|System: PS3, X360, Wii, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: The Sims Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 26, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Once you get into the rhythm of babysitting your sim, you can get to the business of planning out their life for them. Whether you want to be a career criminal and start stealing things from your neighbors (protip: the Kleptomatia personality trait works wonders if you are planning to go around thieving) or you want to work in the Simlish government (beware the corruption of others!) there are many possibilities for your Sim's future. The game doesn't have any overt direction, which gives you the freedom to do just about anything with your sim.
Of course, for those who crave structure, The Sims 3 has a goals system that allows you to accomplish certain "wishes" in order to gain karma points. The wishes are based on your Sim's personality traits and evolve as he or she develops a career path and forms relationships with others. Once a goal is achieved, karma points are awarded, which can be used to activate karma powers. Karma powers are bonus stat-boosting actions that you can use to accomplish a lot in a little amount of time. There are karma powers that improve your luck, make you beautiful, and even clean your house instantly, so having some karma points saved up is certainly a good thing. Of course, if you are the torturous type, there are also plenty of negative karma powers you can use to make a sim instantly ugly, sick, or worse. Although the goals and karma powers add an interesting twist and direction to the gameplay, it is important to point out that you can ignore this aspect of the game altogether and just play through any way you want. The Sims 3 is all about playing the way you want, and while this aspect of the gameplay is certainly fun, it is by no means mandatory. If you do use the karma powers though, you'll definitely get a lot more instant gratification out of certain situations, and if you don't want to work too hard to get a certain other sim to pay attention to you (or get another one to leave you alone), the karma powers are a great way to see immediate (and often hilarious) results.
As far as technical specs go, the Sims 3 is a mixed bag. Unfortunately, the visuals didn't exactly transfer over from the PC version as smoothly as they could have, which means you are left with some baseline visuals that suffer from serious performance issues including framerate drops and a large amount of pop-in. The game also has some long loading times, even when you are just moving to a different part of the town, which can slow down your gameplay substantially. On the plus side, however, the world of the Sims is just as expansive on the consoles as it was on the PC, and there is plenty to explore on-screen no matter where you are in the game.
The Sims 3 on consoles is definitely an achievement. Fans of The Sims who have longed for the open world of the PC version on a home console are finally getting a proper Sims game, and those who have never experienced the open world side of the Sims are in for a treat. Though there are some technical issues with the game (particularly in the visuals department), the core gameplay is solid, and there is plenty of fun to be had with the sandbox-style gameplay. So no matter whether you want to create successful, productive Sims or unleash your evil tenancies with some criminal-minded Sims who will terrify the neighborhood, the world is yours in the Sims 3; do with as you please. It may not be the console experience we're all used to, but it's certainly the definitive Sims experience on consoles, and one that must be experienced by those who do not have the PC version.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC News Director