The Sims 2 Nightlife Review

It's night night for The Sims

Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 7th November 2005

The Sims 2 Nightlife

  • Developer: Maxis
  • Publisher: EA Games
  • Release Date: 16th September 2005

With every expansion pack The Sims 2 tends to get a little ‘deeper’, we started off raising little families, keeping them happy (and alive!), maybe occasionally torturing them and them watching them die only to see their offspring carry on the family name. It was perfect and seemingly needed nothing else added to it, then The Sims2 – University came out and we were left wondering how we managed without it!

No longer did our Sim teens have to hold down a poorly paid job only to reach the top of their career ladders, transform into adults and have to start from the bottom again! University allowed players to add that little more depth to game, teens could be shipped off to college to enjoy partying, lecturing and a whole new life phase and now, Nightlife promises to bring those newly graduated Sims, and all the other Sims in the game, a social life!

Since University added so much to the structure of the game it would be difficult for any new expansion pack to live up to its predecessor and although Nightlife is packed full of goodies for players to enjoy it doesn’t quite add as much to the game as University did however, there is still a lot here to make the purchase worth while.

So, what does the pack bring to the game? Well, to name a few, Private cars, driveways, garages, a whole new dating system, new community lots and err…vampires!

Let’s start with the cars; Sims can now purchase their very own vehicles providing they have a driveway attached to their house in which to park it on. Driveways can be built the same way as house extensions and can even feature full brick garages with automatic doors should you wish to build them. There are 5 types of car to choose from each differing in price and overall style. There are also a number of different colours to play with on each car, the “greased lightning” effect sports car with it’s flaming paintwork was a favourite of mine although it didn’t look quite right sitting outside a one bedroom bungalow housed by a couple of pensioners!

Unfortunately, cars cannot be manually driven by the player or interacted with much at all, you can order your Sim to sit in them (this can raise comfort levels), woohoo in them (speaks for itself!), go to work in them and take them for a spin, all this does however is send the car off screen for a little while whilst you watch the absent Sims’ fun meter rising. For this reason, the cars do not impact the game that greatly, they’re a nice touch and the occupied driveways can make the house look cool but apart from that, it’s just another ‘toy’ for your Sim to play with…makes a change from SSX6 though I suppose!

The real changes this expansion brings to the game are in its new dating system. Sims now come equipped with Turn on’s and Turn Off’s which you can choose for them as soon as they become adults. These can include fitness, make-up, specific hair colour and smell amongst other things and Sims with these turn on’s/off’s will automatically be more attracted to other Sims fitting the bill. Thankfully, you can now see when a Sim is attracted to another Sim as a lightning bolt (or two if the attraction is strong!) will appear on that Sims picture in the relationships panel, if there is poor chemistry between the two Sims a cross will appear over the bolt. This new ‘attraction’ feature is great for matchmaking and gives the player an insight into what relationships are going to require work and which ones will be easy to pull together. An example of this came to light at a university graduation party, the graduating Sim had invited a recently graduated, adult Sim as well as her current college friends, the recently graduated sim instantly proved a hit with one of the frat girls and with two lightning bolts appearing in both of their relationship panels it became obvious that the two would make a great couple (if you’re interested, the two are now happily married and living in Pleasantville!).

Helping along the new dating system is the ability to actually invite Sims on dates, ideally in the new Downtown area which features an array of new community lots including bowling alleys, nightclubs, coffee houses, parks and restaurants. To ask a Sim on a date you can have him or her pick up the telephone and choose the new “ask on date” option, you can then either invite them over and cook them something special or take them out for a special night on the town.

Once the date starts you are given a ‘Date Meter’, a bit like the old headmaster progress meter when you’re trying to get your Sim kids into private school! This meter fills or empties depending on how well the date is going, if a date is going nicely the time left on the bar increases to allow you more time with your partner, if the date goes badly it can end on a bad note and damage the relationship between the two Sims. One of my more romantic Sims actually found a love letter in his mail box after a particularly pleasant date!

Another feature added to the game is the ability to form “groups”, this feature works well with the university expansion as groups of students who went through college together can now keep in touch by being part of a group of friends in adult life, the same goes for work mates and general friends. You can organise the groups yourself adding desirable Sims to the list and can then have the full group over to your place for fun or invite them all downtown for a spot of bowling, dining or dancing!

And then we come to vampires, why Maxis decided to add these ghoulish fiends to our innocent Sims neighbourhoods is a mystery but it’s an original, if not odd touch to the game. Vampires can usually be found downtown during the darkness hours and can attack other Sims, biting them and turning them into blood sucking monsters! It is possible to house these things yourself but it can prove tricky finding them work since they cannot venture out of the house during sunlight! For this reason you have to provide them with a coffin to sleep in during the day and can even get non-vampire Sims to annoy them by messing around with it while they sleep, just for a laugh!

As we have become accustomed to with Sims expansion packs, new animation and sound is implemented into the game brilliantly, watch as a group of best friends hang out at the bowling alley taking it in turns to play whilst the others dance and play around them, watch a group of Sims do the dance “smustle” together which kind of resembles a drunken group dance or watch two vampires getting ‘jiggy’ on the dance floor! Sims can now be found asleep with their heads in their dinner plates after a hard night partying and vampires can transform into bats and can be found flying around their homes avoiding the sunlight. New music has been added to fit in with the partying theme and again, high quality tunes are available to select on your Sims stereos.

The one problem with this expansion pack is the loading times which has plagued the Sims 2 since day one, those with fast systems may be able to travel from place to place in a decent enough time but if you’re not that lucky you could find yourself waiting 5 minutes or more for areas to load which, at the end of the day makes the downtown area less appealing, especially since everything you can do there you can also do in your own homes (providing your Sims have the money to build their own bowling alleys etc. of course!).

All in all, The Sims 2 Nightlife fills the gap that we never realised existed up until now, it doesn’t offer as much input into the game as university does but its still worth having and adds a load of new features to stretch the games fun-life out that little bit further!

Review Score: 7.4/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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