Date Released: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Life Simulation
Rated: T for Teen
The Sims isn’t quite my cup of tea, but sure enough, once I get into it I can’t help but get into all sorts of crazy antics with a small, digital version of myself. The appeal of The Sims comes from the possibilities that it provides – create entire lineages that spans generations or re-create famous structures. This installment focuses on the Sims themselves as they can now do more at once and are more expressive, but in turn, this focus took away from the content in the game.
Creating your Sims is tons of fun. Create yourself, create your friends, and create anomalies of impossible physical proportions! The robust tools used to make your Sims can have you spending a good 30 minutes tinkering around to get things just right. Once you’re ready you can start out in whatever neighborhood you wish and begin building your new home. A small nuisance comes in waves of tips and tutorials; they become tedious and intrusive when you want to get things moving, more so for players who already know their way around a Sims game.
Highlighting your new expressive Sims is the emotion system; Sims will have new options available to them depending on what mood they’re in like new dialogue or actions. But at times these options can be downright dumb. Why would I need to take an angry poop?! As cool as it is to see the many diverse emotions your Sims will go through, they can go completely bi-polar in a moment’s notice.
Basic needs make their return, but the bar this time depletes much slower, giving you ample opportunities to build up skills. With repetition you become more adept in whatever activity your Sims enjoys. Learning instruments is perhaps the most hilarious; you start off smacking random keys on a piano to becoming a modern day Mozart. You can hear the difference in how your Sims plays, and I found that really cool.
What I believe really sets The Sims 4 apart from its older siblings is the ability to finally multi-task! Never again must you have to completely stop what you’re doing to perform one redundant task. Now your Sims may engage in conversation while enjoying a meal or even eat cereal while watching T.V. As small of an addition multitasking is, it really adds a lot to make your Sims behave in unbelievably realistic ways.
The Gallery makes creating more enticing as now you can create anything you wish and have other players download your creations. You can also search other’s creations to add into your own world if you don’t really have the time to make the Taj Mahal or other intricate buildings.
Where this game stumbles is when you take the time to realize that the offerings in The Sims 4 are missing a hefty amount of features compared to The Sims 3. We may have more intelligent Sims, but the world feels empty – from The Sims 3’s simulated neighborhoods to not being able to walk around one at all is a bit disheartening. Most of the activities can be done in the confines of your home, making your world so much smaller, and “life simulation” loses some of its meaning.
Obviously many expansion packs will add tons of new content and features to The Sims 4 in the future, but having to rely on future add-ons is worrisome. Don’t get me wrong, The Sims 4 as it stands now is hours of fun waiting to be had and the new implementations that Maxis added to the game really change how The Sims will be played in the future. But while focusing on what’s happening in the inside of the Sims lives, Maxis missed out on the bigger picture of what makes The Sims a great life simulation game. Sims 4 is a decent foundation for the rest of the expansions to build upon, but right now, by itself, the series took one step forward and two steps back.
Overall Rating: 3.75/5