The Sims 2 has opened immense experiences through the expansion packs Nightlife, University, Pets, Open for Business and Seasons. Now, the sixth – yes, sixth – series expansion pack features many great activities at a mountain getaway at Three Lakes, the tropical Twikkii Island and far east-themed Takemizu Village. Players can explore new areas throughout the familiar simulation/strategy gaming experience, with great benefits from honing your hosting/traveling skills.
First you must access the computer or phone to book your vacation. Vacations booked six days in advance can save you money. Honeymoons can also be arranged for your Sims (a close friend/family member or Nanny stays to care of home business while you’re away). Accommodations differ according to price range (camping in tents to five star hotels). Saunas, swimming pools, hot tubs, massages and other relaxing activities are also available (depending on the area). Players can still visit other hotels nearby (by foot or taxi), so planning a careful trip where Sims can save some bucks at a cheaper hotel while still getting a top notch massage at a fancy hotel is always possible. If your Sim is a high roller, then you may purchase your own vacation home (access real estate on the phone or computer) and save some long term money.
Once you choose your vacation party (usually your immediate family and other Sims you have the strongest relationships with), then depart and prepare for some great social interactions, even danger. You can meet a hermit, ninja or a fire dancer. Beware of pickpockets and con artists (usually stocking the fear slots below). You can also take an active role by swimming off the beach, digging for treasure on the beach, participating in log rolling or building sand castles. Unwelcome sunburns and/or sicknesses are minimized with common sense clothing choices, though some players will be irresistibly tempted to test the limits and see what happens. Learning Tai Chi, customs and other activities (especially in line with their personality/likes) can really boost that vertical green bar. These activities will even follow you home as you practice them with others and share and/or display your unique items. Vehicles also offer some great attractions like helicopter/van tours and glass bottom boat rides. Look for hidden locations for other bonuses. Other locations like the temple ruins introduce another common vacation experience – overcrowding. Keeping track of your party and navigating through the setting represents the toughest challenge, besides avoiding the criminals.
Players also get several item opportunities by shopping in places like the boardwalk, opening up great opportunities for different foods and culture. Shopping and gathering for wanted items like rare jewelry is another interesting feature. This ever present element even exists on the beach as vacationers can collect shells and even hunt for treasure in different locations. The options grow exponentially and raise the excitement level of your experience. For example, the volume of room service choices can real fuel each Sim’s tank for the highest possible experience. Lobster, hamburgers and even cake buffets can create a base environment where everyone can get a quick bite then quickly continue chasing their desires (except if you turn their free will off). The familiar God-like element takes a unique shift to a “make everyone happy” theme because your Sims get a new benefit for a satisfying vacation.
It’s a great advantage when the successful vacation yields long lasting bonuses applicable to each individual vacationer (or apply the same bonus for all). Ultimate benefits are dispersed after your Sims return home. Make some memories with the new photo camera option, which produced pictures for display around the house or as selectable photo albums (pictures with the entire group can greatly boost the experience and your ending bonus, especially if relationships haven’t been stellar lately).
Different locales and new items/actions with the same interface and game play make this installation yet another must have expansion. Not quite as strong as the previous Seasons expansion, but worthy follow-up essential for Sims fanatics and social/travel butterflies. Requires The Sims 2, The Sims 2 Special DVD Edition, The Sims 2 Holiday Edition or The Sims 2 Deluxe on PC to play.
Sims 2: Bon Voyage is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Crude Humor, Sexual Themes and Violence.