|Pub: Electronic Arts|
|Release: September 2, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, Violence|
by Joshua Bruce
I’ve never really been a Sims fan. Not to say that I’ve never played any Sims games, because I have, but every time I did my gameplay experience always devolved into stockpiling simoleans with cheats, building a cool house, and not much else. The sims themselves always seemed empty and annoying to me, mimicking life but falling short of having any real depth or personality. So when I discovered there was a new personality system in The Sims 4, I was actually quite excited. With all this in mind, I set out to truly give The Sims 4 a chance as a real game and not just an architectural design simulator.
The game starts off promising. You dive right into creating your sim (or sims if you desire) with the new Create-A-Sim toolset. You can adjust virtually any part of your sim individually by simply hovering over that section of the body and moving your mouse left or right, or you can adjust sliders that will adjust all body parts at the same time for a more proportional sim. If you don’t feel like creating your own sim, don’t worry, because you don’t have to. Just open up the gallery and browse others creations until you find a suitable avatar.
The gallery is another new function to The Sims 4. Here you can browse creations of other Sims players, from sims to prefabricated rooms, and use them in your game. If you’re feeling creative, you can also submit your own masterworks for others around the world to enjoy. Though it is in it’s infancy as a game mechanic, the gallery promises to diversify and expand the player created content for the Sims universe and inject it directly into the game itself for unprecedented accessibility.
However, If you do create your own sims as I did, you have the opportunity to assign personality traits to them as well as customizing them to look like you and those you know. These personality traits are easily the best part of The Sims 4, giving players the latitude to recreate the diverse range psychosis that is inherent to the human condition. By assigning one major personality trait and three minor traits, you can bring to life almost any persona, from an ultra-confident jock to an extremely introverted nerd, with the click of a few buttons. These traits will follow your sims throughout the game and will offer you bonuses for completing actions that play into your personality.
Once done creating my virtual family, I moved into my vacant lot with a paltry $16,000. Lucky for me, The Sims 4 follows the example of its predecessors by including a handy-dandy cheat menu! Simply press Shift+Ctrl+C to bring up the cheat window and enter your cheat of choice. There are many commands, but the most useful are definitely the money cheats, at least for me. There are a few different money cheats, but just do yourself a favor and type in “motherlode” until your bank account is brimming with the funds necessary create the home of your sim’s dreams. This cheat gives you 50,000 Simoleans every time you enter it, and there is no limit to the amount of times you can use it. Ka’ching!
With my bank account ready and willing, I set out to build a house for my digital psychotic and dysfunctional family to call home.
The build mode of Sims 4 is completely revamped and has some cool features to make building structures a little simpler. The most notable of which are the room tools. Instead of having to use the wall tool to create different shaped rooms to give your home depth and character, you can use template rooms that can be resized, stacked, and intersected to develop a truly unique structure. This was definitely the most enjoyable portion of The Sims 4 for me personally, simply because of my past experiences with The Sims franchise.
However, building the home was much easier than actually furnishing and completing the interior design. The selection menus could become convoluted quite easily and finding the pieces you actually wanted for your rooms could become a chore. I ended up just supplying my family with the basics so I could move on to the rest of the game. Although, if you do prefer to skip much of this process, you can just select pre-made rooms to play throughout your home. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this until it was too late.
So, finally, I was ready to let my sims begin interacting in the world. After hours of creating, building, and tweaking I was at last prepared to dive into the social core of the game. I hit the play button and crossed my fingers, hoping that I had provided my sims with every advantage, much like a doting father who only wishes for his children to succeed.
For the most part, your sims can function on their own within your home as long as you’ve provided them with the tools to meet their needs. Bathrooms, beds, and kitchens are by far the most important, but be sure to provide entertainment for your sims to avert impending boredom.
You can take your sims to different areas (such as the park, gym, etc.) so they can meet and interact with other sims. I expected the personalities to really take over here. My outgoing and flamboyant sims should have thrived among the masses, but they stagnated. They interacted with other sims, but the results weren’t particularly satisfying. I found myself attempting to force things to happen, which typically resulted in embarrassment and discomfort for my virtual family. After growing bored of this over a relatively short time, I went back home to take care of the many needs of my sims.