Game Analysis

GAME: The Sims 2 DS

Release: 2005

Narrative:

The game is played by the user’s character which you create before the game begins and works with the time and date registered on your DS. The story starts with your character breaking down in ‘Strangetown’ and then bumping into mechanic Jebediah S. Jerkyb who tells you that your car will take a few days to fix. He then directs you to a hotel right across the street and tells you to look there.

You arrive and realise the power is out. You get your first mission to gather nuclear fuel rods and stock the furnace in the basement. The power comes back on. The concierge hands you a note that tells you coincidentally the manager left the day before and you are now the manager. A small set of missions follow introducing you to gameplay before the first main game portion comes about in the form of Frankie Fusilli – a gangster who will bring nothing but trouble. He demands the penthouse and immediately asks you to deliver a package to the mayor. The package sets a fire in the mayor’s office fuelling suspicion against Fusilli. As the game progresses, you are prompted to build a vault to hold a money printing machine and Fusilli’s money, as well as pay for a plane ticket for a recurring villain in the game, ‘Jimmy the Neck’. An undercover agent foils Fusilli’s plans and he is arrested, freeing up the penthouse again and leaving you with a sum on money.

As the game goes on you are expected to earn money through guests and then buy more of the rooms in the Town Hall unlocking a total of 6 guest rooms and a number of Entertainment rooms below. During gameplay you can pick up ‘licence plates’ to sell for money and ‘skill points’ that you need to collect to unlock certain missions. In addition to the main story line, there are also recurring villains who appear at seemingly random times, who you have to stop in order to avoid being robbed. Villains include ‘Emperor Xizzle’, ‘Jimmy the Neck’, and ‘robots’.

When Frankie leaves, a new main antagonist arrives demanding the penthouse; Ava Cadavra. She is a dark character who asks you to build a meeting room for her. Once you build it, she uses it to create a cult following and asks you to find a pyramid in the desert. Finding this pyramid will prompt the arrival of a new character called Horus – a mummy. He warns against Ava and her cult and asks you find a branding iron. Once you find the branding iron, he asks you to destroy the cult statue, knocking everyone out of their trance and Ava evacuates the penthouse.

A third and final guest arrives; Optimus Alfred – a robot. He speaks lowly of humans and arrives saying he’ll clean up the penthouse that Ava trashed for free. Having done a favour for you, he asks you for a favour – to buy a charger for him from the Strangetown store. You buy it, and he begins the construction of a satellite on the sundeck, telling you it’s so he can watch good television. A strange character appears called ‘Lord Mole’ who won’t stop chewing through the cables of the satellite. You are instructed to make him leave. Once you make him leave by attacking him with a water gun, he tells you you’ll regret it and that Alfred is evil. Soon after, Alfred reveals his true intentions and locks himself in the penthouse along with blueprints to destroy the human race.

Emperor Xizzle appears – an antagonist – and asks to team up with you to take down the robots. He instructs you to collect five mechanical skill points and then break into the penthouse between times 6 and 10 PM to steal the blueprints. Once you steal them, you must combat Optimus Alfred and his cronies on the roof of the hotel as the superhero ‘Ratticator’ – the superhero costume you character wears when fighting evil. You must defeat a total of 15 robots in rounds of four before something happens to Optimus and he explains something happened to his circuitry. He apologises and becomes ‘sane’. You are then moved onto a credits screen and the game ends. You can continue to play but there are no further main game-play missions. All throughout the main game you have to maintain your hotel, calm down guests and maintain their customer satisfaction, and improve your relationship with all the recurring characters.

Character:

 Your character can look however you want having the option to pick through a limited amount of clothes and hairstyles. After this, you can choose one of three personalities which can aid you in different things during the game. Every character plays the same story on a set timeline.

Characters in the game itself include the Concierge, Frankie Fusilli, Ava Cadavra, Emperor Xizzle, Ara Fusilli, Futo Maki, and Giuseppi Mezzoalto.

Level/Environments:

The game operates in a Linear Game Design and as a limited world – your character only able to explore certain areas sectioned off by an invisible barrier. There are no levels to complete, but you advance in the game through increasing a ‘hotel score’ as you unlock more rooms, welcome more guests, and defeat more bad guys. 100% is the completing score.

The world consists of a main square branching off towards the town hall, a bar, a store, the hotel, and other non-interactive store fronts. Down a small path from there you find the sheriff’s office where the bad guys you defeat end up as well as a small patch of grass home to cows and a cow shed. If you continue down the path you are loaded into another section of the world consisting of only the desert where you can use a metal detector to find various items on missions.

Gameplay:

The gameplay is simple. You follow the instruction or missions that arrive as you complete the last. Missions can build up through various non-storyline related missions that occur randomly but in order to advance on the storyline missions you must have completed the last. You have a form of life count with a ‘sanity bar’. This is a red bar that slowly works its way down when you need to eat, sleep, use the toilet, or shower. The sanity bar can also fall down when you are defeated by an enemy or you are with a troublesome guest. The difficulty gets more and more complex as you advance as the main penthouse guests become more complicated. Fusilli is simple and requires little effort. Ava is slightly more complex bringing in a storyline and further characters. Optimus is the final and hardest guest due to the battle and skill points you need to have in order to defeat him.

You complete the game by working your way through the main troublesome penthouse guests. A score system is in place via a ‘hotel score’ which increases through unlocking rooms and welcoming guests.

User Interface Design:

 The UI is simple in the game and works with touch, controls, and LCD screen on the DS system. All actions are displayed on the upper LCD and all actions are controlled via the cross pad, the A, B, X, and Y buttons, and view is controlled with the L and R buttons on the back of the DS. You have menus available 24/7 on the touch screen such as the mission screen, the phone screen, the user menu screen, the inactive screen, and so on. Operations such as the water gun, hoover, and metal detector can only be accessed via this screen as well as buying and selling obtainable objects. Most operations you use with the touchscreen can also be done with the keypad.

Audio includes a constant tune in the background that can vary depending on the area you enter and who’s in the area. There are noises alongside actions such as selection and character noises such as voice when they communicate with other character in ‘Simish’.

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