As a series, The Sims has a turbulent history. Each release seems to innovate in some areas, and regress in others. The move from The Sims 3 to The Sims 4 is arguably the biggest example of this to date, with the community still split on a consensus as to which is the better game.
To tell one side of the story, we’ve put together this list of the top six reasons that some gamers prefer The Sims 3 over The Sims 4!
Create A Style
Create A Style is probably the biggest downgrade from The Sims 3 to The Sims 4. This feature allows you to fully customize EVERYTHING. By using the color wheel, you can change the color of everything, from clothing, to furniture, to small decorative items. Every single item can look exactly as you desire, for better or worse. If you don’t have a natural eye for design and color, it can get out of hand quick, but the potential is there for you to make aesthetically coherent homes, with characters that really look like they belong there. For a game released in 2009, it was quite an achievement.
In The Sims 4, Create A Style was totally removed. Instead, each item has individual color swatches for you to choose from, which are quite restrictive visually. In a way, it makes it easier to make a coherent home, but ultimately it’s just less interesting. In a life simulator, you should be able to do things however you want, and the removal of Create A Style completely goes against that.
One of the big pluses of The Sims 3 is its open world. When you load up the game, you’re greeted with a living open world, with a bunch of lots across the city for you to explore. In The Sims 4, the world is comprised of multiple 2D planes, and separated into different neighborhoods. This makes the game feel small when compared to what was achieved in The Sims 3, especially in-game. If you wanted to head to a neighbor’s house, you could do so without any loading screens at all.
Unfortunately, the open-world system wasn’t perfect. Upon release, the ambition of the feature meant that players faced long loading screens for the open world to load, which was understandably frustrating. However, once you’re in the game, there’s absolutely no doubt about how much of an improvement it is over The Sims 4. With modern hardware being to conquer these loading screens, The Sims 3‘s open world has aged a lot better than The Sims 4‘s smaller neighborhoods.
Following on from the open world, The Sims 3 gives you plenty of freedom within that world to customize it however you’d like. Too many trees in the neighborhood for your liking? Just delete them! Don’t like any of the spaces for predetermined lots? Don’t worry – you can build your dream home anywhere. You’re not just limited to the roads in The Sims 3. If you want to live in the forest away from civilization, it certainly gives you the means to do so.
You just don’t get that with The Sims 4‘s 2D planes. It’s inherently restrictive, and when you see what The Sims 3 is capable of, there’s simply no comparison.
You can’t make a good life simulator without including amazing pet gameplay. Pets were introduced to The Sims 3 with the Pets expansion, bringing your favorite furry companions into the game. Of course, cats and dogs were there, but you could even have horses, as well as smaller pets like snakes, turtles, birds, and lizards. It’s a great number of options that add a ton of variety.
Compare this to The Sims 4. Instead of a traditional Pets expansion, we got The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs. This expansion added, you guessed it, cats and dogs into the game. It’s a huge step back, and one that really felt needless given how well it had been done previously.
To top it all off, the pets in The Sims 3 have actual gameplay. You can take control of them, and they have needs that you must deal with, just like your human Sims. They feel like an integrated part of the gameplay at all times. In The Sims 4, pets are just… there. Sure, they make the world look a little more interesting. But they don’t add anywhere near as much to the gameplay as they do in The Sims 3.
What good is an open world if you don’t have a way to get around it? The Sims 3 handles this perfectly, giving you the ability to purchase drivable cars as you progress through the game. There are a ton of options to choose from, and you can use Create A Style to customize your vehicle even further. It’s a simple pleasure, but it never gets old seeing your Sim drive around the amazing open world that you’ve created.
Cars remain a hugely controversial topic in The Sims 4‘s community. After the feature was done so well in The Sims 3, they were reduced to set dressing in The Sims 4. You could place them, sure, but you couldn’t actually use them.
Sometimes, quantity over quality isn’t always the best approach. For many, that’s how Maxis approached The Sims 4, with 68 pieces of DLC in total for the game. Of course, you don’t have to buy them all, but without them, there’s always that feeling that the game is incomplete. With so many to choose from, it’s inevitable that the quality begins to suffer somewhere along the line.
Compare this with The Sims 3. The game has 19 expansions, each available for $19.99. Despite having many fewer options on the market, for the most part, The Sims 3’s options bring a lot more value to the game.
All of this isn’t to say that every single Sims 4 expansion is hot garbage, while The Sims 3 expansions are all incredible. Each game has both its highs and lows in this department. Overall though, we’d say The Sims 3 handles the topic of expansions in a much better way.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Electronic Arts.