It was a clear night and Sims Stan just experienced his first kiss and immediately felt ‘flirty’ or to be blunt, a phrase used as euphemism for ‘kinky’ in the Sims universe. His first thought that sprang to mind was to paint a ‘flirty’ picture. Curious, I obligated and guided him to follow that little thought bubble of his. The so-called masterpiece consisted of two animal stick figures reenacting the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp. Flirty indeed!
Quirky, silly and unexpected, these are the reasons why I get addicted to the Sims very easily. Stan and I have played the new Sims 4 for approximately 15 hours combined and have come up with couple of opinions on the new features and gameplay themselves.
Sims Creation and Building Tools
The process of creating your own Sims has become more fluid as the creation toolsets allow players to push, pull and mold individual Sims according to their liking. The Sims themselves also look more polished themselves without looking slightly boxy and having tiny sharp edges. I am not too fussed about the lack thereof when it comes to fashion choices for Sims since there will always be expansion packs in the near future.
Aspiration wise, Sims 4 is not very stringent and whatever aspiration you choose for your Sims will affect his or her traits, emotions and reactions towards certain situations. Unlike the older Sims games, your Sims does not have to slave off and focus on just achieving one ultimate career path. There are other smaller aspirations that come along with the traits that you have chosen. Some of the traits and aspirations complement each other very well and can influence overall gameplay. For example, I have chosen my Sims aspiration to be a Master Chef and to go along with it, I have chosen the foodie trait and these choices have made my Sims more efficient in terms of leveling up her cooking skills. Furthermore, by achieving certain aspirations or specific goals can unlock unique items and furniture, which makes the game more rewarding.
The building tool sets have now become more user friendly for players who are not so inclined to give up too much time to build their own homes but still want to acquire their ultimate Barbie dream house. These players can now choose from the styled rooms (just like those IKEA furniture displays) that are available for them or go online to acquire houses made by the Sims community in exchange of their Simoleons. This proves to be a good feature for Stan who wants a posh house but does not want to put in too much time and effort to build one.
Since Stan and I have only been playing for 3 days, there are still a lot of features to explore and play around with.
What’s new, what’s missing and Our Thoughts
“So I can’t drown my Sims anymore?!”
That was my initial reaction when Stan told me that there will not be any swimming pools added in the game. So, bad news for generally every Sims player out there who is looking forward to satisfy his or her sadistic side. However, you can still contain your Sims in a room without doors and patiently wait till the Grim Reaper pays a visit. Personally, we are quite neutral about the developers’ decision to take that feature away. Stan sensed that the swimming pool feature might one day be included in some sort of expansion pack called ‘Pool Party’ or some sort.
Another feature that has garnered mixed reactions is the absence of toddlers. According to the official Sims website, since the developers put more focus on creating a more complex AI for the Sims such as wider range of emotions, newer range of locomotion and so on, the toddler and swimming pool features have been left out. Again I am not really affected by the absence of toddlers and I think they do add an interesting dimension to the game but taking care of them and fulfilling their little aspirations can be tedious. Stan, who has not been an avid Sims gamer is not affected by the absence of this feature as well.
Sadly, there are no police officers, babysitters, firemen and repairmen in the game anymore. We both realize their absence when Sims Stan set the kitchen on fire and the alarm went off. In the older games, a fireman will rush in and save the day but in Sims 4, you either put out the fire yourself or have sprinklers installed. Also, Stan realized the developers have curbed our sadistic side by making Sims more resistant towards death as his Sims escaped unscathed despite catching on fire. Appliances either have to be replaced in exchange for Simoleons or the Sims has to repair them themselves, which can impede on other tasks that you want them to do.
Newspapers is not included in the game too and it makes sense since all the Sims have smart phones to do the hiring and computers to look for jobs, which made newspapers pretty redundant.
One of the most talked about new feature is of course the wider range of emotions that the Sims now possess. Aspirations, traits and different situations are interlinked with the Sims emotions. The environment and what your Sims do affect their emotions and in return set out chain reactions towards what they do. For example, Sims Chia has the foodie trait and after tasting some cheap ol’ orange juice, she immediately felt uncomfortable (Never knew my Sims can be such a food snob). Certain paintings, food, or other items can only be made according to the Sims mood. If say my Sims suddenly feels flirty and I want her to cook, for that brief time frame, she can make heart shaped ‘flirty’ cookies. Objects too can affect the Sims mood, such as how by consuming the flirty cookies, any Sims can immediately feel flirty for a specific amount of time.
What Stan and I have been raving to each other about is that the Sims can now multitask! The Sims do not have to carry one task at a time to fulfill one need. Sims can now fulfill several needs by multitasking such as eating, watching TV and socializing at the same time! This makes fulfilling their needs less taxing and players can focus more on exploring and fulfilling their other aspirations. Planning social events such as dinner parties, dates and weddings are made easier and more rewarding for both Sims and the players. All the player has to do is choose the plan an event option from the smart phone and it will lead to a pop up window with step-by-step instruction on choosing the number of guests and venue. Despite that, the feature does not take care of the entire situation by itself. For my Sims wedding, I realized the bartender would only start serving drinks after my Sims exchanged vows and the musician I’ve hired was nowhere to be found.
Like aspirations, the planned events also have their own little goals to fulfill. Based on the amount of goals fulfilled, you can either earn a bronze, silver or gold medal. At the same time, you can also unlock new items that can be added to your inventory and display in your own Sims home, which is pretty sweet.
Despite several hits and misses, Sims 4 is still an enjoyable game and if you do not want to spend around $60 on the game and are willing to wait for expansion packs, there is no harm in that. Overall, Stan and I are addicted to this game and we can’t wait for what the expansion packs have to offer in the future. So, that’s our two cents of Sims 4 and dag dag for now!