Top critical review
15 people found this helpful
A good, and much needed, expansion for an overrated game.
on 15 October 2002
The Sims phenomenon goes on and on, and to be honest it's starting to drive most experienced games players nuts. Just as happened about a decade ago with Myst, a massively flawed but media-friendly game has captured the attention of the 'non games playing' public, and everyone continues to buy it without realising how many better, more imaginative, better looking and more challenging games are out there.
But fair play to Maxis. After a couple of expansion packs that did little to overcome the biggest flaw in the Sims - the sheer repetitiveness of the game when played for any significant length of time - Hot Date is really rather good. It adds a whole new dimension to the game with the new Downtown area, allowing you to build entertainment complexes, bars, etc (and thankfully with no financial constraints). It also makes the development of relationships a more long term project for your Sims, and allows them the possibility of meeting strangers while Downtown, and then later developing these into lasting friendships or even romances. It really does add massively to the basic game engine.
Aesthetically it looks fine - the Sims has never really pushed graphical boundaries, but maintains a nice, simple look - now if only they could solve that godawful jerky scrolling. The music is good - from classical piano in high class restaurants to piped supermarket music speakers - although as with the original game you're probably better using some MP3s of your own to spice things up a bit.
Hot Date gives The Sims a shot in the arm that it desperately needed (from a gameplay point of view, if not a sales one). I've always loved the concept of The Sims, but before Hot Date it could become mind-numbingly boring watching the same people in the same neighbourhood doing the same things day after day. Now there's a bit more variety and a bit more interest. Of course it's in Maxis' financial interests to continue their support of The Sims, but it's nice to see a company making an effort to truly expand the scope of their original product rather than just cashing in.