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More Families of the Valley
The Families (J to U)

JOQUE - Sited over the road from the Bell family, the Joque (pron. "Jock") house has a soccer net in the back garden, a den with a bar and pool table, an upstairs mini gym and many walls decorated with sports memorabilia.

Although he works in the Culinary Profession, MARCEL's predestined hobby is Nature and his Lifetime Want is to become Head of the SCIA (2-7). Marcel's week was a gradual progression and he rose gradually in the culinary career track, moving up from working in a burger bar to finishing as a waiter at one of the plusher downtown restaurants.

SOPHIA started the week as a Minor Leaguer but did manage to get herself promoted several times during the week to Rookie and then Starter. Again, she had given up on immediately pursuing her lifetime want of becoming the Hand of Poseidon (2-8) which is the top of the Oceanography career track. It seemed like she was destined for stardom and a busy weekend, until she became pregnant, which was one of Marcel's wants, and she was immediately put on maternity leave.

At about 7am on the Sunday morning, she gave birth to a baby girl who she called Amelia. Despite still having about six days of entitled maternity leave, she gave Amelia a bottle, left her with Violet, got into her pickup truck and was at work in time to play in the second half of the match. However, despite this show of enthusiasm, she still remained as a Starter.

During the week, VIOLET was frequently in contact with Rick Contrary on the telephone. She built up her grades and worked out all week. This improved her interest in the sports and fitness hobbies. However, shortly after her baby sister was born, knowing she had two scholarships under her belt, on the Sunday night, she called a taxi and left to go to college.

Note 6: Pool tables are not new to TS2 having first made their appearance in the University EP (3 years ago), but as that is not everyone's favourite EP, not everyone has it. These pool tables, however, seem to be more weather-beaten than the ones from Uni.

Note 7: Soccer can be played by one person or two. It improves body skill, plus is a good group activity.

MOLE - JOHN's aspiration is popularity, his predestined hobby is tinkering and he works as a Private Eye in the Intelligence career track, but instead of aspiring to become the Head of the SCIA, he wants to become a City Planner (2-9). Once again I'm screaming, "Why the heck don't these people want to be the best at what they are already doing?" Well, I would be screaming if I hadn't lost my voice last week.

Anyway, John Mole began his week living alone in a small one- bedroomed house, the garden surrounded by a high fence. Whereas Jethro (NCIS) Gibbs has his boat, John Mole tinkers with his broken car. This was to pay off later in the week.

His first promotion to Surveillance Operator came very quickly and this was followed later in that week by Reconnaissance Communicator. John, however, did not focus his life around his work and his car, though. Somewhere in the past, he had been getting close to Sharon Wirth and he took the calculated risk of upgrading the relationship and invited her to move in. She agreed.

The move does seem to be a lucky one. Apprehending a dangerous criminal on a cruise liner and busting Mr. F's robot army meant John was following in his father's footsteps and was a field agent with the SCIA, supervising rookies of which he had been only a day before.

Sharon helped out a struggling ballroom dancer, became one herself, was part of a successful reality TV show where she was dancing with the mayor and then was promoted to being a "Flamenco Master". However, could a free spirit like her really settle down with the enigmatically charismatic John Mole?

UNA - NATASHA's aspiration is Grilled Cheese and her lifetime want is to eat 200 grilled cheese sandwiches. Hurray!! For once, here is a lifetime want that seems to be related to the situation a sim is already in. She is unemployed but has a very high creativity rating and as her predestined hobby is arts & crafts, it seems logical her best move is to apply that skill and see what other talents she can become proficient in.

As regards her relationship with John Mole, she may be too late, considering he is now sharing with Sharon Wirth. Nevertheless, during the week, Natasha did try and get his attention. Three times, she tried to get John Mole to take an interest in her. Twice he was invited over to the house, but always insisted on bringing a friend. Any time she tried to flirt with him, he pushed her back. The third time they spoke, she just telephoned him. He just didn't seem interested.

These rejections made Natasha a driven women. Barely finding time to stop and eat, she conjured cheese toasties out of thin air to keep her going as the rest of her waking moments were spent at the potter's wheel. From only being skilled to making plates, she was making tea sets, vases, pots and pitchers at the end of it. She had also been presented with her special achievement plaque for her dedication to the hobby of Arts & Crafts.

Note 8: For those familiar with the previous EPs for TS2, you might recall this rogue aspiration being there for those who messed up when trying to change their aspiration in the ReNuYu Senso Orb, although I prefered to think of it as looking like a high-tech cement mixer. Well, it's been brought forward and has been overhauled. Grilled cheese is another element of weirdness. However, with the new Lifetime Aspiration Benefits, having this bizarre aspiration is now quite interesting. With the benefits of having a bottomless stomach and lower bladder decay to the ability to paint pictures of grilled cheese sandwiches and finally to conjure them out of thin air, it is now more fun to play those who have the grilled cheese aspiration. It can also be picked as a secondary aspiration now although those who only have at in its lesser form cannot conjure grilled cheese out of thin air and it does require using the cement mixer when on yellow or red in order to cause the rogue effect and be cast with this aspiration. It's good to see it back.

Location, location, location

As well as the six families, there are numerous houses that all sell for under §20,000, which is advantageous for the first time buyer. Not incorporating anything novel, they do have room for expansion and most are easily configured for driveways and so forth.

However, the other parts of Desiderata Falls worth mentioning are the community lots.

Copur's Kitchen Cook Off - With well equipped Red Kitchens and Blue Kitchens, Gordon Ramsay should feel right at home here in this Heavenly Kitchen (pun intended). Copur's Kitchen Cook-Off allows your sims to compete in a "cook off" for a prize of §500, the satisfaction of having won a competition and a plaque to go on the wall. The food judge cannot be interacted with until a meal has been prepared for the contest. Then three sims at random are picked. The one whose meal has the highest value wins. In this case here, we have Julien Cooke, who is found in the sim bin with this EP. After making a chilli and submitting his meal, he is competing three other random sims. On this occasion, he won. I like this new addition. The food judge is spawned by a special table that can only be placed on community lots. Apart from submitting food, there is nothing else your sims can do to her. No flirting, no bribery, just food submission.

When a different sim applied, he took three attempts before winning. On the first one, he made a crepe suzette and after the judge had taken her first piece, Isaac Bell walked up took the plate and served it to a nearby table. With no plate to award a prize to, the competition folded. The second time, someone else who was there produced a better meal but finally on the third time, after studying a lot more on his cooking, he was successful and won the special award plaque.

Gustav's Grocery - It might just sound like a store where you can go and get your groceries but it has a bit more. Jewellery, magazines, computer games and clothes are also there to be bought. Upstairs, there is a train set and outside there is another basketball hoop.

Note 9: When your sims previously bought computer/video games, they were limited to "Rush Hour" for SC4 or "The Sims Busting Out". Now there is a newer gaming rack with a lot more choice. "C&C 3 - Tiberium Wars", "Spore", "FIFA 08" and "My Sims" are some of the newer games that you can buy. Personally, I think it is about time the racks were upgraded.

Greaves Greener Gardens - It's a park. Somewhere to go and unwind. Nothing to shout home about, really. However, every neighborhood should have one.

Mostly Modern Art Museum - Well, it's a museum, full of stuff that your average sim probably couldn't afford unless they saved up for most of their lives. It has a grill so you can make yourself something to eat and it has toilets. Woohoo. Otherwise, there isn't too much I can say about it. I can't say that there is anything here that I haven't seen at other museums.

Kiddie Care Castle - This is a place for parents to come with their children if they feel like a change of pace and not having them under their feet. There are activity tables and a reading corner to keep the children entertained with a kitchen and other areas for the adults to unwind.

Sparks! Sport Park - With basketball courts and soccer nets, this Sport Park makes the most of these new additions to the game.

Here is Julien Cooke again, still flush from his success back at the Cook-Off, shooting baskets with Katy McGaw and attracting an audience from Malcolm Landgraab V and Alicia Baena.

To Be Concluded

Although the families of Desiderata Valley appear to have a bit of story and a "raison d'etre", I feel that the Lifetime Wants being drastically different from their actual career in 75% of the adult sims shows an area where more work could have been done in order to make things be neater and has spoilt it. It worked before with Riverblossom Hill and "Seasons" so why not now?

With the community lots, some of them do show off some of the new features whereas others seem to be there just to fill out the community and do not offer anything new.

In the final part, I will be finally bringing this review to an end. I will be looking at bugs and glitches that appear to come with the system that I have found, quickly looking at what has not yet been covered and then bringing up my final conclusions as to whether this expansion is worth it.

Written at 03:03 on Monday 10 March 2008 by Andy.

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