The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Stuff PC Review
Since the original release of the ludicrously successful lifestyle simulator The Sims 2 there have been more additional content packs available than you can shake a stick at; some of these packs adding additional content in the form of new locations or customization options, whilst other packs merely offer your Sims a new selection of items to add a bit of pizzazz to their grey, sterile little lives… This pack is one of the latter variety, giving your Sims access to a selection of clothes inspired by H&M designs.
Admittedly, there’s something fundamentally wrong about having to pay money to implement advertising software into your game, but at the same time it’s hard to argue that there’s not something fundamentally perfect about the inclusion of real world brands into a game based almost entirely on consumerist culture. As for the choice of H&M, I was quietly impressed; their clothing range in my opinion is fairly classy, providing simple and stylish rags at extremely affordable prices. Now, while this add-on would seem to be an extremely cynical release it has to be said that it really could have been worse. After Maxis had really ramped up the sexual nature of The Sims for the sequel it’s a relief to see them choose an inoffensive family brand for their first collaboration rather than something a little more sordid.
Moving in my newly-wed couple to check out the new H&M vibe, the series of events that befell them depict a story that any Sims player can relate to: Within minutes of moving into our fantastic new property the kitchen was on fire, an unfortunate consequence of an attempt to use the oven. Moments later my wife was dead and I found myself alone and broke, my only solace found in the time spent with my imaginary friend – a six foot tall rabbit. I then met Victor, a man who spent time with me in the evenings after a hard day spent begging on the pavement for spare change. Eventually, Victor and I became lovers – the fruit of my own lonely desperations – but it was not to last… Eventually I found work as a human guinea pig for a medical firm, working night shifts. The elation of my promotion was short lived however, returning home one night to find Victor in the hot-tub with three young ladies. Distraught and furious I went shopping at the local H&M, spending every last penny we’d earned on a variety of rather snazzy casual outfits, and after my hefty retail therapy session I looked pretty damn sexy, especially considering I was a balding ginger bloke with a handlebar moustache.
It has to be said that the content provided by The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Stuff is pretty minimal – you get a fairly nice new selection of clothes to wear, and all the furniture and fixtures you need to make your very own H&M store from scratch should you wish. Something I was particularly impressed by however was the inclusion of three pre-made H&M stores which you can place anywhere you’d like in your town. The design and aesthetics of these pre-made buildings is nothing less than brilliant – making the generic clothes shops available with the core Sims 2 package look incredibly drab and bland by comparison. The same has to be said of the clothing – whilst being nothing spectacular by any means they’re just slightly better than the stuff the original game package provides… The wardrobe choices available to Sims has never really fitted with their crazy metrosexual lifestyles in my opinion, most of the choices being variations on rather dull jeans/longsleeve T-shirt combinations, and while H&M Fashion Stuff is of no particular interest to me personally, if you’re someone who’s always felt that clothes shopping is an area that’s always been a little neglected in The Sims 2 then you’ll probably really like this pack.
So sure, if you buy this pack then you’re essentially paying to whack a large advert into your copy of The Sims 2 – but if you’re willing to live with this guilt in return for a new selection of understated and classy threads along with the inclusion of clothes shops to visit that look impeccably like actual clothes shops, then knock yourself out. At the end of the day both the clothes and the shops are really nicely designed, and add something to The Sims 2 which, whilst not being essential by any means, is undoubtedly a marked improvement on what was available before. It’s easy to be cynical about the use of H&M as branding for this new item pack, but I honestly feel that had the package remained unbranded and generic it quite simply wouldn’t have been as stylish.
Don’t expect much, as it’s not going to add any extra lifespan to The Sims 2 on its own – but if you’ve got a load of the proper expansion sets and you’re still in love with your Sims, then it might be worth a look-in just to add a bit more beefy substance to your favourite fictional neighbourhood.
Shameless branding, but it works.