A Time To Expand: The Sims 3 Seasons

By Adam Smith on August 3rd, 2012 at 5:00 pm.

You have to preorder to play with this ice lounge, where posteriors go to die.

Like the games themselves, the expansions for The Sims are a surreal blend of the mundane and the extraordinary. There was an expansion that allowed Sims to go out to bars and clubs, which is something that most people can do anyway, but in the world of commercialism and gobbledegook it also became possible to turn into a vampire. The Sims Seasons adds weather and new activities and interactions for each season, so Sims can now become sunburnt or struck by lightning, which seems to burn off all of their clothes but doesn’t quite kill them. There are also festivals along with other season-specific happenings. And then there’s the alien abductions because, hey, the weather isn’t weird enough.

Aliens can be befriended, which makes a change from shooting them in whatever most resembles a face, but they sound like the worst friends ever. Say you called your alien friend over for dinner, well afterwards he might propose abducting one of your neighbours or invading the local park. Now I’m accepting of cultural differences, but if this fellow were a human being and casually suggested chloroforming the chap next door and shoving him in the boot of your car, the first thing you’d do is call the police. Or at least I hope so. These aliens sound like the smug little invaders from Funny Games and you really shouldn’t be hanging out with them.

Oh, alien friends can also take you on a trip to the stars. Maybe that justifies the rest of their antisocial behaviour. I guess it depends how much you like the stars. Professor Brian Cox would be fawning over the extraterrestrial sociopaths no matter how many bodies they had stashed in their probing parlour. He bloody loves the stars that guy.

While it’s clear that these expansions won’t stop coming until The Sims 4 is ready for sale, I wish they’d at least release the previous one before announcing the new one. Supernatural is out next month and Seasons is out in November. Is that the shortest gap between Sims expansions ever? Yes it is. Soon they’ll be arriving once a week.

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46 Comments »

  1. lexoneir says:

    I wonder how many of the expansion features will be absent in SIms 4. Will they make you pay separately again for things like the seasons, pets,half the professions, etc?

    • woodsey says:

      You don’t need to guess to see the answer’s “yes”. It happened with The Sims to Sims 2, and Sims 2 to Sims 3.

      • RedViv says:

        It’s inevitable. People underestimate the amount of work required to implement EVERYTHING in a new game, all over again.

    • Gnoupi says:

      If your sequel sells well without all the elements from the previous game, and that your public will pay for such content again, why wouldn’t you? God way to optimize the revenues, from the publisher’s point of view.

      Bloody annoying for the customer, though.

      …And the worst is that I’ll probably buy this one… loved Seasons in TS2…

      • lexoneir says:

        I always install Sims 3 every so often, and enjoy it. But always end up uninstalling in frustration when I realize I can’t fix the sluggishness and jerking, even on a high-powered machine. I’m waiting for the next one…hoping that it isn’t so terrible.

  2. Drake Sigar says:

    Only Sims I’ve bought in the last 8 years is Medieval.

    • Vinraith says:

      How is that? I haven’t seen much discussion/coverage of it.

      • Drake Sigar says:

        It’s a welcome and refreshing change to a stale franchise, though I consider it a bit of a failed experiment because the decorating and building aspects have all but vanished for some reason.

        Quest system is good though. And Patrick Stewart does the intro!

        • RedViv says:

          A wonderfully poignant intro even.

        • Vinraith says:

          So it’s more of a lite RPG or something?

          • Kaira- says:

            Pretty much yeah. It’s quite fun, but there isn’t enough of quest types to carry the game for longer.

            Also, making your character to have a vendetta on whales(!) because they ate your parents(!!) is always nice.

          • Gnoupi says:

            Technically, the original game was already a lite RPG

      • djbriandamage says:

        It’s not a bad game but it disappointed a lot of Sims fans while welcoming many new ones. It’s much less of a sandbox than an objective-based adventure\life simulation game. You always know what your next objective is and you’ll have a time limit before you’re penalized for neglecting your duties. This is both fun and stressful.

        It didn’t hook me the same way The Sims did but there’s nothing wrong with Medieval. The writing is sharp and witty yet good-natured and non-offensive. The individual tasks range from fun to mundane but your actions weave into cute stories which are enjoyable and fulfilling. You get plenty of choice about how to improve your kingdom and whether you will focus on security or wealth or happiness or other factors.

        I’m kind of talking myself into trying it again. I’d recommend it but let go of your predispositions of a Sims game before booting it up.

        • psyk says:

          I always thought the sim “stories” were the same sort of thing.

          • djbriandamage says:

            Yes, the Life Stories or whatever they were called were inspirational for the objective-based story progression in Medieval and Sims 3 Adventures.

  3. fawker says:

    I “obtained” a copy of this game with all the addons and content packs installed.

    It was a buggy mess.

    • djbriandamage says:

      You got your “money’s worth”. The game is quite stable and insanely complex now. My wife and I own all but a few of the Stuff Packs and after a year of patches it’s (finally) in good working order.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        It seems like Maxis even fixed the memory leak issue, something I was having particular problems with for years. Now if they could take a go at the load times, the game would be close to perfect.

        • Dizzard says:

          Memory leak issue? Is that what was causing the save error 12 and save error 13?

          That and the fact that eventually neighbourhoods become impossible to play is the only reason I’ve quit the sims. More trouble than it was worth.

  4. Trelow says:

    I’ll likely be preordering this. Excited for Supernatural to unlock.

  5. Keymonk says:

    I am absolutely in love with Sims 3 as a rule, but I had awful crashing issues with it last time I installed it, where it would crash more and more frequently. I tried every solution I could get my hands on, but alas… it’s a shame, too, I was absolutely enraptured by the game. I probably would be again if I dared installing it again. Which I don’t, because crashing.

  6. ukpanik says:

    Did you guys play with your sisters barbie dolls?

    • Bluefox says:

      Don’t be silly. I had my own Barbie dolls.

      We would set them up in the mansion, but Ken would come over and start murdering people, one by one. The girls would fight back, and then the Autobots would crash through the wall in their fight against the Decepticons. Ken would start murdering them, too (he was about as big as most of the robots), but, as the Transformers were equipped with lasers, that fight didn’t take too long.

      Then the Autobots would wrap up the day chillin’ in the hot tub, discussing the political ramifications of Lego minifigures.

      The Sims doesn’t let me do any of that (yet!), but it’s still a neat little game.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Wouldn’t autobots short circuit in a hot tub? Or were they boatobots as well?

        • Bluefox says:

          As my android overlords would say, the days of spraying down the robot revolution with fire hoses is over. Transformers would no more short circuit in a hot tub than you would.

          That said, I always made sure the tub was filled with oil. My parents had a long talk with me about the differences between *imagining* a motor-oil-filled playset, and *actually filling* the playset, mostly centered on the cleaning thereof.

    • mrbeman says:

      lol

      Internet tough guy defines his masculinity by dint of what videogames he plays. Good luck with that.

      Also: the height of burly-chested machismo is, of course, telling other people what games they’re allowed to like.

      Gender roles are for chumps and simpletons.

    • djbriandamage says:

      It’s pretty fascinating how (stereotypical) men and women play the game differently. My wife enjoys the architecture and families\generations\ageing. I always play a solo character with ambitions of business or adventure or impregnating as many strangers as humanly possible. Will Wright said that after all his interviews with psychologists and linguists and sociologists to create the first game he enjoyed building houses most of all.

      But all the same, that Ken is a real dreamboat eh? Let’s put him in the pink corvette lololololteehee

      • Kadayi says:

        I like the construction aspects, however it’s also great just as a change of pace from murdering most of Dubai or San Paulo tbh. Personally been playing it with a single mum and 3 kids as I bought generations recently during a sale and been having a lot of fun with that given all the options and interactions.

    • Kadayi says:

      Insecure much?

    • pilouuuu says:

      It’s because of people like you that we get one Call of Duty after the other, that every classic franchise is turned into an FPS and that violence seems to almost be the only thing found in videogames nowadays.

      Really, why I think that The Sims 3 is limited by current technology and EA’s business decisions, I find it one amazing sandbox simulation and I wish more games would use some things it does well, especially RPGs, like the simulation of a life cycles, with different moon phases, passage of time, weather, seasons, jobs and careers and a very good friendship and romantic relationship simulation.

      How much better would a game like Skyrim be if it simulated human behaviour and relationships like The Sims 3.

      • Kadayi says:

        Couldn’t agree more. To their credit Bethesda tried going the Sim route to a degree with radiant AI in Oblivion but it wasn’t entirely successful and they scaled it back quite a lot. However I definitely would like to see more games incorporate sim style AI for NPCs.

    • equatorian says:

      > Assuming all RPS readers are guys
      > Assuming no guys play Barbie dolls
      > Assuming all Barbie doll playing is ‘girly’
      > Assuming that all play considered ‘girly’ is of less worth and undesirable
      > Assuming that RPS readers would feel less worthy when accused of playing with dolls
      > Assuming anyone but yourself actually cares about gender stereotypes
      > New to RPS
      > OR troll

    • cptgone says:

      come closer and i’ll show you where i touch ‘em.

      (sorry, couldn’t resist.
      i’ll get my coat now)

  7. Moonracer says:

    If the seasons are as long as they were in Sims 2 this should be good for Game of Thrones fans. I recall having sim children (born in spring) who had never seen winter.

    If you can run Sims 3 with all of the expansions smoothly, you have some supercomputer bragging rights. I started playing again because there were a bunch of expansions on sale early this summer (I think I have all but pets and stuff packs). It takes about 2 minutes to get to the main menu and 3+ minutes for me to load a save game.

    • djbriandamage says:

      At least they front-loaded the asset caching. Better to enjoy uninterrupted gameplay than sit through loading screens every time you change locations. That was a huge improvement over the first 2 games.

      • Moonracer says:

        I agree, the lack of loading and feel of things actually happening outside of the player controlled house was a huge leap for Sims 3. I’m curious what they will do for Sims 4.

      • pilouuuu says:

        I also agree. The loading screens in The Sims 2 were immersion breaking.

        I think in The Sims 4 we can expect a whole word simulated, as here in TS3 you still have to tolerate loading screens when you travel to a vacation destination.

        What’s annoying is the fact that you have to wait for many minutes for the game to load and it has big stability issues with CTD often happening.

  8. Kadayi says:

    Could be interesting. I quite liked the additions with Seasons in 2 tbh. I might well get this one (passing on supernatural seems like it’s strictly for Twilight fans), but this holds some promise. The only problem with adding an expansion though is the urge to restart my Sims from scratch again.

  9. lordcooper says:

    Milk it baby.

  10. Gasmask Hero says:

    Seasons? Well, that means rain.

    Time to start knocking out sims with the Hydrophobic trait then.

  11. pilouuuu says:

    The Sims 2 Seasons was the best EP for the previous iteration of the game.

    That’s because it includes a many random events like rain and snow and it helps the “atmosphere” of the game a lot. It makes the gameplay more unpredictable.

    And Supernatural includes many of the elements which made Making Magic one of the best expansion packs in The Sims 1.

    With those two additions I think that The Sims 3, which includes personality traits and an open neighbourhood is finally the best game of the three. I hope that The Sims 4 brings much improved A.I. and hopefully things like pets and seasons are included from the base game, although that’s not likely to happen.

    The Sims 3 is probably one of my most played games in the last few years and if it weren’t for the half-hearted recent expansion packs and continuous CTD issues I’d still be playing it a lot. With these two new EPs I’ll probably have a lot of fun again.

    And really I don’t care for these two amazing expansion packs coming so close together. It’s much better than waiting for six months for the game to have something new.

  12. SketchyGalore says:

    I’ll admit, I’ve spent a lot of money on Sims expansions over the years. I was just happy when Steam got its meathooks into the franchise and I realized I could buy the game and six of the expansions for the same price as two of the expansions (when they originally had the sale). I get the impression EA’s trying to Origin-hog this cash cow, but hopefully one day they’ll all end up on good ol’ Steam. Lucky for me, I’ve grown a little more patient than I was in the days of Sims 1 and 2, so I have hopes that, one day, the past three expansions I’ve been missing (and the ones that are about to follow) will be more affordable as a bunch.

    These expansions are good and they add a good amount of content most of the time, but at $40USD a pop, plus the (admittedly horrible) “stuff” packs, you’re looking at a $300+ PC game. Even the most stubborn subscription-based MMO doesn’t ask for that… at least not for the first year or so.