The Sims 2: University for PC
(19 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating:
The Sims 2: University - Sex With Professors, Zombies, and Toga Parties
Nov 17, 2005 (Updated Nov 15, 2010)
Review by Marie Dragonfire
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:New objects, careers, and interactions.
Cons:Slow load times. Some bugs that should have been fixed. Schoolwork isn't my favorite thing.
The Bottom Line: The Sims 2: University is a fun addition to The Sims collection of games. There are some problems, but fans of The Sims 2 should enjoy it.
Several years ago I discovered The Sims computer game and was quickly hooked on it even though the computer I had at the time had trouble running the game. In September of 2004, the newest game, The Sims 2 was released with many new additions and changes to the game. About two months ago I finally picked up The Sims 2: University, the first expansion pack for The Sims 2. I didn't get the game sooner because it was mostly focused on adding college life to the game. Having to deal with homework was probably my least favorite part of The Sims 2, so I wasn't wanting an expansion that was just more school. After the game came out I did read more about it and discovered there was some other new additions and I eventually decided to go ahead and get the game. I am glad I decided to get the expansion.
Recommend this product?
The original The Sims game was very popular and had six expansion packs that added new objects and interactions to the game. Basically, players would control simulated people, taking care of basic needs like hunger and sleep while teaching them skills and getting them jobs so they could buy more things. Some families came in the game and players also had the option of creating their own sims. The Sims 2 has the same basic idea though there were many new things added like having Sims age and have aspirations. Sims would be able to get career reward objects once they reached a certain career level. The objects would have good benefits, but there was also the chance of bad things happening as well. One of the new things that I had the most fun with was the alien abductions though it did take a long time before I finally got a second Sim abducted. The Sims 2 came in CD and DVD versions. I have only very briefly mentioned what is possible with The Sims 2 here. I did write a review of the game (see the blue link in the first paragraph) if anyone wants to read more in depth about that game.
The Sims 2: University has two CDs. There is no DVD version available like there was for The Sims 2. Both of the discs were needed for the installation, but only the first is needed when playing the game. A short booklet came with the game that had directions for the installation process and explained the general concepts of the game. The booklet didn't have a lot of information in it. New items were also briefly mentioned in the booklet. The game is rated T. It is possible to have the Sims do some things that parents may not want their children exposed to. I really don't think this is a game for younger children.
The Sims 2: University requires The Sims 2 to already be installed for the expansion to work. The game is large and needs a lot of RAM and a powerful graphics card for it to run properly. My computer, a Dell Dimension 4400 Computer, is several years old now, so my system isn't the most up to date. It is still within the requirements for the game, but some things, like cut scenes, won't work for me because my system just can't handle them. The expansion has the same requirements that The Sims 2 had, so if you were able to run that game all right you should be fine with the expansion. The game will run smoother if you have more RAM and a newer video card than I do. The game does get bogged down for me at times, especially after I have been playing for a while. That does get annoying. The video card can limit the number of Sims on a lot at one time. There have never been that many Sims on the community lots in my game and I have been limited to inviting two guests to parties. There are the same options in the game settings for the graphics that there were in The Sims 2. The camera movements and controls have stayed the same and there is still the option to take pictures and record video of the game play.
System Requirements for The Sims 2: University - Taken from the game box
The Sims 2 Installed
Windows XP, Me, 2000, or 98
800 MHz or faster Intel Pentium III or 900 MHz AMD Athlon Processor
At least 256 MB of RAM
8x or faster CD/DVD drive
At least 1.0 Gig of free space on the hard drive
Direct X 9.0 compatible video and sound cards
The video card must have at least 32 MB of memory and be at least an ATI Radeon 7200 or NVIDIA GeForce2
Installation of The Sims 2: University was very easy. The booklet did say that it is very important not to install the expansion pack to the same location where The Sims 2 was installed. If that happens, neither game will work. The installer automatically installs the expansion in a different location, but there is the option to select a different location when installing. If the expansion ends up in the same location as The Sims 2, both must be reinstalled before they will work again. It is recommended for people to back up their game files for The Sims 2 before installing the expansion. The booklet tells where to look for the files which I thought was very good. Otherwise, I probably would have backed up the wrong thing. There are directions that pop up to follow during the installation process. One of The Sims 2 discs is also needed during this process. The instructions say when the disc from that game is needed. I didn't have any trouble installing my copy, but I do have a friend that kept getting strange errors during the installation process. He ended up having to exchange his copy before he was able to install it.
The loading time for The Sims 2: University isn't too slow, though I think it could be faster. It takes a minute or two for the game to load up to the menu where the player selects which neighborhood they want to go to. There are additional load times when entering a neighborhood, entering and leaving a lot, going to a college campus, and entering or leaving lots on the college campus. If a Sim is leaving their house to travel to a community lot, there are load times involved there as well. It seems to take a minute or two for each of those things to load for me, but there are times when it seems to take a very long time for a lot to load. I never remember to actually time how long the loading takes but I do wish it was faster. I think loading times vary depending on the system the game is being played on. The game also takes some time to save for me.
The actual game play hasn't changed with The Sims 2: University. Players still control the Sims in the same way by clicking on things or other Sims to interact with and then selecting which action to do from the small menu that shows up. The same interactions that were in The Sims 2 are still available for the expansion along with some new ones. There is still no way to control a visitor on a lot, though they do tend to stay put if they are involved in a few new actions. The Sims still have needs and aspirations to fill. It is possible to build on college campuses, but players can't build dorms from scratch. They can add more of the template dorms around the campus. To add things on the community lots, it is necessary to go into them from the main campus area before entering a dorm or house. When visiting a community lot with a Sim, build mode is unavailable.
The control panel remained in the same location with a few new additions. When a Sim is in college, there is something called a semester timer on the panel under the picture of the active Sim. It tells which year of college the Sim is in and how long until the exam at the end of the current semester. Clicking on the icon of a person at a desk on the panel, where job information is located for adult Sims, brings up the student panel for a college student. There are a few other new things on the control panel that I will describe a little later in the review. Saving the game works the same. Players can click on the menu in the control panel and select save that way at any time or wait until they decide to leave and lot and get the little pop up asking about saving. The game information is saved by lot.
Music plays when the game and different areas are loading. I don't think the music has changed. The Sims talk to each other with their own unique language that sounds like jibberish to me. Every so often I hear something that sounds like an English word, but most of it can't be understood. Sims can be heard laughing or crying if the situation calls for those emotions. Water is heard if a Sim is taking a shower. When they cook, it sounds like something is bubbling in the pot. Music plays from the stereos and there are different music styles to pick from. There are sounds from the television when it is on as well as video clips. I still don't know how to add my own video and music clips into the game. The clicking of the keys from the keyboard can be heard when a Sim is typing on the computer. There are different sounds if they are playing a computer game. As a Sim learns to play the piano or other instrument, the music they produce changes and improves as their skill goes up. I think many of the sounds are realistic. There are unique sounds for certain events, like if something breaks or when the aspiration meter goes down.
The Sims 2: University mainly added a new dimension to the game with being able to send Sims to college. Sims that are going to college are considered young adults, which is a new life stage between teen and adult. The new life stage does add time onto the life span. The first time a neighborhood loads after installing the expansion, a pop up appears asking about selecting a campus for the neighborhood and then visiting the campus. There are three different campus types to pick from, each one looks similar in design to the three neighborhoods that came with the game. Each campus has the same type of buildings including dorms, Greek houses, lounges, coffee houses, and residences. The building styles just look different for each campus. The first time a campus is entered, there is a pop up welcoming the player to the campus and it explains how to get Sims to college. There will be some Sims already living in some houses on the campus and others in the student bin ready to be moved in somewhere. There is the option of creating a Sim as a young adult but that can make college life harder since they will be starting without any skills. Teens in the neighborhoods can go to college before they become adults. Teens may be able to receive scholarships if they have good grades. There are also scholarships based on skill levels that are available. Teens can apply for them from the phone or a computer.
There are a few options for living arrangements when a Sim heads off to college. Many will probably have to at least start out in a dorm since they are the cheapest option for housing. The dorms are very crowded and busy and it isn't the best place to live. The rooms can be ransacked. There are a lot of Sims around the dorms, so it could be a way to make a lot of new friends but it isn't the most pleasant environment to live in. If the current playable Sim is not in a dorm room, the activities inside the room are invisible. Sims barge in and out of other dorm rooms whenever they want. It is possible to lock a dorm room door when a Sim needs to sleep or study without being interrupted. There is the chance that the cafeteria will be out of certain foods if a Sim doesn't get there soon enough. There are no private bathrooms and Sims must use a communal shower if they want to bathe while living in the dorm. That could make shyer Sims uncomfortable, but Sims still have to keep their hygiene up. I did actually see a Sim take a sponge bath on a community lot once. That was the first time I had seen a Sim take a sponge bath since there were always showers around the houses. I thought it was rather funny.
It can be expensive for Sims to live somewhere other than the dorms. Sims that received a lot of scholarship money could afford their own house. They will still have bills to pay every few days, so that is something to remember when deciding where a Sim will live. Sims can earn some money while at college, so it is possible to save up to be able to move away from the dorms. If Sims get good grades, they receive a grant. They can also get part time jobs around the campus or earn some money by playing instruments or hustling pool. Having roommates does make living away from the dorms more affordable. It can be difficult to control several Sims in the same house while at college since there are many things they have to do. I got better at juggling those things for more Sims after I played the game for a while.
Another housing option for the Sims is to move into a Greek house. They need to meet a member of the house to be able to rush it. I think a Sim can also just call up a Greek house to see about joining it. During the rush period, a Sim needs to become friends with a certain number of the current members of the house. The things in the Greek houses do seem to be a bit nicer than what the dorms have or even what a Sim can afford if living on their own most of the time. A regular house can apply to become a Greek house. There are secret societies on each campus that can have benefits if you can find them. A Sim needs to make friends with a specific number of members and then they will receive an invitation to join. It can be very time consuming to try to find the right Sims to get the invitation. A Sim can basically live at the secret society if they manage to get an invitation.
Sims spend fours years, made up of two semesters each, at college if they go through to graduation. Sims have a scheduled class time every day that has lasted two hours for all of my Sims. The class times vary depending on what the Sim is studying. Going to class does improve their grades. Other things, like doing assignments, group research, or writing term papers will also improve their grades. Doing group research also improves the relationships of the people involved in the research. There is an exam at the end of each semester that students must attend. Sims can still end up with a good final grade if they miss a class, but they can't skip the exams. It is a very good idea to watch the semester timer to know when the exam will be. The exams aren't at the same time as the classes. I have had one Sim that had an exam at 11:00 P.M. Sims will do better on the exam if they are rested and in a good mood before leaving for it. If a Sim does well on the exam and class overall, they will receive a grant that helps to cover their living expenses. If the Sim doesn't do well enough in the class overall, they will have to repeat the semester on academic probation. If they don't do well enough while on academic probation, they will be kicked out of college. Sims that are kicked out of college gain a new fear slot on the control panel. Sims that complete college and graduate gain new want slots and the ability to lock two wants at a time. Having a college degree can help with the future job performance as well.
Players can keep track of a Sim's performance in college by checking the student panel. The Sim's declared major is shown there. There are eleven majors to pick from and they can be changed before the final year. If a major isn't picked by a certain time, the game will pick one for the Sim. Each major has a career track that it matches in skill requirements that make the transition easier. There are also related careers that don't have as much advantage. The student panel tells what class the Sim is currently taking and what time the class is. The class performance meter and skill levels are also shown here. The meter shows what grade the Sim has earned so far, the minimum grade needed to pass the semester, the Sim's capacity to learn and their total capacity. Reaching certain skill levels will expand the Sim's learning capacity and lead to a better overall grade. Doing things like going to class, writing term papers, doing assignments and group research will fill the meter and lead to better grades. The meter will be lower at the beginning of each semester. Some Sims are able to use the computer to hack their grades. Building a relationship with a professor can lead to better grades without having to do as much work. It is possible to woo hoo with a professor.
There are new non player characters, NPCs, in The Sims 2: University. Playable Sims can build relationships with all of the NPCs. There are two mascots that will just charge right in. The regular mascot is someone dressed as a llama and seems to act nice to the people they meet. The evil mascot is a person dressed as a cow. The evil mascot has a tendency to do things that annoy most Sims. I was surprised the first time I was playing the game when the cow just walked in the house and picked a fight. I do have one Sim that was actually able to make friends with the cow. Cheerleaders will also just charge into houses and start doing cheers. They seem to be very perky and have tons of school spirit. There is a coach, though I haven't seen that NPC yet. The college professors can turn up, especially if a Sim has built up a relationship with them. Sometimes a streaker will run through a lot which can be rather funny. A playable Sim can streak too. If a streaker turns up, the little strategically placed blurs will be there unless the player hunts up a patch that takes it out.
Sims will still want to socialize while juggling their class work, especially Sims with the popularity aspiration. A Sim can travel to different community lots around the campus and meet new people that way. There is a new option for meeting people while at college by using the college directory for each campus that lists all the enrolled students. A Sim can just randomly pick a person from the directory to call and start building a friendship that way. I have done that a few times and it does work. There is still the option of inviting someone over for a visit. That has worked better for me when my Sim has called the other Sim a few times and built up the relationship a bit through the phone calls. If a Sim has roommates and then invites someone over, the roommates can then also meet the visiting Sim and start to build a relationship. When there are several Sims in a house, group research does really help with that. Several Sims can also choose to hang out together. There are a few other options for interactions between Sims, including having pillow fights.
Visiting Sims will get hungry so it is a good idea to have food around. Sims that live on a lot can cook something for the visitors or call and order a pizza. Several times I've had a Sim that lived in a house vanish for a little while when it wasn't time for class. Every so often, a Sim will just walk off the lot, intending to visit the campus. Every time that has happened in my game, the Sim has brought a pizza when they returned even when they weren't that hungry. For some reason, the Sims that have done that in my game won't put the pizzas they bring back on the table or any of the counters in the kitchen downstairs. The pizzas are taken upstairs and left on a desk instead. Sims in two different houses have done this and it bugs me. There were a few times when one house ended up with a few partially eaten pizzas sitting around. If those pizzas sit around long enough, they do go bad and some Sims may try to eat a piece of a bad pizza. Unless a Sim is very neat, they have to be told to clean up the pizza, along with any other mess around the house. Sims can develop romantic relationships while at college and even get engaged. Sims can't get married or have children while at college. As long as there is a double bed on the lot, Sims can woo hoo while at college.
Three new types of parties have been added to the game that are specific to college life. The new parties are toga, sports, and graduation parties. If a toga party is thrown, the Sims at the house where the party is held will change into togas and all the guests will arrive in one. I haven't thrown a sports party so I don't know if the Sims wear sports type of clothing for them. Sims with the popularity aspiration will want to have some kind of party often. The parties can be a way to make new friends though like I mentioned before, some people may be limited on how many guests they can invite because of the capabilities of their graphics card.
After taking their last exam, a Sim gets three days to finish up college life and throw a graduation party if they want. After the party, the graduation ceremony occurs. The only way to get the ceremony is to have the party. After graduating, a Sim will receive a diploma that they can hang on the wall of future homes. Sims that leave college, either by being kicked out or graduating, are put into the Sim bin of their original neighborhood. It is possible that a Sim could accumulate a decent amount of money while at college. No matter how much money they will still start off with 20,000 simoleons once they are an adult. A Sim that has returned from college can move back to the family home, find their own place, or move into a place with some roommates. After moving out of the Sim bin, the Sims can then find jobs, get married, and start families.
OTHER NEW ADDITIONS
The majority of the new things in The Sims 2: University were tied to college life in some way but there were other additions as well. There are four new career tracks that come with new career rewards and chance cards. As far as I know, Sims need to have a college degree to get a job in one of the new tracks. I haven't tried to get a Sim that doesn't have a degree one of those jobs to make sure of that. The new career tracks are artist, natural scientist, paranormal, and show business. The degrees from college don't just tie into the new jobs. There are majors that tie in with the original career tracks as well. The new career objects offer some unique benefits though can also have some extreme consequences. The career object for the paranormal field is needed if a player wants zombies in their game. I think that adds an interesting dimension to the game and want to try a few things with that. I have mostly just focused on getting some Sims through college so far, so I haven't experimented much with all of the new elements. The new career reward that I think is the most interesting is a very unique plant with a long scientific like name is for the natural scientist field. The plant provides a nice benefit for the owner, though it requires feeding.
Several new objects have been added to The Sims 2: University for the Sims to spend their money on. There are two new styles, groovy and medieval, that include furniture, walls, doors, and other items. The one item that many people missed in The Sims 2 was the pool table. That has been added as one of the new items. The playing and interaction with the pool table does seem to work a little better. The game seems to last longer than it did in the first Sims game. Since I have mostly been playing Sims at college, they can't afford their own pool tables so I haven't used it too much yet. None of my other Sims have gotten pool tables yet either. Most of them can afford them but they really don't have the room for one. A few of the new items, like the sprinklers and communal showers, seem to be only for the college campuses. The mini fridge is another item that would be useful in dorm rooms and probably not used much away from college.
Some more instruments have been added. The booklet that came with game lists some of the new items and does have the piano listed for some reason. That was in The Sims 2. Sims can gain creativity from any of the instruments. They can also set out a tip jar when they play to try to make some extra money. One new object is a machine that prints money. There are drawbacks for using the machine. A treadmill and a few other new exercise machines offer some variety for exercise options for Sims. I have only used the new machines briefly at a community lot on campus. Arcade games have been added as other options for fun. Sims won't usually have that much money to spend on the new objects during college. I have seen some of the items, like the pool table and arcade games, on the community lots around the campus. Most of the things bought while at college won't go with the Sim when they leave. That is like how when a Sim moves to a new house the belongings don't go with them.
Kiosks that can be found or placed around the community lots sell three new portable items. The items are cell phones, MP3 players, and handheld gaming systems. The cell phones could ring at any time, but so far I haven't had them ring at all hours of the night like I have read is possible. If several Sims are living in a house, it can be helpful for them to have their own cell phones to be able to call friends and not worry about if the phone is tied up by someone else. A call that comes in on a cell phone is for the owner of the phone, so there won't be calls coming in asking to talk to other members of the house. My friend had one of his Sims buy the MP3 player and after that the Sim was only wanting to listen to the thing and wouldn't do other tasks. Because of that, I haven't had any Sims get it and I've even avoided getting the portable game because I'm worried that would happen too. It is hard enough keeping some Sims on track with building a skill or doing research when there are computer games to distract them. I don't know if it is some sort of bug causing a Sim to only listen to the MP3 player every waking minute or if it was programmed into the game that way on purpose. Once one of the portable devices is bought, it stays with the Sim for the rest of their life.
The aspirations and fears work the same way they did in the first game. There are new wants associated with college life like wanting to go to college, wanting to go to class, wanting to do group research, wanting to throw a toga or sports party, wanting to get good grades, and wanting to write a term paper. There are also new fears like missing class or flunking out of college. No new aspiration type has been added, though Sims do get the chance to change aspirations while at college. It is a one time opportunity to make the change so players should be sure before they do it or decide not to do it. One new aspect has been added to the aspirations. There are now several lifetime wants for each aspiration type. If a Sim is able to achieve a lifetime want, they will remain in platinum aspiration status for the rest of their life while still able to gain more aspiration points, full fill other wants, experience fears, and even get assigned a new lifetime want. Holding the mouse cursor over the little icon on the control panel for the aspiration will cause the lifetime aspiration to show up so the player will know what it is. The lifetime want will only change if it is met, so there is no need to worry about getting close to achieving it only to have to change like can happen with regular wants. It will take some time to achieve a lifetime want. I think that some of them would take much longer than others and even be difficult to manage. I have seen one lifetime want for a romance Sim that wants to have twenty lovers at one time. I think that one would be very difficult to manage. I haven't even managed to twenty normal friendships going at once. Some other lifetime wants should be easier to manage even though they would still take some time, like reaching the top of a particular career field.
The other new aspect added to the game gave Sims the ability to influence others. Next to the aspiration meter on the control panel is the new influence meter. The more friends a Sim has, the more capacity their influence meter will have. Influencing other Sims requires points. Some of the wants that a Sim has will also give them influence points when they are achieved. The wants that also give influence points will have a blue border around them. Once they have influence points built up, a Sim can influence another to do things like clean up, pull pranks, or do class assignments. To influence another Sim, the player just needs to click on the other Sim like they would for any other interaction. Influence is one of the options on the little menu, and once that is selected, the options for which activities the Sim can be influenced to do are shown. The Sim being influenced could not do the action depending on the relationship they have with the Sim attempting to influence them. I have only done it a few times because I have been forgetting that it is an option.
The Goth family came in the original game and made the transition into The Sims 2, though they were a bit different. They family now had two children, and Bella, the mother, was missing. There were some clue type things included in the game, like where she was supposed to have been seen last. Maxis said before the game was released that she was in the game somewhere to be found. Once the game came out and people couldn't find her, they said she would be easier to find once they released a patch. After The Sims 2: University was released, I did read some things online that said that Bella was easier to find. I do occasionally visit a board that has information about the games on it and have seen where some people said they did find her once they got the expansion. I tried to find her after I got The Sims 2 and got discouraged and I didn't even work at as long as some people did. I haven't tried looking for her since I installed the expansion though I might again at some point.
I have had a few strange things happen while playing The Sims 2: University that I think are some sort of glitch in the game. I was playing at a Greek house on one of the campuses and decided that I wanted a few of them to go to a community lot, mostly so they could get their own cell phones. Things went fine until I got the little popup about if I was sure I wanted to leave the lot to go to a community lot. I clicked yes and then the popup asking that question came right back up. I kept clicking yes and got nowhere so I finally said no and game play continued on. I decided to try again and the same thing happened. I even left the lot without saving, but when I went back, two taxis were still sitting out front. I haven't tried to go to a community lot from there again. I have gone to community lots from the other Greek house on campus without trouble, though I have only tried it once there. I have had a different problem at that house. A Sim that was playing chess seemed to be stuck in the sitting position even after I had him stop playing the game. His upper body was twisted strangely too and he moved across the floor that way like he was walking. It was kind of funny, but very strange. He wouldn't join the group research while in that position. I finally got him back to normal by having him do something, but I can't remember what it was now. I did read about things sort of like that happening in The Sims 2. I didn't have the problems until I installed the expansion. Since some of these issues were around in The Sims 2, I would have hoped that they would have gotten those things worked out for the expansion. It does get irritating.
The Sims 2: University added a lot more to the game than I originally thought it would. The aspects of the game related to getting all the class work things done to keep the grades up does get a little tedious for me at times, but it wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be when I first heard about the expansion. There are other new things that I think did add a lot of new options to the game. I think the expansion is worth having for people that really enjoy The Sims 2. There are some things that I hope will turn up in future expansions. I still miss the pets. The second expansion. The Sims 2: Nightlife is out now and I will probably be adding that to my Sims collection before long.
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