Sims 2 Pets Review

Create the perfect pet for your Sims to train, play with, and love throughout a lifetime. Pick everything from their paws to their personality. Choose from dozens of popular dog and cat breeds like Schnauzer and Siamese. Or create a unique cat or dog by modifying their features and body type. Your Sims can teach their pets tricks, take them for a romp in the park to meet other furry friends, or buy them toys, beds, and much more.

Having a pet is a huge responsibility and takes lots of time and patience. You don’t want Fido digging holes in the yard, or picking fights with other pets, do you? Like real pets, you have to stay on top of your sim-pet or be prepared for a lot of cleanup. But if you take care of your pet, your family and your pet’s family will grow and prosper.

The graphics are on par with other Sims games in the past. Everything is clearly defined — dogs look like dogs, cats look like cats, women don’t look like men, etc — and vibrant. Character generation and house building is rife with options. There are many texture options you can put on floors, walls and outdoors. There are hundreds of possibilities regarding decorations, plants, pictures, furniture, and appliances to please any aesthetic needs.

There are occasional issues with clipping. When my dog would chase his tail against the wall his tail would often pass through it. Thought balloons might appear to float through a wall which was startling the first time I saw it. Occasional arms or legs would stick out of the house I built, but largely just walls and not furniture. On the whole, the animations were pretty good in reference to walking, jogging, playing with your pet and so forth. Nothing spectacular, but par for a Sims’ world.

The music in the game is very simple and light. There didn’t seem to be very many tracks or anything. The Simlish language is the same, and the dog barks appropriately. The cat mews as they are want to do, but because of this I didn’t have a cat for long. There are fish bowls one can purchase, but I didn’t see the point. If I’m going to have a digital fish then there are screeensavers out there. There is no traffic, or much in terms of ambience. Even when it rains there was no pitter patter of the drops against the windows or the street. There are no bells of ice cream carts or noises from the local park, if there is one, and it was somewhat eerily quiet most of the time. Granted, I had only recently installed a phone so getting that made things a bit noisier.

I finally threw a party, but there’s no music or extensive chatter. The cops came at a little after 10pm, so there was a brief siren and a warning, but still hardly much of a party. I’d met 5 people, and 3 of them showed up, so maybe the next one will be worthy of a ticket.

The Wii’s controller works pretty nicely for the most part, but there are issues with redundant, or uncessarily difficult to reach, options. Moving is obvious using the nunchuck’s thumbstick. Relationships, motives, and wants are controlled by the D-pad, and accessing menus to purchase items/view inventory is done with the + button.

The 1-button controls “classic” vs “direct” movement. In classic mode, you click on the ground and your Sim uses its AI to find a pathway to that point. It’s very easy and, provided the doorways are available, there are rarely problems. The direct control means that you move the Sim in real time. I didn’t like this option very much as I had difficulty navigating around furniture and it prevented me from queuing commands effectively. I can see this being useful for the control freak, or I suppose if there was some glitch where the Sim gets trapped. The classic control has a small drawback in sometimes not being able to choose 1 item, but a simply menu comes up with a list of possibilities. For example, if your pet has its play toy, inside, or near, furniture you can click on the general area and the menu will give you a list of all these things.

Building your house is a little tricky with the Wiimote, but it’s well structured so those without excruciatingly steady hands don’t have conniption fits. You can only draw straight lines, and there is a grid system to make it easier. I was rather impressed with my first house, complete with doors, windows, some indoor lighting, and fancy wall treatments in about 45 minutes. Yet, when I viewed one of the pre-built families I realized that I had a lot more options to explore. A lot more. A word to those just starting this stuff, make a large and brightly lit bathroom or you will get claustrophobic.

You basically start off creating your family; even if that is only you. Creating your sim is a wide variety of options from hair to shoes and everything in between. Polo shirts to leather jackets, and shorts to pin-striped suits are all available. You can adjust your height, width, and accessories for hours before you even get into the game itself. You can tune your personality, with your Zodiac sign as a template, regarding cleanliness, temperment, activity level, and disposition. The same goes for your pet too. Complete with clothing, amount of hair, and even personality options you can customize your pet nearly as much as you can do yourself. Make him smart or kind of slow; make him active or lazy, and so forth.

I had not been able to get too far into the game due to a chronic lock-up issue. I was able to finally resolve this by using a glass cleaner wipe on the CD to clean a tiny smudge. I hadn’t taught my pet more than 1 of the several tricks he could perform, and never got him a decent house in which he could procreate. The doggy slum house available at the beginning didn’t seem appropriate. I did have plenty of opportunities to play with him, and scold him when he dug up the yard or ate the newspaper. It’s a shame you can’t take walks ot play fetch and stuff, but the “world” consists of your house and a town square. There’s not much room for fun.

The game is mainly focused on your pet. Sure you have to keep a job, and clean up and such, but really the point is to make the pet happy and fruitful. I have limited experience with the Sims franchise, so the whole world was experimental and strange. For instance, I had women I’d only just met jumping in and out of my bed, but I was never able to join them. When I needed to sleep I had nowhere to go, but if I told her to get out I never saw her again. 

That’ll teach me to skip the directions. Some previous experience will be helpful too.

I must admit that I was getting into the game and enjoying myself until I’d run into the game ceasing up my Wii. At random intervals the video froze accompanied by a loud whine from my system. I’d have to hold the power button for a few seconds for it to shut off. As I said, I had to clean the disk extensively, and that is most likely due to the lack of a hard drive in the Wii. There is extensive disc reading for objects and zones.

The Sims2: Pets is a game unto itself, and provides a fair experience for a console title. The Wii’s lack of a hard drive means a lot of disk reads off the CD itself, and that doesn’t sound very healthy. However, the characteristics you have come to enjoy are still prevalent in the game. The humor and quirky characters are all over, and I enjoyed the interaction. The game is fun.

Before you get into this one, I highly recommend some previous experience, or try out the pre-made family to get the hang of things. Don’t build your own house until you see what the possibilities are in the others there. First, and foremost, the tutorial is pretty good in explaining pet interaction along with other basics.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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