The Partners, from Monte Cristo Games and Strategy First, is obviously another knock off of the highly successful? 'The Sims.'? Where The Sims would be more analogous to TV's Seinfeld, The Partners is obviously the Ally McBeal of video games: build your law firm into a success while manipulating all aspects of your sim-lawyers' happiness. However, where The Sims and even several clones succeed, The Partners has some pretty big flaws without adding enough new gameplay to separate it from the myriad of simulations on the market.
Playing The Partners is a breeze if you have any familiarity with The Sims. Even without that experience, the short (almost too short), simple tutorial will get you up to speed quickly. The game also supplies three pre-generated games as well as a free mode. The free mode seems to be the best bet, as the three built in scenarios lack polish. Graphics, audio, and other multimedia aspects, while not stellar, are adequately rendered and displayed. One of the few bright spots is having individual cases come to your firm that represent prestige, money and power for both the firm and individual lawyers. Losing cases will also affect the well being of your sims, and can eventually put your firm in the doghouse.
However, as mentioned previously, there are many deficiencies in this title that lead to my Not Recommended ranking. There is an extreme lack of polish in this title. Normally, I prefer solid gameplay to flashy graphics every time, but in some cases, excellent graphics are a must. Although buildings and items are well rendered, the sim-people in The Partners are amateurish and poorly choreographed. Often sims will just stand there and do nothing, where it would be expected that they would interact with much less supervision. The cut scenes are jerky, slow, and poorly designed. Mostly, playing the game just wasn't entertaining, which is reason enough for a low recommendation.
I really wanted to like this game, but the fact that the gameplay does not even meet the bar The Sims has raised, let alone exceed it, tells me this one will be a bargain bin special in a matter of weeks. If you have to have every derivative of e/n sim games, this one's for you. Otherwise, stick with the tried and true.