A really great game with some horrible controls.
Aside from the very first The Sims game from way back in the day, I haven’t played one in a very long time. So long, that you might as well say I haven’t played a Sims game before. Now, The Sims 4 has been out on PC for a good three years, but it is finally making its way to consoles. How does it hold up? More importantly, how would a newcomer take to this is series? Well, let me tell you from the perspective of practically a newcomer.
For those that don’t know (and I highly doubt anyone reading this doesn’t know), The Sims 4 is a life simulator game with some rather exaggerated results. Players create people with their own unique personalities and traits and have them live out their lives in a fictional neighborhood. Along the way, they may find fame or fortune, love and happiness, or anger and depression. It’s all about how the player lets their Sim live.
Price I’d pay: $30
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Players begin by creating their Sim or Sims and moving them into a home where they live. To begin with, things are simple – managing happiness, health, hunger, finding a job, and other simple things like that. Eventually, the game gets a bit more complicated with the micromanaging of the Sim’s emotions, behaviors, and tendencies. Many times, a Sim will have a negative aspect to their personality, which I recommend in order to keep up the challenge and throw in a few curveballs here and there. A Sim that is hotheaded obviously gets upset more times than not, and a Sim that is clumsy will drop things, fall, and potentially mess some major things up if they’re not careful.
The Sims is not just a person simulator; players can dive deep into the home and décor customizations and really deck out their homes to have them just the way they like them. It can get very expansive when digging deeper into it. In fact, that is the best way to describe the entire game. On the surface, there is a lot to see and do, but when getting deeper into both customization and exploration, The Sims 4 is a huge game full of all kinds of events and life moments.
I said before this is a life simulator with exaggerated results. Well, to elaborate, let me talk about my singular Sim. I crafted him to look and behave like me (as egocentric as that sounds.) Within two days of working at my new job, I was promoted. I met a woman in my neighborhood who I decide to flirt with one day, six days later, we’re engaged and a day later, we’re married. I’m now moved on to an even bigger job with a lot more money coming in, and my wife’s showgirl job is really bringing in the cash as well. We’re getting ready to have a baby and are thinking of buying a new, bigger home. Oh, and this is all in about two weeks in game. As crazy as all this may sound, I found myself glued to my TV as it all transpired. The Sims gives off that feeling I had while playing Civilization. That “one more turn” mentality turns into “one more day” for The Sims. Before I knew it, I had been playing the game for four hours.
While I enjoyed my time with the game itself, I have to mention the biggest issue with The Sims 4 on console – the controls. These controls are some of the most unruly, clunky, and confusing things I have attempted on an Xbox One controller. Part of the game has the right stick mimicking a mouse cursor, which is not ideal, but works alright if not a bit slow, but when making a choice or going into a menu, the cursor then becomes a highlight for menu options that can span full across the screen. Doing this results in me losing where the cursor was and having to scan the screen to see what I had selected. On top of that the camera controls with the left stick was difficult to do especially when zooming, panning, and viewpoints were all handled through a single analog stick. After about three hours I got used to it, but I honestly feel like I never fully got used to the controls and ended up just using the button to snap back to my selected Sim even when I didn’t want to. The controls are a mess and a half, and something that may very well turn off potential players.
I noticed on the main menu that there is a lot of DLC for this game. Granted, the game has been out for three years on PC and I’m sure there are a lot of expansions. I would have figured they would have just put some of that DLC in the standard edition for free since the game is so old. Alas, that is not the case, and they’re still charging what was full price for it back in 2014.
The Sims 4 is not a bad game. In fact, I had a great time with the gameplay of watching my Sim learn, grow, and find love in all the goofiest ways I could imagine. It really felt both simple and deep at the same time, and either way you play it, you’ll find something to keep your attention. Unfortunately, the controls are going to be a chore to use more times than not,and even after getting the hang of them, you may still dislike them. I know I did. If only the controls were as good as the game, I would recommend it in a heartbeat to players looking for that simulation game with some goofiness, but with the controls the way they are, I would suggest sticking with the PC version if you can. If you do decide on getting the console version, be warned, you will need to get used to the controls and even when you get used to them, you will still find them difficult to use.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.