The Sims 2: Open for Business Review (PC)

This is what expansion packs should be about. The Sims II : Open For Business opens the Sims experience up to a whole new dimension, bringing the work a day world to your thus far slothful Sims. Sure they had jobs, but did you ever see them do anything? Now you get to watch your Sims at work, from running the cash register, to sweating it out behind a workstation making merchandise. Combined with the Nightlife expansion pack, the Sims can now run an inordinate amount of businesses, from garden centers to nightclubs, and they're going to have to have their little Sim noses to the grindstone in order to make their businesses a success.

No more idle days flying kites...

You should be selling flowers!!

The great thing about the Sims series has always been the way it lets you take on challenges you could never imagine pulling off in real life. Open for business continues this tradition by allowing you to create almost any business you can imagine. Ever wondered how a composite nightclub/gym would work out? Give it a go!

Opening a business is a little more challenging than many of the activities the Sims series has offered thus far. I wouldn't exactly call the process straightforward. One of the first items you're going to need to open your business is an open/closed sign. Without this there is no way for customers to know that you're open, or employees to know to come to work. The funny thing is that this oh so important piece of inventory is hidden away in the catalog, where you might just have to stumble across it by accident. There are more such glitches such as you have to call up employees to hire them, yet they magically know when you flip that open/closed sign that it's time to start their working day.

Once you start your business though, and work through the hitches in logic, the game really does get intense. You're going to have to have some support to start almost every business, simply because of the cost of the cash register and merchandise. It's not all plain sailing once you have those things either.


Not only do you have to work hard for the money, you may even have to take on employees. From the scrupulous to the scurrilous, it is your job to supervise them and make sure that they're on task and making you money, rather than costing you it. Bad employees can make a marked impact on your business, as their mood effects the customers and therefore your rating. If you manage to get a good team going, and keep them happy with their hourly pay, which you must pay them hourly, then you have come a long way towards getting that business off the ground.

Or making coffee...

Tell her that shirt would look great on her...go on...

The better your business is known and regarded, the better the rewards. You can get lower prices on wholesale items, which is oh so life like. It's always the ones who don't need the money who get the discounts. You can also gain social skills which makes meeting new Sims more rewarding and easier. The star rating system ensures that you will always know how satisfied you are keeping your customers, something many businesses would kill for in reality.

The expansion hasn't stopped just at game play however, there are 125 new items, and Robots have been added to the mix. Robots are great fun, and oh so eager to please. Like a 70's sci fi dream, they cook, clean, and try to anticipate your every need. Then, like every 70's sci fi distopia if they get mad they trash the house and run off with another robot.

The new items add an extra level of customization to the game, which means it looks better than ever. The sound ranges from some great music to the funniest effects ever, and is, as one expects, an integral part of the game experience. If you don't speak Simlish yet, perhaps this expansion will give you a few more clues, as you listen to the radio burble away, or perhaps an angry customer raging at you because of a lazy employee.

Cowboys give the best haircuts...

Enough said...

This shows just what quality is involved in putting together the Sims series. The sheer amount of imagination and variety is astounding, and this expansion pack adds to the some what disconcerting feel that somewhere, in some alternate universe, this is all real.

Top Game Moment: Living the dream of a nightclub/hair salon. It just makes good sense. It's not my fault the drunken Sims don't like the cuts... maybe the hairdressers been at the bottle again.