Sims 4 – So Conflicted

I recently bought a computer. Excited at the opportunity to get back into the PC gaming world, I was immensely elated at the fact I could play the new Sims. I am a fan of these soul sucking games as I can write my own story, whether a sexy vampire, an immortal who lives through alchemy, a playboy millionaire, or a successful writer. You’d think I’d just make the last one happen, but it takes so much more effort in the real world.

So with the horrible reviews for Sims 4, and with the horrible showing of SimCity, I decided my trust in EA was too low to risk it. I eagerly started downloading and installing all my fun Sims 3 stuff, excited to play once more! Then I saw it. Sims 4 was 33% off. No, I said, I will not cave. Then the new expansion. You get to create your own business and run it. I can make a bookstore. If both these events had not aligned, I would be a DJ in 3. But they did, and I succumbed to the pressure.

On one hand, Sims 4 has amazing new items. They added tons of new instruments off the bat, some cool science things, the jobs are interesting, you unlock items through your jobs which adds a nice collector element, and it looks crisp. On top of that, they added pools and ghosts, and the ghosts do look like a lot of fun. The bad thing is they toted the two items like, “Look how amazing we are!” when in truth the pools should have been there day one and the ghosts feel like an apology for sucking. But don’t get me wrong, the ghosts are a mighty fine apology. They come with a lot of really neat abilities. Unfortunately I like my sim and I’m unwilling to violently off her. I will even admit, despite pessimism, the emotion system works out very well. I thought it would be cumbersome, but all they did was give more depth to the system in 3.

Here are the downsides. There are no basements and you can only build three floors high. This is far smaller than previous. Because sims are so social, it’s hard to make friends, where it’s easy to meet new people. After hitting on Bella, a character around since the original, four or five times, and her getting all weird because she’s married, I found it odd she’d still ring my door bell half an hour later. It’s like, do you want some of this, or not? You’re sending mixed signals.

Towns are broken up into neighborhoods, each neighborhood has only four or so lots, and there’s a fraction of the lots in a city that 3 saw. There are fewer activities, the cities aren’t made as creatively, and to go from one lot to another you have to load, instead of just going there. Vehicles are nonexistent, because that’s not how you travel. You magically wiggle your nose and appear. What once was a small science research item is not massive, such as telescopes. They added rockets. It would be nice to have the basements and more floors to compensate for the space required by these items.

There isn’t a lot to do. As I said, the content is deep. There are a lot of musical items. There are a lot of workouts you can do, and some are as simple as push ups and sit ups. The emotions give plenty of quirky moments. They emphasize a little more it’s okay to be mean to people. I made an enemy, and for the first time in a Sims game, I didn’t feel bad about it. She was being a witch, and there was nothing I could do about it. Aside from tease her relentlessly. Mind you, in previous games, if I was a mean character, then I was a mean character. I’ve never had a “nice” character feel okay being mean to people.

The issue runs into there isn’t that much to do. To be fair, I got Sims 3 after buying Ambitions, which added a lot of content. Maybe that’s the case, but it seems more hamstringed than the previous generation.

They also tried to make it quick and easy to build houses. For those who the house is everything, you’re going to be sorely mismatched when it comes to colors, and you’ll find that styles do not run across the entire gamut. I still cannot seem to find the right dining room chair to my sleek, sexy, and modern table. The closest is a cheap piece of crap chair that looks like it was taken from the original Star Trek set. Or at least inspired by.

All in all, I’m likely going back to 3 until April, when the shop owner expansion comes out. Then I’ll become a bookstore owner. Because it’s sexy. Good luck in your decision, if you play 4 and I’m missing something, let me know. Maybe I’m playing it wrong. Either way, voice your opinion.

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