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Game Over Online ~ The Sims Livin' Large

GameOver Game Reviews - The Sims Livin' Large (c) Electronic Arts, Reviewed by - Jed Hill

Game & Publisher The Sims Livin' Large (c) Electronic Arts
System Requirements Windows 9x, Pentium 233, 32MB Ram, 175MB HDD, 4x CD-ROM, The Sims (Original)
Overall Rating 80%
Date Published Thursday, September 7th, 2000 at 09:17 PM

Divider Left By: Jed Hill Divider Right

The Sims is arguably the most innovative and inspired title to hit the gaming market in years. The object is simple; create and oversee the lives of one or many characters as they go about their daily routines. You start by building or assigning them to a house in the neighbourhood and proceed to ensure that they eat and sleep properly, find employment, interact with surrounding neighbours, perhaps get married and have children, and generally grow as individuals. On the other hand, you can also wreak havoc on their lives by restricting their requirements, testing the boundaries and breaking the rules while exploring the darker side of life in The Sims. Now, with the release of The Sims Livin' Large, the experience is prolonged somewhat with the inclusion of new items, new furnishings and tiles, new careers and new neighbourhoods. In general, it's more of the same, but as they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The first enhancement Livin' Large offers up is the addition of four new neighbourhoods. There are now five neighbourhoods to work around, so if you've filled up one, you won't have to worry about evicting a family in order to produce a new one, you can simply click on a different neighbourhood and continue with business as usual. There is no interaction between neighbourhoods, so a Sim from one neighbourhood won't meet up with a Sim from another. Besides the new neighbourhoods, you'll also be able to create more diverse Sims in terms of what they look like. Livin' Large provides a number of new skins and heads, ranging from casual to down right wacky. If you thought you were limited in either respect, you'll be pleased with both of these additions.

If you're tired of the same old jobs all the time, Livin' Large also introduces five new career paths: Journalism, Paranormal, Slacker, Musician and Hacker. Much like the original Sims though, the concept of employment isn't fully explored in Livin' Large. Your chosen career path doesn't have that much of an effect on your Sim's life other than to give him a reason to get out of the house. Well, that and the pay cheque of course. I think it would be interesting to follow your Sim to work as well, making sure he performs as well at his place of employment as he does in their humble abode, but perhaps I'm reaching here. The career paths do provide moments of levity. It's great to be a slacker, particularly when you become a Convenience Store Clerk, the outfit more than makes up for the minimum wage salary. In the end, the career paths are much like the original ones, simply there to round off the Sim's life.

The most significant addition in Livin' Large is the assortment of new objects one can purchase. In terms of decorating your new place, there are dozens of tile sets, wallpaper, and other fixtures to customize your home with. You can build anything from a new-wave abode to a castle. In terms of the household items, many are merely expensive improvements to existing items, but there is a selection of approximately a dozen items that are sure to provide some wacky moments. For example, the magic lamp, when rubbed, will reveal a genie, who when commanded, will attempt to better your Sim's life by improving their personality. Of course, this genie is a particularly pathetic one, and will often fail in their attempt and at times render your house in shambles because of it. Besides the magic lamp, there are other fantastic creations to clutter your abode with including a workbench that produces lawn gnomes, a vibrating bed that will finally allow you to consummate your marriage, a telescope that might subject your Sim to an alien abduction, a scientist's lab kit that will allow you to create some unpredictable potions, and the crème de la crème, a personal robot servant that will clean your toilet, prepare your meals and won't talk back, all for the low, low price of $15,000.

While some of the new objects provide new character animations for each of the Sims, there's very little changed in terms of graphics and sound. Most of the animations are recycled from the original and there's no new additions in terms of sound or music in the game. The Sims still speak their same brand of gibberish and still listen to the same equally incoherent music.

When all is said and done, Livin' Large doesn't attempt to fix any of the inaccuracies or break any of the boundaries of the original Sims. It simply adds to the gaming experience known as the Sims and does so successfully. If you grew tiresome of the repetitive nature of the Sims, Livin' Large probably won't change your mind if for more than a few hours while you acquaint yourself with it's new additions. However, if you're still hooked on these virtual life forms, Livin' Large is a must-have expansion pack. For the majority of us, it's probably the later.


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