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Overview

The Sims 2: Seasons is the fifth major gameplay expansion for the best-selling life simulator, and the first entry in the franchise to add the concept of temperature changes, weather patterns, and seasonal progression over time.  This gives it a particular focus on outdoor interactions, with dozens of new activities like leaf raking, fishing, gardening, snowball fights, and many more.

Like most expansion packs, Seasons requires the original Sims 2 in order to install and operate, but it can be used independently of the other expansion packs in the series.  Players who elect not to install the packs which preceded it will find that Seasons grants them full access to the Fury and physical Attraction mechanics first added in Nightlife, and the Influence, Lifetime Want, and prank systems introduced in University.

Seasons

One of the central goals in Seasons was to ensure that changes in the weather amounted to more than a few environmental effects and a quick palette swap from green grass to white snow.  To that end, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter each bestow specific enhancements on how sims spend their free time.

Summer
Summer is the most familiar to veterans of previous editions of The Sims, all of which took place in an era of everlasting calm and temperate conditions.  This season is still the most likely to produce pleasant sunny days free from inclement weather, but thanks to the new temperature meter, sims who exert themselves too much may suffer the effects of sunburn or heatstroke.  Relaxing for a while in the shade with a tall glass of lemonade or taking a dip in the pool is a good way to cool back down, and characters will find that their friendships with others tend to develop more quickly thanks to everyone's good spirits.




Autumn
Autumn's arrival is heralded by cooler days, darker nights, and a subtle color shift towards the red as all the plants adjust to the diminished sunlight.  As rain showers and even snow flurries start to become more frequent, sims will find ample opportunities to curl up with a good book or pursue their favorite hobbies.  Skills and job-related Talents improve more rapidly thanks to the more  industrious atmosphere, but when they're in the mood for a break, characters can stay active by raking up fallen leaves around the yard and leaping into the resulting piles.




Winter
Temperatures really start to fall in winter, and the world takes on a cooler bluish tinge that warns sims to start bundling up.  Failing to keep warm can lead to sickness, hypothermia, and even eventual death, so sims would do well to slip into their new "Outerwear" jackets and scarves before heading outdoors.  Snowfall is naturally much more common in this client, including the potential for major storm systems that blanket the landscape in a fresh white powder that closes down all the schools for the day.  Relationships between family members really benefit during this time of snowmen building, friendly snowball fights, and cups of warm cocoa shared around a crackling fireplace.



Spring
As spring breaks, the countryside starts to thaw out, the flowers and outdoor gardens start to flourish again, and passionate romances start to blossom with a particular fervor.  This is the best possible time of year for sims moving their relationships to the next level, especially for players with all the dating features from Nightlife.  Characters should be wary of thundershowers, however, as idling in open fields, underneath tall tress, or in outdoor swimming pools is a surefire way to get struck by lightning.



The four seasons can be customized by players at the main screen of a residential neighborhood, reorganizing or omitting them altogether to suit the needs of a desert town that never sees a cold winter, or a snowbound arctic hamlet that only enjoys the briefest of springtime thaws.

Badges

Talent Badges were first introduced in the Open for Business expansion pack to denote a character's experience with specific job-related skills like Cashiering or Restocking.  Seasons applies the concept to two of its new outdoor hobbies by adding new Bronze, Silver, and Gold-level Badges for Gardening and Fishing.


Grandfather and granddaughter tend to their garden.
Gardening

Homeowners in The Sims 2 were always allowed to keep flowerbeds which needed occasional maintenance, but Seasons marks the return of a much more elaborate system of soil fertilization, seed sewing, and plant cultivation that originally appeared in The Sims: Unleashed.  Gardening plots demand careful tending and protection from hungry herbivores, but the end result can be a fresh harvest of delicious and unique produce.

Fruits and vegetables can be liquefied in the game's new juicer to create several special cocktails with potent effects.  A few examples include apple juice which gets younger sims to focus more clearly on their schoolwork, lemonade which can instantly refresh a hyperthermic sim on a sweltering summer day, "Pepper Punch" which imparts an instant Energy boost, and many more, each requiring its own specific blend of garden-grown crops to brew.

Alternatively, players with the Open for Business expansion pack can opt to open their own Farmer's Market to sell the literal fruits of their labor to their brown-thumbed neighbors.  The higher the quality of the harvest, the more pronounced their beneficial effects will be and the more customers will be willing to pay for them.  Bumper crops of ripe, juicy fruits and veggies are also the surest way to earn one's way into the highly persnickety Garden Club.

All sims can potentially grow tomatoes and apple, orange, or lemon trees.  As they gain gardening experience, Bronze Badge recipients will be able to start planting bean poles, cucumbers, and strawberries, while sims with Silver Badges can try their hand at cultivating peppers and eggplants.  The few characters dedicated enough to earn themselves the coveted Gold Badge will actually gain the ability to commune directly with their crops to discern exactly what they need to thrive.


Fishing

Following this expansion pack, any lake or pond beyond a certain depth can become home to different breeds of fish.  Different species yield different benefits when they're fried up and served in special meals, and since the variety and "sweet spot" locations tend to change from season to season, dedicated fishermen will want to experiment with a variety of baits in several different locations in their ultimate quest to land the elusive Golden Trout.

Gaining Bronze, Silver, and Gold badges in Fishing unlocks new bait and increases the chances that the character will successfully catch larger and more valuable fish.  Their catches may then be prepared and eaten, mounted on the wall as a testament to the the angler's skill, or sold through a sim-owned shop if the player has Open for Business.

A female Plant Sim.
Plant Sims

In keeping with the same sense of humor that delivered aliens, zombies, vampires, and werewolves in previous iterations of The Sims 2, overly zealous gardeners in Seasons may find their metaphorical "green thumbs" becoming quite literal.  Characters who repeatedly expose themselves to heavy concentrations of organic fertilizer and chemical pesticides will eventually experience such a precipitous buildup in their own systems that they'll actually mutate to feed off the compounds.

Plant Sims are human-plant hybrids who appear as deep green sims with slender, coiling vines set into their skin like tattoos and an arrangement of leaves or petals in place of hair.  Unlike ordinary sims, their unique physiology reduces the normal eight Needs down to only three.
  • Love - replaces the typical Social Need for interaction, but is more dependent on positive relationship growth
  • Sunlight - in place of regular food, Plant Sims feed by basking outside in the sun or a under special indoor sunlamp
  • Water - a Need for frequent rehydration which can be satisfied by almost any exposure to water: standing out in a nice rain shower, drinking a glass of water from the sink, taking a refreshing shower, or even splashing around in a puddle on the ground

Plant Sims can engage in physical relationships with normal sims, with males capable of fathering children and females able to carry babies to term, but they also have the unique option to reproduce asexually through "budding."  Though children produced this way are born as toddlers with a complete genetic memory of their parent's skill set and an automatic Gold Badge in Gardening, they mature much more quickly than humans, skipping their childhood, teenage, and young adult years to pass directly into adulthood in only a few days.

All Plant Sims possess an inherent ability to commune with crops to boost the quality of their harvest, and emit a cloud of spores to delight or annoy other sims.  Characters who wish to have the chlorophyll purged from their systems can use this skill to impress the Garden Club and acquire a vial of "Plantophic-C" to return to normal.

Miscellaneous Additions

  • Players can now specify different hair styles for different outfits, creating the illusion that sims tie their hair back while working out or don woolen caps along with their wintertime coats.
  • In addition to dozens of new climate-specific interactions, sims can now give each other specific gifts out of their personal inventory.
  • A new pre-made residential neighborhood called Riverblossom Hills shows off prosperous gardens, new NPCs, new building designs, and several new families.
  • Televisions feature a weather channel to clue curious characters in on what to expect and announce school cancellations due to heavy snowfall.
  • Sims can pursue six new career tracks in Adventure, Education, Gaming, Journalism, Law, and Music.
  • New radio stations for New Age and Jamband music have been added, including nine real-life songs translated into Simlish.

Trivia

  • In an interview prior to the release of Seasons, project lead Hunter Howe revealed that a full fledged weather system was originally slated for inclusion in the initial release of The Sims 2, but had to be cut due to the excessive technical problems the environmental effects caused.  Problems like rain that passed right into home interiors and snow that refused to accumulate on user-created objects were later solved through an extensive series of engine enhancements.

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