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Electronic Arts and Maxis have done it again with this worthy Sims 2 addition for additional challenges, fun and features.

PC Game Review: The Sims 2 Pets

Electronic Arts and Maxis have done it again with this worthy Sims 2 addition full of challenges, fun and features in this popular life simulation series.

This PC version allows you to create your own pet, breed, sell (approach another Sims and ask them if they want to buy your pet – adoption is also available) and even adopt lovable animals by phone.

If you’re already familiar with The Sims 2, which you of course need to run this expansion pack, then you can dive right into the furry fun. Don’t fret new users, the learning curve is low and you can also find detailed information in the Game Tip Encyclopedia located at the book icon at the bottom of the screen.

Players can’t control their pets directly, so be sure you have a good people infrastructure before obtaining your pets. A bustling household with plenty of visitors/friends will help break pets in quickly and positively as they voluntarily interact with them and pull out special accessories (that you don’t have to buy).

The adult dogs and cats move fast when outside the house, which can cause some minor issues when assigning tasks (a whistle or call option would've been nice here).

As with your people Sims, the pets have standard personality traits plus a chew/scratch trait. The main chore is scolding the pets when they wreck your stuff, boosting their morale with loving acts and teaching them movements/tricks.

Besides, cats and dogs, players can also choose birds, fish and hamster-like pets, with the right equipment of course. There's even a surprising "animal" element that can effect your people Sims.

Predictably, cats and dogs have the greatest risk/reward. On one side you can find jobs in the show business, security and service areas. Spend their hard earned simoleons on basics, like a food dish, or special accessories in the miscellaneous category.

On the flip side, you must correct them when they cause damage, keep them fed and contend with the occasional late night barking. If you get too negligent, animal control will visit and remove all your pets.

Once registered (use the phone) you can also make designer/hybrid breeds (required to have a male and female plus the pet house where they can … you know … “WooHoo”). Once that's done, your cute little kittens and puppies require additional help when maneuvering around your place.

Luckily, this game includes some design/leveling options that can make your house more accessible for pets.

The detailed graphic options in the pet creation are very deep. There are special rewards, like the “Kibble of Life” and unlockable/sharing options with GameCube and Playstation 2 version players (who can enjoy taking their pet to the park).

One featured unlockable is Hilary Duff and her beloved Chihuahua, Lola, which can be downloaded from until the end of 2006. The PSP version is rated T while the Nintendo DS and GameBoy Advance versions are rated E and also have unique features on each respective version like a pet care center (DS) and pet walkers/veterinarians (GBA).

Sharing works well in this game and most players will appreciate the open ended/experiment-type game play. Players can go as deep as they want (just like the deep holes you’ll likely see in your yard), especially for taskmaster players who have all the expansion packs (Open for Business, University, Nightlife).

Requires The Sims 2, The Sims 2 special DVD Edition or The Sims 2 Holiday Edition to play.

The Sims 2 Pets expansion pack is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Crude Humor, Sexual Themes and Violence. This game can also be found on: GBA, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PS2, PSP.

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