Ok, so Iâ€™m a closet â€œThe Simsâ€ player. I liked the Sims, I liked the Sims 2, and I do occasionally jump back into my virtual neighborhood to see how my peeps are doing. I was all excited about The Movies, a game which is a Sim-style take on creating movies. I anticipated all kind of cool creative movies I could make, basically a machinima package. Yes, you can spend hours making movies in the game, but the final result doesnâ€™t equal even a portion of the time wasted getting the movie to be how you want it to be.
The game starts off in the year 1920, where you have to progress through the standard campaign mode fair. You start with very little in the way of buildings. As you get cast and crew, and make buildings, you unlock new buildings, as well as new options. The game has a sort of in-game tutorial which really does allow you to learn quickly, while still getting a feeling that you are accomplishing something.
The gameâ€™s UI is overall very nice. There are little ribbons of light which show you what you can do with the currently selected object, so you arenâ€™t really ever at a total loss. The issue, however, comes into play in the way that the game has you handling objects. Want to hire an actor? Grab a little person standing outside your main building, and drag them into the â€œHire Actorâ€ room in the building. This sounds great, but later in the game when you have tons of buildings, and tons of people running around everywhere itâ€™s a chore to grab the guy, then scroll to the building, and then drop them into the proper room. It would be nice to have some easy-shortcut tools to get people to go or be where you want them to go or be.
So as you make buildings, and sets, you need to hire builders and janitors to upkeep the buildings, and your movie lot. You obviously also need directors, actors, extras, and movie crews to make your masterpieces. You get scripts, and then match up all the pieces, a director, a few sets, a few actors, and viola. The problem with all this is that itâ€™s just not fun. Thereâ€™s far too much micromanagement. You have to keep the actors happy, and not bored. You have to grow their relationships with each other. It just isnâ€™t the same type of fun that the Sims gave you as you watch your little peopleâ€™s personalities take shape, and grow.
The entire time I was awaiting the â€œdirectorâ€™s chairâ€ in my movies. Turns out that you need to beat the entire campaign mode before you can get all the extras that you can use in the sandbox feature of the game. Once you do all of this (which I add was not fun or worth the effort), you can start to get involved with the movie creation.
Before delving into titleâ€™s namesake, that is the ability to create and edit your movies, letâ€™s hit on the non-game play issues. The graphics were very ample. They werenâ€™t quite as good as say Sims 2, but the animations, music, and sounds did come together to give a nice package. The game did have a decent feel to it. I wasnâ€™t mad at the way that the beautiful movie lot, rendered in all its detailed glory, looked or played. So now that you are aware that the look and feel of the game add, and not take away, letâ€™s get to what youâ€™ve really been waiting for.
Was the movie creation worth it? Not really. There are tons of things you can do in post-production with the scenes, and voice-overs, and special effects. You can change the lighting, and watch the little animated filmed snippets. It just wasnâ€™t fun. The amount of time that you will spend getting your movie to look and feel just the way you want it, doesn’t equal the fun or the pride of sitting back and watching your movie.
Overall The Movies, as with the previous titles like Fable, and Black and White, were much hype, much talk, and just not as fun as they could or should be. If you are a super-micro manager you may enjoy this game, if you are a fan of simulation games go play The Sims or Rollercoaster Tycoon till the next great hit comes out.
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