Listening to: Metal
Playing: Sims 4 (Metal)
So, we've gotten to that time of the century again when Maxis/EA releases another Sims title. Having played the first Sims religiously, and then the second not so much and then the third a fair deal, I was eager to get my hands on this new instalment. I got it today, and I must say after a few hours of gameplay I'm not quite sure what the negative reviews are about. Of course the game has a few hitches here and there but still.
Well, it's definitely a new system by all accounts. Of course we've evolved far from the first Sims' mix-and-match head and body system, which did get more and more widespread with each expansion pack, Sims 2 and Sims 3 being fairly similar with the more widespread body and face options. Sims 4 works on this ultra-interactive mode basically driven by click and drag as well as the options you get from menus. Whether it's more advanced than Sims 3, I'm still working that out, but the ability to make more unique looking Sims in this game tends to be easier, not to mention the different styles of graphics which I also like fairly well.
The attributes and personality traits system has become more simple, which I'm not too worried about personally. Sims now have three main personality traits only (down from the five in Sims 3) and an additional trait given from an aspiration that you select. There are new additions alongside the new system such as the walking-style of Sims, which is somewhat funny and can really make your Sim look more expressive by it. The only slightly negative thing about Create-A-Sim is that teenagers, young adults and adults don't differ that much in appearance and don't differ in height at all. Though, looking at 21st Century UK I don't really see short teenagers running about. Most teenagers are taller than me by the looks of it (even though I am 5'11").
I think this is where most people's opinions of the game start going downhill. Most users are somewhat riled up on the fact that the game is no longer open world. Okay, I can see where they're coming from. That being said, Sims 1 and 2 did not have open worlds, especially not Sims 1 where each lot was surrounded by a grey void and Sims 2 similarly surrounded by a fog. That being said, Sims 4's game world does have a hybrid-open world once in gameplay. Though a probable downside is that your Sims cannot travel outside their block and each blocks are separated by loading screens. People might see that as a limitation but it does wonders for the game's spec. If you didn't have a computer with a 3.4 GHz processor and 16 GB RAM (like I do, mwhaha!) then Sims 3 was more than likely to run slow for you. Sims 4 is a lot more forgiving on your computer.
My only slight downside to this is that I don't know whether and it seems unlikely that you are able to place lots down on in your world of custom sizes, and you have to choose empty lots in the game in order to do that. But by the looks of it, it is possible to bulldoze empty preset houses in the game and build on top of them. Most lots seem to be limited to 30 x 20, so goodbye 50 x 50 lots with supersized mansions (for the time being, I hope).
Honestly? There's a great improvement on this mode. Building is, simply put it, easier. The foundation tool from Sims 2 and Sims 3 is now a ready-integrated tool that comes in with rooms (also a room tool for numerous different shapes that can be manipulated wall-by-wall) and even the height can be altered. Homes can be built a lot quicker as a result, even with the introduction of stylised rooms that can be placed down with the click of the button. There's also great freedom with the heights of walls (can go from average to high-end Victorian style super walls) and extra little details such as friezes and roof decorum.
This is where most readers are probably thinking, "Where are the damn pools?!" Well here's an answer for you: I don't care about your damn pools. Pools were a death trap anyway in Sims 2. Sure, it looks like a status of power in some households but quite frankly I'm having too much fun with the freedom and scope I already have here. I imagine in later expansion packs larger and more ambitious lots will be open anyway. And probably your precious pools.
Another thing that some readers are also thinking is that the Create-A-Style has gone. Yes it has. Requiescat in pace. That being said, there are numerous different styles for nearly every single object in the Sims 4 build and buy catalogue. And for Sims' clothes. I might miss it in the long term but so far the option given to me already seems more advanced than Sims 1 or 2.
This is what amazed me the most, really. Sims seem to be almost completely autonomous by this stage and yes, they multi-task. Many reviews often criticise that they're not that autonomous at all but it's the little details in the game that mesmerise me during it. Mostly to do with the fact that Sims can chat to each other whilst doing other activities (for example, I have two Sims who were talking to each other whilst one was sitting at the counter and the other talking to him in mid food preperation). It's rather clever. Sim moods have been expanded slightly as well, such as an incentive to get Sims doing things under the 'inspired' mode. I haven't played the game enough to know the true scope of it but my first impressions show that the interaction aspect of the game already blows earlier titles out of the water.
This game is good, but not exactly the perfect Sims game. Most users complain that the toddler stage is gone. Frankly, I hate children in real life and in games so I'm not complaining at all. I do think, however, that Sim development in childhood has been stripped down and it's more focused on the actual 'here-and-now' of the Sims interaction. Though, the amount of mood modifiers coming and going at once often make the Sims development rather complex in the short term and, much like real life, Sims can switch rather quickly in game.
My pet hate of this game however is the camera controls. There is an option to have Sims-3 style controls but it doesn't do much justice. That's just something I'll have to live with for the time being.
Also, I think with most Sim titles as the base game, that the game isn't as rich as Sims 3 with all the expansion packs or Sims 2 with all the expansion packs...or the first Sims with all the expansion packs. In comparison it does feel incomplete and those who have played the former titles in their entirety will get that feeling. And yes, Sims 4 does feel incomplete as a game in terms of content, though it strikes me as game that is going to get more and more complex as releases come out for it.
Well, I might be biased as a long-term Sims fan but I like Sims 4 quite a lot. I think much of the dissatisfaction from the Sims 4 comes from the fact that the players of the Sims are either: 1) have played Sims 3 for too long, or 2) have not played the first Sims or Sims 2. Sims 4 feels closest to the Sims 2 at the moment, and, though having played the Sims 2 the least out of all of the four games I do get that kind of feeling with it. What players are probably forgetting is that Sims 3 is the most different of the four total releases overall - Sims 4, to me, is a lot closer to home to the original game and that's why as a Sims nostalgia-fag I like it more than Sims 3 so far. Though, with the negatives in place, I give Sims 4 a 7/10.