Pic of the day: "Squeee! You cuddly widdle thing!" "Die, foolish mortal!"
It is finally here. The expansion pack that some people have been begging for since the game was released, if not before. It is also the one I have been the least interested in myself. That says something, after they managed to fill Nightlife with the kind of a urban lifestyle that I hate and avoid like the plague: Dating, going out in groups, pointless driving in cars, playing poker and mingling with vampires. Okay, the vampire thing is probably not an option in real life. Or if it is, I don't want to know it.
At least Nightlife had a couple small gameplay extensions. Besides the new romance interactions, it introduced backpacks that can store seemingly unlimited quantities of your favorite objects when you decide to move to a new domicile. This was sorely needed, although you would get them anyway if you waited for the next expansion pack, Open for Business, which was full of gameplay expansions. Both Nightlife and Open for Business also added a new special neighborhood, Downtown and Bluewater respectively. (You could also make your own, and have several of them associated with the same neighborhood, in effect making your neighborhood unlimited in size. If you had the time, you could populate your interconnected universe with several thousand Sims. Not something I would recommend even for the most compulsive player, but it says something about the scope of the game.)
The pets expansion pack has pets. It also has werewolves and some stray wildlife. That is it, as far as I can see. No new neighborhoods, although you get pet shops which you can place in your existing neighborhoods. No farming or baking options, like you got to with the Unleashed expansion pack for the original Sims, some years ago. No new gameplay options that are not related to animals, as far as I can see. Well, except the werewolves, which are cool and which I may explore later.
Since I don't have (and don't miss) pets in real life, this seems like the obvious expansion pack to skip for me. But of course, curiosity created the cat. It just so happens that my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel has a cat as one of the three main characters. It is the first time that I can remember in my adult life that I have even thought about writing a novel that includes a pet. I have been thinking about this for a couple months, but then again I have known even longer that this expansion pack would come out this fall. So perhaps my subconscious came up with this "novel" idea to give me an excuse to collect all the expansion packs...
Be that as it may, I have installed the expansion and have been playing with it a little. I have not installed it on the computer I mostly use to play The Sims 2, though. Instead I installed it on another computer which runs the Norwegian version of Sims2, a computer which I mostly use for writing rather than playing games. (Although it was also my Oblivion machine, back when I played that game this spring.) The point is, I am not sure I really want this expansion pack in my continuity. For most families it would just add hassle in the form of stray pets and wolves and skunks, oh my. There would literally be no benefit at all for any of my existing families and most that I could imagine making. So most likely this expansion will stay on the Norwegian machine only, unless there is created some fan content that I absolutely can't do without and that requires this expansion pack.
Having Pets installed also has the benefit that I can help other players among my online friends, although I wouldn't buy it for that reason. I may be a nice guy, but not that nice!
That said, the pets are very well done. I'm talking about cats and dogs, here: Birds and hamsters are small and insignificant, little more than decorations that require daily maintenance. But there are many different races of cats and dogs, and you can create your own or modify the existing ones. They have personalities, just not as deep as the human Sims. You cannot control the pets directly, although you can see what they are planning or doing. Your human Sims can intervene and can praise or scold the pets, which fairly quickly teaches them what to do or not to do. Your Sims can also teach their pets tricks. Popularity Sims seem to get a kick out of this, but my knowledge and family Sim had no interest in tricks. They both have the ocasional wish to be nice to the pets, though.
The animation of the pets is very lifelike, and it can be somewhat fun to just watch them play around in the house and garden. But while I acknowledge the good workmanship, I would not want to pay just to watch imaginary pets run around on my screen. OK, so I did just that approximately 8 years ago, with Catz and Dogz, and then again on the Nintendo DS last year with Nintendogs... but I wouldn't do that now. No, seriously... I am not the kind of guy who would covet his neighbor's kitten, although it is SO CUTE and they already have like five or six cats...
And now, off to play my
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.