A guest review by Lydiainsane
I have been a huge fan of the Sims from the very beginning and have become equally addicted to its sequel The Sims 2. The first Sims 2 expansion Sims 2 University, offered a whole new gaming experience, one that I still haven't completely got to grips with, but was loads of fun nevertheless; so when I first heard about the Sims 2 Nightlife I was a little disappointed, as the whole idea of your sim going on dates was covered in an expansion pack for the first game. Also compared to the last expansion nothing much new seemed to be added other than a new community lot area, so I came to Nightlife with rather low expectations.
Nightlife installed easily enough, much smoother and quicker than the main game and the University expansion did. My PC is rather old (1.2 Athlon, 800mb memory, G-Force 2), but Sims 2 has always run pretty well and the new expansion happily did not cause any problems, other than being rather slow in the community lots. Although I had to sacrifice another 1.5GB of hard disc space to the game.
So upon reading a bit more about the Nightlife and the enclosed manual, I like many others new to this expansion, was immediately attracted by the idea of becoming a vampire and owning my own car! Things were already starting to look up!
On entering the game I headed straight for the new Downtown community, which is linked from the main areas, the same way as the University expansion. Downtown has a small area with houses but is mainly community lots featuring nightclubs and restaurants and places to take your sim out on dates. The look is dark and rather ominous, so appealed to me straight away.
I decided to create a new sim, in the new Downtown area and gave him the incredibly bad name of Lucian Vampyre. When creating a sim, new options are now available, like choosing what turns your sim on and off when finding a date; of course I immediately choose vampirism as one of my sim's turn-ons. I also selected the new life Aspiration of Pleasure, which seemed to mean it was hard to keep my sim at home for any length of time! Several new clothing options are also available.
So Lucian moved into his new house, which I decorated in suitably sombre colours, then I also brought him a new black pickup truck and took the criminal career path, as if Lucian was planning on becoming a vampire, I guessed I had better work nights?
Soon after moving in, a Gypsy Matchmaker called by offering to set Lucian up with a new date, but I decided to leave that for a while and I quickly got back down to living the life of a normal sim and making new friends.
The first big difference I noticed is that my sim's friends kept phoning him up and asking him if he'd like to go out Downtown; so I agreed and this is when another of the new features kicked in; it seemed I had to make sure all my sim's friends had a good time. You are given a certain amount of time to fill a meter to indicate various levels of happiness. So Lucian and company all went to a Bowling Alley, I was happy to find that the Group Outing meter was surprisingly easy to fill and both my sim and I had a great time.
For a while I worked at my job and skill points, to make some more money and then decided to try the Gypsy Matchmaker; where you can choose to donate up to 5000 simoleans; you can choose whether your date is male or female. I gave the Gypsy just over 1000 and my date turned out miserably, so a lesson quickly learned!
After being dragged out on several more Outings, I still hadn't found any vampires, so I decided I would put more effort into it. I went out every night after work, which was quick and easy to do thanks to my new car. Lucian went to a different venue each night, but still wasn't having much luck... until finally I saw a vampire just got in my car to go home! Aaaarrgghhh!
Ok, but at least I knew they really existed now and was determined not to give up. At last on the following night I met a vampire called Daisy (yes really!) but this being the Sims completely failed to make friends with her, but this is when my experience playing the game really counted, as I immediately went home, phoned her and talked her ears off, until she at least vaguely liked me! I was very thankful that vampires had phones!
Now Lucian was friends with a vampire, so after much flirting and kissing, including two dream dates (which used a similar rating system to the Outing one) she still wouldn't bite poor Lucian. My sim and Daisy the Vamp, had even slept together, but Lucian still wasn't undead.
Change of tactic, I got Daisy to move in and brought her a coffin, but she still wouldn't bite Lucian. Then in a moment of desperation I made them get married and now I am happy to say I am the proud owner of a happily married pair of vampires! Although I cannot really work out if it was the marriage that finally caused Daisy to turn Lucian into a vampire?
So the newly married couple of course now needed a new house, I had hoped removing all the windows, would solve the sunlight problem but no such luck? So both my sims now need to sleep in their coffins all day, but hey they won't age and they can turn into bats!
Playing a vampire and still earning money is quite tricky, I have Lucian working nights as a getaway driver and Daisy painting as much as possible. Of course this does not give my vamps much spare time?
Guess I should stop talking about vampires now!
I decided to create two other new sims, without the sunlight problem; mother and teenage daughter Lillian and Natasha so I could try out the new Downtown area more thoroughly. There are plenty of different places for your sim to visit, such as parks, bowling alleys, nightclubs and shops. It was nice to be able to take your sim and their friends to a restaurant and choose from a menu; new interactions are added while sitting down such as toasting. Lillian also became quite a dab hand at poker and thoroughly enjoys the new Electro Dance Spheres, so much so I can hardly keep her away from them when she goes out!
Other new items include a DJ Booth, A Karaoke Machine and a Photo Booth, all of which my sims enjoyed.
The new dating system, which I have already mentioned briefly, lets you check a sim out; if your sim is compatible a little lightning symbol appears on their picture in your friend's menu. The same symbol is crossed out if you're not compatible. At least once my sim has fallen madly in love with someone who hates her!
The new pleasure aspiration I think makes dating a little easier, as my sim always wanted to do fun thinks and go out to lots of different places.
The introduction of cars and garages was a much needed one in my opinion. You can buy various upgrades for your car such as an alarm, but the added freedom they give you is the true advantage. As time is always very much of the essence in the Sims 2, even avoiding having to wait for a taxi, made a big difference to my gaming experience. Any member of the family can use the car, including teenagers.
Although a much smaller advance than the Sims 2 University expansion, I found Nightlife much easier to get to grips with; yes even the Vampire stuff! Being able to have your own car makes many parts of the game much easier and more enjoyable and the items that have been added are all fun.
I shall definitely be playing to the Sims 2 for a lot longer, while I try to get to grips to life as a vampire; if not I can always buy the cure from the Gypsy woman!