The Sims 4 is the latest offering from EA and The Sims Studios.
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Selling expansion pack after expansion pack has always been the go to marketing strategy for The Sims and it works for EA and The Sims Studios. After playing all the expansions from The Sims 3 are we all expected to embrace the new generation and uninstall the previous title in anticipation?
The Sims 4 début last week already topping the charts in some countries; developed by EA and The Sims Studios, The Sims 4 is the next generation in the Sims franchise. For someone who has played every Sims game to date, it was a surprise that there was a fair bit of content released with the “vanilla” edition. Although the content was enough to keep it interesting for a while, The Sims 4 does still lack in content when comparing it to other Sims games.
Sitting down for the first look of The Sims 4 with coffee in hand the game decided to crash several times. The issue seemed to be tabbing out of the game and changing the resolution, this issue could have been resolved with better polish and testing prior to release which is unfortunate. This set a negative tone to the first impression of the title.
The most noticeable feature of the game is the customization of the Sims themselves. The character creation portion of the game was quite impressive. The ability to shape each feature of the face and body was a nice improvement overall. The let down was the lack of ability to customize the style of clothing and items. In the Sims 3 the user had the ability render textures themselves to add to the personalization of their Sim. It would have been nice to see this in The Sims 4 since it was regarded a great feature by the community in the past.
The emotion feature is one of the most innovative additions to the game. Every action you gave to your Sim had a direct result in the mood of it. This resulted in the way that the Sim would interact with other or objects. A steamy shower would change the Sim’s mood from normal to being flirtatious which opened up different actions on other Sims or objects.
It seemed throughout this whole title the development team took steps backwards from the previous Sims release. Left with the feeling that developers where purposefully holding features back to make the game feel like previous Sims titles. When aware to this, The Sims 4 began to feel like a re-release version of the original Sims game.
The removal of the open world is something that has gotten the online community riled up. The only issue I had with the removal of this feature was it disjointed the game play from your house to wherever your Sim was travelling to. At times the loading screen could be a little too long just to enter your neighbour’s house to steal whatever they had in their backyard. We know that the team has the technology to carry out an open world and it worked extremely well in The Sims 3.
On a positive note – the career design is quite impressive. While your Sim is at work you are given choices to decide whether your Sim does something productive or counter-productive. This was a nice touch along with the ability to choose a path that your character can take in its career.
The building phase has always been the most enjoyable throughout the Sims series. The Sims 4 manages to make the building section feel new and fresh which is enjoyable. It feels like the user has more control and ability over the design of the house but it only consists of the same tools as previous Sims games. The lack of geo-tools was quite disappointing. Being able to sculpt the land to suit the need of your Sims was pretty fun in past games and made for some interesting house design.
“Smarter Sims” was a huge focus during the press conferences and marketing hype but honestly they are still dumb as ever. Left unsupervised your Sims will eat junk food, play video games and nap all day like a teenager. The smartest feature that your Sims can now do is play on their phone whilst on the toilet, this is truly where the Sims lives up to the life simulation genre.
When comparing The Sims 4 to past editions of The Sims you will find holes in gameplay and interactivity, this is to be expected. In months and years to come expansions will flood the origin shop until we all get sick and tired of seeing the new “deluxe double deal Dumbo dildo expansions packs”. And as a conformist sheep, I will probably get the supernatural one and quite possibly the uncut one (here’s hoping).
So far this game has shown as much as it wants us to see, and I (kind of) like it. The connections I’ve had with the Sims I’ve created in The Sims 4 have been more emotional than I had in any other Sims game. I felt horrible when Ted Parks (my Sim) died before he could publish his bestselling novel or father a son to carry on his legacy. I am excited to see where The Sims Studios are going to take The Sims 4 and as always how long they can stretch out the expansion pack releases.
Overall this release shows us that they are not finished sucking out all the cash that they can get. Holding back features and only having two neighbourhoods to live in already shows the user that we are install for some outrageous expansion packs and downloadable content. You will enjoy the game if you’re into the franchise but hold off from dropping hard-earned cash if the expansions are more your thing.