Last week on 4 February, The Sims franchise celebrated its 15th anniversary – quite a milestone. They also released a trailer for the first Sims 4 expansion pack Get to Work (coming in April), which looks like an awesome combination of the Sims 2 Open for Business expansion and the Sims 3 Ambitions expansion. I’ve put the trailer at the bottom of this article. Even if you’re not a Sims fan, it’s a pretty zany trailer that starts out as something that looks like The Sims meets Theme Hospital. They also added family trees to the game last week.
Seeing all these awesome Sims things was great, but when I scrolled down and made the mistake of glancing at the comments, I was reminded of all the negativity that has surrounded The Sims 4 since before its launch. Personally, I have found the more I play Sims 4, the more I enjoy it. But rather than delving into why people feel compelled to complain about everything (or so it seems on the Internet sometimes) or demand things from game developers, I decided to have a look at the things that I feel The Sims 4 has done right.
10. Unlockable content
I really enjoy unlocking new furniture and clothing through career advancement – it gives players something to work towards and some really special items to decorate with.
9. Ability to age up or change aspirations at any time
These two features are great – age up that baby early or change your Sim’s aspiration when it’s clear that you’re not going to be completing it. The ability to see the requirements in advance is also really handy.
8. Free content updates
Although there were normal bug-fixing patches for previous games, adding new clothing, careers, ghosts and pools to Sims 4 as free updates is a first. (Personally, I am indifferent about pools and ghosts and am perfectly happy without toddlers in my game. The new careers and overhaul of the career advancement system, on the other hand, were very welcome additions.) It also shows the developers do listen to what fans want. I just hope they don’t get pressured into changing the game for the worse.
The emotion system really makes Sims feel more like real people – they are no longer just slaves to their energy/hunger/bladder bars. Although these things still do affect Sims, there are now tons of other factors that come into play, like the objects in a room or events that have happened recently. I think this is a great improvement on the moodlet system.
6. Room system
Building is easier than ever before with the way rooms work as entities that can be moved around a lot or deleted entirely. Being able to upload them to the Gallery is also rather handy. The room system makes redecorating a breeze. The included ready-made rooms that you can just plop down are also a great time-saver.
5. No more launcher
Origin might not be perfect, but it is superior to the Sims 3 launcher in terms of getting updates for the game and having all expansions, game packs, etc. listed in one place.
4. Online Features (Gallery)
The built-in Gallery of player-created content is just fantastic. It’s simple to upload any Sim, room or entire lot to the Gallery, and just as easy for someone to download it. The actual download part literally takes seconds, even with my relatively slow Internet. Also, the game doesn’t take forever to log in like Sims 3 did.
The Sims 4 features the most intuitive, easy-to-use Create-a-Sim system of all the Sims games. You just click on the part of the body you’d like to change, and away you go. The way hair (and hats) work is also noteworthy as it opens up a host of new outfit options that were simply impossible before. The ‘styled look’ feature is also great for when you just want your Sim to be dressed with one click.
2. Build Mode
I’ve never been the most creative builder, as I rarely have the patience to create a magnificent mansion when I could be playing in Live mode. Now, in the new combined Build and Buy mode, it’s possible to create great looking houses with ease. Roofs in particular are easier to construct than ever before.
1. Load Times & Performance
Definitely the best thing to happen to the Sims franchise in its 15 years of existence. While the open world of Sims 3 was nice, it still often took longer to travel across town than a short load screen would have. Load screens of 5-10 minutes each were pretty normal in all previous games in the franchise, and actual game performance, especially in Sims 3, was terrible. These two factors meant that I rarely left my home lot in the previous games. The Sims 4 has changed all that by using very short load screens and only loading one lot at a time, keeping the game running at a good speed as well. I’m hoping this system means that the game won’t get slower and slower as more content is added – as was the case with its predecessors.
The Sims 4 may not be perfect, and it may be lacking content that some people consider essential, but it also doesn’t have 5 years worth of expansion packs – yet. I imagine just about every feature from previous games will be added over time, and probably some totally new ones. I really look forward to seeing what the team has in store for us.
And here’s the Get to Work trailer I promised: