The Sims 2: Pets PSP Review
When you are on the look out for a real pet – let’s just say a dog for the benefit of this possibly great intro paragraph, you always search for something that differentiates the one you will finally choose from the rest of the bunch. Whether you are on the look for a new born pup or you walk into a rescue shelter, there is always a dog that catches you eye. For some it may be the dog that shows you the most love – the once the jumps up and licks your face. For others it could be the dog that is afraid – the one that may be cowering behind the rest – you know this dog needs more love from you right now so you pick it up and you end up becoming great friends down the line. There are infinite permutations to why we choose the dog we do so what would be the reason for offering the PSP incarnation of Sims 2 Pets a place in our home?
Well straight off the bat, let me admit I have no idea why anyone would pick the PSP extension of Sims 2 Pets out from a crowd. Although it is more or less the same game that has been released on an insurmountable list of other consoles over the past year I found this particular handheld edition to have a distinct lack of any charm. The game itself plays just as you would expect a Sims game to – there is nothing wrong with that as the Sims formula works, but it seems far too much has been stripped away in this edition for the cogs to turn correctly; this means that the game feels overtly lifeless.
The game starts with you picking a cat or a dog (no other animals are available in this version) to bring into your family. The dogs available are: Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Dalmatians and Chow Chows, along with a few others. Then for cat lovers (AKA crazy people) (Ed’s note: Dog owners are the crazy ones!) they can pick from American Shorthair, Persian, Siamese and even Manx along with a more few breeds – some I honestly never heard of before. From there the pet, along with a family move into the neighbourhood (there is only one available) and the game starts with the familiar list of menial tasks muddled with objectives focused around your new pet. Most pets then almost instantly start doing naughty things and it is up to you to try and teach them. A currency called Pet points is also included which you earn for completing tasks to let you buy your pet presents in the in-game stores – if you are into that kind of thing.
The game does offer a lot in terms of longevity as each pet you create seems to be different from the last. They all seem to have their own personalities and each pet will act differently with different people and different pets so if you do happen to enjoy playing the game it offers something different each time.
The game’s graphics are acceptable – but you’re not going to need high poly-anything when all you’ve got is pets to play around with. The quality ranges from being very smooth at times to getting very rough with the screen at times filled with jaggies at other times… animation is also all over the place with some pets moving much better than others. One huge problem I had with the game was the load-times, they are everywhere. Everything you do in the game seems to trigger a five second load, with any menu navigation instantly being made a chore because of lazy programming. This may not be a huge problems for some games but when you are concentrating on micromanagement and you need to shift between menus every few minutes, it does start to grate very quickly. Audio is your typical Sims stuff with everyone talking Simlish and background music for the most part remaining relaxing, never hitting a upbeat tempo.
All in all Sims 2 Pets is probably as average as a game can be… there is nothing that hugely stands out to say “hee look at me”. It is a playable game, but it is just playable and it also is fun, but it is just fun. Ultimately the game’s biggest problem is you feel no love for whatever pet you choose and that is the one thing a game like this needs to nail if is to be successful. The game is very boring when compared to other Sims 2 Pets games and feels like an outright disaster if you compare it against the handheld pet-fondling great – Nintendogs.
Who let the dogs out without rigorous playtesting?