Feeling a little bored, and getting some good reviews from my friends, I decided to check out The Sims 4. I have a long history with The Sims dating back to 2000 when I got The Sims 1 and eventually all 7 expansion packs until my computer could not handle any more. When The Sims 2 came out, I got that too, and the first 3 expansions, which also coincided with The Sims Online, my first MMORPG experience, in 2003.
This is about to the point where I got burned out. Really burned out to the point where I never got another Sims 2 expansion, and never bothered with The Sims 3. It is also about the point I started working on Date Ariane, partly inspired by The Sims. In fact the first ever version of Ariane Barnes was in The Sims. I even created an early web comic made in The Sims 2 using her.
The one thing The Sims brings to gaming that is nearly unique is avatar based gaming that is not violent, and often sexy. That is what brought me into the game in the first place.
The Sims 4
Enter the newest incarnation, just recently released. Some of the big changes include a much better character creator, and a much better house builder. Why are these such big changes? Because many Sims enthusiasts spend most of their playing time making new characters and new houses just for fun. One enthusiasts site Mod The Sims has hundreds of celebrity look alike Sims and any house you can imagine for Sims 2 and 3, and eventually Sims 4 will have just as many.
And then there is the actual game play where they took care of us players biggest complaint: they made it possible for the Sims to do two or more things at once. The first time I saw a character read a book, then decide to go to the bathroom and take the book with her to read on the toilet, I knew this was a major improvement and much realistic.
I, of course, had to try and create myself. None of the eyes or eyebrows were close enough to call it exact, so I settled for close enough. I also created a Rachel that was closer to herself. If you have The Sims 4, do a community search for “Barnes” and download the one that looks like the above two characters. Ariane is a “Serial Romantic” with Active, non-committal, and goof ball traits, Rachel is a “Renaissance Knowledge” with creative, outgoing, and geek traits.
Like the people that create characters and build houses, I also tend to play the game wrong. I turn off aging leaving everybody as young adult or adult. then I like to build a giant dorm with 8 characters and not enough bedrooms or bathrooms, and watch what happens.
The answer: About the same thing that happened in Sims 1 and 2. Despite the improved graphics, improved character creation and building, and improved AI, its still basically the same game. They created this cool “multitasking”, then just re-balanced the game by making everything take longer.
This seems to be the main complaint with players of The Sims 3: its just the same game with less stuff. As someone who skipped over 3 and only remember 2, I can see their point, it all feels very similar. Too similar, and that’s the problem, considering my 9 year hiatus.
The upshot being that I doubt The Sims 4 will drag me away from other projects, like finishing the Date Ariane update. I’ll probably only play occasionally to avoid the inevitable “burn out” as long as possible.
Update Oct 3, 2014:
I assume it has to do with poor sales, but EA is now offering free upgrades, including the much requested “pools” and “ghosts” just in time for Halloween.