The Sims (Maxis) began 14 years ago in 2000, and I’ve been there since it came. I wasn’t technically allowed to own the game. It was rated ‘T’, to be fair. But I did sneak games on my brother’s version. We had every expansion pack, killed many sims, and woohoo-ed until the cow plants came home. It was a family favorite game. Then came the Sims 2 and Sims 3, and while my brother’s passion faltered, I went gung-ho into the expansion sets. I mean, y’all, I got a whole shelf of them in my bookcase. With what felt like such a large lull between The Sims 3 and a new version, I slipped into The Sims Medieval, and actually enjoyed it. If you’d like to see a full history of Sims games from Maxis, check out this wonderful visual history from IGN: note that this list doesn’t include the Sim City series.
The Sims 4 was announced in May of last year, and finally released 2 September, 2014. I personally didn’t get the game until a week or so after the release, but I was keeping track of progress and features via gaming channels on YouTube. With a $70 price tag on the Deluxe Edition (which is, of course, my preference) I wanted to make sure that I was going to like it. The price has since gone down – $50 for the basic base game – and some fun features have already been added. Star Wars costumes, anyone?
There are many new features, and some features that have been cut – R.I.P. pools and C.A.S.- but so many new features in building your world that I can look past it. The new drag and drop building is so easy, and allows so much variety, that two sims may not ever look exactly alike. From biceps to nose tilt to feet size, sim bodies are so much more customisable. And so are the buildings. Rooms can be adjusted by pulling walls in and out, without being affected by furniture placement: you can also pick up a whole room, furniture and all, and put it on the other side of the house.
Although, I will say that there are few lots available to build on, no way to add new lots, and the limitations on travel within the neighborhoods. Also, even though you can travel between cities/worlds, there are no grocery stores, no bookstores, etc., there are only interactive lots like bars and gyms.
One feature I randomly and excitedly discovered was that there are hidden lots in each of the cities, hopefully they continue this trend as they create new expansions with new cities. Speaking of, that is one of the more anticipated tidbits on this new version, that expansion packs will be offered for free and adding to the game as an update.
A couple other key points, buzzed about pieces like the expansion packs, is that group conversations are possible, and easy, and that sims going to the same place at the same time have less ‘stick’ to get stuck. However, that does not mean that they can queue for actions: use of the fridge still gets frustrating on workday mornings.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with The Sims 4. The new interface is clean and maneuverable. Life is more realistic, even without retirement (that should be added back) and without toddlers goes a lot quicker. I’ll admit that I did like the toddlers feature of The Sims 3, though: it was fun to give the parents/adults of the house those memories. I can’t wait to see where the game will go, and if you are still unsure about whether or not to purchase and play, I highly recommend watching some gameplay on YouTube – my two favorite simmers are TheEnglishSimmer and LifeSimmer. Most big game players like PewDiePie tend not to make stupid characters and put them in stupid situations, but check them out too, if you already like their style.