Monday, 26 April 2010

Four reasons why I still prefer sims 2

1. Sims 3 all look the same.

Left: Sims 2 Right: Sims 3
The sim on the right arguably looks more realistic, but that loses its effect when every damn one looks exactly the same. All my sims seem to have the same facial features and the only variation is the skin, hair and eye colour. Compare this to my Sims 2 sims that had distinct and identifiable features. I could spot all 47 of Joaquin Phoenix's children by the distinctive droopy eyes (really my JP looked more like Jake Gyllenhaal but oh well). When all your sims look the same they become interchangable and you aren't fond of them as individuals.

Sims 3 promised more options for body shape and I recently tried to make use of this feature by creating a Precious Jones sim but I found that her large body disappeared 90% of the time for no obvious reason. What's the point?

2. More realistic genetics = less fun for mad scientists
The genetics of Sims 2 were half the fun for me. The principles of Mendelian inheritence were applied and allowed you to predict the possible phenotypes of your sim babies. I would consciously pair certain sims to ensure the occurence of certain traits in the offspring and eliminate others. If you created a sim in Sims 2, that sim would be homozygous. For example, create a black-haired sim and it is not possible for him to have a blonde child no matter who he marries. Sims 3 seems to start sims off as being heterozygous: hair colour (just about the only easily-observable genetic trait in sims 3) seemed semi-random. A brunette/blond couple might have brunette and blond children, but there could also be kids with red hair, reddish brown hair, even grey hair (yes, toddlers with grey hair).

3. Less hackable
I was never talented enough to create hacks for Sims 2, but I was an avid consumer. Here is but a small sample of hacks I used to make Sims 2 more enjoyable:
  • No limit on family size
  • Child support
  • No inheritence
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Teen marriage
  • Polygamy
  • No Jealousy
  • Autonomous Casual Romance
  • Home schooling
  • Boarding school
  • No $20K handouts when kids move out
  • Risky woohoo (gave woohoo a small chance of pregnancy)
  • Triplets and quads
  • Adoption shrub (to give kids up for adoption willingly)
  • Mortgages
These are just off the top of my head. I used many many more. Some of these hacks tailored the game to my playing style (what's the point in having Duggar sims if you can only have 6 kids in a family? Whats the point in having Quiverfull sims if I have to tell them when to get pregnant and there is no sense of fate of chance?) and some hacks made the game more challenging to reduce boredom (lets face it, after an hour playing any version of the sims you work out how not to let them starve to death and the game becomes simple).

Many of these hacks were developed within months of the base game coming out and were updated for each expansion pack. Sims 3 has been out for almost a year and there seems to be were few gameplay hacks available. So far I have found a teen pregnancy one but nothing as awesome as the ACR hack.

4. No leap forward.
Sims 2 was a huge improvement over sims 1. Sims 1 had no genetics and children never became adults and adults never died. For me this meant I played a couple until they were rich (as there was no biological clock ticking) then I made them have 6 kids. Then the family was pretty boring unless I burnt the kids in order to have more.

Sims 2 had awesome genetics and sims aged through life stages. There was a clear deadline that forced you to make choices. I could throw my sims into poverty and spend generations working their way up to middle class. I could have a workaholic sim slaving away until death is imminent, then desperately searching for a nubile young thing to sire an heir.

The big improvement of sims 3 was the neighbourhood. You no longer live mostly on your lot, having to load up another lot to follow one or more of your sims there as the other stayed frozen in time at home. Now in Sims 3 you can check in on Jimmy visiting the neighbours, Jane at the park after curfew, and John fishing at the lack without a lag.

The other claimed improvement of Sims 3 did not amount to much. The moodlet feature pretty much amounts to the same effect the aspiration meter from Sims 2, except the effects are temporary (to varying degrees) therefore it is actually easier to pull your sims out of their depression. In Sims 2 you had to achieve something on a grand scale like having baby or seducing the maid to improve your mood. In sims 3 you can just go outside or take a shower and that usually solves half the problem.

The traits feature had the most potential but somehow it left me wanting. The positive traits made gameplay too easy. The negative traits were the most amusing but were also pretty incompatible with the way I like to play. Many of the traits did not have a huge effect on the sims outside of moodlets, and moodlets are easily negated by fulfilling wishes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some of the stuff about Sims 3 vs Sims 2 STILL bugs me and it's been out almost 3 years! First of all, why is it so darn complicated to have more than 8 Sims in a family? I mean, I don't really like downloading lots of hacks, especially those that really change the game, but it seems necessary in Sims 3 - in S2 it was a simple hack.

I also agree that all S3 sims look like they're related. Even when trying to make the features more extreme, there is something about their faces that makes them all look too similar. I guess maybe the problem is that they're *too* realistic. In the real world we are used to seeing minor differences in faces, we pick up on them easily and it makes a huge difference, but in the game we're zoomed out and it's harder to see those differences. That's probably why they went with the more exaggerated Sims 2 faces and honestly I think it worked better.

I also kind of liked the isolation of playing one house at a time, and not having all kinds of crap going on in the background. I know you can turn off story progression but the rest of the neighborhood is still out there doing its own thing while I'm playing my Sims. Sims 2 had a nice compromise, I thought - better than Sims 1 but more limited than Sims 3.

IDK, maybe I'm just a Sims 3 hater.