The Sims 2 Nightlife review

PC Gamer can't come out. Its Sim is washing her hair...

The date's going well. Both of us want to get a photo taken, so we cram into the booth. At which point the option to have Whoopee, the Sims colloquialism for making the beast with two backs, comes up.

Sex in a photo booth? It's got to be worth a try. Sadly, my date thinks this a little too forward, and kicks me out. Whereupon another crush, who's passing by, notices I'm with someone else, storms over and slaps me silly. All of which kind of puts a downer on the date.

Let's hope they don't end up sneaking over at night and kicking my trash around like the last vindictive stalker.

With The Sims 2 Nightlife (or Sims Slutting About as it should probably be called) it's business as usual.

While University was something of a surprise, the news that Maxis has turned to the sordid business of seduction for its next add-on is not. It's very much What People Want.

Mainly, Nightlife provides a 'downtown' region, full of lots designed for social gallivanting. From high-brow galleries to down and dirty clubs, there's something for every Sim's needs.

These places are most important as backdrops for the dates themselves, with Sims now able to ask other Sims if they're free Saturday night or washing their hair.

Satisfy your partner's desires and/or put out, and the date's rating rises. With a time limit that extends depending on how well the date's going, this is a minigame with boosted Sim happiness as payoff.

To make dating more interesting, Sim psychology has become more complicated. The most meaningful addition is the psychology of lust. Sims now have Turn-ons: different characters being attracted more strongly to different traits.

Everyone from the guy who likes fit blondes to the girl who needs fat, smelly men to achieve arousal can be created. There's also the addition of Fury, an extended bad mood usually triggered by infidelity, which makes any interaction with that Sim liable to go badly wrong.

There are the usual object additions (your own cars at last!) and a new life-ambition for Sims: Pleasure Sims, chasing any butterfly-joys in the world, while turning away from anything that sounds a bit too much like hard work. Like games journalists.

The big drawback, and the one which keeps Nightlife from receiving any stronger recommendation, is down to The Sims 2 technology.

The loading time it takes to move between lots is unacceptably long. It didn't really harm University much, because there was less need to move around. You can live a full student existence in your flat, and many do. But while you can date at home, this game is really about going out.

While the nuisance of slow loading times does accurately simulate that "Oh - I can't be bothered to get the bus into town" feeling that can keep us at home, it's not much fun. A shame.

Until Sims technology changes in a fundamental way, it's going to leave all too many home on a Saturday night.

The Sims 2 Nightlife is out for PC now

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Available platformsPC