Holding the little computer people’s hands

The Sims goes PlayStation Portable but it’s looking like a different proposition to its standard PC form

Holding the little computer people’s hands
| The Sims 2

So the most successful game ever on the PC comes to PSP. Some sceptics (not that the PocketGamer crew have ever been so tagged!) might see the glint of filthy cash riding high in that decision. We’re happy to be proved wrong, of course, but only if EA can manage to take something of the voyeuristic, messy fun of the original game into this new portable version.

Because, on first impressions, the two versions seem to be very different. PC players get to create the little sim families, placing them in homes and buying furniture and all the usual things you can queue up for hours in Ikea for. But the key factor is you don’t directly control your Sims. You can try and direct their behaviour - buying a hot tub for the bachelors’ party house and then waiting for the hot college girls to turn up - but the sims can just decide to do their own thing and watch TV instead.

Without the option of a keyboard however, EA’s decided the PSP version of The Sims 2 will provide less freedom - allowing you to directly control only one sim - and in that respect making it much more like a traditional third person type of game. The advantage is you’re able to do things such as create your own sim at the start of the game, as well as follow a linear-ish plot, which is set in the strange ghostly world of Strangetown.

At least you’ll start out with a mansion - even if it is haunted. It’s something that will be linked into the many button-bashing mini-games in the PSP version, which will provide you with plenty of simoleons, the in-game currency. Other weird additions include a symbol-matching mini-game when the sims talk to each other. Of course, they still babble in the mixed up simlish, but there’s also another type of conversation where you have to hit the right button during the chat to impress the other sims, as well as get info and extract secrets.

So it’s The Sims (2) but not as we’ve seen it before. Intriguing certainly, we’ll have to wait until early 2006 to see just how it all pans out.