Mark Marrow
27 Mar, 2005

Playboy: The Mansion Review

PS2 Review | If this is an accurate portrayal of Huge Hefner’s lifestyle, it’s not a very exciting one.
The Playboy franchise is no doubt one of the most recognisable names and images in worldwide business. Either for its publication or the benefits of what the Playboy name presents to the public. The kingpin behind the notorious publication is none-other than Huge ‘lover-boy’ Hefner. A man that every male on earth would love to be, a man that women would love to be around (or so we’ve been lead to believe) and a man so powerful, so rich and so unique in his presence that almost anyone on the earth would love to experience how this erotic businessman lives. If Playboy: The Mansion is a true indication of how this man lives though, well, honestly, it isn’t exactly what we were hoping for.

Any way you look at it, Playboy: The Mansion holds strong similarities to The Sims in almost all aspects of gameplay. In fact, anyone who has lived around the much-beloved franchise would feel comfy with the look and feel of Playboy: The Mansion. Everything from the gibberish language spoken up to the same basis of building relationships. Thankfully, this isn’t entirely a bad signal, since for the most part, Playboy: The Mansion presents some fascinating new ideas as well as ‘borrowing’ all the good and addictive aspects of The Sims.

Playboy: The Mansion allows gamers the opportunity to live as Huge Hefner, in what we’ve been told, is his life. Parties, bizarre relationships, constant sex on the couch and of course establishing the world-famous Playboy name. You’ll be able to build business and personal relationships with anyone who enters the Playboy Mansion, as well as building some exciting romantic relationships with any lady that you may set your eyes on. Unfortunately, the Playboy lifestyle isn’t just about sex and games, and therefore the most important aspect of Playboy: The Mansion is building and maintaining strong relationships with everyone that ever sets foot in your house. Be it a famous football star, a rockstar, your staff and even the ‘bunnies’. It is absolutely important that you – as Huge Hefner – maintain strong relationships with these people, as they will determine your success as a person and a businessman. Building business relationships enables gamers to strike business deals with characters (such as interviews and other aspects that will fund your magazine), and building personal relationships plays an additional role in allowing gamers to establish exclusive ‘Celebrity-written’ articles; whilst the romantic relationships play an important role in forming strong relationships in having new models for the magazine, and even establishing new girlfriends. Ideally, Playboy: The Mansion is a game that revolves around relationships. If you don’t socialise enough you will lose content for your magazine, you’ll have the same models posing and it’ll be impossible for Huge to continue his blossoming success without these strong bonds.

In an attempt to establish these relationships you will need to partake in a number of events. To do this gamers can throw parties and invite whomever they want. Although this may be a clear indication to invite all-female guests and have sex with them all, it’s important that you invite a variety of people so that everyone who is in the house forms relationships with everyone else who is invited, or otherwise they’ll become bland and boring people.

The party never stops at the Playboy Mansion

The party never stops at the Playboy Mansion
One aspect of Playboy: The Mansion that prevents it from being boring – well for a little while, at least – is that the game is mission-based. That is, there are a number of objectives that gamers must complete in an attempt to progress through the game. Luckily enough these objectives are varied enough to make every mission unique and interesting in comparison to one another. The missions have you fulfilling certain tasks alongside actually producing the Playboy magazine. The compelling aspect of these missions is that they are actually interesting and your interest in the game is maintained by these objectives. Objectives vary from establishing celebrity friends, solving conflicts amongst your staff, holding a successful party and even releasing a special edition Playboy magazine – nude pictures and all.

A rather fascinating feature of Playboy: The Mansion, and let me tell you there aren’t a lot, is how gamers publish a magazine. Obviously you’ll need to find content to include – such as interviews, models and articles. Seeing that you are the main man, Huge Hefner, it is up to you how and where a model is photographed (location and what she wears – going nude will be a common choice I’m sure), who’s interviewed and what content will be featured in the magazine. Seeing that in the missions you’ve got to publish certain issues – such as sports dedicated ones – it becomes more interesting when you must go out of your way to publish sports articles, sports interviews and sports models. The only downfall to this idea is that it’s far too easy to gather your content. Simply invite a guest, your photographer (for taking photos) and your journalist (for conducting articles and interviews), and then spend just five minutes establishing a relationship amongst them all and you’ve got yourself an issue. Whilst the idea of a magazine is intriguing, it’s a very simple and narrow feature that only leaves gamers saying “Oh that’s a neat feature only if…”. If it had this and if it had that it may’ve been good – sadly though, this is exactly the sort of thought that constantly runs through your mind while playing Playboy: The Mansion.

As the title suggests, Playboy: The Mansion is (believe it or not) set in the Playboy Mansion. At the beginning of the game you’re restricted to only the mansion itself – however, as you complete more missions, you’ll unlock new areas as well as new characters, items and furniture, which particularly spices up the game a little more. In a sense, there’s quite a bit to unlock and uncover, which makes Playboy: The Mansion a little bit more bearable to play since you’re aiming for a certain goal rather than blindly making relationships. A lot of the game is determined by the gamer also. The gamer is able to design the mansion in any particular fashion they desire and to add an array of various items and furniture in any area of the Playboy mansion.

Unfortunately, Playboy: The Mansion is hurt by its own problems. It isn’t because the game is a massive glitch – it isn’t – it is, however, rather plain and way too repetitive, so that the experience soon becomes a case of ‘been there, done that’. While there is a lot to do, gamers will be spending the majority of the time sitting through boring button-pressing menus and some irritating animations. The communication side of the game is very basic. You’ll begin a conversation and then you’ll simply choose what you want to discuss with this person – a casual chat, business talk or romantic talk. Once doing this for at least five minutes you’ll establish a certain relationship with this person, depending on what you choose when in conversation.

Romantic Talk, a common choice.

Romantic Talk, a common choice.
The graphics aren’t anything spectacular either, and seem somewhat full of glitches. Characters will often walk through each other, textures look rough and the animations aren’t anything special. Playboy: The Mansion gets the message across clearly concerning what it wants to game to be seen as, and that is a very laid-back and enjoyable experience, made apparent by features of the game such as its characters, graphic style (cartoony) music and gameplay basis. While Playboy: The Mansion gets this message across nice and clearly, the game still fails to impress anyone with its graphic glitches which become disturbing.

The music is varied into a nice blended mix, so that most gamers out there will find a certain selection that they can enjoy. Seeing that this game is a kind of ‘sandbox’, where gamers control what happens, it is your decision as to what music is played and what music system it is played on. There are various music devices throughout the game, each making specific kinds of music sound better than others. There’s a varied selection of rock, pop, jazz, techno and so much more that it’s almost a certainty that gamers will find a soundtrack that will fit with a certain area of the mansion or their mood.

Once the day is done and the partying has finally died down, Playboy: The Mansion isn’t that exciting at all. The game holds very little to keep gamers occupied with the game’s features and the generic repetitiveness of this game becomes extremely tiring. Playboy: The Mansion isn’t a bad game – it certainly holds a lot of potential – but unfortunately it’s a game that failed to optimise on what it had to offer. There’s so much that could’ve been presented in this game, and little of this was actually shown. While in summary Playboy: The Mansion looks and plays almost identically to a The Sims game, the game does present a few unique and interesting concepts that makes this game a little more exciting and more directional to its desired demographic – the males. As of now though, Playboy: The Mansion isn’t particularly a game that fans of the genre will enjoy, since – for the most part – it’s something most of us have played several years ago.
The Score
Probably the one highlight of the game was the opportunity to see some animated breast, although once the novelty wore off, Playboy: The Mansion was just another boring simulation game. Similar to most simulation games on the market, the game got boring, and fast. A fine recommendation for those gamers who adore The Sims franchise, but a further recommendation would be to actually invest in a Sims game rather than this, since they’re a little more exciting. 5
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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9 years ago
Probably the one highlight of the game was the opportunity to see some animated breast, although once the novelty wore off, Playboy: The Mansion was just another boring simulation game.

haha pixelated boobies icon_razz.gif

I got the game for free so im not complaining. It is kind of fun at first but then it gets boring quickly with not much exciting new things happening while you progress - kind of like a lame version of Sims 2.
9 years ago
Needless to say I'll be totally avoiding this game..
9 years ago
My friend bought it so I played it at his house! Sooooo boring! I couldn't play it for about 30min!
9 years ago
After spending a fair amount of time reading and rereading the review (for validation), I can safely say there's no way in hell I'd ever buy (or even play) this game icon_razz.gif
(Not that I would have before icon_lol.gif)
9 years ago
Looks to be the same medicore game I classed it as when I first saw the box.

Thanks for confirming it Mark.
9 years ago
I would say it'a another copy cat of the Sims just like that singles game was!
9 years ago
What? 5??? But... simulated boobies... isn't that an automatic 10?
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