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on November 14, 2006
After some disappointing "Fun packs", the Sims 2 lineup finally has an addition that's worth it! As the name implies, this expansion is all about Pets. Your sims can have dogs (small or large), cats, birds and womrats (basically a guinea pig). There are a lot of fun interactions to run the sims through with their pets. Now for the details:

PROS:

* Pets! Just about enough said there.

* As with the people sims, pet sims are very well portrayed. The movements and behaviors are very realistic. Just have a people sim play with a cat with a teaser toy and you'll see what I mean.

* Creating a Pet is as easy as creating a people sim. You can modify their features, give them various colored collers, etc. With little effort, I was able to create a cat that looks and behaves very much like our real life cat.

* Create-a-pet also has ability to create a breed. Don't find the breed you want? Make one! There is one exception, noted in the CONS section below, though.

* Werewolves! Don't get too friendly with that wolf that visits your lot...unless your people Sim is a Knowledge Sim. They all seem to WANT to become a werewolf for some reason! The matchmaker from Nightlife sells cures for lycanthropy if you're unfortunate, though. (Hmm...Sims 2 had Aliens, University added Zombies, Nightlife added Vampires, Open for business added robots, and now we have werewolves. Makes me wonder what the upcoming Season expansion will add...).

* Pets can have jobs that add a little income to the family as well. Service Pets, Security Pets and Show Pets are in high demand. Just be ready to teach them tricks so that they can get those promotions.

* Some nice new objects, floor tiles and wallpapers! Most of it is Pet themed as should be expected, but these are actually more useful than much of what is in the "Fun packs".

* New Tools. The "Hammer" tool makes remodeling so much nicer! If you want to make a room bigger, add some new walls outside of a current room, then use the Hammer tool to get rid of the one wall that's blocking the new addition from the old. Much nicer than having to live with all of the previous walls! Also, the walls you remove are assigned a value and then that much is added back to your funds, much like selling old objects to replace with new. Remodeling isn't near as expensive as it used to be either.

* Leveling Tool. Another new tool allows you, with one click, to level an entire lot to the level of the sidewalk. You used to have to drag the cursor over the whole lot (and you had to exclude the boundary squares) to level it and even then, there was no guarantee that it would be even with the sidewalk. This new tool makes it much more simple and quick. You can still use the old leveling tools if you want variable terrain, though.

* Unlockable Goodies. I can understand someone wanting everything available at the beginning, but unlockable content adds a little reward for accomplishing certain milestones. This encourages more play (like we really need more incentive to play this game!).

* Skunk! (Some might consider this a con). Watch out for Stinky Skunk. He (she?) will visit your lot sooner or later. What happens if Stinky Skunk doesn't like your pet? Well...let's just say you'd better have a people sim prepared to give your pet a bath and fast!

CONS:

* The Create a Pet/Breed utility, though great, for some reason doesn't allow you to modify a dog's leg length. Because of this, creating a believable Dachshund (wiener dog) or Corgi is, as yet, impossible. I'm not a huge Dachshund fan (don't dislike them either), but I do like Corgis, so that was disappointing.

* Bugs! For some reason, some people sims have their wants disappear. Having another controllable sim ask them what they want is one way around this, but it's a pain when you just need one more want satisfied to put the sim in gold status, but you don't know what they want! That's a new bug that I've noticed with Sims 2 Pets. Many of the bugs from previous Sims 2 expansions are still there as well. Does EA know what a patch is?

* Would have liked to have seen a new "Pet Lover" Aspiration in addition to the ones we already have. There is one Lifetime Aspiration (one that creates permanent Platinum Status) for having 6 pets reach the top of their career chains (I believe this one is a potential life time aspiration for Fortune Sims), so the prospect wasn't completely ignored.

* Taking care of and training Pets can be work. If you're a glutton for punishment, get a sim couple who are still early in their careers with a toddler to take care of, then give them a male and female dog, have the dogs spawn puppies, and then start a home business (assuming you have Open for Business expansion). If you accomplish this and keep everyone happy, my hat is off to you! :-)

* Birds and Womrats work similar to the Aquarium that already existed in the game (though you can interact with them, unlike the fish). If you get busy with other things, they're easy to forget and they die (even if you keep the food dish full). Birds can be taught to talk and they will fly around if you let them out of their cage (not sure why I put this paragraph in the CONS section). I don't find the Saltwater aquarium any more exciting than the original one.

In summary, this is indeed the best Expansion Pack yet for Sims 2. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would give this a 7 for fun alone. The bugs, though not show stoppers, still led me to give it an overall score of 4 stars. I still strongly recommend the game, though. The fun does overcome the occasional frustration of the bugs. This one will easily keep me occupied until the upcoming Seasonal/Weather Expansion (I'm assuming every house will need a roof for more than cosmetic reasons when that one comes out).
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on October 20, 2006
Awesome expansion. I got mine yesterday in the mail (pre-ordered here at Amazon) and played it all afternoon.

This expansion not only gives you pets, but also includes a huge variety of new items for your household..new furniture pieces, new decor, etc. It also gives you a few new interaction options that weren't available before. With this, when your Sim calls a friend, now you can not only invite the friend over to your house, but also your friend's entire household over with ONE telephone call! How cool is that?!!

The pet accessories are pretty cool, too. There are different styles of pet beds, toys, etc to provide everything your pet needs while at the same time not clashing with your decor.

You can also open up neighborhood pet shops!! I don't know if it requires Open For Business (which I have) or not in order to do that, but I'm already working on my first pet store.

This expansion is going to provide loads of fun while waiting for the next one (All Four Seasons) that's coming out early next year in 2007.

Pets is definitely worth the money to get!!
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VINE VOICEon October 30, 2006
When Maxis came out with the original expansion pack of a similar nature to this one with The Sims 1 "Unleashed" I was less than thrilled, which is funny because I do genuinely love animals. I actually only *bought* the game then because Maxis, likely sensing some potential uneasiness in their cult-like consumer base, included five new career paths.

When Pets came out I had a similar reaction. Although I'm sure the integration of adding an entire new species to the game is tough, it lacks in adding actual gameplay for the user. Unlike Unleashed, there is no expansion of the neighborhood (mostly because it's unnecessary), there is no vegetable gardens to plant, there are no career paths for Sims, and the theme included is not nearly as nice as the French Quarter theme included in Unleashed.

What you DO get however, is access to a wide variety of pets - about 24 styles of cats, and at least double or triple that of small and large dogs. It kind of felt like the game was meant for dog lovers since many of the pet houses/decor etc. felt geared towards dogs, but then again, there are more breeds. When it comes to getting a pet, you can create them in the Create-A-Family mode, which gives you several customization options such as ear height, fur style, eye colour, leg thickness and so on, but it's not nearly as detailed as I had hoped. The other ways of adopting pets involve visiting a pet shop (several are included in the game) or adopting one.

There are new jobs in the game, but for pets. Yes now you can pimp out your beloved kitty or puppy to bring home a few hundred bucks per day, in fact a new lifetime aspiration for your sim could be based on this very task. I believe there are five new jobs with about three to five levels of difficulty and pay increases. With each promotion you have to train your pet to learn a trick - which can be done by your sim or by hiring a trainer (who isn't nearly as cool as the safari-esque guy from UL). With each promotion you also unlock a new type of fur such as star-pattern or green to decorate your pup or cat.

For those of you that want kittens or puppies (who are extremely small) you can adopt them (and change their appearance slightly by using a mirror) or breed your pets - which is more difficult than it sounds since you have to make your *uncontrollable* pets build relationships with one another, as well as build your relationship with each pet.

In terms of sim-pet content, there are a number of interactions you can take part in. Whether scolding or praising your pet for their behaviour (including scratching up the furniture or sleeping on your bed), playing with them, or taking them for walks, the animations are really good and the pets are adorable, in particular some of the larger dogs. Be warned though, you can't control your pets. You also will likely get sick of the short range of interactions that actually exist - there are only 2-3 ways to play, and show love to your pet. Also be warned, you CANNOT take your pet to University, unless you buy a bird or wormrat (ie: gerbil).

Finally the issue I've had with most of the Maxis expansions to date is the lack of actual content beyond the new interactions or neighborhoods. If you were hoping for oodles of pet stuff, don't. There are only a couple of toys, several GIGANTIC houses that only let one pet sleep in them at a time, a few pet bowls, and the bird cage or wormrat cage. I did fill a fairly big pet store (using the OFB expansion) but it was mostly due to the sheer size of the pet beds. For decor there is one new silghtly bizarro (as in unrelated to animals) theme - "Space" which includes everything from new bed sheets to lamps to doors and windows, plus a big schwack of pet-themed art.

Ultimately I think most people will buy Pets, and probably enjoy it, but I don't think it added enough to constitute a full expansion. UL actually ended up being one of the best expansions with the original Sims, but Pets' content is limited and repetitive. If you are a diehard for either animals or The Sims, then get it, otherwise, wait till it hits the bargain bins in a year or two.
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on December 18, 2006
The Sims 2 has been out for a while now, and I've been looking forward to the pet expansion the whole time. It was one of the most fun parts of the original expansions for The Sims.

With Pets, now you get to create your pets, using either their collection of breeds of dogs and cats, or create your own. The layers you'll need to create to make your own unique breed can be a little confusing at first but if you start out with one of their pre-made animals and experiment a little, you'll have it in no time.

One of the best new things about this expansion versus the Unleashed expansion for the first Sims is that you can train your animals. If you've played The Sims 2 already, than you'll be familiar with the mechanics enough to understand what's happening. You can also encourage or discourage your animals to do different things (like playing nicely with others) much like you can children or teenagers in the game.

The most useful feature of this expansion is the ability to send your animals out into the world to make money for you. They can get a wide variety of jobs, just like your humans and it'll help supplement your income, or make you not need to work at all, depending on how well you continue to train your pets.

Graphics: I love the look of the pets. They're more interactive, and more detailed than in the Unleashed expansion for The Sims. And there's always the ability to improve upon the games choices by creating your own layers and colors and patterns.

Controls: As with all The Sims and Sims 2 expansions you'll always run into bugs. My first one was while trying to give my dog a bath. The game didn't tell me that the bathtub had to have a certain space of room in order for the dog to be able to get into it. So it took a while to get things positioned correctly.

Sound: They've added a lot of new sounds for both your Sims and their pets, especially while training. Teach your dog (or cat) to Play Dead. It's by far the most fun to train.

As will all Sims games, how your Sims and pets interact and progress depends on you. There will always be strays in your neighborhood, or friendly animals that stop by to knock over you trashcan. The Sims go on forever now in generations. There's always something new to do or discover.
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on November 19, 2006
I own all The Sims 2 expansion packs so far, and I own all the Sims 1 expansion packs. Overall, I just think that The Sims 2: Pets wasn't as exciting as it looked.

You cannot control your pets(which is understandable), and there are new interactions between them and your sims comparing to the Unleashed expansion. But, with that said, there are also interactions that were not in The Sims 2: Pets- but were in Unleashed. For instance, your sims can't tell their dog to attack a disliked neighbor anymore. You can't have a dogshow, either.

I think that it is great that you get to create your own animal rather than just picking a breed. Doing such is definitely the best feature of the game. Having pets for your sims is a great thing, but I believe there's really not as much excitement to it as it looks. It wasn't living up to the expectation I had set it to- but perhaps that was my fault. If you had to chose between this and Open For Business- I recommend Open For Business.

The Sims 2 pets is for younger children, in my opinion. Not as enriching for adults or mature figures.

Pros:

+Great variety of pets

+Easy to create/customize pets

+Can rename pets

+Nice objects that come along with it

+Pets keep your sims social

+Pets can do many things; wreck your furniture, sleep on your bed, etc.

+Wolves

+Interesting tricks

Cons:

-No more animal shows

-No attacking neighbors

-Limited interactions, it seems.

-Other sims interact with your pets and it gets annoying

-Pets don't always follow out commands
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on October 31, 2006
Just want to say I love the game. This expansion pack has really slowed my playing down, and that's a good thing. I've loved creating dearly loved pets that have passed away. The learning curve wasn't too bad in the "create a pet" and I now have very realistic renditions of real former pets running around my neighborhood. It took me a little longer to figure out how to turn one of my sims into a werewolf. The secret is TREEs, lots and lots of trees. Fill up your lot with the cheapest tree and for every 4 trees it increases the chance of the wolf Leader to show up at your house by 1 percent. Having children and todlers also increases the chance of the main wolf showing up. (It's black and only shows up at night) Once you make friends with it, it will give you a "friendly" nibble. You have a werewolf! After that, it's easy to spread werewolves around the neighborhood. Its also easy to cure them; just call the matchmaker on the phone. Fun, lots of fun!
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on December 19, 2006
This game is great. But in more detail, the thing I like most is the unlimited possibilities in creating pets. Yes, you can only create cats and dogs, but still, you can make it as cute or as ugly as you desire. There are many breeds to choose from if you don't feel like creating one yourself, but you can still choose a breed and edit it. As the gameplay goes, there are many random happenings. One is the random occurences of pets. They don't come right into your house, but if you leave anything valuable outside, say goodbye. There is one really bad dog named Webster in Pleasantview, and man, he makes me wish this game let you have some sort of weapon. But still, it makes it fun to see neighboring dogs to come up and visit. As for new features, you have alot of new technological devices, such as futuristic phones and floors. Another feature is you can call a person and invite the whole household over. A nitpick feature, but it still adds to gameplay. You can also have small pets such as gerbils or birds. You don't have to go to the store to buy these animals, but you rather just go to buy mode and choose the cage and the animal comes with it, with a price. There has been numerous complaints of this game slowing down your computer, but in my case, there hasn't been a problem. I have noticed a couple more lagging moments, but nothing too annoying. Overall, this game adds great depth and alot more random fun to the Sims 2 experience.
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on November 7, 2006
Admittedly, I was not exactly thrilled at the concept of this EP. I hated Unleased, and was not sure how I would feel about Pets. Of course, like any true Simmer, I bought it. Here is an early review:

Basic Game Play: 3/5

Pets themselves seem to be fine, you are not able to control them, but you can see their needs. The stray walk-bys no longer leave puddles on your lot. The Toddler/pet interaction is probably one of the best features in the game. The Sims Wants and Fears constantly revolving around their pets grows old quickly, as does their obsession with the pet itself. The Commands that can be taught to the pet are also worth a few laughs.

Objects: 4/5

There are quite a few new objects in this game. Obviously, most concern your pets. However, I think they were a little skimpy on the pets' stuff. I do like to Atomic Collection and the new kids room as well.

CAS: 1/5

No new hair, clothes, make-up, etc. They could have at least added some of the Pet Eye Genetics to the Sim Genetic list. This is one of the biggest disapointments in the game. The Pets aspect of CAS is pretty good. You can customize just about every part of their body and layer each item for an even more customized look. This is the lone factor that gets a star in this category.

Build: 5/5

The building objects in this game are the best so far. The only drawback is the octoganal wall. They can only be built as ix1x1x1x1x1x1x1 and cannot be drawn further. The Walls, Floors, Fireplaces, etc are a much needed and welcome addition. Also new, are floor lines, or room dividers. These are simple lines drawn on the floor that allow a large room to be broken up. This is usefull when using multiple walls in floors in a large area.

My overall opinion is that this is the lowest rated of the EP's, but is a welcome additon. For those who liked Unleashed, you'll find this to be your favorite. If you disliked Unleased, you won't be as fond of this games as the others, but it is still enjoyable.
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on November 6, 2006
My boyfriend got me the expansion for an early birthday surprise and I was thrilled. I'm a big Sims fan and I just love animals so it was a perfect gift. I found customizing the pets fun and easy, though I'm a bit upset that you can't change nose and paw pad colors - My cats are black and gray and both have matching nose and paw pads, but in the Sims 2 Pets they are stuck with pink noses and pads. The tabby striping could have more options too, but again I'm being picky. The selection of breeds, both cats and dogs, is impressive and I like the fact each cat breed is distinct. There could be more pet options like owning turtles, lizards, snakes, frogs, and mice, but the expansion is well done and well worth getting even without those added pets. The careers for your pets are fun and training your pets can be quite amusing. Overall, it is a great expansion to a great game.
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on October 22, 2006
I expected the Pets in the new Sims expansion to be fun, and I wasn't disappointed. The surprise is how many new objects and decor items there are. There are a lot new walls and floors that aren't too theme-specific, and will add a lot of good new looks to building new houses. The ability to used partial floor tiles in the floor grids to make patterns is a cool bonus. They even have carpet strips to put between carpeted and tiled floors for an even more realistic look. There are a lot of great furnishings too.

This game is really touching to me because I have been able to make Sim versions of all the beloved pets that I have had through the years. My son and I laughed hysterically at the photo portraits of the cats in the game; they are totally unphotogenic!

I have been disappointed with the Stuff Packs because of the lack of "stuff" in them; not a good value. However, the Pets expansion pack is a GREAT value all around, and I highly recommend it.
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