The Sims Life Stories

The latest Sims is excellent for beginners.


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By Dominick Hardy

Surely everyone has heard of The Sims by now? The brainchild of Will Wright? First released on February 4th 2000, the title went on to sell over 6.3 million units, making it the biggest selling PC game ever - and rumour has it the project was only given the green-light by EA bigwigs solely to keep the renowned games designer off their backs! EA, huh?

With the franchise now selling over 55 million units worldwide in all of its various guises, it's understandable that whilst the public's thirst for Sims shows no sign of abating, EA will continue to churn out updates and iterations. Which of course, leads us neatly to the latest release in the ever burgeoning franchise, The Sims Life Stories.

Dispensing with some of the complexities that have been picked up over the years, Life Stories is aimed solely and squarely at newcomers and beginners. To this end it is capable of running on lower-spec PCs as well as being laptop friendly, thus furthering its potential appeal.

That's not to say that the game is graphically remiss though. No, in fact the cartoony design suits the title (as well as the hardware) to a tee, and it's this cartoony theme that permeates throughout the game - from the humorous gibberish language your Sims speak to the pixelated graphical effect that covers up their private parts when they take a shower or use the bathroom. It's all good-natured, whole-hearted fun. Who would have thought that sitting in on people's daily lives could be so enjoyable?

"It's all good fun... who'd think that sitting in on people's daily lives could be so enjoyable?"

And that's where the true genius of the series lies - taking mundane, boring tasks (such as preparing and eating a meal) and turning them into objectives that the player actually wants to perform. Although one might think that these tasks will soon become boring in their own right, given that there are so many of them, it actually takes quite some time for them to become repetitive. But, that's not to say it doesn't happen.

Whilst at first there's always something new to see and do, eventually some of the routine will loose its appeal, which is why your Sims are imbued with their own initiative. Left to their own devices and they'll become largely autonomous, doing whatever it is they need to do - if they are hungry, they will eat. Tired and they will sleep. Bored and they will play or read.

However, leaving them alone will not help them fulfil their aspirations, which lie at the core of the game. As the title indicates, Life Stories is primarily story-based, which helps in keeping with its more accessible mantra by providing a series of objectives for the player. There is a tutorial mode and a free play mode on offer, but the focus of the game is on the two engaging narratives provided - that of Riley's and that of Vincent's.

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