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The Sims Bustin' Out

Platform(s): Arcade, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSOne, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Simulation

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Xbox Review - 'The Sims Bustin' Out'

by Jordan Van Nest on Feb. 9, 2004 @ 2:05 a.m. PST

Genre: Simulation
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Maxis
Release Date: December 16, 2003

Buy 'THE SIMS BUSTIN OUT': Xbox | GameCube | GBA | PlayStation 2

The ever successful Sims franchise is at it again. That's right, The Sims series adds more style and flair than ever with the brand new edition, "The Sims Bustin' Out". What once started as a phenomenon has only grown in popularity. The Sims first exploded onto the PC, and after the immediate success, was launched onto consoles last year. With an expansion such as this however, there are many questions which need to be addressed. For instance, can this game really expand on the Sims series, or is it just another pointless add-on, created in an attempt to sucker us out of our money. And just what exactly is "Bustin Out" all about?

If you've followed the previous Sims add-ons, you already know that each new game is centered around a main theme. One new aspect or feature that your sims can now experience. Whether it be parties, vacations, or anything in between, each new game attempts to breath a bit of new life into the series. Sticking to this idea, "Bustin Out" is no different. The main feature, as the name indicates, is that your Sims will now have the option of leaving their house and visiting their neighbors. Jealous of the rich guy living up the street? Why not pay him a visit and help yourself to his fridge. Want to throw a huge party but don't want to clean up? Why not use your friend's mansion? It's all possible in the new "Bustin Out" add on.

Bustin' Out is very similar to the previous Sims titles. It features the two main playing modes- one where you are given goals and there is a story, and the other where you are free to do what you want. As before in story mode, you start in your mom's house, but soon can move out and live where you want. As you progress in a career of your choice, you will have to complete objectives and of course satisfy the needs of your Sim. (hunger, entertainment, etc.) With an increasing difficulty, you're sure to have a challenge.

There were many aspects of the gameplay which I enjoyed, and several which I found irritating. As always, I was pleased to find that there had been many additions to this game. As with each new Sims game, Bustin' Out had its share of new objects, sights, and actions. It's always refreshing to see your Sim do something you've never seen before. In addition, I liked the fact that you could now visit other Sims houses and go traveling wherever you want. While this is definitely an interesting and entertaining idea, it is just not enough to hold a game on. After the awe of this new feature wears off, you soon realize that Bustin' Out is just another Sims game, with the exact same feel as the other games in the series.

Just like previous games, you will be challenged with managing your Sims' activities and careers. Just like real people, your Sims need to eat, sleep, and play in order to be in the best mood possible. The mood your Sim is in comes into play in the topic of careers. Once your Sim gets a job, you will need to be promoted to continue on in the game. The only way to get promoted is to go to work in a good productive mood. And without food, fun, and a good nights sleep, your Sim won't be too happy! This challenges you to try and find a perfect balance between all of the different aspects of your Sim's life. In the story mode, you'll be able to visit or move into 10 different locations, all while living the life of your dreams. Will you climb the business ladder and become a millionaire or remain unemployed and live in a roach infested house? The choice is yours in the Sims. The story mode will take you at least 15 hours to beat, and if you're still thirsting for action after that, there's always the sandbox mode. In sandbox mode you can play forever, with no goals. I have always liked this option in all of the Sims games because of the amount of freedom you're given. You can basically build your own Sim, build your own house, and choose everything that goes in it. Then you are able to live your life, go to work, have parties, visit friends, and all of that good stuff. All in all, this game seems to add a nice little addition to the series.

While it does seem to add a nice addition, is this really enough? Well, yes and no. On one hand it has new items, new actions, and new options, all surrounding the new feature of being able to move around the neighborhood. But on the other hand, when it all comes down to it, it just seems like another Sims add-on. While the new sights and sounds are definitely enjoyable, they're just not enough to support this game. No matter what flashy graphics or new features they try to use, the developers can't hide the fact that most everything in this game is the exact same as in previous Sims games.

The Sims series has never really been known for its graphics. I liked the style of the game, as it seemed to convey the basic idea pretty well. There have been a few tweaks and modifications in the graphics since the last game, but don't come in expecting much. One of the nice things about the graphics however, is the animations. I found that this game is completely packed with different things for your Sims to do. Basically every action in the game has it's own separate animation, and you will take delight in watching your Sim perform them. Some are extremely hilarious, such as when your Sim gives someone the finger, or collapses and falls asleep while walking. Overall, I thought the graphics were ok, but the animations really take the cake.

In the sound department, there isn't really much to say. The first complaint would be of course to say that there should be a soundtrack. I mean, shouldn't the Sims have a catchy soundtrack that plays in the background? The only music you'll get in this game however, is when you turn on a radio or t.v. And even then, you'll only be treated to a few songs repeated over and over. In addition, the talking in this game is not too bright. It is of course in the standard Sims gibberish, but it is constantly repeated, making dialogue seem very annoying at times. Other than that, I thought the sound effects were all well done.

All in all, Bustin' Out is a nice addition to the Sims series. While it's true that it doesn't really breath a whole lot of new life into the series, it still should be able to conjour up enough interest in Sims fans. The only thing I would say, is don't be expecting too much from this game. But if you've enjoyed other Sims games in the past, then go ahead and give Bustin' Out a shot.

Score : 7.0/10


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