reviewed on PC
There is something primal about having a pet, something that evokes a deep sense of responsibility and perhaps even love. While humans have yet to master the art and technology needed to emulate a virtual pet that is lifelike enough to evoke genuine feelings, that doesn't stop us from trying. From physical incarnations like the Sony Aibo, to digital 'pets' like the Tamagotchi; from 'puppy simulators' like Nintendogs, even going so far as to create virtual 'pets' for virtual life. That is exactly what The Sims 2: Pets is all about, and it does a fairly good job simulating what it is like to have a cat or dog - apart from a few bugs here and there of course.
If you are familiar with The Sims 2 expansions, you already know what to expect: Specific thematic enhancements to an already solid game. Pets provides your Sims with a good 72 breeds of dogs and 30 breeds of cats, pre-made and ready to go out of the box. Just like the Sims themselves, there is a staggering array of options available to perfectly customize the example breeds. Simple changes, like changing coat color or length, to more expansive and drastic facial and body tweaks, it is all there. You can even choose each eye to be a different color. A skilled and dedicated enough individual should not have any problems recreating a reasonable facsimile - at least, not regarding scale. There is only two sizes of dog (small and large) and one size of cat, so you wind up having the largest dogs such as Great Danes and Mastiffs, scaled down a bit, and the smallest ones like Chihuahuas, scaled up. This does not affect the gameplay at all, and the lack of size difference is a staple for the Sims - there is no height difference between adults either.
There are three ways of bringing a Pet into a Sim's home, which are pretty similar to how other Sims join another household. First, you can create them at the Create-A-Family screen, just like a regular Sim. Second, you can adopt them from a Pet Adoption Service, which is similar to the Adoption Service for younger Sims. Finally, you can invite strays into your home, like inviting a friend Sim to move in. The Sims 2: Pets allows up to six Pets in a household, leaves the maximum number of Sims unchanged, but caps the number of total residents at ten.
Care of a Pet, like in real life, can be difficult. Pets have needs, like a Sim, but with the substitution of scratching (for cats) or chewing (for dogs) for the Sim's environment needs. They need to be fed, allowed to go to the bathroom, sleep, play, rest comfortably, socialize, and be bathed. In fact, Pets are so close to Sims, that they are almost like specialized Sim infants - they need to be taken care of, but at the same time you can't micromanage them like you would older Sims (and Pets are ambulatory). Like child Sims, Pets can be taught tricks - but instead of Speak, Walk, and Potty Trained, Pets can be taught to Come Here, Sit Up, Roll Over, Play Dead, Speak, and a handful of others. Some of the tricks are useful (Come Here), but most of them serve as Pet 'skills' - requirements for Pets to be promoted in their jobs.
Yup - Pets can get mini-jobs, like Sim teenagers. The job trees are relatively short, and smart dogs that are around Sims with a decent amount of free time should have no trouble learning the commands needed to launch them to the top of their career. Sims also have training related Wants, much like parent Sims wanting to teach child Sims. And that is yet another similarity between younger Sims and Pets. Heck, Pets have personalities too! There are three levels of Intelligence, Energy, Socialization, Behavior Towards Others, and Cleanliness. They even socialize like Sims, making friends and knowing who their relatives are. With so much being the same, you might begin to wonder what's different.
No Pros and Cons at this time