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Singles 2: Triple Trouble Review

GAME INFO
publisher: Deep Silver
developer: Koch Media
genre: Strategy

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
PIV 1000, 256MB RAM, 1GB HDD, 32MB video card
ESRB rating: n/a
homepage:
www.singles-the-game.com/

release date: May 27, 05
» All About Singles 2: Triple Trouble on ActionTrip


June 20, 2005
Branka "Nikerym" Todorovic

Who says video games can't be educational? Thanks to Rotobee's Singles 2, I have realized several very important things:

  1. It's good to be bisexual. As Woody Allen once suggested, your choices always double on Saturday night.
  2. When they say "No," women sometimes actually mean it. (This is a lie. Women always want me no matter what. - Smap)
  3. Buying a dozen mega-sized candles does not necessarily make you a Satanist.

This game also helped me realize I share a man's views on romance and dating. (Dating? Like grabbing the victim's genitals and giving them a friendly rub?) The core of Singles 2: Triple Trouble is the story mode, featuring the story of Josh and Anna. Josh is Anna's ex-boyfriend who has just moved in the same household with her. Neither of them were aware of that fact however, so the situation is at first tense and a bit awkward. Josh has now decided to win Anna's (broken) heart back, backed up with the wise counsel of his friend Magnet, the talkative baldheaded chap with an abhorrent fashion taste. When asked whether I wanted to play as Josh or Anna, I instantly opted for Josh, convinced that it would be easier to identify with him. I was right. As long as I live, I'll never understand what the hell is going on in women's heads. I've never been a subtle person myself, and I don't have a single romantic bone in my body. I've also never been possessed by a need to sit holding hands with someone under the moonlight and talk about things eternal and everlasting. Nothing is eternal, not even Japanese hardware, so in my world, it's the plain truth that matters and not these sweet nothings under the moon.

I also realized why I could never be a lesbian. In order to win my love's heart back, I was forced to do all sorts of humiliating and out-of-place things. Basically, I had to chase her like a dog with a tail between my legs, buying her presents that only a girl would appreciate or cooking romantic dinners just for the two of us. I was even forced to rummage through her personal stuff in order to understand her innermost desires. I ended up discovering some scary things in the process, but I'll leave that for you to discover. (Scabbies? - Smap)

Playing a lunatic and working my ass off so that I could surprise my girl with an oriental tent was my major preoccupation in the weeks to come. Of course, I also had to deal with improving my basic skills, so that I could prepare exotic dishes and repair electric appliances. No wonder all this led me to frustration, so I had to take my revenge and let my anger vent out. I started to frequent bars, pick up a conversation with a complete stranger, only to end up making out with them on the couch. This is where Allen's remark on bisexuality comes in play, as I wasn't limited only to the charms of the opposite sex. I found both sexes most useful when it came to improving my romantic and erotic skills, and Magnet proved to be a goldmine when it came to courting. While Anna was peacefully asleep at home, Magnet was teaching me the basics of French kissing, and being a thorough teacher that he was, I was soon ready for an advanced level. Go me!

Of course, it is always good to keep your eye on the ball: the primary objective *is* winning Anna's heart back, so occasional flings and meaningless affairs with pleasant people you may encounter in bars only serve for giving your... erm, confidence a boost. But with time, you learn life has many more things in store for you. The basic idea of the Singles - which is now three people in the same household - requires a bit of work on your end. Thus, you are assigned many different tasks during the game, and most of them serve for improving your skills and guiding you in the right direction. The objectives need to be completed successfully before they are replaced by new tasks, the purpose of which is to "make you a better man." For example, if you perform your duties as expected, you are rewarded with skill points, which you can assign to skills of your choice.

The main problem with Singles is that the gameplay lacks variety. Although story mode allows you to switch characters, the actual gameplay is rather tiresome and could be at best described as a drag. The game consists of monotonous repetition of the same actions, so even when you obtain new secondary objectives you won't be very immersed with the game. Singles is, of course, an oversimplified version of the Sims that focuses on the romantic side of life. It lacks the complexity and intricate mechanisms of the Sims, allowing your characters to express their needs and desires through several basic stats and limiting their actions to a number of mechanical, repetitive acts. The characters should definitely have been offered more choice when it came to expressing their feelings or simply reacting to the outside world. Their interaction with each other, as well as with their surroundings, seems rather limited. Visiting other locations is as fun as hanging around in your own flat (or getting repeatedly stabbed in your ass with a knife). I was bored out of my wits whether I decided to have a night out or stay at home and play the guitar. The repetitive interaction and idiotic conversations were all I seemed to get, or I wasn't looking at the right places. Maybe I should have visited my local dealer instead of buying presents for that tough-looking Goth with his nails painted black.

The set of actions designed for friendship, romance, and eroticism seemed useful enough, but I soon discovered the mechanism behind them was far more complex than I had previously imagined - "complex" in the sense that I could not understand the reactions of some characters to my character's wooing. It took me just one compliment to get a kiss in the cheek from my best male friend, and after paying him compliments ruthlessly for two hours we almost made it to bed. He was not willing to let me kiss him on the cheek though. On another occasion, I flirted with a girl for three days hoping I would finally get in her pants. She was described as self-conscious and "every macho man's nightmare," but as soon as I told her I loved her, she agreed to go to bed with me. The Sims do seem much more realistic when it comes to the intricacies of human relationships. Now, I understand that Singles was designed with people who want to get laid in mind, but I still admit I was surprised by the influence I seemed to have on people. It is sometimes too easy to get people into bed - the only tough nut to crack is Anna, but I almost decided on giving up on her when I realized how successful I was at luring others into sack. (If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with? - Smap)

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ACTIONTRIP SCORE
5.5   Okay


HIGHS
Graphics, character and environment design, smooth camera, clean and intuitive interface with Sims-like commands and mechanics;

LOWS
A washed-out and oversimplified Sims rip-off with dull and uninspiring gameplay, which lacks any real depth; annoying repetitiveness of actions and objectives.

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