll actually play better or worse depending on skill values), and bonfires create a great place for sims to gather. Still more objects like cameras, doors, windows, and full length mirrors (house of mirrors anyone?) give more options for use and decoration. All of these objects will be available outside of the university towns as well so your other less educated sims don't get cut out of the fun.

On top of that, more gameplay features will be available outside of the university entirely, like new lifetime wants. These work like regular wants, but have will probably have added benefits like keeping the sim that reaches the goal in platinum mood forever. However, these goals will be quite lofty and will probably take an entire lifetime to fulfill.

The Sims 2 University is adding a lot of new gameplay and what looks to be a happy supply of new items for those simply looking for more things to put in their houses. Frankly, I can't wait to have Jimmy Jr. head out to university. Let the carnage commence!



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