If you’re the kind of gamer who likes to craft, quest, and get achievement after achievement, you’ll like Sims 4. I played through the tutorial and still didn’t see the allure, but my daughter enjoys it so much, that I gave it another try. I’ve been hooked ever since.
You get to simulate the life of a person. The wants and needs of your Sim must be considered as you attempt achievements, because earning achievements is easier with happy Sims. Your Sims basic needs are: social, bathroom, hunger, sleep, hygiene and fun. Your Sim becomes more uncomfortable the worse their needs get. When a Sim’s life is going well, they can be quite happy.
Your Sim has whims to buy a musical instrument, do sit ups, or have a friendly chat. Whims are an important way to earn satisfaction points to build toward reward traits. With enough satisfaction points, you can buy the ‘never weary’ trait and ensure that your Sim never needs to sleep again. There are many reward traits: forever full, shameless, carefree and more. Forever full means your Sim will not need to eat. A shameless Sim never gets embarrassed. Carefree Sims do not get tense. The base game does not include one of my favourite reward traits, ‘incredibly friendly’. Your friendship meter with another sim goes up dramatically upon a cheerful introduction with this reward trait. Another way to earn reward traits is through aspirations. When you create your Sim, you’ll need to give them an over-arching goal to accomplish. If your Sim wants the bodybuilder aspiration, there are several tasks that make up one aspiration milestone. With each task you complete, your Sim earns satisfaction points. Completing each aspiration milestone and finishing the aspiration of fitness will give your Sim the long-lived trait. Between whims and aspiration tasks, you can earn satisfaction points quickly.
Your Sim needs to pay rent or bills and probably will need a job to be able to do so. There are many occupations with all of the expansion packs, game packs, and stuff packs. One of the game achievements is to get to the highest promotion level of each career. Some examples: astronaut, criminal, chef, writer, painter and others. If you play a young Sim, he or she will attend school and have homework, behaving much as if it is the Sim’s job.
You choose three personality traits for your Sim. The traits include: good, evil, mean, cheerful, geek, art lover, paranoid, erratic, snob, self-assured, gloomy, loner and more. The combinations are endless and I have had a lot of fun putting together unlikely or unhelpful traits to make the game more challenging now that I’ve played it for a while.
The Sims 4 allows you to customize your character any way you’d like in regard to gender and appearance. You can choose male or female, or you can defy gender binaries by choosing male musculature with a Sim who can pee sitting down and can become pregnant. In Create-a-Sim you can decide on eye colour, hair colour, skin colour, shoulder width, level of muscle mass, how slender or chubby your Sim will be and more. Each Sim has a different outfit you can create for day-wear, sleep, athletic activity, formal-wear, parties, hot weather, and cold weather. It’s all up to you.
Many players attempt challenges set by the community. There is a homelessness challenge, a 100 baby challenge, plus a few others. Even without those, earning all of the achievements in-game requires quite a commitment. Two achievements that will require a lot of playtime are the legacy challenges. There is the ten household for ten generations challenge, as well as the alphabet legacy challenge with 26 generations.
The tutorial starts in Willow Creek, a lovely suburban neighbourhood. The base game includes not only Willow Creek, but also Oasis Springs and Newcrest. You can also live in Forgotten Hollow, Brindleton, Windenburg, Sulani, Britechester, Glimmerbrook, Strangerville, Del Sol, and San Myshuno with the purchase of packs. You can even take your Sims on vacation to the woods in Granite Falls or the jungle in Selvadorada.
There are also occult Sims with expansion packs. Your Sim can be a vampire, mermaid, alien, or even a robot with the right expansion pack. The needs of a vampire differ slightly because the vampire thirsts for blood. Mermaids don’t have a hygiene need, but do need to keep hydration up. Aliens have twittery, high-pitched voices and pastel-colored skin. Robots, called servos, are prone to need repair. With the ingestion of a Forbidden Fruit of the PlantSim, your Sim loses the need to eat and go to the restroom, but needs sunlight and water instead for five days. Each occult Sim has its own rewards and challenges.
The number of expansion packs, game packs, and stuff packs can seem overwhelming at first. The expansion packs are: City Living (San Myshuno), Discover University (Britechester), Get Together (Windenburg), Get to Work, Cats and Dogs (Brindleton Bay), Seasons, Get Famous (Del Sol Valley), and Island Living (Sulani). Game packs include: Jungle Adventure (Selvadorada), Vampires (Forgotten Hollow), Strangerville (Strangerville), Dine Out, Realm of Magic (Glimmerbrook), Parenthood, Spa Day, and Outdoor Retreat (Granite Falls). The stuff packs are: Tiny Living, My First Pet, Moschino, Laundry Day, Toddler, Fitness, Backyard, Vintage Glamour, Bowling Night, Kids Room, Movie Hangout, Romantic Garden, Perfect Patio, Spooky, Cool Kitchen, and Luxury Party. Gardening and flower arranging are two of my favorite pastimes for my Sims, so Seasons is a favorite. The occult Sims packs: Vampires (vampires), Island Living (mermaids), Glimmerbrook (spellcasters), Get to Work (aliens), and Discover University (servos). It all depends on your priorities. If new clothes are a priority, then Moschino or other stuff packs will help you. Bundle packs are an option I recommend to get more game for your money.
Your Sim will need to choose to move in to a household after the tutorial. You can choose a pre-built lot or buy empty land and build your own home. With each expansion, game pack, and stuff pack you will find new items to decorate and build.
I enjoy the music and the sound effects. Each expansion adds more music, and I like all of them. The Sims 4 has sound effects for running water, toilet flushing, dishwasher operation, bees, frogs, Granite Falls insects and more.
The graphics are detailed and realistic. Sims are fuzzed out when using the toilet, bathing and showering. Adult Sims can woohoo, but all such activity is either under the covers or otherwise animated in such a way that I am comfortable letting my nine-year-old daughter play the game.
The controls can take a little while to get used to. There are menus within menus that can be a tricky until you’ve played a bit. I do recommend playing the tutorial to get the hang of what information resides where. Not only can you control your Sim, you can build residences and more with build mode. The possibilities are truly endless.
There are occasionally glitches with the Sims 4, but the SimGurus try to stay on top of anything that is going wrong. Usually they’re fixed within a few days. There was one where vampires couldn’t use dark meditation to regain energy and could only sleep to regain energy. It was a drag until it got fixed. Another glitch had any produce you’d evolved in your garden would disappear after zoning from your home lot. Normal produce would stay in your inventory, but everything else went poof.
If the game was tested thoroughly enough that the glitches were fewer and further between, I’d give this game a solid 10/10. It almost makes it.
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The Sims 4 Review
Gameplay - 9/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Replay Value - 9/10
If you’re the kind of gamer who likes to craft, quest, and get achievement after achievement, you’ll like Sims 4.