Truth be told, I have never played a Sims game before. I know the general game play and how they work, but have never actually spent time with one of the titles before. Now, I have The Sims Medieval installed on my PC and I have to say, I think I may have missed out on some good games.
You play as a number of Sims that take part in the day-to-day life of the kingdom as well as interactions with other Sims. These come in the form of establishing relationships and completing quests.
You begin the game with the Monarch. The Monarch is the king or queen of the kingdom and is one of ten Hero Sims that the player can control. Each Sim has traits that the player can select from that include good traits like being noble and chivalrous as well as one fatal flaw that will hinder the Sim.
After creating your hero, you can furnish their work and living quarters much like in the original Sims games. You can add better beds, more lighting and decorative items to the building. You can’t, however, change the layout of the rooms and buildings themselves. They all have a predetermined floor plan and are all placed in the same area of the map.
The bulk of the game is made up of the quests you take while playing. You will always be on a quest. Some quests require certain Hero Sims, while others allow you to use any of them. Which ones you choose to use on the quest will determine the way it will be handled as well as the XP and increase in attributes to that certain Sim. The quests can become rather complex, especially when you have three or more Sims on the same quest.
Much like the original Sims games, you will have to micromanage each Sim’s needs and wants. They still need sleep and food as well as other requirements depending on their fatal flaw. During a quest, your Sims will obtain positive and negative buffs depending on what they do. Let’s say you have a physician Hero Sim. He loves the outdoors. You have him look for herbs in the forest, and he will gain a positive buff for a certain amount of time. Let’s also say that same Hero Sim has a fatal flaw called Drunkard. If the Sim doesn’t get alcohol in them within a certain amount of time, they will receive a negative buff until they get some booze.
The buffs affect the Sim’s focus. The more focused they are during a quest, the more successful their quest will be. This is all determined by a meter next to the quest that will go up or down depending on the Sims’ focus. The bar will rise to bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The higher the quest bar, the more gold, XP, build points and stat upgrades the Sim will obtain.
Juggling between Sims and accomplishing quest goals can become a rather challenging task. Not only are there quest goals to accomplish, but each Sim has their own unique daily chores that they must perform in a certain amount of time. These chores depend on the Sim and their profession. Some may be as simple as paying their taxes, while others are more complex, like performing operations or guarding an area. If these daily tasks are not completed in the timeframe that they require, the Sim gains a negative buff and loses focus. So, you can see, there are many different things that affect the outcome of a quest.
I had a little trouble getting around in the game. Even though you are givenan icon to click on that allows you to go to the next quest area, I still found myself constantly clicking on the area around the Sim so I could get a better view of the land. I really wish I could control them with WASD.
There were a few quests here and there where I got lost. Most of the time the game will tell you where to go next, but even then, when arriving at the location, It took me a good 5 minutes to figure out what to do next.
Another problem I had with the game was that sometimes the characters you are trying to interact with just ignore you. On several occasions, I found myself waiting for a certain character to finally stop what they were doing so that I could talk to them, only to see them walk away from my Sim. It’s not a very big deal, just rather annoying when some of the quests are on a time limit.
I find The Sims Medieval to be a very addicting game. Much like Civilization V, I sat down to play it for an hour and ended up playing for 4. It’s one of those games that keeps you coming for just one more quest, and when you’re done with that quest, you find out you have enough build points to finally get your Knight Hero. Even if the game controls are a little clunky at times, you can see past it. The time and focus management is a satisfying challenge that even hardcore strategy players will find fun and entertaining. I may have never played a Sims game before, but The Sims Medieval has made me a believer.
Review copy provided by publisher.