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The Sims: Superstar Review

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| Simulation in Gaming | Posted: Jul 31, 2003 4:00 am

Introduction:

Never in recent memory has one game seen so much success from so many add-on packs. The Sims, when originally launched, brought a totally unique and fresh style of gameplay to the PC. The idea of controlling virtual people was almost a pipe dream, and naturally The Sims received much hype about what possibilities it offered. For many, that hype proved accurate, and for those that were disappointed by the original release, the vast range of add-on packs have almost covered every missing gap thinkable. Thanks to addon packs, you've been allowed to have pets, build close relationships, go on holidays, import your own face and now, become a Superstar.

Gameplay - 8.5/10:

Superstar, along with every other addon pack for The Sims, has the same fundamental features found in the entire series. Upon buying your first house or lot the game begins similarly to every other Sims title. For new comers, a handy indepth tutorial can be activated taking you through every single process in a simple, real time manner, although buyers of Superstar will probably already be familiar with the basics of the game.

Once you are familiar with the needs and wants of your sim(s), it is finally time to experience what unique features Superstar has to offer. Although you can get a normal job, as in the previous Sims titles, you are now given the option of finding an agent. This is not hard, for everytime I've applied for representation I've been successful in getting an agent.

An agent is your ticket to the big times. Without an agent, you will not be able to successfully mastermind a career so it is a good idea to grab up on the opportunity as soon into the game as you can. However, having an agent leaves you with a few responsibilities, namely, you must visit 'studio town' on a regular basis. If you don't, your agency will abandon you, and you will lose all your fame.

Studio Town is your local hollywood. Inside Studio Town you are given a plethora of activities ranging from TV commercial and advertising shoots, to full on movie scenes and stage performances. How you perform in these activities depends on your work talent ratings and your star ratings. For most activities, you actually need a specific amount of stars, so you are limited to choices, atleast in the beginning.

Your talent ratings go up depending on what activities you do at home. For example, playing the piano regularly will eventually build up your creativity side, while singing in front of a mirror will build up your charisma. There are a few other categories too, each having a role depending on what sort of fame you intend to chase. Your star rating, on the other hand, will only go up when you perform well in studio town. Basically, you need to build your talent at home to get stars, you get stars to become famous, and you become famous because, well, you didn't buy the game for no reason.

One problem, or annoyance, I came across while doing this process was the repetition. Since your sim has needs, like food and sleep, you can never stay in studio town for as long as you need, forcing you to come back day after day trying to get a mere half star. Often you can replenish such needs as hygiene and hunger at Studio Town, but your energy can only be improved by sleep, and you can only get sleep at your house. Managing your sim is still obviously a very important role in Superstar, which is good, but when it always seems to cut into your activities it can become tedious.

However fame isn't everything, you can still play Superstar as you would any Sims game. The more money you make the more you can treat yourself to expensive gadgets, and while the big bucks are to be made in show biz, you're not forced to become a star. There are 150 new items in Superstar, such as the Satellite for your television giving you extra channels, a Karaoke stage, a Music Studio, a Skydiving Simulator and more. Of course you still have access to the original selection, the Superstar addon just makes it bigger.

Visuals - 7.5/10:

The Sims has always been a combination of 3D character models in an isometric world, and Superstar is no different. With this said, naturally visual quality is not a huge priority in the development process, there is really no need to make visual quality overly impressive in a game like this.

However one aspect of the visuals that does excel is the detail in animations and the likes. Every single object you interact with has its own set of animations, and since there are thousands of things to do in this world you can begin to understand the detail involved. The animations are also very fluent and jointed, for example, if you were to make your sim play a computer it will recognise a chair is available and sit down and play. The same is for watching TV's, eating food and pretty much everything else.

Controls - 9.0/10:

Everything about The Sims is unique and new, so the controlling system itself has to mould to this. Basically, everything in this world revolves around your mouse. You click on anything and everything you want to interact with, whether it is a location you want to move to or another sim you want to talk to. Once you click, a menu pops up asking what you want to do to the thing you just clicked on. Depending on the object in question these change, and to add further depth, when you click on another sim, the interact menu options will change depending on your relationship with that sim. Basically, for the world that is The Sims, the controlling system is almost flawless, my only gripe is at times your sim won't do what you want him to do, but that is an AI flaw more than a control flaw.

Conclusion:

The thing about The Sims is you either love it or hate it. For avid Sims gamers, The Sims Superstar addon pack is a valid source for extra solid gameplay, it offers a few extra goodies and an entirely new aspect to world of The Sims, however if you never took a liking to the original Sims then Superstar most probably won't change your mind. As with most addon packs, The Sims Superstar is a worthy purchase for the fans who already have the original, but it doesn't warrant a new gamer going out and buying the original just so they can play it.

 

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