The Sims & Expansions - Review - 4/5 The Sims Take Sim City, mix in a 3D home modeling software, add a dash of business management and a dash of insanity and you've got a recipe for one of the finest games ever created, The SIms. This review will essentially cover all installments of The SIms franchise on the PC, however it will focus heavily on the basics. The Sims originally started as a matter of taking the fundamentals of a classic "SIM" game, ala Sim City, and apply those fundamentals to people instead of your classic business or city. In Sim City it is your job as Mayor to run the city, manage the upkeep of the roads, power lines, water supplies, etc. and balance the budget at the same time. In The Sims, it is your job as, more or less a mixture of a god of sorts and a VooDoo priest, to control the life of a "sim" or the many lives of a family of sims, in every aspect. You are required to build or buy them a home (which you can always remodel) in which to live. In the building/remodeling of the home, you will have access to so many options it will make your head spin. From general layout including each wall, door and window, to specifics such as flooring, wallpapering, lighting and furniture arrangement, the entire build process is yours to command. Your imagination is the limit, and this is truly where I found the most enjoyment out of the game. It's interesting trying to see where you can go to take a house to the "next level" of development. Your sims need to maintain this home. They need to get and keep a job. They need to eat, bathe, sleep, use standard bathroom functions, be entertained, have relationships, and be the most pleasant, cheerful sim they can be, all with the help of your guiding hand. You can have your sim improve such attributes as body through working out on exercise equipment, playing basket ball or swimming; mind by playing chess or studying astronomy; cooking or mechanical skills by reading a book; creativity by playing piano or painting. The list goes on. By improving these attributes, your sim will improve their daily lives including performance, relationships, and job status. With its' tremendous library of expansion packs, each one doesn't add a whole lot of new material to the mix. More objects, more housing pieces (new carpet, new couches, etc.) and a new location with each one are standard. When you're as big in the architectural aspect of The Sims as I am, objects are not a problem. If you're not, then you'll want to focus on the meatier part of the expansions. For example, in Hot Date they've added the "Downtown" district with shops and restaurants for you and your sims to go on dates with, where in Vacation they've added "Vacation Island", a multi-environmental locale that includes snow, sandy beaches, and wooded campgrounds for you and your sims to just "get away from it all". This is nice because you can stay as long as you want without the worry of missing work and getting fired. The true gem of all the expansion packs is Unleashed, in which they've not only added the "Old Town" locale with even more shops, etc...but they've also added the option for your sim to own pets. From dogs and cats to fish, turtles and birds, your sim will now be able to choose and name a custom pet. You'll also have to care for the pet and all of their needs just as you would any other part of your Sim family. Beyond the lack of new material in most of the expansion packs, there are only so many times you can create a character, and watch him go through daily life before you want more. After a couple years of playing the living hell out of The Sims library, including The Sims Online, there is little new to interest a seasoned veteran as myself. Newcomers, however, will have difficulty pulling themselves away. I give it a 4/5.