Top positive review
23 people found this helpful
on 27 November 2004
The Urbz: Sims in the City is the latest title based on developer Maxis' incredibly successful PC game The Sims. And instead of restricting itself to tiny neighborhoods, the new game takes place in the big city. Maxis' bold changes to the original formula set forth by The Sims aren't all for the better, but they make The Urbz a very distinctive and surprisingly solid game. The removal of some aspects of the series and the emphasis placed on other areas suggest that The Urbz might be best suited to a specific audience, but it retains enough core elements to appeal to most any fan of The Sims.
The Urbz isn't about building a home--it's about hanging out in the big city.
Unlike The Sims for the PC (and most other The Sims products), The Urbz doesn't focus on building up a fabulous home or getting to know your neighbors well enough to love them or hate them. Instead, the game lets you create a group of up to four different "urbs" (the hip, urban version of a "sim") in a single saved game session, and control one of them at a time. Your character can start his or her career in one of the game's nine districts, each of which is designed around a particular type of urban subculture, such as skaters, ravers, and bikers. You have a set of roughly analogous goals to accomplish in each area, but your primary goal is to improve your reputation by socializing with urbs in the different neighborhoods. In fact, most of your character's interaction with other characters will happen as a direct result of your efforts to become more popular. Successfully socializing with other urbs (that is, interacting with them using the appropriate conversation commands, or "socials," without horribly offending them) increases an onscreen "reputation" meter that, when continuously filled, can make your character more famous and even appear on posters throughout the city. Filling up your meter, along with completing specific goals like advancing in a career path, can unlock access to new districts and areas, new standard socials, and new "power socials"--especially effective socials that can also be used to scare off bullies and muggers.
Like in other The Sims products, you interact with other characters by choosing from a preset list of socials, but The Urbz actually color-codes socials to show which ones will actually work (green socials always succeed, yellow socials only sometimes succeed, and red socials always fail). This minor addition makes getting in good with other characters much easier, but if you're aggressively trying to complete your goals, it has the side effect of making character interaction a lot less interesting--you'll end up using only the few green socials over and over. You can also increase your standing in a district by changing clothes at that district's clothier, which, depending on the district, will let you deck your character out in a good variety of different getups, including knit caps, flannel shirts, high heels, dreadlocks, facial and body piercings, and even tattoos. And you'll unlock more content by achieving other specific goals, such as scaring off bullies, using specific socials in different districts, and advancing through the first, second, and third levels in the game's new career system.
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Value - 7/10
Tilt - 7/10