THE SIMS 4
“I sure am enjoying this swim – wait, where’d the pool ladder go?”
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.
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”