Game Review: The Sims 2 (PSP)

With no pants on.

Written by ritabuuk and dubiousdisc
Posted on November 28th 2018
Last Updated on January 16th 2021
Tagged as:
The Sims 2 PSP box
Who are 50% of the characters on the box art?

After playing The Sims 2 on GBA and The Sims 2 on DS, which are two completely different games and completely different from The Sims 2 on PC, we learned that there was a The Sims 2 for the PSP as well, and that this was also a completely different game from any of them.

To catch you up on our previous two Sims 2 adventures, The Sims 2 on GBA has a similar engine and a similar cast of characters as The Urbz, but is otherwise a complete tangent to it. It takes place in a reality TV show, and every returning character is out of character. It's even unrelated to The Sims as a concept, since you barely get to decorate the house, the mechanic of urgencies is so de-emphasized it's even hidden from the player, and your Sim has no wishes or wants and barely even gets skills. It is however plot-based like Bustin' Out and The Urbz, making it sorta one of this weird series.

Then The Sims 2 on DS has (almost) the same cast of characters as The Sims 2 on GBA, but it's a (half-baked) hotel simulator, and has nothing to do with anything. Urgencies and skill points are even less emphasized, and there is barely any dialogue or plot.

Considering the decaying quality of these games and dwindling relevance to the plots of Bustin' Out and The Urbz, you can understand why we weren't too enthused to play yet another game called The Sims 2 on a portable console. Besides, we had learned that The Sims 2 on PSP has a completely different cast of characters, except for two cameos from The Urbz. This would be the first handheld Sims game we'd play without at least the recurring characters of Giuseppi Mezzoalto, Dusty Hogg, and Misty Waters. We also learned that The Sims 2 on PSP is in 3D, which we feared would be of the same ass quality as in The Sims 2 for the DS, and that game not only looked like ass, but it controlled like ass, too. And in general, we got the sense that this game would be even further divorced from what we liked about Bustin' Out and The Urbz. So we were in no hurry to try it. We were expecting yet another stinker.

We were wrong, though. Of all the games named The Sims 2, this game is the most close in feeling and spirit as Bustin' Out and The Urbz. Like them, The Sims 2 on PSP is plot-based, with lots of character dialogue - and it is just as well-written. You directly control only one Sim who has needs and also wants. Out of all these other games called The Sims 2, this one is also the closest to The Sims 2 on PC. Decorating your house is a major mechanic of the game, and you do so using essentially the same engine as the PC version, with controls adapted for the PSP. And the game generally looks great for its time.

Strangetown, again!

Strangetown
Welcome to Strangetown #4.

Guess what, this game is taking place in Strangetown! But not the Strangetown of The Sims 2 GBA or the Strangetown of The Sims 2 DS, and not the Strangetown of The Sims 2 PC either.

As we said, the characters in this game, for the most part, don't intersect with Bustin' Out and The Urbz; the only returning characters are Mambo Loa and Lincoln Broadsheet from The Urbz, but they look and act very differently than before. So they might not even be the same characters in the same continuity, but different characters that have the same names and only a few similarities. In addition, this game also has some characters from the SimUniverse on PC, like Bella Goth. So, what continuity is this? Is this an alternate universe crossover?

Like the other two The Sims 2 for portable systems, this game, too, features the Sanity mechanic. This time around, though, sanity is not restored by just keeping yourself healthy. That only prevents loss of sanity. To restore sanity, you have to fulfill your Sim's wants. This is fine as a gameplay mechanic, but it also has an implication we don't like... in The Sims 2 on GBA or The Sims 2 on DS, we liked the message that basic self-care can make a big difference to your mental state. In this game, self-care only stops things from getting worse, but doesn't directly help things get better. And that's not really true to life.

Plus, in this game, sanity drops easily, but it is not necessarily easy to recharge it, since doing so involves completing certain randomized tasks, which might be more or less difficult to achieve. When your Sim is at low sanity, they become unable to gain skills, and your attempts at interacting with other Sims become less likely to be successful. So if your Sim is already losing their mind, and their wants are to gain a skill point or to kiss someone, they can't, because they're not in the right state of mind to learn something or to socialize with anyone. At this rate, how are you going to get your Sim out of this slump? You end up just going back to bed. That's darkly realistic. But going to sleep rolls a new set of wants, and hopefully one of the new ones will be something your Sim can actually muster the willpower to do, like dancing alone in their house.

We had our trouble with this mechanic. At the beginning of the game, we accidentally got our sanity super low, and couldn't achieve anything. We thought we were doing something wrong in leveling up the skills, because they wouldn't rise, but we learned it was because our Sim Lucy just didn't have the mental fortitude to learn anything in that dark time.

Then, there is also the usual mechanic of keeping your Sim's needs under control. This time around, they are not lumped under one single bar, and each need is shown clearly in the interface again, and the way they're handled makes sense. You can't just poop 29 times in a row to refill your sanity.

Self-medicating
Yikes.

In this game, together with the usual core meters for hunger, bladder, etc., there are also the nausea and headache meters, which we don't think are in any other Sims games. You get nausea from interacting with trash or zombies, both of which are plentiful in this version of Strangetown. And you get a headache from studying too much, or eating ice cream (lol). You can relieve your nausea by throwing up in the toilet, and solve your headache by sleeping it off. Or you can solve either by "self-medicating", as the game puts it. Which involves your Sim opening their medicine cabinet and chugging pills from the bottle. That's kinda hard to watch. What was this game rated?

The bi-ginning

So, similar to the opening of The Sims 2 DS, your Sim drives into Strangetown, where their car promptly breaks down. In this case, we happen to break down in front of a garage with a resident mechanic, Oscar del Fuego. The first conversation of the game involves trying to convince this mechanic to help you, but he won't, because he calls himself the Michelangelo of cars, and he won't just fix your car because you pay him money. He's an artist. He says, just like you wouldn't ask Michelangelo to paint the Mona Lisa, he won't just fix your car on command. We choose to have our Sim reply that Michelangelo did not paint the Mona Lisa. Yeah, he says, because he didn't get any respect. This game is off to a good start.

We are sent to the gas station, where we meet Mambo Loa. She gives us the basic game tutorial, and psychically determines our aspirations and zodiac sign via... standard personality quiz. And yes, we can choose to have our Sim Lucy call her out on this just being a standard personality quiz. But it's a fun personality quiz. One of the questions was, what is the best way to say "I love you". One of the answers was "With no pants on". We're going to like this game.

With no pants on
Two kinds of people.

She then introduces us to the mechanic of playing the social minigames with characters. One version or another of this mechanic has been featured in all of these portable incarnations of The Sims 2, though the way the minigame is played has been different in each game. In this version, the character you're talking with will have a speech bubble containing an icon representing the topic of discussion, and you need to quickly reply with a matching topic of discussion. In the beginning, it's just, match heart with heart, bird with bird, and seems very brainless. Later, it gets harder as you need to match rocket ship with astronaut in a split second. If you do this game correctly, you can become friends with the other character, or intimidate them, or further your romantic relationship with them. If you fail, you'll still have to go through all the minigame, and the other character will only react negatively at the very end. So you'd be trying to become friends with a character, and at the end your Sim would be about to shake their hand, and only at the last moment will the other character take their hand away and sneer at you. Can you imagine being so fake that you have an entire conversation with someone, smiling and nodding and all, and wait until they give you their hand for a handshake to then, at the last second, stiff them and be like, NUH UH, LOSER!

But this time, we can flirt with anyone, any gender. Finally, at long last, we can be bisexual. And the game lets you know of this possibility immediately. Mambo Loa asks you to try your flirting moves either with Deputy Duncan or with Bella Goth.

A major mechanic of this game is to learn people's secrets. You get a different secret by becoming best friends with someone, intimidating them, or dating them. So, the more people you date, the more secrets you unlock. The game actually promotes being polyamorous and bisexual. There is no jealousy, either. It's wonderful.

We also need to talk about the level of kink of this game. In The Sims 2 on PC (and onwards in The Sims 3 and 4), when two Sims love each other very much, they can "Woohoo". They do so primarily by going into a bed and ducking under the covers as they giggle and kick around while heart confetti flutters down from above. The two happy Sims then emerge from the bed in their sleepwear, and lie on the bed looking satisfied. If you know what happened, you know what happened. Each game expansion added the ability to Woohoo in a new place, such as the wardrobe, the elevator, the mausoleum, the haystack... While this is hilarious and kinky, all of these Woohoo-able places are implemented so that the two involved Sims are always under a cover or behind a door of some kind, hidden from the rest of the world (and especially the censors).

For the first time in a handheld Sim spinoff, in The Sims 2 on PSP, your Sim can Woohoo . This happens when your Sim reaches maximum romance level with a character. While Sims in the PC version would at this point find the nearest bed for some privacy, in The Sims 2 on PSP, your Sim will leap upon their lover, wrap their legs around them, fall to the ground out of view, kicking up dust and hearts, for them both to then emerge a few seconds later all flustered and out of breath. So, they did it right there. On the ground. You can do this in public. Fucking in the middle of the street. Wow. What was this game rated?!

Twisted stuff

After the tutorial with Mambo, we leave the gas station to check on our car in the garage, and the garage is gone. Uprooted from the ground, the crumbling foundations being all that's left. No more car, no more mechanic. We find a ringing phone on the ground. We pick it up, and a voice asks us, "Have you lost something?".

Hello! Have you lost something?
So creepy...

We manage to secure a living situation in town now that we're stuck here. We got a giant mansion for pocket change. So there's something wrong with it, right? Yeah, it's infested with ghosts that scare you and drain your sanity. The maid, Emily, is on friendly terms with the ghosts, and tells us about their unfinished business so that we can help the ghosts move on and get them out of our house, which will let us access and make use of the previously haunted rooms.

The first ghost, Dennis, died in mysterious circumstances after marrying Hazel Dente. In fact, all of Hazel's husbands died in mysterious circumstances. In Dennis's case, he drowned in the pool, because the ladder mysteriously disappeared. We can't believe this is actually a plotpoint.

Pools with no ladders
Horror stories.
Pink bedroom
Hmm hmm.

We go to Hazel's house to investigate, and it's got a serious Addams family vibe. It's all purple and barely lit by gothic candle sconces. Her bathroom features a luxurious red bathtub surrounded by plants. Her bedroom has a fluffy pink bed. We find that Hazel is newly engaged to Roland Colonzo, who was the pool boy who came to help clean the pool after what happened. He is blissfully unaware of Hazel's black widow reputation. He's hanging around the house in his low-cut shirt and tight pants, making ample use of the bathtub. In fact, when we went to visit, his bath was taking so long that we couldn't wait anymore to talk with him, and we had to enter the bathroom, trying to keep our eyes on the ceiling as we had our conversation with him.

Click to reveal spoilers...

Pool
The scene of the crime.

In order to carry out our investigation, we get ourselves hired to help out around the house, as Hazel and Roland are ... busy. As we look around, we find more and more distressing clues to what previously happened. In the sink drain, we find a horribly mangled wedding band. In the garden, we find a pacemaker - the kind that goes inside someone's chest. In the fridge, we find a horrifying note crying for help. Things are peachy here. And our attempts to have a private conversation with Roland fail, so we have no choice but to confront Hazel.

When we talk with her, she seems to have honestly no recollection of her husbands' deaths. She says she blacked out, and in each case awoke to find that her husbands had passed away. She says it's like someone has been controlling her. The Sim we are playing as says she kinda understands the feeling. After this comes to light, Roland runs for the hills.

Now that he's single, we can date him, and those tight tight pants!

Roland
Where did you get that nice shirt?
The Beaker house
We can at least agree on their decorating sense.

Our next investigation involves finding a missing garbage man. We find the truck parked in front of the Beaker house. We go inside to find that their house is set up like a medieval dungeon crossed with a science lab. The Beaker couple stand around making evil scheming gestures with their fingers. There is a door with a handprint lock that we are not allowed next to. Surely nothing is amiss?

Click to reveal spoilers...

It turns out the happy evil couple is not so happy, as they both suspect the other of treason. It turns out both of them are right. We help both of them bring to light the other's secrets, and while they're busy fighting, we open the locked door. In there, we find the garbage man Gimi locked in a sketchy lab, and we free him.

In either of these questlines, our attempts to tell Deputy Duncan, the only presence of the law around these parts, get brushed off. Surely it was perfectly reasonable, and this was just a misunderstanding, of course.

Next, we enter the Rossum house. In there, we find Isaac, an inventor, and his wife, Roberta. Who feels the need to introduce herself repeatedly, is disturbingly chipper, and cycles through every possible Sim animation, one after the other. When we talk with Isaac, he says his wife is malfunctioning, and needs help. He thinks she needs a friend, and hires us to be that friend.

Click to reveal spoilers...

As we do so, the obvious comes out, which is that Roberta is a robot built by Isaac and programmed to be his perfect wife. Yikes. Roberta wants to be freed from her programming, and we help her with that. She still wants to be around Isaac, though, but now she's choosing with her free will. Or is she?

But Isaac could never marry another human!
Roberta is made of metal, but Lucy is cold.
Found the arm!

The program we used to give her free will was made by Doctor Dominic Newlow, who was the one who gave us that creepy call at the beginning of the game, and it turns out he coded in some sort of backdoor. With a mind-control device, he forces us to trigger the backdoor, and then he steals Roberta's head, leaving the unimportant parts of her body strewn across town. We collect these bits for poor Isaac, who really does love his wife. In most games, this would be a boring quest of, there is the arm, at the end of the hallway, as an obvious item that you can pick up. In this game, people around town have made use of these objects, and they're integrated into the various buildings and places. We find one of her arms as the swivel mechanism of a satellite dish. One of her legs was in the bar, repurposed as a table leg. This was grim in a funny way, and made this quest more interesting than the common, go look for the thing, there it is.

Since we helped the ghost of Dennis to move on, now we help the second ghost in our house, who goes only by Nervous Subject - the name he remembers responding to, since he was tortured by the Beakers in their secret laboratory before being buried in an unmarked grave. We find the grave in a large graveyard where you can read all of the tombstones, marked with the developers' names.

RIP Lorian - Beware the Pixel
St. Injoke Cemetery.

Nervous Subject's unfinished business is to prove to his girlfriend Annie that he didn't leave her, he was kidnapped and died, but still loves her. We sort that out, and Nervous Subject can move on.

Click to reveal spoilers...

As you will probably piece together, especially given the amount of information our maid Emily has about the spirit world, there is a third ghost in our house: Emily herself. But she's perfectly happy being in the house as our ghostly maid. You can also date her. This game is kinky that way. We did date her, cause we're kinky that way too. When we talked to her at one point she said that she was almost done cleaning the house, and then she would be able to offer us other services. Wow, this game.

Make out
Oh my.

Deadtree

Roland
Where did your nice shirt go?

In the ghost town of Deadtree, we find Roland again, dressed in white robes and ranting about cows. He's joined a strange cow-based religion, known as the Kine Society, and is worshipping Beelzebeef. Note that a cow idol was a plotpoint in The Sims 2 on DS too, but in that game, it had not much of a purpose beyond just being there and being weird. But in The Sims 2 on PSP, this version of the cow cult gets an entire storyline.

To investigate this cult, we end up joining too. We learn all about the absurd but sensible rules of this religion, and participate in their rituals, which are held in form of a minigame. Press up, down, left, or right when the priest does the appropriate motion. He gestures having horns on his head, up. He chews the cud, left. He moos, right. He ... fertilizes the field, down. Yeah. He's shaking his butt side to side while making fart noises, and the whole congregation does the same, in unison.

Horns
Just like a metal concert.

We really appreciate how Maxis managed to write a silly cult, but also to not just make it be lol, they worship the cow statue, moo, moo, like it was in The Sims 2 DS. They actually explored what are the values and reasoning of this religion. For instance, a cow follows the cow in front of it, because the cow is obedient, and so the cult values obedience. The cow always looks forward to the future, because the road behind is covered in manure and not worth troubling over anymore. It's so silly, but also reasonable. Their tenets are like real proverbs. These people see the positive in the cow, and they want to emulate these positive virtues in their own lives. Granted, they've gone too far, but we can see how this religion started and built up a following. It's not just, lol, stupid religious sheeple, harhar. No, this is an intelligent take on a cult. Even as they do ritual farting.

In Deadtree, we are spooked by a large growling monster. Occasionally, it will run through town, and if it gets too close to us, we'll get scared and lose sanity. We talk with the locals and learn that the so-called Night Beast is a beast that has been terrorizing the streets... at night. We are tasked with figuring out the human identity of the monster. There is no cut-scene for getting our clues. We must just wait to see the Night Beast on the prowl, and try our best to get a good look at it ourselves, as it runs around and scares the manure out of us.

We manage to see that the Night Beast looks something like a giant pug, with pigtails and short-shorts. Hmmm.

Night Beast
Interesting.

Click to reveal spoilers...

It turns out that the Night Beast is actually Annie Howell (surprise, surprise). Her transformation is not triggered by the moon, or nightfall, but rather by her mood. Because she works at night as a waitress in the bar, she gets pissed off at the rude patrons and becomes the werepug. We fund her anger management classes (which the dialogue addresses that she can't afford with what she's making as a waitress) and now the problem is solved.

This was one of the most interesting werewolves we've seen in a while.

Lincoln
It's not easy to see, but he is indeed floating.

In the library, we meet Lincoln Broadsheet, a returning incarnation of the character from The Urbz. In this version, he's not in a wheelchair (we presume due to engine limitations), but instead he is floating around with a custom-made hover-belt that keeps the weight off his legs. He specifically points out that he can move his legs, but cannot put weight on them, hand-waving away the fact that he has the same idle animations as everyone else.

We are glad they included Lincoln in this game, and that they didn't retcon his disability. We are less glad that they didn't actually implement a wheelchair for him. They didn't even implement an accessible building for him - in The Urbz, his office is in a building featuring wheelchair-accessible ramps! But in this game, he spends his time in a room that's up a flight of stairs, and he even mentions that stairs are troublesome for him. :(

In general, we lament that the way they implemented people in this game means they all have approximately the same character model. In the sprite-based Sims games, the people could all look very different and have different heights and weights and shapes. Mambo Loa in The Urbz looked short and fat, but here she's just as tall and skinny as everyone else. And Lincoln Broadsheet floats.

Virginya
Virginya

This version of Lincoln Broadsheet deals in gossip and supernatural affairs. He's realized that a woman in town named Virginya Feng has the same name as someone who went missing many years ago, and she seems to hang around the graveyard a lot. Since we have an easier time getting around than he does, he wants us to do the legwork of investigating for him.

We find out that the grave she visits is her own! Or so Lincoln wants to believe. We tell him that it could be the grave of a relative, or any number of reasonable explanations. We research the dead Virginya... to find that she looks exactly the same as the live Virginya. At Lincoln's urging, we go to meet her.

Virginya has long orange braided pigtails peeking out from under a wool hat. She's dressed modernly, with a black jacket and normal clothing. She goes about the bar, dancing and occasionally playing a tune on the piano. Nothing seems obviously supernatural about her.

Click to reveal spoilers...

We become friends, and she suddenly bites us. She apologizes, as it is not something that is voluntary. She says it feels like someone else is controlling her whenever she does that... She gives us a quick explanation about being a vampire (which we become) and she asks us to help her find a cure.

As in The Urbz... Mambo Loa knows the cure. This time it is not chocolate chocolate chocolate, but rather a blood and garlic smoothie. MMMmmm.

So wait, how does this cure work? If the blood feeds the vampire while the garlic harms the vampire... it all cancels out somehow? Once we give the cure to Virginya, she becomes human again, and resumes her normal life as if nothing happened, even though a century has passed in the meanwhile. It was like her life was on pause, and now it resumes.

This is one of the most interesting vampire characters we've seen in a while, especially a female vampire.

For the grand finale of our quests in Deadtree...

Click to reveal spoilers...

We help the Kine Society to finally summon Beelzebeef, only to learn that Dominic Newlow, who now goes as Doctor Dominion, was manipulating the entire cult for his purposes. He steals the summoned Beelzebeef and teleports away.

Beelzebeef appears as a giant evil cow. The head priest, El Toro, was Doctor Dominion in disguise.
We can't say we expected to see any of this.

As the dust settles, we have a conversation with Sinjin, the remaining cult leader. He reveals that he believes he has been under mind control, and he noticed a strange green diamond floating over his head whenever he felt compelled to obey Doctor Dominion. Is this game addressing what is the plumbob? Fantastic!

Sinjin decides that he will keep the cow-based religion running so as not to leave his herd suddenly without their cause, even if he himself knows that the religion was fake all along. Though, we have to say, it's weird that Sinjin says the religion is fake, considering we did indeed summon its cow deity, and there it was, in udder glory. But Sinjin is disappointed that Beelzebeef didn't usher in the apocalypse to punish everyone he doesn't like - and what good is a religion if you don't get that part?

No Great Stampede? No end of days? No Elder Herd treading the infidel underfoot?
What a ripoff!

District 47

District 47

We go to District 47, where the game suddenly takes on a Half-Life vibe with desert bunkers, the military, aliens, and a Dude in Black. The residents of District 47 include a military family with anger problems, a scientist family with curiosity problems, and a half-alien family with familial problems - all in the same small confined area full of top secret security and crash-landed alien technology. Woo!

The Smith family, as they appear in The Sims 2 on PC.

So, we learn the backstory of the people here. A green alien from outer space came to earth and tried to integrate himself into human society - calling himself Mr. Smith. He ended up marrying a human woman named Jenny Curious, and together, they had a family of half-alien half-human children. Their son Johnny inherited his father's green skin; their daughter Jill looks relatively human, but has eyes on the back of her head.

Their neighbor, General Buzz Grunt, convinced the Smiths to move to this "secluded community" in order to protect their family from discrimination, but it was all a ruse for them to be studied by the scientists and the Dudes in Black at District 47. Now the Smiths are under constant watch and unable to leave the premises.

Ripp, Tank, and Buzz Grunt, as they appear in The Sims 2 on PC.

To heighten the drama, it turns out the Grunt family and the Smith family now live together in the very same subterranean bunker, with shared showers and no privacy. Not only do the Smiths and the Grunts hate each other, but the Grunts are constantly yelling "maggot" at each other, and especially at poor Ripp Grunt. He seems to be the black sheep, by virtue of being the only decent and quiet person in his family.

Meanwhile, in the next subterranean bunker over, there is a whole set of other problems. Jenny's three brothers are all scientists studying aliens. One of the Curious brothers has been studied by aliens back. It turns out Pascal Curious was recently abducted, and after returning to Earth, he found out he was pregnant. He later gave birth to a beautiful green baby that he named Tycho. He loves his baby very much - but the Dudes in Black have kidnapped his child, with the help of one of his brothers who sold him out. Pascal asks us to learn who did it and to recover the baby.

The arcs of District 47 didn't really have satisfying conclusions. We helped everyone solve their immediate problems, but all the bigger issues are still left in disarray. Click to reveal spoilers...

We cannot do anything to help the Grunts and the Smiths to reconcile. We cannot do anything to help the Smiths get out of this situation - except for Johnny. And even there, we only help him run away to Deadtree; we can't do anything to help him build a new life for himself beyond that. His story stops once he makes it to the bar, and it is as if he spends the rest of his life there (with his fake ID). We cannot talk with any of his family members about him, and no one acknowledges that he is missing now. Johnny mentions that he has a strained relationship with his father due to their language barrier, and he suspects his father will not even notice he is gone - and it seems that Johnny actually was right. Why can't we bring this up with either his mother or father, or even his sister? Why can't we help Johnny repair his relationships with his family? We can, however, do the line dance with him now.

Dancing with Johnny
Mr. and Mrs. Smith's wedding, as shown in The Sims 2 on PC.

Meanwhile, Jenny is suspicious of her husband's recently distant behavior. She sends us to investigate, and we learn that the crashed space ship on the grounds of District 47 belonged to one of Mr. Smith's alien friends, who was coming to Earth to deliver a photo album of Mr. Smith's first (alien) family. We find out that Buzz Grunt shot down the flying saucer and locked away the photo album in the top secret laboratory. We do manage to recover the album and deliver it to Mr. Smith. However, we never are able to report back to Jenny about the reason for her husband's behavior. There is no sign of the two of them having a heart-to-heart about his feelings. He was forced by his home planet's government to abandon his first family and to start a new life on Earth, and he must still love his first family, but we presume that he also has feelings for his current family. He must be very homesick, but we're not sure how he feels about his life on Earth. We're also not able to confront Buzz regarding him being a monster, and there is no sign of Mr. Smith confronting him about this incident either.

When we first meet Ripp Grunt, he's being tortured by his brother, and we can do absolutely nothing to help him not be his family's punching bag. We can do nothing to resolve Tank's anger issues and nothing to get Buzz to stop screaming "maggot" at everyone. We were able to help Annie get anger management classes, but why not the Grunts?

And what about the Curious brothers? We do figure out which brother sold out Pascal, and that it wasn't really his fault, but can the three brothers still trust each other after all of this? Is Vidcund ever able to apologize? How does he feel about having been the victim of mind control? Can he still trust himself after this?

And while we do rescue baby Tycho, what happens then? We never see Tycho again. Shouldn't we see Pascal with his baby? Or is Tycho hidden somewhere to not be taken away by the Dudes in Black again? But where? Pascal never seems to leave the laboratory. Could there even be anywhere in District 47 that would be safe? Why don't Pascal and Tycho escape and run away, just like Johnny did?

There's also the point that Lazlo Curious has been spending a lot of time with Mr. Smith. A lot of time. What is the nature of their relationship - especially considering Mr. Smith is a retired pollinator? Is he reliving the good old days?

If feels like this whole section of the game is based on someone's elaborate fanfiction of the Supernatural expansion of The Sims 2 on PC, but this game is only covering Chapter 1. We want to get the rest of the story too!

The ending

Deep in the secret government lab, which we unlocked by inputting the prisoner number of Jean Valjean, we find a computer. We talk with the computer, trick it into thinking that we are Doctor Dominion, which lets us acquire the teleportation device. We get it, and we are teleported to where Doctor Dominion currently is. He is using our car, Beelzebeef, and Roberta's brain to power up his mind-control device.

He approaches us to give us his villain origin story monologue. Click to reveal spoilers...

It turns out he was a Sim forced against his will to do nothing but study, work, and improve the house. When his Logic stat got high enough, he realized that he was living in a simulation, and controlled by a player. So he hatched a scheme to get revenge on the player, and free his world. He would use his mind control device through the protagonist to take control of the mind of the player, and force them to quit the game! If we choose to do so, we can turn his arguments about: that he's merely an antagonist scripted to serve as an obstacle for the sake of the player's enjoyment. This game went there.

You are the protagonist
Wow.

And if you do lose the boss battle against him, you find yourself on the title screen. He made you black out and quit the game. This is some Psycho Mantis bullshit, and we love it.

But we win, and he loses, and so the protagonist is still controlled by the player, and a bit unsure of what to do next, since they're aware that the storyline is complete and there's only so much left to do in the world. This is literally the plot. Isaac, who is heavily implied to be an avatar of Will Wright, creator of the series, warns the protagonist not to think too much about the words of a mad scientist.

Be careful about listening to mad scientists. There's a reason we call them 'mad', you know.
...even if he was right.

And what about Roberta? Now that she's been reassembled, she's been reset... and has forgotten all about meeting us or Isaac. We have to all become friends again.

In conclusion

This game was really good. Easily the best spinoff The Sims 2. And generally, a really good game, with hilarious dialogue and ridiculous scenarios. It was fun, and we enjoyed every second of it. We really have very little to criticize about this game, most of which could be boiled down to: we wanted more.

We weren't expecting this, but, the more we kept on playing, the more this game reminded us of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. There's something going on with the sense of humor and the mood that is very similar. The world is all dark and covered in purple lights. The gameplay also involves talking with people, and there's intimidation and seduction and hacking. You're going around solving supernatural mysteries, and vampires are prominently featured. And all the plotlines are strangely twisted. There's a monster on the loose, a haunted house, a creepy doctor... This is the last game we were expecting to compare to Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, but we kept thinking how similar they actually are, in good ways.

Olde Salty

We would recommend it to anyone who has some prior knowledge of The Sims on PC, so to get all the funny in-jokes about the series. We would recommend it... the problem is, this game is currently in EA purgatory. This game was released as a physical disc, but, for the most part, it was sold as a download on the PlayStation Network. After The Sims 3 came out, EA presumably didn't want to support anything with the number 2 on it anymore, so they pulled this game from the store. If you bought this game as a download back then, it's still on your system and you can still play it, but you better hope your system doesn't die, because you won't be able to download this game again. If you want to purchase this game now, all you have to go with are the few remaining discs for sale, mostly used. Also note that the PSP and the PSP Vita themselves are discontinued, so, as time goes on, this game will become increasingly unobtainable.

So, primarily due to EA's scatological business practices, this game is abandonware, in spite of being only a little over 10 years old. They've made it so that you can't give them money for this game. If you want to play this game... either you get a PSP and one of the remaining discs from whoever is selling one, or you do your best Olde Salty impression. Ya-harr!

In any case, if you do find a way to play this game, we recommend you do.

Notes

  1. We suspect this is because this game is on the PSP, which was marketed as the more mature and adult handheld console, while Nintendo strives to be baby-friendly.
  2. We assume Warner Bros. now owns the term "Men in Black", which is why the game won't say it. Even though, how could someone own that phrase, but whatever.
  3. Les Miserables has been referenced repeatedly in the Sims spinoff games. The prisoner number of Jean Valjean was also the code number of the Velocirooster in Bustin' Out. Giuseppi's character arc in The Urbz addresses the same themes as Jean Valjean's arc in Les Miserables.