Previews

Sims Wii

Becoming a construction expert is an easy job to master, when it's done in the Sims style

Blimey. This came from nowhere this month, and watching the stubby-limbed Chibi-faced characters of the Japanese trailer (Chibi being the form of highly stylised drawing in which the body is about the same size as the head. Chibi is used to describe a small person or child; but often in a derogatory way), you'd be hard pushed to recognise this as an actual Sims game, so alien does it seem from what came before. A radical Japan-ification has taken place - The Sims now sporting a distinct Animal Crossing/Harvest Moon vibe.

Greater construction control is promised to be on the way. You'll be constructing your own home, houses for other residents, businesses - going against the pre-designed communal area approach of previous Sims titles - as well as general eye-pleasing greenery. While we're promised the ability to design our own town, the game will decide how to populate the world - much like Animal Crossing.

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With house construction, EA Japan are really going all out to accommodate The Sims, both literally and figuratively, on the Wii. The remote pointer can replicate the PC's mouse cursor control infinitely better than a clumsy analogue stick. It's a case of pointing, picking up, dragging and dropping. No opportunity for cowboy builders here.

A detailed character creator has also been revealed. Like the Mii creation, it focuses on facial details over clothes and body shape. It would've been good to have used our Miis instead - no matter how hard you try, you're not going to be able to make a likeness of yourself in-game. Unless you happpen to have a rectangular Bomberman-style head, that is.

But, though simplified, the faces are capable of wearing numerous goofy expressions - from angry frowns to googly eyes - which are used to indicate what's going on in their little Sim minds much more effectively than a thought bubble or meter-bar ever could. Online functions - visiting other towns perhaps? - and DS connectivity have also been mentioned in development plans; hopefully The Sims will fill the house-developing, townvisiting gap until the inevitable Animal Crossing game rears its own oddlyshaped head.

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