Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: October 17, 2006
Do you miss your pets from the original Sims expansion pack, Unleashed? Do you wish you could have your pets, but this time in the 3-D goodness that is The Sims 2? Let me introduce to you The Sims 2: Pets expansion, the reincarnation of Unleashed. It doesn't give you a new neighborhood or new clothing for your Sims, but it provides you with adorable pets to nourish.
You can raise a pup or kitten and watch as he takes on the challenge of a pet career. Yep, that's right your pets can now bring home the bacon. Pet jobs range from simple services to show business, but before your puppy does any star-quality modeling, you must first increase his skills. As with normal jobs, a Sim pet will only be able to advance in its career after reaching a required skill level. I will advise you not to raise certain skills too high, as strange things may occur, such as your dog learning to use the toilet.
Your pet's skills are raised in many ways, and the most obvious way is to teach them. You can teach your pet many tricks, most of which are hilarious to watch. If you just don't have the time in your busy Sim day, you can always hire an obedience trainer, who will raise your pet's skills and teach your beloved pet right from wrong. I prefer catching my dog in the act of the crime and correcting his wrongdoing, although I suppose you can always take the easy way out with the trainer. You can even turn your pet into a true public nuisance by praising it when it has done wrong, and then turn him loose downtown to terrorize the city folk.
As with Sim people, your new Sims 2 pets have genetics. If your cute little cat finds herself a partner, you can wind up with a litter of kittens which are an almost identical cross between the cat couple. This is called a mix breed; you can make mixed breeds on purpose and register your brand-new breed. You can also strive for purity and try to have your cat only breed with other purebreds. The choice is yours (and your pet's!).
There are literally an infinite number of possibilities on how you can make your pet look. You start by selecting a basic breed, or one you have previously made. After you select your breed, you can begin morphing and changing the pet to your liking. Everything is adjustable so you are able to, as with Sim people, change your pet's physical attributes, from the size of their tail to the length of their ears. There is even a new tool which allows you to change your pet's fur using layers. Each layer is a set fur pattern with a particular color and is applied onto the last layer; this way, your Sim pet can look exactly like your real-life pet, if you so choose.
If you have a great new breed of cat or dog and want to show the world, how would you go about doing it? Tell people exactly how to make it and have epic-sized tutorials? No, not at all. Maxis has made sharing your little virtual pet breeds a breeze. If you would like to share a breed, just go back to the breed selection tab, and you will notice two buttons on the far right: one to upload your breed to EA's Sims site, and the other to package your breed so you can give it to friends. I love that Maxis is keeping to their word and promoting the exchanging of items and, most importantly for this expansion, pets.
As with any other Sims expansion, new objects have been introduced; some are designed specifically for the pet theme, and some are included just for the heck of it. You will find what seems like an endless supply of pet objects, ranging from scratching poles to dog house palaces, and you'll also have the option of buying guinea pigs and birds. The guinea pigs are very realistic in their movements, although the bird's flying looks like it's walking on air. Unfortunately, there is no pet store specifically here, as there was in Unleashed.
I would not recommend getting a pet if your Sim already has a busy schedule filled with running a home business and college classes. Fido will get lonely, depressed, and eventually run away. Managing your pets is one of the hardest part of this expansion pack and is far too much for an inexperienced Sims player to handle. It may even challenge some of the more experienced players. Whatever you do, don't forget to find Fido!
The Sims 2: Pets is a very entertaining, exciting expansion pack filled with curious critters and adorable pets, so if you loved the last pets expansion, you will be sure to love this one. At times, it may be difficult to manage the many things your Sims can do, but you will quickly get a hold of the situation and become better at scheduling.
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