So I’ve been playing with Free Time for a couple of weeks now and thought I’d post up my thoughts on it.
Like previously mentioned, I think that the UI is starting to feel mega clutter after this expansion. All the little icons seem completely randomly placed and offer no intuition whatsoever.
What I like about it is that the items that there are in the game have a lot of things to do with them. There are new appliances, new sports activities, new instruments, etc. Nearly every category has at least one new item to play with which I absolutely love. The new lifetime aspirations rewards are kind of cool, though I kind of wish that they had done them using normal rewards because I don’t appreciate the extra interface to do it. The rewards all seem geared to let you enjoy doing things within the game more. So a good majority of these new rewards allow you to make more money, earn more vacation days, learn skills more quickly, have your desires decay less, and then there are a few more options for things to do like summon aliens and help give people financial advice for money on the computer.
One issue I had with lifetime aspirations is that you can easily get all of them, and you start a new adult with over 1/3 of them. However, one of the negatives is that a lot of the new objects are purely decorational. I knew there would be a lot of new decorations but there are far too many new decorations, the majority of it was, which I find boring.
Another issue I’ve had has been with the hobbies itself. I was really looking forward to the hobbies in this expansion as I really thought it was a good idea, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem like they really did anything with it. I thought there’d be new objects to create, even if it was decorational, but really the main thing they added was the ability to browse the web, subscribe to magazines, and blog. This is very uninteresting. They also added secret lots but the lots themselves only really offer the chance to meet others and compete with them in your hobby. At the top level you become “in the zone” which lowers your decay rate while you are doing an activity that corresponds with the hobby but it takes so long to get to that point that you will likely already be maxxed out in the skill associated with the hobby by the time you get there so it offers really little in game benefit.
There doesn’t seem to be any other real purpose. One nice thing about it is that if you’ve gone up one of the hobbies, your sim does seem more inclined to go and do said hobby in his free time, thus it does tend to make it more manageable to raise skills of your sim for a job.
Other nice things about the expansion deal with the little things in it. You can now can have friends of kids grow up. The sewing & pottery look cool. You can put frames on homemade paintings. The new careers are cool, already got the new detective career reward which allows you to spy on neighbors and raise both your fun & social bars (that’s all I can figure it does but is kinda nice). I actually like that you can summon aliens as alien abduction never happened near enough previously, and of course the genie returning to the game. And lastly the addition of custom music channels, though it is fairly buried in the channel selection radial.
Overall, I’m fairly disappointed by the expansion. It is a bad reminder that EA has had issues with the series of late. I think they are running out of ideas, and the few good ones they have, they don’t have the time to execute due to needing a new expansion every 6 months. The hobbies premise was an astounding one but unfortunately never saw a good end to it. It is like they had the idea but didn’t have the time to do it.
Still I appreciate the additions we got, and thus I feel the need to give it a non-horrid grade but not a good one. I give it a C. Very average of an expansion. It had good things but overall it didn’t wow me at all.
Currently my expansion standing of Sims2 expansions is as follows… Seasons, Open for Business, Bon Voyage, Pets, University, Freetime, and Nightlife. It is very possible that this is the end of Sims 2 expansions considering they have begun advertising for Sims 3, but it seems to me that Sims 1 had at least 1 expansion after Sims 2 launched. Because of this I still expect Sims 3 to be fall 2009, and because of this I think there will be at least 2-3 expansions for Sims 2 unless they reduce the number to just 1 per year instead of 2.