Reviewed: October 10, 2005
Released: September 13, 2005
If you have a non-T&L capable video card (an Intel Extreme Graphics or a Radeon 7000/VE Series) then you need at least:
As with the original The Sims, The Sims 2 gameplay continues to evolve and improve with the release of new expansion packs. An earlier expansion pack for The Sims 2, University, added a new play feature by inserting a “young adult” life stage between “teen” and “adult,” enabling players to send their intrepid young Sims to college and follow them through their experiences there.
The Sims 2 Nightlife, the latest expansion pack, enhances The Sims 2 with, arguably, even more exciting options. With the installation of Nightlife, your Sims can now own their own cars, scope downtown locations for other Sims they find attractive, date, and even fraternize with vampires. Sound fun? Read on.
As with other Sims expansions, Nightlife adds a host of new objects, behaviors, outfits, hairstyles, and other nifty features. Of these added options, perhaps the most notable is your Sim’s newly acquired ability to own a car – a feature which Sims fans have clamored for for years. With a car, your Sim can drive himself to work (and give his housemates a ride while he’s at it), go downtown without waiting for a taxi, or snuggle with a significant other on a date. Of course, garages and driveways have been added to the game’s building options, allowing for the construction of more realistic homes.
The added downtown area also provides your Sim with a variety of new things to do, like bowling, dining out, or clubbing. These new avenues of enjoyment are sure to appeal to Sims motivated by the Pleasure Seeker aspiration – also added with this new expansion pack. Also, as with the Hot Date expansion for the first Sims game, your Sims can visit these downtown areas alone or with friends (which, in Nightlife, can be organized into groups of your choosing), family members, or – of course – dates.
Dating is another significant aspect of play added to The Sims 2, and it certainly throws in an element of challenge and intrigue to the base game. In Nightlife, your Sim can “scope the room” for other Sims that he or she is attracted to. Attractive Sims will glow briefly; allowing you to identify which Sims your Sim is more likely to get along with.
Also added is a system of turn-ons and turn-offs, which may make certain Sims more or less appealing to particular Sims. Relationships between Sims that don’t particularly find each other attractive may be a challenge, but it’s not impossible with a bit of extra effort.
Also, many little improvements to The Sims 2 have made their way into Nightlife. For instance, house lots are no longer depleted from your available selection when you place them in the neighborhood, and you can now see lots located adjacent to the one you are currently playing. Furthermore, clicking on another visible lot allows you to quickly and easily switch to playing a neighboring family (or move your Sim to a nearby downtown lot), if you so choose. You may also notice other minor tune-ups that make the game play more smoothly.
Besides all that, rumor has it that vampires roam the downtown streets, but as of my writing this review, I have not yet had a chance to rub shoulders with one of these elusive creatures. According to the handy game manual, though, vampirism is both attainable and curable, for those players who want to give their Sims a taste of the un-life.
As with the base game, the graphics in Nightlife are vibrant and detailed. As I mentioned earlier, one of the graphical features that I like most is that you can now see your Sims’ neighbors’ houses situated around the house you have currently loaded. Your active Sim family’s house no longer looks like it’s located on an empty street, and the neighborhood environment now looks much more believable.
The sound quality in Nightlife is basically the same as that of the base game. There are additional voice clips and additional music tracks, all of them very much in the Sims style. The voice acting is lifelike, and the music is appropriate. There’s nothing to complain about here.
Nightlife is a very worthwhile expansion to buy, considering the number of new interactions, items, and options that it opens up to your Sims. It does cost a little bit more than your average expansion pack (usually $34.99 at retail stores, versus the usual $29.99 or less), but I find the added amusement factor worth the purchase price.
In short, Nightlife is a substantial improvement to the original Sims 2 game (comparable in value with the Hot Date expansion for the original Sims game), providing Sims fans with many long-sought-after gameplay features, as well as some subtler enhancements that nevertheless make the game that much more fun to play. I would certainly recommend this expansion to gamers who enjoyed The Sims 2 and crave new content.