The Sims Pet Stories PC Review - 26/07/2007

The latest addition to this spin off series has arrived with an “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” attitude as stubborn as a Sim without a swimming pool. The Sims Pet Stories is a sensible expansion of the first instalment, featuring the same core gameplay with the addition of a loveable pet to help keep you occupied.

The story mode has remained largely the same, which is to be expected considering its well implemented state in Life Stories. Although now divided into chapters, as opposed to being just a slightly more structured version of the free play mode, the addition of Pets into the mix has clearly given EA the freedom for greater creativity. Whilst you continue to be responsible for the well being of your virtual avatar, it now has a best friend that is vying for your attention at the same time. Both stories are centered around the impact of pets on the lives of two Sims named Alice and Stephen. The dynamic they create (with both you and your Sim) makes Pet Stories the more engrossing title, as the stories are far more substantial and challenging than the ones found in Life Stories.

The interactions with your pup or kitty are numerous, and thankfully they are just as customizable as your Sims in terms of aspirations and personality. Your pet has the option of focusing its goals on Security, Showbiz or Service, in much the same way as you can choose a career path for your Sim and widen its field of expertise. The pets themselves are also a joy to play around with. The simplicity of the interface makes your interactions as headache free as possible. You’ll always be aware of them but they don’t detract from the core gameplay experience. The overall difficulty of the game has therefore been increased, as you now have to manage intelligent animal A.I. at the same time as keeping your Sim happy, well fed and with a “glass half full” attitude. We suggest that you pay particular attention to cats. They will tear up your best furniture regardless of how much love you give them.

This is an aspect of Life Stories that was disappointing, as the stories were unevenly balanced and much too easy to complete. It’s pleasing that EA have been willing to address such issues in the release of Pet Stories, which bodes well for the overall quality of the upcoming Castaway Stories installment if other changes to aspects of the game (such as the graphics) are likely to occur. That is not to say that the graphics of The Sims Stories titles are in any way a disappointment, but there will be an opportunity in Castaway Stories for improvement in this area.

The Sims Pets Stories has succeeded in bettering its predecessor. By adjusting the game's overall difficulty and adding pets to the ever colorful life of your Sim, EA have succeeded in building on the success of the first game. A logical step in the right direction.

- Jon Titmuss



EA Games