When I first heard about Playboy: The Mansion I didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t follow the development progress, nor had I looked at screenshots or video of it. What I didn’t expect was a Sims 2 clone with nudity. Unfortunately that’s what I got and was pretty disappointed. First The Guy Game and now this.
Playboy: The Mansion puts you in the shoes of H. Hefner as he starts to build his lusty empire. You'll begin the game in a humble mansion, and it is your goal to decorate and build an empire from nothing. Your main entrepreneurial objective is to print an issue of Playboy every mission, and as time goes on there are more and more things involved to complete this as well as a lot of side objectives
Visually, the game is strikingly similar to the Sims 2. Although I haven't had much time to check out the details of EA's mega franchise game, the comparison between the two is inevitable. The aesthetics of the environments and items share many of the same characteristics, leading me to believe that the developers have some sort of relationship outside of work ( No, not that kind of relationship...).
The models look, act, and talk like those in the Sims 2. They aren’t horrible by any means, at least not on the PC, but they are far from the high res models that we are seeing in current games. On the other hand, the game really is nothing more than a Sims 2 clone, so gamers already know what to expect. Most of these characters interact with the world on their own, but you do have the ability to tell them what to do, and their animations are limited at best.
The only nudity we see are topless chicks walking about. When you go to do your cover shots or centerfold shots, the model can walk around topless or in some scant clothing. You can dress her up all you like and a variety of manors and position her in the house and take all sorts of different pictures. For all the kids who played with their sister's Barbie dolls, the amount of freedom here is sure to excite you.
There is background music that plays throughout the game and it helps move things along. When you chat with people they speak a language similar to “Simolean” or whatever it is. It certainly isn’t English and it isn’t possible to understand what they are saying. The only thing you can do is interpret their body language, which is probably more comical than any sort of dialog the developers could write.
The voice acting is average at best. The narrator that helps you along your quest really shows no emotion and sounds like she’s just reading paper off a notepad into a microphone. She alerts you of new objectives and helps you on completing them, but her lack of enthusiasm turns her into an annoyance rather than a helping hand.
There really aren’t a whole lot of sound effects in the game. The majority of your focus is on building and completing the missions as well as talking to guests to encourage friendships.
Aside from talking to people and watching girls walk around topless there really is only one main objective, which is to get your issue of Playboy published. To do this you need several things: articles, interviews, cover shots, centerfolds, and some other random items. In order to get these you need to hire staff that can help you create these stories and shots. As time goes on your staff gets more experienced and can create better material for the issue.
When you hire your staff, you can tell them how to work and even flirt with them and hit on them. To get guests for interviews, you need to host parties and invite celebrities. The only problem with this is if you want a solid friendship with a certain person you spend the entire party talking to that one person. By the time you get a contract and other things sorted, most of the guests have left. You are given a budget and to throw a party it costs a great amount of money. Income comes in a number of forms, including having your guests make contact with other guests. New jobs are created if your guests hit it off, therefore a return is brought to you for helping them out.
The game mainly revolves around you interacting with people and building your relationships with them. You can invite women over, hit on them, and make out with them. This eventually results in them becoming your new companion, but I really haven’t found the purpose of this aside from having sex anywhere in the house which speaks for itself.
You can talk to your staff and have them do more work and write specific articles relating to sex , humor, technology, and other assorted topics. As they continue to work they get better and your issues will sell more bringing in more income for you. Thankfully there are no chores like going to the bathroom or taking out the trash. You don’t really need to micromanage your character to keep him happy. All you have to do is talk with people and make money.
Each mission has a set number of goals to complete and as you progress in the mission more objectives become available to you. Some are as simple as walking up stairs, while others might be a bit more difficult. The tougher objectives usually involve hiring new talent or talking a certain person in to doing something. This is not to say that the missions are hard, it's just that they are tedious and time consuming.
The major problem with the game is the fact that it’s very repetitive. From the very beginning it becomes boring and old. There isn’t a whole lot of diversity and there really isn’t a whole lot to do. I guess if you’re a fan of the Sims you might like this game but most of the micromanaging is gone.
It seems kind of pointless to me to be honest. I don’t have any hatred towards the game but from an objective point of view the game seems intellectually defunct. The only thing selling the game is the name and it's topless models. You have a great deal of commands at your disposal, but it only takes 10 minutes to go through them all. Once that’s done then you are basically saying the same thing to everyone you meet. I’ve found it hard to piss someone off, proving that everyone loves Hugh Hefner.
I cannot recommend this game to anyone, especially to those with a short attention span. It doesn’t have the lasting appeal that other games similar to this do, and nothing that makes it stand out accordingly. The game could definitely use some online or multiplayer play, as the possibilities are nearly endless with a game such as this.