The Sims 2: Limited Edition
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Sorry For Sounding like a slightly drunken best man at a wedding reception here, but what can we say about The Sims that hasn't already been said? We've known The Sims for as long as we can remember, since way before it was actually released in 2000, and in that time we've had our highs and we've had our lows. We've had the thick, and we've had quite a bit of the thin. When The Sims entered our worlds it was really special, let's admit it. Little computer people running around our screens, living their lives at your whim, raising a family, working hard at their careers to buy some new wallpaper - it was so strangely involving and utterly genius. We gave it 86 per cent, a score that's still accurate today, though we almost loathe admitting it.
Somewhere along the way we hit rough times though. The life simulator stopped being a bastion of originality and instead became the bane of innovation, a massive Maxis cash cow with a dainty EA milkmaid tugging at its teats day-in day-out, filling up bucket after bucket with increasingly sour milk and shipping it out in big trucks.
By 2003, and a whole seven expansions later, everybody had a milk moustache. Tiie Sims and its expansions straddled the charts, representing everything that's wrong with the industry, often denying far more deserving titles the number-one slot and always pushing more deserving titles out of the top ten. Everybody just kept on buying it thanks to EA's unstoppable marketing machine, and it quietly and unashamedly became the best-selling PC game of all time. It really was a phenomenal success, despite not being a phenomenal game.
Don't get us wrong, we don't hate The Sims for becoming so popular, we just don't enjoy seeing expansions with minimal content being released for the sole reason of making another sack-load of cash, and it's a terrible shame that we have to inflict the reviewing responsibilities on our lowly staff writers.
Small Is Beautiful
But enough ranting, because EA has found another way to make more money from the series - The Complete Collection Of The Sims. It's such an amazingly obvious concept, it's almost insulting to see it sitting here on our desks. With the original game and every expansion released for it, The Complete Collection hosts a whopping 12 CDs of Sims history.
Now, we'd like to call that a bargain, and yes, you're getting a lot of titles for your money. However, in reality we feel this is just proof that you had to be silly to pay full-price for an expansion pack every time Will Wright wanted a new yacht or an extra tennis court in his limousine.
But enough ranting - it's all too easy to be negative when faced with the series that's both sustaining and strangling the industry' at the same time, like a facehugger. If you tried to remove The Sims from the industry, it would tighten its tendrils around the neck and kill the industry. But without removing it you'd wake up and be overcome with a hunger for more expansion packs, until eventually an alien bursts out of your chest and kills all of your other games, and your friends, and then one of your friends turns out to be an android. Then, as you beat the last diodes from his electronic brain, covering the place in horrible white goop, he'd tell you that The Complete Collection Of The Sims is actually part of a much larger conspiracy, one that goes all the way to the top. And that's why The Sims is like a facehugger.
But enough ranting (really). If you've never played The Sims, or you played it once and thought it was fun (there's no shame in it, The Sims is a fun game), or even if you owned the original and were smart enough not to buy into the expansions, then this is a purchase worth considering. OK, so it's not a purchase you can proudly display on your shelf, and the seven serial numbers and never-ending unfoldable CD cases warn of a solid four-hour installation if you want every expansion running from the get-go. However, here it is, The Sims heptology (that's probably a made up word meaning 'a series of seven') in one package. But God help you if it enters our charts again.