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IGN.com Previews Nightlife

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 23:00

"It's easy to get lost in adding all of the new stuff and styles to your house to make it an even cooler place for your sims to hang out but there's a ton of new places to go and interactions to have with other sims as well."

Read The Preview!


The Sims 2 Nightlife

We gussy up and head out for a night on the town.

Nightlife is the second in what will most assuredly be many expansions to The Sims 2. It's a concept that's been run by us before in the franchise with Hot Date for the original Sims, but that particular title didn't exactly have the oomph and personality behind it to really provide a nightlife feel of going out on the town. The folks at Maxis look to have the kinks worked out with this newest expansion (which just went gold today by the way) as it adds a lot of new features to an already fulfilling game experience. Along with the obligatory bunch of new items, some good new gameplay features have been implemented to help your sims along in their social lives (especially their romantic ones) while adding in some of the same quirky bits as we've seen in the past.

Many of you have seen the Sims 2 features and previews we've done in the past here at IGNPC, so you'll already be familiar with the players in the drama of Strangetown. Steve, Tal, Tom, and myself (all members of the IGN crew) along with a stowaway of sorts Jimmy all inhabited a quaint little roofless shack during the preview period for the original Sims 2. After the drama of Jimmy's long lost illegitimate child coming into his life and heading off to college for plenty of adventures, the focus moved back to the household of the Peeceers and the fab five fools who have collected quite a sum of money thanks to high paying jobs and an exorbitant amount of The Elixir of Life.

Seeing as the house was a big focus of their lives, the first order of business was upgrading the abode into a new echelon of luxury… which required a whole lot of restructuring due to one of the biggest new additions, cars and driveways. The lot the Peeceers live upon is not the biggest on the block and therefore they have pretty much run out of room at this point. In order to make way for the driveway, which is required to purchase a car (there is no street parking in Strangetown or any other sim neighborhood), much of the house had to be redesigned to make room for the cumbersome piece of concrete. Small lots are definitely going to have a difficulty owning a car or garages are certainly going to have to be taken into account when originally building as there's no option for underground parking or uphill driveways to reach a certain height.

The Sims 2 Nightlife
The dancing sphere is danger!

But the good thing is, it allows sim families to own cars. Carpools will still come by to pick sims up for work (the best alarm clock of them all) but now sims can go out on joyrides, hang out in the car and listen to the radio, drive downtown, pick up their dates to go out on the town, and even get a little hot and steamy in the back seat for some WooHoo action. There are a few cars to choose from, but if you have the cash, the fancy schmancy sports car is definitely the one you want and the one I eventually bought for our dysfunctional little family of five.

After that, it was just a matter of decking the place out with all of the new accoutrements. Dancing lights, electro dance sphere (which made my sim violently throw up), a poker table, various art pieces, and a pair of bowling alleys set in the new entertainment wing of the house. Basically, the house rocks now. It's just a matter of finding the space to fit all of the cool stuff.

But the new stuff sits in your house and a big part of this expansion is getting your sims out on the town. Just as was the case with the University expansion pack, each neighborhood will have to pick an area to visit on their trips into the hub of action. There is a default "Downtown" area up for choice, which seems good enough to me. There are a enough entertainment choices to keep your sims busy for years. Those that want to create their custom nightlife areas can feel free to do that as well.

Along with the regular shops and stops that most Sims players would expect to find out of their houses, destinations now also include bowling alleys (much hipper and exciting than any I've ever seen), nightclubs, and restaurants (a great way to go out on a date and fill up the mood meter as well). It's pretty easy to guess what these places are for, but you'll find that many of the locations have several attractive options inside such as a restaurant also having a dance floor, which makes a prime spot to take a date.

Dating is an interesting proposition. The guys at Maxis have made it much easier for the average Joe to score in Nightlife so that your lonely sims might finally have a chance at happiness. Dating is much like the Greek House experience from University. Once a date starts, sims will have a certain amount of time to reach as high a score as possible by impressing their heart's desire. A meter with several levels pops up when a date begins to show the progression without any embarrassing mixed signals. If your sims says or does something to make the date happy, the meter goes up. Say or do something bad, the meter goes down. However, if the meter goes up enough to reach a new level, more time is added to the date. Should the date reach "Perfect" status, your sim is likely in for a good night.

Making the dating easier is a new attraction system. Not only is it good for finding people to date, but it also works very well for hitting the right buttons when talking to them. A little lightning bolt will show up in any options that another sim would be likely to react well to.

Each sim also has values that make them more likely to be attracted to you. If you can find those out, you can even change your sim's looks to match a target's desires whether that be how fat your sim is or what color hair. These turn-ons and turn-offs can actually be changed along with aspirations (including the new Pleasure Seeker aspiration) using the new ReNuYu Senso Orb. If you want your sim to find formal wear a turn-off and blonde hair and facial hair a turn-on, it's up to you.

The Sims 2 Nightlife
Heading out for a ride

But along with the good comes the bad. Seeing as your sims have more emotion to their choices now, it's not surprising that they should swing to the opposite side of the love spectrum. Take Jimmy and Tom. They've always hated each other. But now they really hate each other. In fact, every time that Jimmy or Tom thinks of the other person, the thought bubble sprouts some hateful flames so there is no mistaking the anger there. During the period of time the hate is pumping, each sim is less likely to talk to each other at all. What this seems to mean though is that sims have much more violent tendencies. I've already seen a bunch of fights in the little bit of time I've played Nightlife.

There's a lot of good stuff in Nightlife. It's easy to get lost in adding all of the new stuff and styles to your house to make it an even cooler place for your sims to hang out but there's a ton of new places to go and interactions to have with other sims as well. The only things we haven't found yet are vampires and the fortune teller. Both of these are random occurrences when out on the town. Obviously, the vampire could provide a seriously life altering change to the life of your sims, so be on the lookout for that one. The fortune teller, on the other hand, apparently can provide insight into which other sims your sim should be hitting on. If all else fails, she also sells Love Potion #8.5 to boost any sim's attractiveness for a bit.

Check out the new screens included with the preview and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more on The Sims 2 Nightlife before the game is released September 15th.

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