The Sims 4, Overview

Do you guys remember when The Sims was first released? I do – vaguely. I saw the ads on TV and said “Do want.” Actually, I probably didn’t say that because that’s a fairly new nonsense term that didn’t exist back in…2000?! My God, man – is that right?? 26 – 14 = 12?? I don’t think I was playing it when I was 12. But maybe! Because I got a TON of expansions for it before Sims 2 was released. I don’t think I’d be lying if I said The Sims was one of the main contributing factors toward my lack of a social life in high school. Seriously. I loved that game.

Sims 2 came out in 2004 and rocked my world. I can’t emphasize enough how much of my teenage years revolved around The Sims. I read a lot, too. But I always had a piece of notebook paper that I used as a bookmark, and every character name was written down to use as a Sim name. I was not (and am not) creative so all my Sims would be Bob Smith if left to my own devices. I also browsed baby name websites. You have no idea. No. Idea.

When Sims 3 came out in 2009 I was already in college so I had less free time (more friends and some sort of social life, not to mention classes that actually challenged me). I didn’t play it nearly as much as I had the first two, but I still played the crap out of it. Especially at the beginning. A lot has fallen to the wayside since I got married. For real. I never journal anymore, and I never play The Sims. Mr. T – what have you done to me?! ;)

I accidentally stumbled across an article or something that mentioned The Sims 4 was a thing that was going to happen. Suddenly my obsession came rushing back. THE SIMS! <3 And now I have a job! I can afford to buy it! So I pre-ordered it. >.< $70 you guys. That seems so insane to me. I got a few extras with it that may or may not make it more fun…they were installed automatically when I downloaded it, so I don’t know what would be different if I’d gotten the less fancy version.

I appreciated being able to download the game ahead of time, so it would be ready to play as soon as it was released. And double-plus for the fact that you don’t have to be connected to the internet to play it. I’m not a big gamer, so I didn’t have to deal with all the drama of previous games that had server overloads and crashed or whatever kept happening. I also don’t know the number differences between people who play The Sims and people who play…what was it? Sim City? Diablo? I don’t know. At any rate, I didn’t have any issues downloading the game on September 1 or playing it on September 2.

As far as the game is concerned…

The tutorials are a bit annoying. Every time I open build mode (build/buy modes have been combined, which just makes sense) a new tutorial pops up. I guess it’s better than getting hit with them all at once, but when I jump over to buy a lamp I don’t freaking need a pop up explaining how to add a foundation to my house! I don’t know how to make that better, though, and at the end of the day I don’t really care. So whatever. It doesn’t really detract from the overall experience.

I think it’s interesting what they chose to give more customization vs less customization options from previous games. One of their big selling points was how detailed and intuitive body modification can be. And it is! You click and drag every aspect of the sim’s body and face and can get suuuuper detailed. But that’s never been my thing. I can’t create a normal-looking human to save my life, so I almost always go with one of the default faces. What was a huge time-suck for me was the clothing. In Sims 3 you could change the pattern, texture, color, EVERYTHING, in a very detailed way. I would spend an ungodly amount of time making sure their pants looked good with their tops, or that their workout outfit had the exact same shade of purple in the piping on the pants as well as the top. Utter madness, I tell you. Well all that’s gone now. Each article of clothing has a pre-set selection of options for you to choose from. The same with hair, makeup, accessories – even furniture. That kind of bummed me out.

I love the multi-tasking aspect of the game. “eat this food, sit on the couch, watch this on TV” I cracked up the first time a sim took a drink to the bathroom with him. They can play on their phones while pooping or watching TV. I haven’t tried to get them to poop and watch TV, though. Hmm… Group conversations are pretty snazzy. The little window at the top of the screen that displays your relationship with the person you’re talking to, along with their mood and what trivia you know about them, is nice. You know that they’re feeling “playful” so you can crack jokes with them, or if they’re in a bad mood you can try to brighten their spirits – or avoid them. Some stuff is weird, like when you’re in a group conversation near seating they’re all constantly standing up, sitting down, scooting over, etc. I imagine it’s similar to talking to a drug addict who can’t sit still, lol!

They’ve moved the little pictures of the sims that you use to switch between playable characters from the left side down to the bottom, and that’s tripped me up several times. I keep cancelling interactions because I see the picture of dude’s face and try to click it to select him. I almost immediately switched the camera commands back to Sims 3, and even now they’re a little wonky to me. Change – I don’t like it. It may be my computer, but moving the cursor to the edge of the screen to move the camera is a bit finicky. I’ve started using the right-click-drag method. I hate that you can’t monitor moods while they’re at work, and that the mood window automatically closes. I like to keep track of their stats so I don’t wait until the last minute to take care of something and they pee on themselves or at the very least end up in a bad mood.

The worlds are a lot smaller now. I think that helps with load time – I know my computer couldn’t handle the huge world in the Nightlife expansion on Sims 3. But it kind of feels like we moved backward. I’d rather feel like I need to upgrade my computer than have a game with less functionality. Anyway – there are two cities and each one has 3-4 neighborhoods plus a park and a commercial section of about 4 buildings. I’ve only played for a few hours, but I don’t see a way to buy groceries – it’s back to paying for each meal. I did discover my sim could “harvest” some flowers, but I haven’t seen any edible plants. They may be around somewhere. I really liked the gardening aspect of the previous games. It is cool that you can travel between cities… I kind of miss having cars, though. It’s back to calling to “travel” and the sim just disappears and reappears after a load screen. Again – I think that helps with load time.

I think for this iteration they focused a lot more on AI and scaled-down the customization and some of the more extraneous features. Which is cool, I guess. I’m hoping they’ll bring some aspects back in with expansion packs and free upgrades. I have zero desire to buy individual items in their store – I know that was a big thing in Sims 3. But I am not going to pay $1 here $1 there for a new haircut or bed. Thanks, no thanks. In some ways this game feels like a huge step forward, and in others it feels more like the original Sims as opposed to Sims 2 or 3. Again – greater focus on AI and less on customization.

Anyway – I enjoy it. It’s kept my interest for the past two nights, to the detriment of my housecleaning schedule. It could not have been released at a worse time! I had a plan guys – a plan! We’re roommate free now and I was going to CLEAN. Top to bottom, really get in there and reorganize and deep clean the living room, kitchen, our bedroom, and our bathroom. I got most of the living room done Monday, but Tuesday and Wednesday I just sat on my rumpus and played Sims 4. >.< But I really like the layout of my living room! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do anything different in there, thanks to things like the massive fireplace, cable connection, and our large, overstuffed furniture. But I had great success! Once I get it CLEAN I’ll post pictures. I’ve gotten off-topic.

4 thoughts on “The Sims 4, Overview

  1. I never really knew the Sims was a thing until college, and now I discover apparently EVERYONE I know has always played Sims, they just never talked to me about it? I guess? I feel like I’d enjoy it, but as with MMORPGs, I doubt I’d enjoy it enough or play it enough to justify the expense. I basically want a game that tells a story, like a book or movie that requires some moderate level of interaction to advance. I don’t want to have to DO stuff, gross! ;)

    • lol! I don’t know anyone that plays it! I’ve always been all alone with my obsession…

      I definitely don’t get MMORPGs, but with The Sims…I don’t know. A lot of people have a hard time with it because there is no “winning” – you just play infinitely, until you get bored. But I like the fact that I can do absolutely anything I want. I create my own storyline and advance the sims’ lives however I want to.

      I have regular boring sims that just grow up, fall in love, make babies, and die. I have some that I really push to get to the top of their careers. I have some that I turn into super sluts and see how many people they can have sex with… It’s always fun to come up with elaborate ways to kill them off (although I always find myself getting too attached and end up feeling weird about that one).

      • There are communities that create challenges, so you can create your own game-within-the-game to play. I’ve never tried one, but I might since my general approach doesn’t really work with this iteration as it currently exists.

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