“I sure am en­joy­ing this swim – wait, where’d the pool lad­der go?”

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Phil Iwa­niuk

You might have heard of this one. EA’s doll house cash cow has sold roughly ten copies for ev­ery hu­man be­ing on Earth at this point, and spawns ex­pan­sion packs like Grem­lins spawn, um, other Grem­lins. The only jewel miss­ing from The Sims 4’ s crown, in fact, has been an Xbox re­lease.

As the more ea­gle-eyed among you may have de­duced, that’s all about to change. This Novem­ber, The

Sims 4 reaches our shores with the ben­e­fit of three years worth of nig­gles patched out, and some ex­tra con­tent. And we don’t mean ex­tra con­tent in the tra­di­tional ‘more mis­sions and an of­fen­sive mul­ti­player cus­tomi­sa­tion item’ sense. This be­ing The Sims, the good­ies on of­fer are ad­di­tional decor op­tions, some hot tubs, and fresh out­doorsy fash­ion choices, to­gether com­pris­ing the Per­fect Pa­tio Stuff pack.

EA’s last Sims re­lease for con­soles was The Sims 3 Pets way back in 2011 when the world seemed kin­der and Twit­ter still felt kind of ex­cit­ing. As you’d as­sume, the es­sen­tial for­mula re­mains the same, but there have been sub­stan­tial changes and ad­di­tions with the ad­vent of a new base game.

Per­haps the most im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous is in how Sims emote. No longer con­tent with just ‘sad be­cause voided bow­els in pub­lic’ and ‘mim­ing ten­nis serve in spir­ited con­ver­sa­tion with neigh­bour’, Maxis has ex­panded the range of in­ter­ac­tions, and the moods which mod­ify those in­ter­ac­tions, in or­der to cre­ate a more hu­man, re­lat­able col­lec­tion of poly­gons. For ex­am­ple, if a Sim be­comes em­bar­rassed af­ter be­ing re­jected by their crush at their own birth­day party while lit­er­ally ev­ery fam­ily mem­ber and friend in their life watches on, they’ll be­come un­der­stand­ably ret­i­cent to play the vi­o­lin for ev­ery­one im­me­di­ately af­ter. On the flip­side of that par­tic­u­larly dark ex­am­ple, play­ing chess for a while can make a Sim fo­cused, which will in turn spawn moodlets (things your Sim wants to do, in lay­man’s terms) based on that state. They might want to prac­tise a skill, and be able to do it for longer with­out, say, a weak blad­der in­trud­ing on the ac­tiv­ity.

You’ve pulled

Cre­at­ing a Sim is now achieved by pulling parts of their anatomy this way and that rather than through the use of slid­ers, too – it sounds awk­ward, but works out much more in­tu­itive, and it’s strapped to a pow­er­ful cre­ation en­gine. Quite how well it trans­lates to a con­troller re­mains to be seen, but the mould­ing po­ten­tial’s re­ally some­thing.

How­ever, it wasn’t all roses (or in­deed rose­buds) for TS4 upon re­lease in 2014. Fans noted a list of – drum­roll – 88 miss­ing fea­tures from pre­vi­ous games, some of which re­main ab­sent to this day. Ex­pect a ‘stream­lined’

Sims ex­pe­ri­ence this Novem­ber, then, free of the clut­ter that silted up the pre­vi­ous games’ ex­pe­ri­ences, but also pos­si­bly feel­ing a bit light in con­trast. Cars, for ex­am­ple, a sta­ple of trans­porta­tion since The Sims 1, are un­avail­able for pur­chase or use this time. Tod­dlers, how­ever, ab­sent un­til Jan­uary this year, will be present, cor­rect, and ready to smudge their sticky fin­gers all over every­thing on the Xbox ver­sion. Well, bet­ter late than never. The

Sims has never re­ally clicked on con­soles the way it has with its PC au­di­ence and their pro­cliv­ity for mod­ding, but it’s nice to be in­vited to the Per­fect Pa­tio party all the same. n

“Per­haps the most im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous change is how Sims emote”

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