The Sims 3

The Sims 3

What we liked:

+ Storymode adds real life
+ Seamless travel
+ Little details built with a lot of care

What we didn't like:

- Similar activities
- No real improvements in the job system

DEVELOPER: EA Redwood Shores   |   PUBLISHER: EA Games   |   RELEASE: 06/02/2009

It’s a hard knock Sim for ME!

So I was sitting around in ZTGameDomain secret HQ thinking what the heck do I want to review next, the SC2 beta crawls towards me like I was a starving dog and a snail was pulling a 2 ounce steak in my direction, so I decided to go with another of the PC’s mega franchises, The Sims 3. Now I think it’s only fair to give you guys a little history when it comes to Sim anything and me.

I’ve owned pretty much all of them, Sim City, Sim City 2000, Sim City 3000, Sim Tower, Sim Ant, Sim World, Sim Island, and of course The Sims. When the first Sims came out I thought it was the coolest thing in the world, building your own house from the ground up, creating the most wacky family you could think of, and then seeing how they interact with each other. I must have dropped hours and hours on that game, figuring out every little trick there was – like this one nice bug that would happen if your Sim was red in all their needs, and you can get them to die by fire, they will come back with all perfect stats. Or buying the worst fireplace and then filling the room with chairs was always a one way ticket to a full on house on fire. All of that was fun, and taking care of your family was a real gas for awhile, but then the grind set in. No longer were you seeing how many people you could pack into one house, or how much you could pick on them; now it was all about micromanagement, you needed to wake your sim up 3 hours before they have to go to work so that they can use the bathroom and make food hopefully fast enough that they don’t leave for work peeing themselves and passing out on the lawn because they haven’t eaten.

So I went into The Sims 3 with only the good memories, my H shaped super mansion, my grandma who was the best in the military. I went in with excitement at the possibilities that this new game offered.

What I got was a mixed bag. There are a lot of improvements that need to be mentioned. To start this is the first time in the series history that the whole town is open to you without any loads. No longer are you limited to just your plot of land, now you can go to anyone’s house and use a number of stores and services in the town. A bit of a down point of this is that except for a gym, every other store, spa, or hospital is closed off. Your sims go in, but you can’t zoom in per se and see them going to talk to a doctor. When it comes to the town they are only visible from the outside. The same thing occurs when they go to work. I had assumed at this point in the series having them running into the car and going away for 8 hours and then coming back would have been done away with. I was hoping with an actual town now open to explore and use that at the very least we would get to see them doing their work, and at most do a few optional mini games.

Another positive is the fact that the micromanagement of the older games is far more manageable then it was before. No longer do they need to go to the bathroom 5 times a day or eat 8 times, now once or twice for either and they’re good all day. This leaves you open to do a lot more interaction with your sims, and you can enjoy the game world and build connections with its inhabitants without having to worry about them passing out or wetting themselves.

The charm of The Sims is still there, simlish is still funny to listen to – especially when your trying to figure their conversation by the thought bubbles over their head. The music and sound is also as good as ever, with little treats like the ability to customize your Sims voice, which I thought was a great feature. And I wouldn’t want to forget the music that blows out of your sound system: the techno pop stuff is actually really catchy and your Sims love to dance to it. In addition, I have to give them credit for putting real effort into the little stuff. Every TV channel has actual sims footage that you can watch, and most of it is pretty funny. Overall the graphics still have their sims style, which is enjoyable to the eye, and isn’t going to tax your computer. It’s a happy middle ground that The Sims always seems to have gotten.

I would have to say, though, that the most important new feature I have gotten to use so far is the dreams/wishes that your Sims have. They are pretty much little quests that can range from making a new friend, to harassing a person, or making 4 nemeses. There is some real variety in them, and they’re all tailored to your Sim’s personality and Life goal. So if you make a super evil guy, it’s not going to say that your Sim wants to adopt a puppy. In the same light they also have these side activities to do that you can be offered by your boss at work, or just an offer from an organization. They are usually little stuff, but they add variety to the game. One that I got with my evil guy was to deliver a package to city hall and I was half expecting it to be a bomb but he just went inside and came right back out.

The last big addition that must be covered is definitely the storymode. What this allows is a switch for the whole city. When storymode is on every family and person acts as if they are controlled by a player. They go to work, invite people over, have fights, the whole nine yards, and on top of that everyone ages – they can go right from baby up to elderly and then take a nose dive into the grave. This is easily the best new feature in the game, and something I hope they expand on in either expansion packs or The Sims 4.

Now some of you are probably saying, “Odion didn’t you say this was a mixed bag, this sounds like a lot of positive stuff.” Well to be honest all of these are great additions to the game, they had a ton of variety and fun to the series, but they don’t take it to the next level. The problem being all this stuff is fun to do, but it’s all just extensions of actions I could do in The Sims 1. The side quests are just talking to people or going to point A or point B, they’re a lot like some of the new quests in WoW, they seem a lot fancier because there is a brand new coat of paint, and some bells and whistles, but in the end it’s still you killing 30 boars.

The Sims 3 isn’t a bad game, not in slightest, and too a different group of gamers this might be all they wanted, but for me this feels like a sequel that Will Wright had nothing to do with. There is no new magic, or amazing new idea that is going to re-imagine the whole series, it’s just more and better stuff that we got in Sims 1.

Community Voice
JVIDICAN had this to say:

The Sims has always been a series that is casual friendly, but offers a certain depth for the more hardcore. This is has not changed in its third major release. So what has changed in the Sims 3? The Sim’s now have a more cartoonish look to them, while this may irritate some I found it added a certain charm to the game. The neighborhood, your home and even that new oven you’ve been saving up for are all easy on the eyes. Gameplay tweaks generally just include more customization options for both your Sim and there surroundings. By far the biggest change in The Sims 3 is the now seamless open neighborhood. While you still have the option of traveling via map, you can now walk the streets of your city and interact with all of its residents. Something I found disappointing was the omission of many of the features added with The Sims 2 Expansion packs including pets, seasons, holidays, and college.

If you were a fan of the previous games, I cannot recommend the third enough. If you hated them with a passion, The Sims 3 likely won’t change your mind. With EA promising long term support through expansion packs and a buzzing online community The Sims 3 will definitely keep the Sim fanatics satisfied until the series’ next major release.

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