Those little computer people known as The Sims have invaded nearly every video game platform there is since their debut in 1999 on the PC. Since then, the series has arguably been at its best on the PC, both in The Sims and The Sims 2, though the new PSP version does try new things and succeeds at several of them. Unfortunately, this new version of The Sims 2 has too many problems to be strongly recommended.
The PSP version of The Sims 2 doesn't attempt to reproduce all the complexity of the original PC game (and that's probably for the best). So, there's no DNA, sims don't have "memories" of what happens to them, and there's no aging, either. Instead, the new game reinterprets several of the series' features--for instance, it still lets you create a customized "sim" character with a specific personality and personal needs (or "motives," like hunger, boredom, and exhaustion) and with "aspirations," which are driving life goals that determine what kind of minor "want" goals will appear for them each day. However, the PSP game doesn't feature the PC game's "fears" (the opposite of wants)--instead, the game has a general "sanity" meter that fills up when you accomplish wants and that empties out when you fail. Also, the game includes an entirely new take on socializing. While the series has always emphasized character interactions (especially humorous ones between characters with different personalities), the PSP game uses a new timing-based minigame that requires you to match the abstract icons that accompany your neighbors' enthusiastic "simlish" gibberish speech.
But even though the PSP game makes the wise decision to not try to cram in everything from the original game, it does feature a surprising amount of continuity from the previous games. For instance, one of the first characters you meet in the game had mysteriously disappeared in the PC version of The Sims 2. Also, the entire PSP game takes place in Strangetown, an arid suburb modeled after Roswell, Arizona, where aliens, zombies, and other supernatural creatures terrorize the populace and make the locals a little "strange." In fact, your entire neighborhood is "strange"--you'll run into an inventor with a robot wife, get your car repaired at a disappearing garage, and encounter other weird happenings. The setting and humorous text dialogue you'll have with your neighbors do a really good job of setting the mood, as do the game's new collectible items: secrets, which you can find lying on the ground or through conversation and sell for in-game money. There are even minigames that make perfect sense, like the surprisingly fast-paced "whack-a-zombie" game that requires you to pummel zombies that try to rise from their graves with a shovel.
Unfortunately, these great new ideas are compromised by a number of issues that really get in the way of enjoying the game. The worst and most obvious problem with the game is the constant loading. Performing just about any action--going indoors or outdoors, playing a minigame, beginning a conversation with someone, ending a conversation with someone--causes the game to load for a good second or two. It's extremely jarring and completely disrupts the flow of the game, and it makes tasks like developing your house by designing it and buying new furniture much more tiresome than it should have been.