Written by  :  Indra is stressed (20719)
Written on  :  Jul 12, 2007
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars

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An X-rated The Sims 2 that surprisingly shows promise!

The Good

Heh. Ever played those games where you had one assumption in mind and it turns out to be far from what you expected? Well, this is one of those games, at least for me.

Playboy: The Mansion really isn't a game a veteran gamer would be drooling to buy at the stores. And I need not tell you why. When you have this image of a "porn/adult" game, usually that's what you expect. Like my more perverse side that plays hentai games, you expect porn, nudity, sex scenes. What you do not expect is a decent plot, addictive game play, or anything else in mind that you expect from your favorite gaming genre.

Now what did I not expect in this game?

Whoa! It must be signs of Armageddon! Strategic gameplay from a game called Playboy: The Mansion. Sometimes good things come from the least expected sources...er...in a perverse kind of way :)

The game is an almost complete copy-cat of The Sims 2, apparently looks like the same game engine and similar style of game play, though missing a lot of integral parts that eventually made Sims 2 a hit.

But what's different in this game that makes it worth mentioning? There is an element that Sims 2 does not provide: strategic gameplay. Strategy in this game refers to you publishing successful series of your playboy magazine. Each issue must have the following:
  • A centerfold shot of a hot model;
  • An article created by your journalists;
  • An essay from a "famous" 3rd party;
  • A location shot regarding a certain issue;
  • An interview of a "famous" person.
Unlike Sims 2, this game has a mission. Sims 2 is basically a free-flow game, there are little plots and sub-missions but no overall macro objective. In this game, all those little plots and sub-missions revolve around one thing and one thing only: issue a hit issue of playboy every month!

Doing this involves almost similar gameplay with Sims 2 --> Communication and Social skills. Getting to know clients, famous people, your staff. Make them to trust and like you, which will eventually make them do what you want them to do.

This game also has a more serious approach to topics. Politics, fashion, gaming, movies, etc. are all elements an audience wants to read in a magazine. You have to create articles and a selling image that promotes that idea for your magazine to be interesting to a target audience.

These topics also act like a "personality trait" in each NPC (Non-Player Character) in the game. Journalists who like politics will create better articles when asked to write one down on politics. Whereas if asked to do an interview with a person that doesn't like politics, this may create a low-quality material of an interview.

The game also seems to qualify as an RPG, as personal and NPC character development is crucial in creating high-quality material for your magazine. A photographer with high charm and intelligence will come up with better photographs. So will a journalist. Asking an essay from an "intelligent" NPC will have better quality than one from a less intelligent one.

Everything else in the game is partially important, like buying furniture or renovating your mansion.

The Bad

The game unfortunately could have been more. The strategic values in the game though commendable, are not complex enough to qualify as a serious strategy game. The fact that the game revolves around this more rather than being "just a porn game" shows a bit of inconsistency on what target audience this game was primary intended for.

There are sex scenes and bare-naked women in the game, but unfortunately for playboy, that isn't the selling pitch of the game. It's just a feature. Even more so since sex-scenes are more humorous in nature than actually being a hot-steamy love episode in other adult games.

This is the main issue of the game. Does it want to be a strategy game or does it want to be a porn game? A tough choice considering the title.

There are a lot of elements lacking the in game compared to Sims 2. The element lacking is called "elegance".

The "elegance" factor in my definition refers to little things you may not notice and take for granted in Sims 2. This refers to dance moves, social gestures, the "Sims language". I noticed in Sims 2, they took these elements very seriously, whereas in Playboy, they did not. Dance moves were something you'd find in a cheap discotheque; the voice-overs were somewhat boring and duplicated from Sims 2 in a bad way, etc.

In the end, the game could have been more. Though I do realize to a certain point...were the developers "allowed" to do more?

The Bottom Line

Despite professional reviews, I will say that this game is worth a shot. And I must say this game has a lot of educational value! No, not the sex, you pervert!

The game allows certain "bonuses" to be opened. These bonuses refer to real-life interviews by famous people interviewed by playboy: Michael Jordan, Whoopie Goldberg, etc.

The interviews are really, really goood! I must say, the game changed my perception about the magazine. It's not only about nude pictures!