the Sims: Bustin' Out
System: Playstation 2
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Edge of Reality/Maxis
Released: December 2003
Genre: Simulation
Memory Card, Dual Shock 2 Analog Control & Vibration Feedback, USB Keyboard, Network Adaptor for Online Play

Review Written: February 2, 2004

After becoming the #1 franchise on the PC for three years, The Sims franchise made its debut on all major platforms in 2002. Now, the first console sequel to the life simulator, dubbed Bustin’ Out makes its way again to all next-gen systems. This PS2 version has something special that the other two don’t, and that is the form of online play. Add that to a fully redone single player story mode, and many more added social interactions and items round off the new additions to Bustin’ Out.

Bustin’ Out has a few ways to play. The main ‘Bustin’ Out’ single player mode plays out similar to last year’s ‘Get a Life’ mode. You start off again by creating a sim from the ground up and living with your mother, and achieving several goals so you can move out of the house and move in with a friend in a trailer park, and then into a gym, and so forth. The goals are pretty straightforward where there usually is a couple job promotion ranks required to complete, and some other notable extras objectives like becoming friends with your roommate, or recruiting so many new members to the local gym. Each completed goal unlocks one of many items that can be bought to be added in your house. Most of these goals will take a while to achieve, and much like with last year’s Get a Life, this one will take about a solid ten hours to complete.

However, it just doesn’t end there. The awesome free play mode is thrown in where you can move yourself or a family into a house, or design one from scratch. There is no goals to achieve in here, but to screw around to do whatever your heart desires, weather it is to get promoted to the top rank in your job career, or to marry your girlfriend and start a family, it is all up to you! To make things better, a second player can hop in some split screen action for some co-operative play.

The online mode has you meet up with another fellow online player where you can chat it up and trade items with one another. Yes, the USB Headset is supported to make communicating a whole heck of a lot easier.

The Sims transfer to consoles was practically flawless last year. Bustin’ Out keeps the main control scheme in tact. Some new things you’ll notice right off the bat is a slightly re-tooled toolbar that has all your friend and emotion meters readily available by holding a button on the d-pad. Everything else still operates the same as before, except now you can hop into your ride and travel outside the homestead into any of your neighbors for a friendly visit, or become their new roommate by moving in with them.

Bustin’ Out sports the same 3D models as its predecessors, and just like before, they look a lot better than the sprites of its PC counterpart. A lot of the animations for the new social interactions are amusing to watch, such as ‘pull my finger,’ ‘towel snap,’ and ‘burp in face.’ While everything does have a nice presentation, I can't help but point out everything still has a rather outdated look. There is also a problem of jagged graphics being apparent throughout gameplay, and random bits of slowdown does occur at the most odd of times.

That patented Sim gibberish is still here, and is just as annoyingly funny as we remember it. I keep thinking I’d grow tired of their random incoherent ramblings, yet they still continue to amuse me day in and day out. There are a few new background tracks in build and buy modes that have some nice upbeat rhythms, and the adjustable tracks for radios and stereos have some recognizable similarities to some current hits.

Sure, the Bust Out mode can be completed easily within a few days, but the free play is the heart of The Sims and is what will keep you addicted the most. Just playing on forever, continuing successful relationships and careers is much more fun than it sounds, especially when a friend joins up with you. The extra online components is also fun to jump on every once in a while too.


Graphics: 7.3
Sound: 7.8
Gameplay: 8.5
Replay Value: 9.0

Overall: 8.1

If there’s one thing EA knows, it is sequels, and this will most likely be the first of many on the consoles. As usual, the developers throw in enough new goodies to tide you over to next year’s game. With that said, if you’re one of the many Sim-addicts out there, than run out and pick up Bustin’ Out as it contains enough new features and extras to keep you glued on to next year’s release.

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