Friday, November 2, 2007

Review: "MySims" is a fun ride, but lacks depth

This is how you know a town is in trouble - the mayor takes you to a building - gasp! There's no building and she turns to you and asks you to build it. Say what?!

EA's "MySims" is the Wii version of the popular Maxis PC simulation series, "The Sims." In "The Sims," you create a person, buy or build a house and live your life. The PC version, by far, has several mods that not only enhance your gaming experience, but really gives your character your digital personality. The Wii version? Not so much.

The version of "The Sims" is similar, but a big departure from the series. Expect to interact more with townsfolks (If you're a loner, forget it) and run around town on *missions* More on this later.

In its defense, "MySims" offers character creation that's deeper than the Mii version, definitely a plus. You can add some personality to their Sims. They have a few options - like hairstyles, hair and skin color, Mii-like eyes and clothing. As gamers progress in the game, they can unlock new clothing, hairstyles and accessories.

When players start the game, the town they have moved to is in dire straits. The unhappy townfolks need a hero - or maybe a case worker. You face the daunting task of making Unhappy Town into a thriving, happening spot. You make improvements around town to attract new characters to the village. In the end, you are the mayor - because the real mayor is completely clueless. At the beginning of the game, the mayor talks about how happy she is the gamer is there to help. She chats about a building where the you can work at - right there. However, there's no building, not even a slab. Did her personal assistant NOT tell her this? And she's responsible for the welfare of the town? You can see the town took on the characteristics of its clueless mayor.

If you are familiar with the PC version of the game, building can be a chore. You can go very, very deep into the construction process. In "MySims," construction is somewhat limited. The gamer drops blocks on a slab to construct buildings and can add windows, doors and even flowers. However, it's very simple and after constructing a building, I walked into and viola! The rooms were already built! I think EA is focusing on person-to-person relationships and not being a construction worker. However, the simple building could turn some gamers off. A lot of PC gamers take pride in their buildings they have built in "The Sims." In "MySims," it's not a focal point.

After you build your workshop, you build your house and need to fill it with furniture. Unfortunately, there's not "Buy" mode in the game like the PC version and you have the power to build furniture. Yes - not only are you the prime minister, but now, you are now a carpenter.

You will end up building all of your furniture. Don't worry - you have templates to help you. You can add your personal touches on the game - but you will ask yourself why can't you just go into a "buy-sell" mode and not focus building furniture. If I had a choice, let me trick out my house - and not spend the same amount of time building a chair.

Oh yeah - the *missions.* By far, one of the most interesting mission is right after you meet the mayor. She tells you to gather apples and bring them to her. Gather apples? So, you shake trees and collect apples. This is just one of the minigames you have to complete.

You also need to listen to the townfolks and hear what their needs are. If you do listen, you can use their ideas to rejuvenate the town. It's like being a babysitter of sorts for the town.

Graphics are good - it's very colorful and the animations are cute. The sounds are good - it's not really a game that has sounds that shine. It's a simulation, not "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption." Gameplay is good and unfortunately, you control yourself and no one else.

You can be creative and design a hot tub or a jukebox and even build businesses. The more you explore the town, the more you discover. You can figure out who you will your friend and who you will ignore.

If you buy "MySims," you'll get a chance to explore and express your creativity, just don't expect it to be deep expression.

Why should I care: If you own a Wii and like "The Sims," "MySims" can fill your void.

The good: Cool customizations, help a troubled town regain its way, colorful graphics, simulation fun on the Wii

The bad:
Try your best not to think about the PC version when you play, lack of depth, Wii version is a departure from the PC version

The ugly: Without the doubt, the totally clueless town mayor.

Overall: 7.5 (out of 10): While "MySims" offers some simplistic fun in the form of a simulation, it's really geared toward the younger crowd. If you are a vet "Sims" player, you should definitely rent it first before you buy it. It's a fun title, but will leave diehard PC gamers wanting more. It's still a fresh approach to "The Sims" that Wii owners should consider.

No comments: