Teens' grades, skill points, and job performances are doubly important now, because they directly affect how much scholarship money sims receive. That money can make the difference between living in crowded dorms or renting nice little two-story homes all for themselves. Early skill-building will need a new focus, too. Ambitious players often start grooming sims for specific careers as soon as the sims become toddlers and are able to boost skills. But now you'll need to consider not only the requirements for an intended career, but also for a degree program.
College grants sims many bonuses, like extra want slots, the ability to switch aspirations, and new job opportunities.
Once at college, sims will find campuses organized by the same principle as sim neighborhoods. Each campus is divided into separate areas, like dorms, libraries, student unions, and gyms, and these can only be visited by calling a taxi. In other words, they're like a collection of isolated community lots. That brings us to one of The Sims 2 University's major flaws. The community-lot implementation in the core game is already a big hassle. To go to a lot, you have to make your sim call a taxi. Then you have to wait for the taxi to arrive. Then the sim has to get in, sit through a loading screen, pick a destination, sit through another loading screen, and then repeat the process in reverse order when returning home. In other words, the core game discourages you from making sims leave their homes, and the expansion discourages you from making them leave their campus lodgings.
Nevertheless, the dorms are always hopping with activity--though that can cause major slowdowns--and sims are always dropping by private residences unannounced. Your sim might be sitting down to a refreshing meal after class, and suddenly the school mascot will barge in, followed by a streaker. Your sims will get to meet their professors, too. In fact, they can schmooze with them to improve grades, and they can even sleep with them.
Overexuberant frat boys chase down a pledge.
You'll still have to worry about getting good grades the old-fashioned way, though. Semesters fly by in a matter of days, which means you need to do generic homework assignments, get tutoring, and/or boost skills to get your academic-performance rating high enough before finals roll around. Do well and you get on the dean's list, in addition to earning a juicy grant, which cash-strapped college sims can sure benefit from. For extra simoleons, you can also perform temporary odd jobs, like serving coffee, rapping for tips, or selling off other students' dorm furniture (an oversight by Maxis?). However, there are no regular jobs like those teen and adult sims can get.
Eventually, you'll need to declare a major from among 11 choices, and once you graduate, you can start career tracks partway through instead of at the lowly beginnings. Just as importantly, graduating sims can get into exclusive new careers, including those involving the paranormal, show business, art, and natural science. The last choice seems a bit redundant, given the existing scientist career, but the others are welcome additions. All feature colorful new career-reward objects that can perform amazing feats, like bringing sims back from the dead.
As your sims progress through college, they gain other bonuses, like two extra want slots and the ability to lock in two wants at a time. When they reach their junior years, they can even change their life aspirations. Furthermore, there's now a random lifetime aspiration want that, if satisfied, can lock a sim into platinum status for the rest of his or her days.
The Sims 2 University isn't all about grades and careers; it gives your sims plenty of time for extracurricular shenanigans, since class time is limited to a few hours a day, during which your sims march offscreen for a while and return later. After you return from class, you can rush a fraternity or sorority, which is a timed minigame where you need to schmooze current members. You can start your own Greek house and make pledges do all the household dirty work, though there's a glitch that can cause your Greek sims to repeatedly run offscreen for pizza at the drop of a hat. You can streak around a dorm, which, like the pranks, is surprisingly dull. And, of course, you can engage in usual sim free-time activities like dancing, watching TV, and relating to other sims.
One of the great things about The Sims 2 is how it presents a funny, familiar picture of the joys and trials of domestic family life. But the basic Sims 2 formula of focusing on home life doesn't translate too well to the university experience. College is about getting away from home, and many core college experiences happen outside the dorm or apartment. Heck, your sims never even see the inside of a classroom, which is not only the site of learning, but also of much college socializing. College is also about becoming an independent adult and doing adult things, but The Sims 2 University presents a bland, bowdlerized version of life at a university. In its cartoony way, The Sims 2 gets to the core of everyday home life, but The Sims 2 University skirts around a lot of the core of college life.
Will they let him into class like that? New looks for young adult sims.
Nevertheless, The Sims 2 University is still a big success in other ways. Players who love the strategy and management elements of The Sims 2 will find loads of intriguing new options and challenges as they lead their sims to fame and fortune. A deceptively deep strategy game just got deeper. The great new music and fun new items, like the instruments, are icing on the cake. So fans were rightly skeptical of the college-life theme, but this expansion pack still manages to pack in a bunch of exciting features that many Sims fanatics will be able to enjoy.