The Sims 2 Pets PC (2)
Complete Editorials Listing
Living with a Pet
Just like Sims, pets have a lifecycle to go through. They start as puppies/kittens, after which they'll grow to Adult and finally Elder. Eventually they'll die of old age. Also similar to Sims are the motives (needs) that pets have. They're also Hunger, Comfort, Bladder, Energy, Fun, Social and Hygiene. The Environment motive has been replaced though. Cats will want to Scratch, whereas dogs prefer Chewing. Both these motives can be fulfilled by special objects, like a scratching pole or the "Chewinator by ChompCo." Naturally regular furniture serves pets just as well, with a big mess as a result, if you're unlucky...
To keep some of the other, regular needs green, many pet-related objects are included in the expansion. Think of pet homes, bowls, pillows, litter boxes and of course a set of toys. Dogs can also play catch if you like, or chase the mailman. Cats are more likely to play with fake mice or a birdie stick. There's just one tricky thing: unless you use the "boolProp controlPets on" cheat, you are not able to directly control pets. You'll have to do so through your Sim, or let them do whatever you like. You can control them in such a way, that you can mold their personality a bit. This is easily done through some training - praise your pets if they do what you want them to do, or scold them if they don't. What you want them to do is up to you - you can make an aggressive, couch-breaking, delivery person chasing wild animal, or a nice, calm, easy going friend. Behaviour that your pet has learned will appear in a "Learned Behaviours" panel, near the personality, interests and memories panels.
That's right. Besides a personality as mentioned before, dogs and cats will also have memories of events happened in the past. And there are several interests: Pets, Scary Things, Food, Outside, Sleeping, Playtime, Weather, Toys and Animals. Not completely unlike Sims are the careers and commands pets can have. Pets too can make money for your family, in either one of the Showbiz, Security or Service careers. Like Sims have Skills, Pets can learn commands. Some training is required here, which will take a while indeed. But if you successfully do so, you can have a dog that plays dead, rolls over, speaks, comes over or more, whenever you want it to.
Due to the close imitation the pets do, you're sure to have a laugh watching all the animations for these tricks. Pets can also roll in the trash, lick puddles, sing, and much more. I personally haven't spotted bringing in newspapers, but that might be a possibility as well. Training can be done by the family Sims, but if that's too exhausting they can also be taught by a Pet Obedience Trainer, which besides training your pet also sells a Lycanthropic-B potion against Lycantrophy. All for §20 an hour.
As said before, pets too go through a lifetime just like Sims. To make sure they continue to live for generations to come, they have to breed. Genetics are available, although it's not yet completely sure how they work exactly with all the layers. Don't be surprised that once the expansion is out, there will be pet legacy challenges or stories covering many generations of pets. To get them to breed, a Sim will have to click one of the pets and make them try to have puppies or kittens. The Sim will then encourage some romantic action to happen. And if you don't want the pups or kittens, you can always put them up for adoption. During their entire life, pretty much every Sim, all except for babies, are able to interact with pets. Although toddlers will stick mostly to cuddling them, children and older Sims can do a lot more already.
Not only Sims can socialise with pets, other pets can as well. They can play, but they can also fight. If you have some aggressive pets, they might not like strangers, and thus strays may be scared off the lot after a big fight. Whatever happens depends on the personalities and relationships between the two animals. You'll find that Pets are quite similar to Sims, considering that they also have relationships with Sims and other pets. These naturally work the same as for Sims, and socialising is necessary to keep them up. Training and teaching behaviour is also considered socialising, much like potty training a toddler, although scolding can hurt the relationship between a pet and his owner.
One social thing that was not available yet, is walking a dog. There was no pet walking service yet either. The closest that you can get to that, is taking a pet out for a spin in a car. An owner of a dog cannot yet walk off the lot for about an hour to replenish some of the needs of the pet. This can however still change, but as said it's not yet certain.
Dogs and cats aren't the only pets in the expansion pack. You can also buy a guinea pig or a bird. There's also a new big aquarium, but that's for mostly display only. Birds can be taught a few tricks, like talking, and guinea pigs can run around and die. Altogether they're not the most interesting of creatures - the guinea pig doesn't even bite anymore, like in the Sims 1. It does however get scared when being barked at by a dog. Like the aquarium fish, a guinea pig also needs some feeding and attention. Thought bubbles show any needs of the hamster.
What is new for these creatures, but wasn't working yet, is how you can pick a colour and description for your pet. This works much like the craftables in Open for Business. Buying just a cage is not enough - you'll need to purchase an animal as well. When you do so, you get a dialog box in which you can pick a design, name and description. This didn't work well yet during the demo, and exact looks will remain uncertain for a little while.
There will be several new additions to build and buy mode as well. Naturally there will be many new objects and items (including windows, doors, wallpapers, floors, fences, phones, a sink, some decorations, a TV, lights, chairs, benches, a bed, and more), mostly focused on pets, but there will also be some new options in the building area. Think of diagonal roofs, which can be placed neatly on diagonal walls. Although the auto-roof option doesn't place these yet, they do allow you to make nicer roofs if you manually build them. There were also supposed to be a few changes to the pools, but those didn't seem to be available in the game yet. Another useful tool is when placing floors: you can now rotate them using the , and . keys. This allows you to vary a pattern to form a completely new pattern, and altogether increase the variation you can have in your floor designs.
But that's not all. A new Sledgehammer tool demolishes anything it meets. Rather than having to go through several menus to get rid of walls, windows, or tables with something on them, using the sledgehammer you can delete an entire wall, together with wallpaper and window or door, as well as any other wall decoration, with just one click. Similarly, a desk with computer and flowers can be completely sold using this tool, and just clicking once. Destroying a house has never been this easy.
Another new little tool is the Flatten Ground one. Rather than having to egalise an entire lot to make it flat, just one click on this tool's button will do the trick. The land will be made flat, making it easier for you to build a house on. New Diagonal Walls tools also allow you to make rooms with diagonal walls as easy as 1, 2, 3. Unfortunately that's also all that's new in build mode - don't expect new stairs in this pack, for example.
There's just one more thing to mention: a few changes have been made in the collections area, now allowing you to change the order of the collections. This allows you to put your favourite collections up front, while leaving the ones you don't use as much near the back, saving some time scrolling around. Naturally you can also still edit collections' names, icons and areas. All of this is accomplished by only a few clicks.
Misc. New Things
As if all of that is not enough yet, there are also a few other things new with this pack. Previous expansion packs came with new music stations, and so does this one. Country is the new station that your Sims will be able to listen to. Of course there are also some new tunes in the Neighbourhood and CAS (CAP) screens, as well as in build and buy mode. Several new neighbourhood ploppables (decorations), like a monorail, ancient ruins, a cooling tower and a carousel, have also been made by Maxis. These can be placed in your neighbourhoods along with the new pre-made families with their pets. Where they are going to live is up to you, as a new location is not included in this pack.
One other feature that stood out during the preview is the Game Tip Encyclopedia. No longer you'll have to wait for some tooltips to pop up. Instead you can now look them up in the encyclopedia in the options panel. The tips for every expansion will be listed separately, allowing you to easily find tips about what you need help with. This feature was still far from complete, and a lot of graphics and texts were still missing, though that will definitely be completed before the game hits the shelves. If you don't have one of the previous expansion packs, the tips for those will naturally be disabled.
Another feature that was revealed before the official announcement of the pack, is that it'll now be easier to have your own custom paintings in the game. Create an image, place it in a special folder on your computer, and your Sims (with a Creativity skill of 5 or higher) will be able to paint it. When it's done you'll be able to hang it on the wall.
That about rounds it up for this first hands-on impression review. Although still unfinished, the pack looks as if it has most of the features built in and working. Many cosmetic things - graphics and text - still need some work, but there's plenty of time for Maxis to finish that. Unlike Nightlife or Open for Business though, this expansion seems to be really focused on pets, not adding very much to the core gameplay except for some new objects. As with previous expansion packs, the Influence system from University as well as the Turn-ons and Turn-offs from Nightlife appear in this pack as well, no matter if you have University and/or Nightlife installed or not. The lot information tool from Open for Business is also included.
Although gameplay-wise the features are mostly focused on the pets, the pack does also contain a few small tweaks that make the game just a little more solid, like the game tip encyclopedia, or making custom paintings more easily. Those alone do not really make the pack worth the money. It are the dogs and cats that do, and you'll need to like that to enjoy the pack. Unfortunately there aren't any other pets or farm animals - a popular request from many fans. When it comes to the dogs and cats though, the work that Maxis, or the Sims Division if you will, has done is decent and solid. It'll need a couple more tweaks here and there, maybe some finishing touches, but those will be done in time. Create a Pet is one of the most advanced systems in the game, allowing a lot of customisation. The interface for that may still be a little tricky, but again, the game is unfinished and is likely to change. The only downside there might be that modding the colours and patterns will be a bit harder at first, since there are no plans for an update for the Body Shop. It would also be nice to see one or two features from Create a Pet in Create a Sim as well, like picking different left and right eye colours.
Altogether the expansion looks as if it'll make a valuable addition to the current game. Together with Open for Business it might be even better, since that'll allow you to start pet shops, you can have even more fun. Of course Pets is comparable to Unleashed in some ways, but there's no harm in that - Unleashed was one of the most popular expansions for the Sims 1 after all. We probably haven't covered all of the details of the pack here, and more will be revealed in the time towards the release at 17 October (20 October in Europe). Stay tuned to the Sims Zone to get all the latest details and information about the Sims 2 Pets on PC!
Written at 00:12 on Friday 28 July 2006 by
All content © copyright 2001-2010 The Sims Zone unless otherwise stated.
The Sims franchise is © copyright Maxis and Electronic Arts.