Within a day of game time inside Paris Nights, I was able to land a flat mate with someone of the opposite sex, score a job as a painter, party at a club and meet new friends, and then find out my luggage got mixed up with someone so I’m going to the Louvre to figure it out.
Paris Nights follows Gameloft’s successful New York Nights and Miami Nights games into the cultural center known as Paris. For those who aren’t familiar with the franchise, Paris Nights is not exactly The Sims, although it borrows a lot of the concepts similar to The Sims. You have various meters for charisma, health, hygiene, and actions you do in the virtual world affect your character. Because it’s a mobile game, you only have control over one character so there are no families or children running around like The Sims. And while you can play Paris Nights like a sandbox game, you’ll end up missing out on the game’s storyline. Indeed, parts Paris need to be unlocked by following the game’s story.
The game’s story is one of developing fame and fortune. You can be an artist. You can be a chef. But whatever you choose to be, you’re going to have to develop friends and connections with other people. This is like Linked In or Facebook on steroids. In fact, a lot of the social networking conventions of today’s world are included in the game including a spoof called Friendbook. Every character you come up against has his or her interests. Conveniently, their interests are listed when you start conversing with a character so if they are interested in family, you should steer towards those types of topics rather than politics. Because the topics are predefined (as in you have to choose one before getting a new list), sometimes you may have to use your own personal traits to get more intimate with a person. That could be making jokes if you’re a humorous fellow. That could be buying gifts if you have a bunch of money. Interestingly, one of the early objectives of the game is for you to develop some acquaintances at a club and kiss them. Paris Nights seems to have no problems with bisexual relationships.
Although the overarching storyline is the same each time you play through, you are allowed some latitude in how you achieve your objectives. For example, if you need to raise a certain amount of cash to buy something, you also have a choice of stealing it. Paris Nights is designed so you can’t be a jack of all trades so the best thing you can do is focus on a few good traits that will be able to get you through most of the game’s objectives.
From a technical standpoint, Paris Nights carries the tradition of the other Nights games with well animated characters, diverse colorful locations, and attention to detail so you can customize your wardrobe and hair style to give your up and coming superstar more panache. Paris Nights also features plenty of music and sound effects to keep the game interesting so if you are in a setting where you can turn on the sound, you definitely want to keep it on when playing. One of the drawbacks of all these bells and whistles appears to be the loading time. There are a lot of loading screens. If you’re in an apartment, trying to get out on to the street, that’s loading time. If you’re in the metro station, trying to get to street level, that’s another loading time. Sometimes the loading times feel excruciatingly long. I actually put down the phone a little bit while waiting for one. Luckily, the game saves are nearly instantaneous.
As for authenticity of content, Paris Nights feels like an American made game about what it would be like in Paris. There are references to things like the TGV. However, the dialogue is very American with some smattering of French thrown in. I would rather have more authenticity in the dialogue. This doesn’t discount that it is a fun game to play through. Some things in the game are innovative too like using the phone’s camera as a way to get your metro pass picture taken. More games need to take advantage of things already included with a mobile phone. I can actually see a game including things like twitter, cameras, video and GPS melding into a social networking game one day. But until that materializes for Parisians, you can try Paris Nights.