Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: February 20, 2007
The Sims 2: Seasons brings to the series what no other previous expansion pack was able to: real-time weather. Maxis even went beyond real-time weather and added each of the four seasons, so you can now have your Sim bond with the family while building a snowman or invite friends over for a nice summer barbeque. This expansion pack doesn't add dramatic gameplay enhancements, but after you play it, you will ask yourself how you ever lived without it.
The main focus is obviously the seasons. Depending on the type of environment in which the neighborhood is located, each season lasts for varying amounts of time, although neighborhoods don't require all four seasons. For example, in Riverblossom, the neighborhood supplied with this expansion, a long winter stretches on for 20+ days while spring only lasts for five days and summer doesn't exist at all. The seasons also blend together, so the beginning of winter will still feel like fall, but two or three days in, you'll likely have freezing temperatures and snow. The seasons also have a special relationship power that boosts a certain relationship factor and makes it more easily obtainable. For example, in spring, your Sim is much more likely to fall in love, whereas in the winter, your Sim is much more likely to bond with the family.
The weather is unpredictable and quite realistic. To help with the unpredictability of the weather, Maxis added the option of either watching the weatherman on TV or reading the weather in the newspaper. However, I must warn you the weatherman, as in real life, may not always be correct so you still have the chance of running into a surprise blizzard. Speaking of snow, it covers and continues to pile up on every outdoor object — even custom-made ones. If you happen to get a monstrous snowstorm, you end up with what seems like a foot of snow. The snow is very detailed, and during a snowstorm, your frame rate can slow down to a crawl (mine did). As for thunderstorms, I advise you to not allow your Sim to wander outdoors, as he can be struck with lightning. I learned this the hard way. Of course if you happen to get tired of the same weather or the unpredictable nature of it, you could always buy the new aspiration item, Weathernaught 57x, a weather machine which gives you full control.
Your Sim has a new thermometer-shaped stat gauge that measures temperature. If you allow this gauge to bottom out, your Sim can end up freezing, but if the gauge rises to the top, your Sim could end up fainting. You can easily keep the temperature normal by having your Sim dress appropriately and using either food or hot chocolate to warm up and refreshing water to cool down. If you play it safe, you will not have to worry too much about your Sim over- or under-heating.
The weather is not the only addition within The Sims 2: Seasons expansion pack, as your Sim can now fish and garden. The Sims 2: Seasons also offers several new career paths in gaming, journalism, law, and music. Having my little Sim start off as a noob and work his way up the career ladder was a blast.
Gardening can be loads of fun; your Sim takes care of plants, you get to watch them grow, and you can also build a greenhouse around your garden. If you are gardening during the fall and winter, a greenhouse with special heating lights is key, or else you'll end up with a frozen garden. When your garden is ready to be shown off, you can join a special gardening club. Even though gardening is loads of fun, you don't want to overexpose your Sim to fertilizer, or else s/he will turn into a PlantSim, a living, walking plant-like being.
Fishing is great for bonding with relatives and friends and a good source for extra food if you just happen to be in the mood for fish. Of course, you may not want fish for dinner so you can store the fish in the fridge for later. That's right; you can now store food and leftovers in the fridge for future meals, which means no more wasted food. You'll also spend less on food, since you don't have to pay a price before every meal.
The Sims 2: Seasons is a welcome addition to the Sims family and strikes the heart of The Sims 2 fan base with features they've been clamoring for since The Sims 2 was first released. It has well-balanced gameplay, and the fishing and gardening allow your Sims to finally relax and enjoy the great outdoors instead of constantly being in motion. Unfortunately, with all of these new features come even longer loading times, but if you don't mind this and are already addicted to The Sims, I'd highly recommend this expansion pack. However, if you are just beginning your Sims adventure, the Seasons expansion pack will not make a noticeable improvement.