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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Sims 4 PC Review - 8.5/10

I'd like to get this out of the way first off: I've been a Sims fan for as long as I can remember. My first Sims game was Bustin' Out for Xbox and I loved every moment. Since then, I've been picking up virtually every single game and had almost no problem with the games as a whole, Urbz in the City not included. The weirdly addictive thing about the Sims is how easily it can wrap you up in the game without having to do much work, which is probably why I love it so much.

The Good:
Graphics, as always, look very nice.
I was really surprised with the Create a Sim feature. Usually when a developer tries to sell you on a specific game mechanic which is 'the reason to buy the game', naturally, you would be a bit hesitant and skeptical. Though it isn't as ground breaking as we were lead to believe, it is definitely the best Create a Sim in the entire series and dare I say it, the most in depth character creation I've seen and I say that having played Skyrim. Every Sims game, I was forced to simply pick someone who looked kinda like me or "Eh, screw it. I just want to play." While it isn't my face, it certainly is super close, which made the experience of simply creating a character a decent distraction.
Back to customization, building a house is even easier. While I will talk about it below a bit more, the new system definitely outshines all the other Sims games before it in terms of ease-of-use.
A small little thing I liked was that the game 'rewarded' me for having played other Sims games. Notably, The Sims 3. I got a few free items for in game use. While they aren't super amazing, its a nice little nod and a thank you for playing previous titles. I don't know if any other titles can receive this, but I imagine its only Sims 3 as I don't thing Origin has any other Sims games on there save Medieval.

The Bad:
If there's one thing I have to give a major finger wag to, its a lot of things. First off, who decided to make it so I couldn't turn off the tutorial? Don't get me wrong, the tutorial works, but it doesn't touch on the stuff that I wanted to know like how to move furniture while holding it. Keep in mind, I've played The Sims for the better half of a decade of my life and I can't figure out how to position furniture, which is pretty much fifty percent of what the game is about. The controls are just... I have no idea, I can't even find them. The second thing I have a problem with is the orientation of tabs. Previous games had the tabs in easy to reach and access places that made sense for the platform it was on. On my console versions of The Sims 2, I could easily tell what my Sim's moods were. What needed to be addressed first was easy to recognize via some easily, always visible, bars that emptied as time progressed and sometimes became red or yellow to indicate problems. This time, however, the tab is all the way in the right hand side away from the Sim's face. This is difficult from the stand point I have to check to see who the person is who needs something as well as what they need. From a design standpoint, it just plain sucks. I hope someone comes up with a mod to fix this because its kind of a hassle.
Sims are now bipolar... well, more so than before. What was also used as a selling point for the game was that Sims have emotions as well as even more in depth moodlets. Basically, if I do a certain action, instead of a very binary response from the game, my actions have consequences or bi-products based on whether I succeeded, failed and even more things to put in the equation. The problem is this also affects certain wishes my sim has. See, each sim has their own wish based upon certain factors like what they currently have available in their house, what they want in the house as well as factoring in what their personalities are like. That has been the same for just about every Sims game I can remember. The problem here is, if you have a certain wish you're trying to fulfill and your sim suddenly changes moods, one of your wishes will just go away. This is especially frustrating when you're currently trying to fulfill said goal and they decide to shift moods before the prerequisites have been met. While the idea that you now have smarter sims, it doesn't make the game any more fun. I'd rather work with the game's mechanics rather than have to subvert them simply to have fun.
One of the things The Sims does well is accessibility. Basically, if my parent's lives depended upon it, they could somewhat master certain basic concepts and be able to play a small game given enough time. As a person who's been playing this game series for the better half of my entire life span, even I'm having trouble. Sims 3 introduced tabs for looking at certain things. These tabs were to the left and attached to your sim's portrait so you could easily identify and switch between things easily. Lets say I wanted to switch from viewing what my sim was feeling to the various relationships they'd come across and then to their own personal inventory. It was easy. Its not here. Maybe its just because I'm somewhat fresh off of Sims 3, but this is really a step backwards in terms of ease-of-use. A veteran shouldn't be penalized or have to learn new rules simply for the sake of a newbie. That's all I'm saying.

The Meh:
Apparently some jobs have been taken away that were staples in the previous series. I don't really have a problem with this as things get added and taken away. Plus, The Sims is rife with DLC packs so I wouldn't be surprised if a few of those jobs made comebacks. I never really used jobs anyways because I just use a money cheat. A side note is that a few items are gone from the game. Most notably: cars (if they're in there, I can't find them), jacuzzis (The Sims 3 had the same problem but it got fixed later) and swimming pools. With only the last being things that weren't always in every single Sims game. The pool feature is more of a weird one but I'm sure there had to have been some reason why they weren't included. In any case, meh.
Another problem I've been hearing people talk about is the fact that every time you go to a new location, the game loads. I had a problem with this initially but after saving and exiting, I actually don't think its a bad thing. Sure its not great, but compared to Sims 3 and when you try to save and exit, I'd rather spend 20 seconds in a load screen every time I want to go somewhere in the game rather than spend three minutes waiting for the game to save and close itself. Ya, it was that bad. Though, I'll need to hold my breath because once I start buying the DLCs, the load time may change so I can't say much else.

I know it seems like I had a lot of negative things to say but the fact remains that those who truly love something a lot are the first ones to point out it's flaws. Sure, the game is flawed, but its fun. I'll still be playing it for that very reason.