Whether you aspire to be the next Donald Trump and buy up most of downtown simcity, or to a lesser degree want to be the next Dev Alahan (who?) with a small chain of corner stores, Open for Business (OFB) does what it says on the tin. It allows your sims to turn their lots into commercial ventures or buy up any community lot within their price range and open them for business.
Whether this EP is suited to you and the way you play TS2, that is not for me to say. From this review, I intend to point out the strengths and weaknesses of OFB and give you my conclusions to help you make up your mind.
OFB comes on only one CD, but I don't feel short-changed. Maxis have crammed a lot onto this, as will be revealed in due course. The intro movie has not changed, which is no big surprise, and as the game is loading up, in Maxis' usual style, the comments along the bottom are appropriate to the latest expansion. Yes, my old favourite is there as well.
Before you are presented with the usual neighborhood selection screen, it asks if you wish to use custom downloads. This screen can be toggled in a setting in Options once you are in a neighborhood. This is something that was introduced with NL and has undergone some minor changes pointing out what are viewed as hacks and what are just custom content.
I would have liked to see the option at start-up to choose which custom downloads you get to use or not to use. I suppose Maxis would rather we used the external "content manager" utility for that.
When you have chosen a neighborhood to visit, in a manner similar to the previous two expansions, it tells you about the new addition to add on to your base neighborhood. In this case, it is a new Shopping District.
Bluewater Village is the only already-created choice, it is habitable, already has some families, has some empty houses and community lots and also some functional businesses. I had criticisms of whether Downtown was really necessary in NL and I have the same of Bluewater. However, it does serve the purpose of demonstrating a lot of the new content. You cannot go far wrong by checking out the lots here or living the lives of some of the entrepreneurial families here for a few days.
In some ways, in the same way that started with Hot Date for TS1 and continued to the end, I am beginning to expect this of all of the EPs that are created for TS2 that they will come with their own additional neighborhood to showcase how things work.
If you wish to create your own custom shopping village, the method is the same as it has been with normal neighborhoods, college campuses and downtown regions. Pick a template, choose the terrain type and give it a name. Then you start populating it. You know the drill.
Written at 00:47 on Sunday 5 March 2006 by