capsule review

The Sims 2 Nightlife

If you already own The Sims 2, by Aspyr Media, and are looking to liven up the action, check out The Sims 2 Nightlife, a new expansion pack that adds a number of new options.

If you’re not familiar with the game, The Sims 2 lets you take control of virtual people—called Sims—as you try to help them fulfill wants and needs, seek gainful employment, decorate homes, meet friends and lovers, raise families, even grow old and die. It’s like being God and an overbearing mother-in-law all at once.

The Sims 2 Nightlife opens a new downtown area where your Sims can go clubbing, visit the bowling alley, and more. Sims can also now buy their own cars—everything from a pickup to a sports car, depending on their preferences—instead of carpooling everywhere.

The expansion pack changes how the romantic proclivities of your Sims are determined—adding aspects such as compatible personality traits, common life aspirations, and even astrological signs. A new Pleasure Seeker life aspiration makes your Sims want to experience the finer things in life. Activities such as going on dates, being invited to parties, and having gourmet meals amps up this life aspiration and makes your Sims better people.

Nightlife also adds vampires to the mix. You can turn your Sims into vampires by seeking out the Grand Vampire who stalks the streets at night. Like vampires in the movies, though, Sim-vampires face certain doom if exposed to sunlight. Fortunately, the Gypsy Matchmaker has potions and curatives that will restore your mortality.

Sims can now maintain a personal inventory. So instead of leaving everything back at the house, they can take stuff with them—useful when moving into new digs, or for holding on to a keepsake for a Sim-girlfriend or boyfriend. The expansion pack also adds nifty new objects for sale—everything from a DJ booth, to a poker table, to a coffin (just thing for a restive vampire).

Sims are very social creatures—maybe a bit too social, in fact. I found it hard to keep my Sims from developing instant, lasting friendships and romantic connections with everyone they met. And while that’s certainly a nice fantasy, it doesn’t make for very challenging gameplay.

The bottom line

If you’ve already tried The Sims 2 and don’t like it, The Sims 2 Nightlife won’t change your mind. But the new Pleasure Seeker aspiration and the addition of cars, vampires, and objects certainly add some flavor to this perennially popular series.

The Sims 2 Nightlife
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