The Sims 2: Castaway

Uh-oh. Ian is not best pleased with this game.

PS2, DS, Wii, PSP

By Ian Dransfield

Fresh from a Viva Piñata review where I lament the influence of the corporate money men, here comes another iteration of The Sims.

Now, I liked the first Sims game. I played it a lot through the summer of '02 - so much that myself and a friend, who was also playing it religiously, would call each other on a daily basis to compare notes on how things were working out for our respective little dudes. He even got pissed off when the character he had created for my household died in a kitchen fire. It made us do those emotion things in real life, it made us obsessed and it got us talking about the game.

Then came the expansions. Good god did the expansions come. Holiday, Christmas, Superstar, Celebrity Assassination, BDSM - the list went on. And I lost interest. The true sequel eventually arrived, and managed to reignite some of my passion for the game (is it even a game? I don't know). It was a good sequel - everything a sequel should be, in fact. But the endless expansions had killed off a lot of enthusiasm on my side, and the fact that they soon enough joined in with the second game just made me leave it altogether, back to my world of blowing shit up and being a moronic meathead in whatever FPS was doing the rounds.

And now we have this. The Sims 2: Castaway. A standalone game in the Sims universe, where your little Sim gets shipwrecked and has to survive on a tropical island - initially with only monkeys for company. At this point it should be noted that any game where you can be mean to a monkey should be a stunner. Should be. Dammit.

From being washed up on shore you have to take direct control of your tiny (wo)man as they go about their life on the secluded land mass; eat, sleep, poo, forage, build, be mean to monkeys - everything you would expect. You start sleeping on a mat in the open, eventually you progress to having a hut that clearly rivals my real life house (who am I kidding? It shits all over it from a great height. I live in a hovel). It sounds like it should be a bit of fun, and the direct control aspect - as with a lot of console-only Sims titles - takes away a lot of the 'GO OVER THERE!' frustration that the PC originals brought.

But when the game is so fundamentally rubbish, why should anyone care what's better than the originals? Why should anyone care that it sounds kinda fun?

This is a slow, boring, dullathon. It's barely a game - even less so than the originals - and half the time it feels like a chore to play through. This is a turd of a game, with no redeeming features whatsoever. Bar the ability to besmirch your simian colleagues, of course. It looks poor, it sounds boring, it plays like it has some kind of inherent deficiency and the loading times are laughable, especially in this day and age when developers are supposed to know how a PS2 works.

All in all, Castaway is just another slap in the face of a naive fanbase - one made up of, dare I say it, 'casual' gamers who probably aren't used to being fleeced in other industries. Apart from maybe the music, movie, automobile, housing, banking and high street retail ones, naturally. But it's wrong and unfair, cheap and pathetic and utterly, utterly pointless.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Depth Presentation OVERALL
6.0 6.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 3.0

As a budget-release expansion pack, Sims 2: Castaway may have worked. As a full-price console game, it's an insult to the millions of Sims fans across the globe. Will Wright must be turning in his grave. Not that he's dead. But it's bad enough it may well kill him if he plays it.

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