It’s not as bad as you might think. Yeah, they left out toddlers, pools, the open world but they gave us fountains, emotions, and an entirely new creating experience. I’ve put a good ~15 hours into the game already, so I don’t know everything about the game as of yet but these are just my impressions thus far. Let’s start out with the positives.
The new multitasking system in Sims 4 allows your Sim to do different activities at the same time. My first Sim I made has a career path in Tech Guru, which involves playing video games and program. So awesome! One of the requirements to get my next promotion from Customer Service (lv.1) to Quality Assurance (lv.2) was to play 4 hours of video games. That’s not too bad. Just make some coffee to stay up a little late and I will get that promotion in no time. Before my gaming grind, I invited one of the many Sims that wander aimlessly around the small neighborhood, inside to hang out. I was able to get interact with my new random friend, getting to know them while I was playing on the computer! When I found this out, it opens the Sims world up entirely. No more of this one action or the other. In previous Sims games, you either would play a computer game, or talk to your friend. Eat food or watch T.V.. Drink Juice or go to the bathroom (Yes, you can bring your drink to the toilet!). The new multitasking system makes managing your Sims needs, wants and tasks easier and more enjoyable to play.
Create-a-sim is beyond amazing. It is a time sink if you want to spend a few hours on you Sims to make them perfect, it is totally possible and 100% gratifying. It is like molding clay and there are so many adjustments you can make. You click on the part of the Sim you wish to modify and you move your mouse and Wah-La, it is changed. No more sliders and no more random face location names that only a select few know what they mean. Plus, you can share your creations with everyone. And let me tell you, there are a lot of talented people out there. People have made Emma Watson, Robert Downey Jr., Justin
Beave… I mean, Bieber; the list goes on. And they look very much like the celebrities of whom they are based. The power of Create-a-sim in Sims 4 is amazing.
The improved building mechanics are a nice touch in Sims 4. They have pre-built rooms for people who want to jump right into playing after you make your Sim(s). If you want to re-size a room you can do so easily with the drag arrows around the room; no need to delete walls and rebuild. Sims 4 also recognizes rooms, which you can select and place anywhere you want. No more fussing about having to rebuild sections of the house because you don’t like where things are placed. They have a new roof tool that is very easy to use. It is so much smoother than previous versions. Only down side is, there is not an auto-roof feature, like there has been in past games. At least not that I have found yet. Building is fun, if not more fun than its predecessors.
Emotions add an entirely new element to the game and its pretty fun. When your sim is “happy”, there are different interactions with the environment available than say when you are “fine” or “angry”. You get buffs, which you saw in the Sims 3, which affect your emotions. So a dirty environment will make your sim feel “uncomfortable” or flirting with someone will make them feel “flirty”. And the buffs give tell you which emotion they apply too. So if you are embarrassed because you were caught schmoozing your boss it will tell you how many points of embarrassment that buff is worth. For the sake of this example, say the embarrassment is worth +2 embarrassment. But if something makes you happy for +3 Happiness, you will become happy overwriting the embarrassment. So at this point you would have one happiness buff worth +3 and one embarrassment buff worth +2. If the happiness buff wears off, and the embarrassment is left, then your sim will become embarrassed again. Luckily, the negative buffs tell you how to make it go away faster, so you don’t have a sim that is embarrassed or angry 100% of the time.
Funny quirks/game play
Overall gameplay, its pretty fun. They have added a whole bunch of new skills to learn. The changes to the handyman-skill, for example, are pretty cool. Instead of just leveling it up to 10 to be able to tinker with stuff, you now have to collect parts in order to upgrade things on top of leveling up the skill. Jobs unlock new ways to interact with the environment. Going in the art field allows you to research art, for example. The core of the game is Sims, but they added a little more depth the playing experience that makes you wonder why they didn’t have this in previous versions.
Just today, I got married to another sim and I had her move in with me. Maybe 5 minutes later, a friend of my Sim came over and I asked her to move in. She said yes. When the move household screen came up, it showed that she had a daughter, a son and a husband. So I just wanted to see if I could move the friend in and the daughter, thinking that the game wouldn’t allow it. Nope, it allowed it. Haha, so I essentially broke apart a family for no other reason besides… friends. The wife is like “Peace, hubby, I’m gonna live with ma friends! Have fun with our son.” #friendzoned (because EA likes hashtags now)
While the game play is fun and very similar to the Sims games we have all come to love, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to do right now. I find myself becoming increasingly bored after about 45 minutes of play. Sims 3, I didn’t buy an expansion until last year. The base game had so much to do and was fun in and of its self, the expansions only added so much. I am already looking forward to expansions for Sims 4 just because I feel it is lacking. Emotions are cool and some of the other minor tweaks to Gameplay, not much has changed. I can get more content and enjoyment out of playing Sims 3 at this stage.
No open world
No open world is a HUGE blow to the franchise. There is no doubt about it. It is hard to go from a game, Sims 3, where you could go anywhere, with no loading screens, to a game where if you want to visit the house next to you, you have to “travel” to it. I can understand restricting it a little. Sure a whole city or town open is hard to optimize, especially with expansions coming out every 6-8 months, but you can’t open up the 5 house neighborhood? And the part that is frustrating is that the neighborhood is relativity open. You can walk around your neighborhood and meet new Sims. There is even a community garden thing that you can interact with. It is just mind boggling that they needed to add a loading screen to visit a neighbor’s house. Just open up the neighbor’s houses, it can’t eat up that much more power. That was one of the cool features in Sims 3 and they move a step backwards.
Lack of customization
Another cool thing about Sims 3 that they left out of Sims 4, is the ability to easily customize items. Sims 3 you could change the color of everything. They had some pre-designed ones made, but you as a player could have full creativity. In Sims 4 there is none of that, without downloading programs. I’ve looked up tutorials on how to do it, and it seems pretty intensive, just to change a shirt color.
The camera controls are pretty messed up. I am an edge-scroller in games that allow it and Sims 4 has completely messed it up, and it is because of the GUI. EA even admits it – but they don’t admit it is an issue. You can’t scroll down by bringing the cursor to the bottom of the screen, like normal. You have to position your mouse right at the exact pixel where GUI meets the world screen. It is infuriating. I’m used to just using the key board for time control. Now I have to use WASD to move the camera because they botched edge scrolling. They do offer legacy camera controls, meaning Sims 3 camera controls are available. You pretty much have to use the legacy controls if you want to actually move and rotate stuff in build mode. And even with the Sims 3 camera controls, they still feel clunky and unpolished.
Overall, it is a decent game with some cool additions. But there are some negatives. Sims 4 is definitely a separate game than Sims 3… it’s more like Sims 2 with better graphics and some minor gameplay additions/tweaks. Building and creating Sims and houses are fun, once you get over the fact that the camera controls SUCK. My rating is a 6.5/10. Maybe DLC’s will make it higher, who knows, but for now I am going to enjoy the positives of the game and gawk at all the amazing Sims and houses people have made. There are some seriously talented people that play this game.
header picture: http://media.pcgamer.com/files/2013/05/sims4.jpg