Wot I Think: The Sims 4

The joke isn't that The Sims can play The Sims. It's that their copy has way, WAY more features...

Hurible badda flabber? Wibble durble booby. Fasherk! Yes, you don’t need to speak Simlish to know The Sims 4 is now out and ready to let you spend your precious life ensuring little computer people have far sexier and more successful ones. Only now you can’t drown them in your pool. Does the rest have what it takes to compensate for that shocking omission? Here’s Wot I Think…

The Sims sequels are odd things. Normally, you sit down with a new game to see the world expanded, a game made deeper, the stakes raised higher. In this series though, it’s inevitably a clearing of the board, a throwing out of all the really cool stuff and also Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats so that it can be repackaged and resold later on. We all know that’s going to happen. The Sims is as shameless about it as a Lego starter kit composed entirely of lime-green flat pieces. Soon enough, there will be pets, there will be goofy new destinations to visit, there will be a whole array of exciting DLC opportunities to fill your life and credit card statements. The only person apparently not aware that this is more a core to plug stuff into than a full game is whoever decided the ‘Standard Edition’ should be fifty shitting pounds. More for the Digital Deluxe Edition!

One second, I'm looking for Ignore This Guy. Have you seen Ignore This Guy? Guy I'm trying to ignore, how do I ignore you? What was that? Couldn't hear, I was ignoring you.

The deal then is essentially this – in exchange for winding back the clock, each new version of The Sims needs to offer a darn good reason for doing so. It’s unrealistic to expect the equivalent of five years worth of additions at launch, even if at this point a few things like cats and dogs do feel like they should be in on Day 1, but there has to be something. Some justification. The Sims 2 for instance saw a full jump into 3D and a strong refining of the original game’s concept now that it was a proven success. That counted. The Sims 3 then dramatically opened up the possibilities, with its open town marking a transition from simply a fancy dollhouse to a living world where your little darlings/minions/victims could collide in endless clever and funny ways.

The Sims 4… doesn’t have anything close to that level. It has improvements, and we’ll get to those, but in terms of scope and ambition it actually feels like a big step backwards. Features like the lack of pools hinted at this in advance, but are a trivial omission compared to the tiny maps your Sims call home, where everything is a loading screen rather than a short walk away, and where every stone has been left unturned in the quest to make it feel like a real world.

From the way your Sims just fade into the ether when they go to work, to the complete indifference paid by everyone if you persuade a friend to go streaking down the street, their new world feels flat, empty, sterile and much like the recent SimCity, depressingly claustrophobic. The neighbourhoods immediately feel cramped, but turn out to be a whole new level of small when you realise you can’t even visit a neighbour’s house without a loading screen or return to yours without another one. The towns, of which there are two so far, are tiny, with ironically few (and small) housing lots and such a lack of businesses like bars and gyms that they all share the same street… albeit again one that demands a load between locations, with any building your current Sim isn’t in becoming less real than the pub on your average soap opera set.

The multitasking and social options make hanging out with your sexy friends and having a cool social life full of adventures and good times much more realistic. I guess. I mean, probably. Wouldn't know...

Instead, the big push this time around is improving the Sims themselves, and that’s a worthy goal. The first big addition is multitasking, which allows them to finally do things like have group chats, sit on the sofa and watch TV in their pants while also nomming a slice of cake.

The second, more visible addition is the Emotion system. Sims have a default state of “Fine”, but can be bounced around through alternate states like Uncomfortable and Flirty and Energized in various different ways; a steamy shower putting them in the mood for love, an awkward conversation having them wishing the ground would swallow them up, a boring day at the office leaving them trudging home in a mood, whether that office is devoted to space travel or supervillainy, or sometimes just a sudden burst of sadness or cheer out of nowhere in particular. Sims can have multiple moods at once, affecting which commands are available, how they perform actions, and how well they accomplish them. This being The Sims, it’s not unusual to see them bouncing between extremes faster than you can say “Squirrel!”, but the negative moods are easy enough to dismiss without being irrelevant while the positive ones last long enough to make use of the buzz to make a cake or write jokes or continue down the path to becoming suburbia’s greatest secret agent/kindergarten book author.

This is a great addition, not only for adding the additional strategic element to controlling Sims, but for making them feel more rounded as characters. Instead of just seeing them pitch a fit for no apparent reason like before, you’re now told specifically that they’re jazzed after a good day of work or feeling a bit off after eating some poorly made food, or feeling pumped and ready to burn off some energy. It’s a handy addition for role-playing, for guiding attempted romantic introductions, or just for squeezing a little more out of that same old ridiculously fast-ticking clock that doesn’t give a Sim enough time for either a slice of toast or a shower before heading to work.

Not the ideal thing you want to see when your best friend reveals they ordered a voodoo doll of you off the internet...

It’s in these smaller-scale changes that The Sims 4 is at its best; the refinements, the polish. The updated Create-A-Sim for instance is now incredibly easy-to-use, controlled by dragging on skin to mould characters as you wish, with the only real problem being the lack of clothes and accessories. Even without the old Create-A-Style feature, players are already making lots of cool things and there’s an integrated Gallery for downloading and importing all kinds of TV, movie and game characters, along with plenty of others. If you want George and Nico from Broken Sword to move in next to the Mass Effect team just down the road from Anna and Elsa from Frozen, it couldn’t be easier. While there are limits to what the editor can do – the closest it can get to Garrus from Mass Effect for instance is to paint a guy blue and give him spiky hair and glasses – it’s already an impressive resource of community creativity. Downloading characters also brings in their personality traits; from that set, Jack is pre-configured as an insane hothead, while Liara is a gloomy genius, and Kaiden is there too.

The same also applies to the Build Mode, which may have lost its pools, but has gained the ability to plug rooms directly onto houses and pick from dedicated styles to make expansion fast and easy. Want a good looking kitchen but don’t want to spend ages manually picking everything from the floor to the toaster? Pick one, drop it in, done. Alternatively, the standard tools are there to place every last window and door by hand, as well as upload and download templates to the same gallery for easy sharing and tweaking, and a number of improvements to allow for more complex structures and looks. Already available are a house themed around the Starship Enterprise, a floating house on stilts, a garden maze dwelling, and a couple of famous recreations like the sets of Seinfeld and Friends. (You should probably grab ’em before the lawyers start coughing.)

Sims are surprisingly tolerant people, really. The biggest frustration for a Mischief type character is how much they just shrug or laugh off, up to and including being knocked out with electricity and just left on the floor.

These changes are all good ones. They’re nowhere near enough to justify everything that’s lost in the generation gap, at least at this point, but they do at least set a good foundation for what’s to come. Bored of my usual approach to The Sims, of creating an amiable Sim and trying to make them happy, this time around I decided to start off by creating a monster – Dastardly, Evil, Insane and a little Clumsy, just for my own amusement. Stated life goal, Chief of Mischief – one funded by a life of super-villainy that somewhat unfortunately had to start on the side of the goody-two-shoes by temping at a spy agency, before I could branch out and launch Project Chaos.

This immediately made for a hilarious welcome to the neighbourhood, objectives like “Make 3 Enemies” achieved by running out and picking fights with kids and calling them names, then inviting their parents around for dinner and polite conversation about boring mortal things. Early on it became clear that everyone in the neighbourhood was a ridiculously good sport when it came to the old hand-buzzer trick, though they weren’t quite so wild a couple of levels later when it developed the power to knock them on their arse for a good couple of hours, leaving nothing but regret at the lack of follow-up options like “steal wallet” or simply “steal trousers”.

At about this point, cheery neighbour Eliza Pancakes made the mistake of thinking we were besties, at the same time as I discovered I could order voodoo dolls off the internet, bind them to people I knew, and use them to summon, poke and torment as if by remote control. I decided that being evil meant rules were for suckers, punched in the money cheat, evicted the Goth family from their mansion so I could move in, then slowly whittled away her resistance to my evil scheming. Later, we ate tacos on the sofa.

For added ease, simply pick a room. For added realism, the builders will lie about the price, dick you about on supplies, and a year later you'll find there's a dead rat behind your stove.

Stories like this, and less sociopathic ones too on occasion, are what The Sims is built on, and The Sims 4 is well placed to provide them in the future. It’s a solid foundation, and one full of charm – its animations, its little details like the books you can collect, the naughty things you can make your Sim do or persuade others to do in the name of a laugh… there aren’t many more fun games to watch, unless your Sim is simply sitting in the dark and playing The Sims, of course.

The problem is that it’s a solid foundation that doesn’t make a sufficient jump forward, or offer anything to make those possibilities exciting instead of merely inevitable. The changes it does include are worth an appreciative nod, definitely, but that’s all. It feels tired when it should be at its most refreshed; a game that from the first screen feels born more of the commercial need to update the number in the title and making life easier for the content creation team than of having awesome player-focused ideas for a fourth generations of pets and holidays and sexy new adventures.

While it will absolutely improve and get more content, especially now that it’s shot straight into the charts, it’s just not enough so far. It badly needs more content, clothes, items and space. It has to provide a convincing reason that smaller is better – which it as yet it simply fails to do – and it needs more new ideas like the Emotions that radically shake things up. In time, it may prove the definitive Sims, the last gasp for the series or anything in between. For now though, while its primary changes are good, the trade-off is hard to recommend. Ready or not for a sequel, it feels more an expensive preview than a game; like waking up on Christmas morning to find that Santa has stolen your piggy bank, and left you little but last year’s Toys R Us catalogue to fill your dreams.

The Sims 4 is out now.

49 Comments

  1. Anthile says:

    …how would you order a voodoo doll of someone else on the internet? Last I checked you need one part of the thread, one part of the head, one part of the body and something from the dead. Do they just have that lying around at Etsy?

  2. Lionmaruu says:

    just by looking at it I think they just got that crap of the sims for facebook and called a new name, even the models are more cartoonish than on the sims3.

    it is really a very bad “continuity” I would rather buy some of the sims3 packs and play that. seems to still be way better game anyway.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      “Cartoony” is a style and is entirely unrelated to technical matters. They could add all the latest and most expensive rendering techniques to Borderlands without changing the style and it would be a GPU melting technical marvel, cartoony or not.

      Off course this has nothing to do with TS4, which is really not demanding at all. Still, i like the fact that people don’t look like glossy and overly smoothed clay dolls like in TS3, or that you can finally afford to press the dreaded “random” button and still expect to create something similar to a human being.

      • gwathdring says:

        The Sims 3 is pretty disappointed to me in this respect, but I like the looks of 4. Shame about all the issues presented here. :\

  3. BlackeyeVuk says:

    I have random question.

    What’s called that indie game that is still in beta , army theme , top down camera shooter, you can have squads after certain level and so on, feels like real front army fighting, and have multiplayer.

    I can’t remember it…

    • Synesthesia says:

      um… Running with rifles, maybe?

      • Gnoupi says:

        Sounds about right. Great game, by the way.

      • BlackeyeVuk says:

        Come to Serbia, Belgrade , street Vladimira Matijevicha 13 , apartment 01 . I’ll bake ya a cookie. And give ya manly hug.

        I have long beard and long hair, its the best i can do for fellow mates , lads and homies.

        • gorgonaut says:

          Aww, man! I miss Beograd. I lived there for a while, during the war. Is the awesome Tesla museum still open? Last time I was there, we were the only people there, and the attendant let us play around with all the machines and stuff.

        • Zankmam says:

          Neocekivano, haha.

          • gorgonaut says:

            Je, stvarno. (THIS IS SUPER SECRET ENCODED LANGUAGE)
            Beograd je puno interesantniji grad nego gdje sada zivim!

    • MadMattH says:

      Ukraine Simulator

  4. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    “It has to provide a convincing reason that smaller is better”

    But maybe there IS a reason, afterall. It’s easy to forget how many problems TS3 introduced now that we’re focused on what the sequel lacks. Leaving alone the fact that the audience is comprised mostly by shitty computers, it’s worth mentioning how much saves were corructed, how many severe slow downs where there other than the general choppyness, and in general how much stuff was going to glitch the longer you played.

    Most of all, following long term goals ( my favourite playstyle ) was asking for a disaster sooner or later, and that was only going to get worse with more expansions.

    We could say it was doomed from the start, meanwhile TS4 is always giving me a buttery smooth and crash free experience, it has made a lot of sensible decisions that will translate excellently as expansions will start piling up, rather than getting worse. Endless expansions are a given afterall all, and i like the idea that this time they want to build on solid ground.

    I save a lot, and for that reason alone i’m having less downtime in TS4 even with all the loadings required to travel, let alone that the “tiny” little zones are more effective at providing a decent population level without quirks like waiting for people to gather in your spot everytime. Not only it feels more alive, but the zones themselves have a finer level of handcrafting, especially as you start to explore for rare plants and obscure fishing spots, giving a better reason for Maxis’s own curated world than TS3 ever did.

    Loading your neighbor’s house might take 5 seconds, but the same 5 seconds can lead you into different worlds aswell, and you’re actually encouraged to do so, especially if you’re a fisher or a gardener as there is a welcome biome diversity going on. This is a big improvement aswell and it will shine as more worlds start to come in and you’re able to make friends and collect crap anywhere you want and to do so fast.

    You have more skills aswell, even stuff that was on expansions, and job that promote exactly that. There are some wacky ones too for those interested, again something you would need to wait on expansions previously.

    The first rule in photography is: “less is more”. As long as the “less” is properly substantiated, which you seem to think it isn’t, then we’re golden. There is enough variety that you have far more choice, not as traumatic as the jump between complete TS2 and vanilla TS3 when everything was even more barebones and the open world was really the only thing going for it. People also rightfully complained for the worst looking character models in the whole franchise.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      My feeling is, going neighbourhood-wide in Sims 3 was a good design idea but had terrible technical execution. Surely they would fix that in Sims 4, right? Well, no, they just gave up.

      If they couldn’t simulate an entire neighbourhood at once, they could have at least simulated only the lots that one of your active Sims was on. The rest could be done with dramatically reduced fidelity, and Sims in transit could just be icons until they arrive at a lot instead of being fully animated and simulated.

      But back to how they actually did it: I have some questions that haven’t been completely answered by the gameplay streams I’ve watched. If you split your family up, such that some Sims are on one lot while the others are on another lot, can you still switch easily between them? Do you get a loading screen when doing so? Do they continue to do things while you’re not focused on their lot, and can you look at their task queues, etc.? And do the above answers change when you cross neighbourhood boundaries?

      My understanding so far has been that life basically stops as soon as you’re not looking at a lot; that crossing neighbourhoods is similar to World Adventures, in that everything happens in limbo-time and nothing has changed when you get back; and that neighbours don’t have any sort of story progression when they’re not focused on, aside from aging and dying. I’d love to hear that it’s not as bad as that.

      • Orillion says:

        That’s what they did in TS3, and it didn’t work there either.

        As far as I know you cannot easily switch between sims on your home lot and an “out” lot.

        I think time does pass, though, and your home sim pretty much takes care of themselves for the duration.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        “Surely they would fix that in Sims 4, right?”

        Is that so sure, though? There are a lot of things that are bound to go wrong, even minor things that over time clog up the whole thing. Story progression mods especially attempted to solve the matter with more “garbage dumping”, but that proved to be another slow down anyway. It wasn’t just an open space anyway, there were a lot more intricacies.

        Once we’ll have 10 worlds you’ll actually be able to consider them all a big lot, since choosing where to live won’t hamper your possibilities. As of now, ANY travel takes a small loading, sure, but it’s always the same and still very fast ( 3 seconds for me, SSD and all ). Imagine doing whatever the hell you want, anywhere you want with that small price to pay and this design choice will probably start to make sense, alongside the fact that i’m sure it’ll prove far more stable once content piles up.

        To asnwer your question: story progression is limited to aging and immigration, you have a lot of aging options ( like aging on but still not automatic for other families ) and the ability to chose if you want empty lots to be populated or not. Then again, i only trust good customizable story mods to automate this stuff. They’ll maybe come.

        EDIT: Forgot one question about limbo time. I didn’t try to switch to “standby” sims, but i guess that’s how it is, since when i came back home with the other sims my plants were still perfectly watered.

        Good switching was definitely a great feature of TS3, but i also didn’t mind the extra relax of limbo-time in world adventure and university.

        EDIT2: removed some stuff as i misread your question.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          I tried the switching thing, you basically can either switch ( Yeah, with loading ), call the sim there or set some tasks for him, like getting better at some skill, socializing with someone, repairing stuff and so on by clicking on the bolt icon on the sim’s portrait.

          Similar thing goes for the good old options for when you’re at work, like “work hard” and so on, plus there are some emotion specific ones now too.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Thank you for a constructive comment. It’s easy indeed to fall into the “bah, they removed open world, i loved open world”. But after reading your comment, it comes back to memory, how it really was. I might miss zooming out far to see the full city, but I remember now issues with the previous open world.

      And the loading times. Oh boy the loading times. I started my TS3 recently also, I forgot how bad it got. I think it was actually a bit less dramatic at the beginning, but in the latest patched version, with a few expansions, it’s really taking ages.

      • gwathdring says:

        I’m intrigued more by Sims 4 now. O.O It looks lovely and I honestly don’t need all the extra guff anyway.

        Well, extra customizable stuff is always good. But I don’t know that I need stuff like Magic and Pets.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      You totally make good points. (gives cookie)

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        *can’t reach the cookie due to pathfinding issues*

      • Hahaha says:

        Good points that anyone who has played the sims games should of picked up on but game “journalists” knowing what they are writing about……

    • katinkabot says:

      This. I had every expansion(minus the final one) and some of the stuff packs. My computer was pretty good – it could handle Bioshock Infinite on High settings. By the end, it would take like 10 min. to load up my most played neighborhood and then after a long play session – like an hour – it would start to ‘lag’ a bit. I stopped playing when my very favorite sim family’s save file corrupted. Many days of play lost – 2 maxed out adults. Such a frustrating loss. The wife was a genie acrobat that rode around on a unicorn. I miss her.

      I can part with an open world if it clamps down on massive load times and lost saves(which happened a lot at the end). Though I do agree with Richard, the game is rather dull to play. I miss the charming wackiness that the final TS3 games had – though I know some people were not as fond of it.

      In an answer to your final question, time does pass – but you can click ‘off’ that option in game options.

    • drewdupe says:

      I love everything about your comment. Explains exactly why I am enjoying the Sims 4 more than I ever did 3. And hey guess what, 3 is still there for people who want it!

    • nindustrial says:

      Great points. I think this is a fair perspective from the other side of the fence. I think the base game is still lacking a bit in terms of content, but I agree totally that many of the engine/smallness changes they made are for the better. I much prefer the increased stability (and I have a beast of a machine that would still chug in TS3) and extremely short load times than being able to scroll around at the expense of system hogging and the MOST HORRENDOUS LOAD TIME KNOWN TO MAN in the previous game.

      Overall, I think it’s a bit overpriced, like Richard, but I think the system changes are all for the better.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Well, there is something tremendously wrong in the UK pricing, not sure why.

        On Origin, in Euro, we’re still looking at the usual 60/70 depending on the version. While in no way cheap, that’s more to do with Origin being rather infamous for that.

        Then again, something is fucked up in blighty, i could spend that money in 3 days of smoking, good thing i brought my own stock of cigs when i visited!

  5. CKScientist says:

    >and Kaiden is there too.

    OOOOOOOO

  6. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    I was briefly curious when I saw the screenshot with the electricity effect. Had they brought back aspects of Supernatural already? Then I remembered it was just the joy buzzer interaction. :(

  7. Hydraulic Meerkat says:

    I bought this game. I bought this game and i don’t even know why.

    I like the changes to careers, and how different items are unlocked, but relationships are so easy they become trivial. Just put anyone in a room with someone else long enough and they’ll become best friends without any action on your part. Then they start stalking you all day long at your house like they have no life of their own. Maybe things will get interesting when jealousy enters the playing field.

  8. Hypnotron says:

    I don’t like the way I can’t make a home, family, friends, neighborhood that look like the one’s I grew up in. I would have preferred a Sims 4 that expanded on Sims 3 by allowing us to go back in time, or move into a dense city and out of the suburbs, into an Asian city like Tokyo, Taiwan, Beijing, etc.

    I quite frankly hate the look of these fake, hipster, marketing archetypal, characters in their fake TV show houses.

    This franchise is wide open for a takeover by a bold developer who’s really willing to explore what a Sims concept has to offer.

    • InfamousPotato says:

      While I don’t hate what The Sims is the way you do, I can still enjoy the cartoony unrealistically attractive TV world that abhors anything serious and runs on whimsy, I still agree with a lot of what you said. The idea of what The Sims is could be so much more than what we have here. Changing cities in the way you mentioned would be (in my mind anyway) fantastic. It seems like a horrible waste to portray everything in the same style. Sure, the world The Sims dwell in kinda reminds me of home, and sometimes I like playing in a simulated world like my own, but with video games you could do so much more.

      I remember playing Sleeping Dogs (still do from time to time), and one of the things that I enjoy most about it is that it doesn’t take place in some popular American city. It let me visit another place similar but at the same time totally different from my home. The Sims could do this but in an even more interesting way. With The Sims, you get to simulate a person/persons/family and choose who they are and what they do in the world that they live in. If you could show different places like the ones you mentioned (Tokyo, Taiwan, Beijing sound like a superb start), you could simulate how different people live across the world, showing how similar and different the world can be (it would also make gameplay a lot more interesting, having it vary with the location, and maybe even the culture there).

      While the uniqueness of The Sims makes it stand out, I can’t help but think that if other developers were trying to make the same kind of game, we could see something extraordinary. I’d like to see a game like The Sims but with far more emphasis on… well… simulation. I’d like to see someone try to make a living, breathing, town where the world didn’t feel like it revolved around the player, even if the player could change it (In the Sims 3, it often feels like the other NPCs are almost scenery). I’d like someone else to make a more serious version of The Sims, where you could simulate the kinds of places that aren’t perfect TV versions of reality.

      I guess I just think that The Sims could be… more. I wouldn’t want them to get rid of the kind of thing they’re making now. TV worlds that run on whimsy can make for a delightful experience. I just wish that wasn’t all there is.

    • eggy toast says:

      I’ve been saying much the same since Sims 2, I can’t understand why no one is making a better doll house, because there’s lots of clear places to improve.

      edit: re: This franchise is wide open for a takeover by a bold developer who’s really willing to explore what a Sims concept has to offer.

  9. InfamousPotato says:

    Great review. I’m sorry that The Sims 4 didn’t make the same leap the others did. While it’s not as simple as the game being bad, in fact it sounds like a delightful game, I think I’d like to wait on buying it. It sounds like a great base to build everything else on, but I think I’d prefer to wait til there’s more to it (with expansions and such). Also, I don’t want to pay $60 for it. It seems almost insane (this is probably an exaggeration) to pay that much for the base game, and then even more for all the expansions (not that I’m being forced to do it or anything…). Maybe I’ll wait until we’re a bit closer to The Sims 5 and then buy this and the best expansions… Preferably when they’re on sale.

    Also, totally unrelated, are we ever going to see a Wot I Think for Season 2 of The Walking Dead? I mean, I’ve already played it, but your (by you I mean RPS as a whole) thoughts on them are always enjoyable to read.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      I don’t know if there’ll be a WIT on it (at this point it seems doubtful), but I reviewed most of the last series over at Eurogamer – all but the third ep, on which the lovely Chris Schilling took point on because I wasn’t around when it landed. link to eurogamer.net

  10. sumdood says:

    That first picture shows a sim playing a Sims game inside Sims4 that has more content than Sims4.

  11. Megakoresh says:

    Oh don’t worry, you will have your content and additions. Plenty of them at 40$ each. It’s Sims and EA, is there even a question? No, there isn’t.

  12. Opellulo says:

    Good old Sims mischief! Back in the days i was used to log into my sister’s pc and cramp her neighborhood with the most unplesant, ugly, antisocial sims families i could create; completed with run-down houses and terrible jobs.

    To be fair she didn’t evicted them and later she also thanked me for bringing some action into her game. The Sims was really a good game…

  13. geldonyetich says:

    Apparently I’m at 41 hours played in Sims 4 now, a number that surprises me considering I don’t consider myself all that much of a Sims fan. In general, I’ve been enjoying it, even if it is lacking in a whole lot to do.

    Sims 3 needed a successor because it is not merely long in the tooth: it’s on its death bed. There are people who can’t get past Sims 3’s launcher. My personal experiences were just that my saved games would inevitably corrupt. There were mods that would make them corrupt _less_, but the problem remained: After so many expansions, EA Maxis was unable to handle their own spaghetti code anymore, or else modern OS were introducing incompatibilities with Sims 3.

    The main improvement in Sims 4 is solid: the emotions are essential. The old “moodlet = positive or negative” system ended up backfiring nastily by simply being too easy to pad out with positive moodlets. Emotions are different, they’re not just positive or negative, they go in all sorts of directions. In practice, you don’t want somebody to just be generically happy (which is easy enough to accomplish), instead you want somebody to feel inspired (to create art/write) or focused (to program/ect). They need to ditch the mood auras on props, though, that’s too easy: you end up just creating specialized rooms for each emotion for instant cheerful/focused/ect.

    The main downside is that ditching the world map was, indeed, a massive step backwards. In Sims 3, when somebody goes to work, somebody goes to work: you can witness them working. In Sims 4, you can only imagine it. In Sims 3, when somebody wants to hit the gym or the library, this is something they can do while the simulation at home continues. In Sims 4, doing the same means your home simulation is GONE, anyone who did not go with you accomplishing nothing but basic survival. Consequently, going to venues is _out_, don’t do it anymore, it’s a waste of your time.

    I think I understand why they did it, because simulating an entire world is a lot harder on system resources than one lot at a time, but they lost something irreplaceable in the process. If they tweaked the game so you could load multiple lots at once, and just switch the focus from sims at different lots instantly without a loading screen, they would salvage the lion’s share of what they lost.

    A large secondary downside is “create a style” is gone, and this horrendously kneecaps your ability to customize the appearance of clothing and furniture.

  14. airmikee99 says:

    Hmmm.. based on the review and the comments, I’ll stick to playing Sims3 until they do something radically different to alter Sims4. I’m happy enough with 3 and the few expansion packs that I’ve picked up. I might even install Sims2 Ultimate Edition that EA recently gave away for free, just for grins and giggles.

  15. RegisteredUser says:

    Games like this could be so much more.
    There could be satire-like careers for the bambi-eyed wannabe starlet, with a boob-job achievement to unlock casting couch nastyness in order to make it big in L.A., or perhaps just end up on the porn set after all.
    Or the pimp, drug lord, true villain, or even just a sims-ified version of “evil neighbours”, where your job as a prankster leads to diarrhea, misplaced forks, furniture(ouch, me bum!) and various other toil and trouble for the unfortunate.
    You could be burgling houses, helping kids cheat, have fist fights with jealous husbands and wives, cook drugs in your basement and run an amateur porn studio from your bedroom via webcam.

    In short, you could do all kinds of eyes-wide-open adult themed insanity if you just thought outside of the disneyfied Sims-box and actually made a game about expression, experimentation and freedom instead of a piecemeal girlsploitation box(yes sure tons of male buyers as well), and its this kind of “locked into playing it safe” snoreboredom that makes me so sad that while we have now grown into a fully adult gaming industry, we are now ironically nowhere as near to an actually adult game making process as we used to be back in the days of the C64 or VGA.

    This kind of gaming “evolution” is nothing but more of the same of “treading water with prettier textures”, and we’re all worse off for it.
    Shame. With the options of modding, insane amounts of storage and vast networked crowds we would have the potential to get, do and be so much more.

  16. bobueckerlele says:

    Wife and I are playing characters back to back. She’ll do a couple sim days then I will. It’s been a blast having their budding romance controlled by us. Apparently the game records the “first woohoo” and “first kiss” and everything else they do together. Also found that by having her over as my own character for quite a few hours, then switching to her character, she got the “all nighter” bonus without having her energy affected. Pretty cool stuff.

  17. Jediben says:

    I am continuing my main objective throughout the sims series: seduce every married female and leave their husbands destitute and cuckolded.

    AND IN THE GAME!