Date:10 October 2014
Previous versions of The Sims have set the bar high. Indeed, there is a lot to love about The Sims 4, but with all that has been removed compared with The Sims 3, is there enough to love in this new version?
Fans of The Sims, like the sim characters, come in all shapes and sizes. Some fans love the architecture, some enjoy decorating rooms and some love to “live” through the lives of their sim-families. And of course, each time a new release of The Sims comes out, there are new fans that have never played a previous version. Perhaps the real problem with The Sims 4 is that its developers do not appear to have provided equal doses of love to the various fan groups.
If you’re a fan of the building and decoration elements of the game, whether you’re building entire houses or decorating individual rooms with finishing touches, you’re in for a treat. The interface for this sort of activity has never been better. Items are easier to place than ever before and the possibilities will allow your creativity to stretch far.
It needs to be said that some aspects such as pools, basements and garages have been removed, but even so, the building functionality is so good that almost anything could be forgiven in this area. Building your rooms by dragging walls is seamless and as easy as ever. It just works.
Setting up your décor is also an incredibly easy task and the makers of the game have even created predefined design-sets that allow players to choose items that match without necessarily having the most advanced interior design skills. Finding items to place can now also be done using a text search and this really does make it easier to find items.
Similarly, the functionality surrounding the sim-creation process is really good. It’s so flexible that you can truly make a digital version of yourself almost no matter what you look like, how you walk or speak. Really fun stuff.
Once past the point of creating and setting up your “doll house”, the game shows quite a few of it’s limitations. The fact that The Sims 3 allowed an open world and The Sims 4 appears to lock players into a house or in specific zones definitely feels like a step backward for most long-serving fans.
There are promises of add-ons in the future, but this is hardly a surprise as an avalanche of add-on packs has followed every Sims game ever released. However, in the case of The Sims 4, it really feels like the add-ons may just be the final bits of the game that somehow didn’t make it into the initial release.
However, it’s obviously not all doom and gloom. One of the best improvements to come our way is the multitasking ability of the sims themselves. In previous versions the activities of sims were so singular that it wasn’t even possible to hold a book if another sim wanted to start a conversation. So that meant that your sim would get up from their chair, look for a place to put the book (sometimes on the floor) and then turn around to have a conversation with another sim. Weird. So now with multitasking, the sims go about their activities in a more natural way. They speak to each other while gardening, they read while on the toilet, etc. In fact this leads to some amusing combined actions and it’s a real treat to witness them.
The interactions between the sim characters is way richer and it generally feels as though a foundation has been set for something really good. However, as it stands now, it feels a little unfinished and perhaps only when we’re a few add-on packs in will we feel like we got a good game on our hands.