|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Maxis||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb.27, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
The spring is here and, as I sneeze a few times, I realize the change of environment affects our daily lives in many, many ways: the sun shines brighter and stays out longer, we get to ride our bikes or go have a picnic, and we can finally put our coats away! Few video games reflect the beautiful effects of the changing seasons. When I saw that Animal Crossing took time into consideration, I thought it was a neat idea. The Sims 2: Seasons Expansion Pack has taken the concept even further, although you won't be playing in real time, like in Animal Crossing.
The fifth expansion pack of The Sims 2 brings more relevant elements to the game than any other expansion pack might have brought in the past: the weather, new weather-related activities, and several new items. As you know, a day in the life of The Sims represents a much longer period of time than it does in our real life; that's why each season only lasts five "Sim-Days." During those days, you'll experience the different weather and enjoy the activities proper to that season. Now your Sims can go out and make snow-angels or have an exciting snow-ball fight, they can go fishing to the lake or go play with the piles of leaves. These are not just random activities you can do, some of them have actually been developed further and really add more appeal to the game, as long as you enjoy them! For example, your Sim can go fishing to the nearest pond and catch whatever he can, but you could also try to improve his skills and learn to use other kinds of lures, so he can catch other species. The caught fish could be your Sim's next meal!
With this new expansion, Maxis is determined to teach you how to take care of plants and become a true "green thumb." If you thought taking care of your own Sims or pets was tough, this will be even more time-consuming. Plants will basically become your new babies. You can plant more than flowers and shrubs; fruit trees and veggies have been added to the game and they will provide your Sims with the tastiest produce! Of course, that is if you take care of them properly. Timing is important; you need to plant in the appropriate season, use fertilizers, spray your trees if they're getting sick, and pick up the fruits when they're ready. Your produce will be bland, tasty, or mouth-watering, depending on many factors like the ones mentioned above. Bugs will invade your crops if you're not careful. Placing a ladybug colony near your plantings will help. If you're a good enough gardener, you'll have the option to become a member of the Garden Club. They will carefully inspect your yard and make sure you have a well-taken-care-of garden. Your Sims can become so involved in this new outdoor activity that they could suffer of "plantism" and their bodies and faces will turn green! Their only needs will then be love, sunlight, and water. It sounds neat, but these characters sometimes behave in a careless manner; they won't be so involved with their families any more, plants will be the center of their lives, and if you let them use their free-will, they won't really get things done! Luckily, there's a cure: you can buy a cheap potion from a Garden Club representative and your Sim will turn back to normal after drinking it.
The weather will affect your Sims in many ways. One of the new aspects this expansion brings is body temperature. You will need to keep a balance so they don't overheat or freeze! Dressing your Sims with suitable outfits, giving them hot chocolate when it's too cold, or presenting them with fresh, iced lemonade when it's boiling hot will regulate their temperature and make them feel better. Sometimes it's just best to have a nice winter evening at home, socializing with the family, instead of forcing them to go out in the cold. If it's summer time, let them jump in the pool and swim a few laps to keep them refreshed! Many locations around the world don't really have four seasons with different weather. Thanks to this new expansion, you can also select what seasons each neighborhood will have. If you have a Sim neighborhood in the desert, you might as well make it summer all year long!
What else has been added to The Sims 2? Improvements like being able to put away leftovers, so they don't become the flies' provisions; new career paths like gamer, law, journalism, and music; gift exchanging - your Sims will be able to give anything within their inventory to other Sims; new objects, like a juice maker (you can use your own produce to make juice!), hot-chocolate maker, a scarecrow, new furniture, and decorative elements, etc.; the ability to choose different hair styles for their different outfits when you create new characters. All of these features and more will become part of your The Sims 2 experience when you install the Seasons expansion pack. Is it worth it? I'd say yes if you love the series and don't want to miss anything! Plus experiencing hail storms, heavy rains, or seeing your neighborhood all covered in snow has no price. The butterflies will flap their wings around in the spring, the leaves will fall in the fall, and much more. I really enjoyed these new, beautiful elements that the game has to offer; it becomes that much more realistic and it will make you appreciate the amazing changes of nature even more.
There are a couple of key-elements that have been updated in the construction side of The Sims 2: you can create more interesting pools with the additions of a fun pool slide and the rounded corner shape that will allow you to create more than just the old, boring, rectangle-shaped swimming pool; also, you'll be able to create the much-expected split-level homes! This featured could still be tuned-up a bit more, but it's great news. After all, don't half of the American homes feature split-level layouts? For those of you that love the architectural aspect of this game, I'm sure this will be music to your ears.