The Most Popular Sims 4 Expansion Packs

The Sims 4 logo in free to play trailer

The Most Popular Sims 4 Expansion Packs

The Sims 4 is a popular life simulator game that allows gamers to create characters (Sims), build homes for them, and send them on endless adventures. Sims are capable of growing up, going to school, starting families, becoming experts in their careers, and traveling. The sky’s the limit in The Sims 4. The base game was released in 2014 and has been the go-to Sims game ever since. In October 2022, Maxis and EA hosted the “Behind The Sims Summit Stream Event”, where they announced that The Sims 4 would be free to play for any new players who wanted to join The Sims family. Anyone interested in the game can download it for free on any supported console or PC.

As awesome as it is for the base game to be free, many experienced Sims players will attest to much of their enjoyment coming from the expansion packs. The Sims 4 sports multiple types of add-ons that range from massive expansions that heavily influence the game to small kits that add furniture and clothing accessories.

These add-ons aren’t required to play or enjoy The Sims 4, but in order to get access to some of the more popular content, players will need to be willing to snag expansion packs, game packs, stuff packs, kits, and bundles where they can. Fortunately, EA runs sales for The Sims 4 add-ons frequently, so players should keep an eye on their store.

What Are Sims 4 Expansion Packs & How Many Are There?

A Sim proposing to her partner

The EA store describes The Sims 4 expansion packs as, “Large packs that expand your game and take your Sims on new adventures.” This is a pretty vague description of the expansion packs, but they give a solid idea of just how big they are. Out of all the additional content players can purchase for The Sims 4, the expansion packs are the largest and also the most costly. Each expansion pack costs $39.99 when there isn’t a sale running. There are 14 expansion packs currently available on EA’s website, meaning that at full price, a player would need to spend nearly $560.

These expansion packs are designed to expand the game and give access to new ways to play, new modes, and new experiences for Sims to enjoy. A player doesn’t necessarily need to own every single expansion in order to make The Sims 4 worth their time, though. The Sims 4 has so much variety because it’s designed to appeal to a wide range of people. The newest expansion, the Horse Ranch, may not appeal to everyone, but there is an expansion pack for everyone.

Here’s a rundown of every expansion pack available in The Sims 4:

  • Horse Ranch (Friends & Family expansion) – Horse Ranch is the newest expansion for The Sims 4. It was released on July 20, 2023.
  • Growing Together (Friends & Family expansion)
  • High School Years (Careers & Lifestyle expansion)
  • Cottage Living (Careers & Lifestyle expansion)
  • Snowy Escape (Outdoor Adventures expansion)
  • Eco Lifestyle (Careers & Lifestyle expansion)
  • Discover University (Careers & Lifestyle expansion)
  • Island Living (Outdoor Adventures expansion)
  • Get Famous (Careers & Lifestyle expansion)
  • Seasons (Everyday Activities expansion)
  • Cats & Dogs (Friends & Family expansion)
  • City Living (Careers & Lifestyle expansion)
  • Get Together (Careers & Lifestyle expansion)
  • Get to Work (Careers & Lifestyle expansion)

Each of these expansion packs allows players to focus on aspects of life that previously weren’t elaborated on. They allow Sims to experience living in a large city, travel to a faraway island to enjoy a new way of life, or settle down in a remote cottage. Sims can go to high school or college and experience its highs and lows. Sims can achieve their dreams by focusing on their careers in more depth. While each player will naturally have their preferences for which expansions to choose, these packs do add so much playable value to The Sims 4 experience.

The Best Expansions for Sims 4

There are plenty of ranked lists out there comparing every Sims 4 expansion. There’s a certain level of personal preference that goes into ranking the expansions. Not every player will gravitate towards every expansion. That said, there are some expansions that are just a cut above the rest. To list the best expansions, how the expansion packs perform, and how much content they add to the game need to be taken into consideration. Below are five Sims 4 expansion packs that every player should consider getting.

5. Seasons

The Sims 4 Seasons logo

Seasons is a simple expansion pack for The Sims 4 that does exactly what it says it does. It adds all four seasons to the game. In truth, this expansion pack is somewhat cheeky. Needing to pay extra just to have something as normal as the seasons changing feels like an oversight on the developers’ part. It begs the question of why the seasons weren’t already included in The Sims 4.

That said, Seasons is one of those expansion packs that many players claim they can’t live without. Without it, The Sims 4 doesn’t feel complete. It seems like such a simple thing, but having changing seasons and constantly changing weather does make the game more dynamic. Weather conditions affect everything a person does in real life, so it only makes sense that it would do the same for a Sim.

This expansion features a lot more than just the changing of seasons and weather. Certain seasonal activities are only available during a specific season, so this expansion opens up many possibilities. Sims can celebrate holidays like “Love Day” and “Winterfest”. Players also have access to seasonal activities like building snowmen, playing in puddles on a rainy day, and collecting honey. This expansion also offers a gardening career option.

4. Cats & Dogs

A happy cat in the Sims 4

Cats & Dogs allows players to create cats and dogs the same way they create their Sims. This feature alone feels worth the cost for some players. Many people can’t imagine life without their real-life pet, so why should the Sims have to go without the option of a furry companion? Pets make a house feel more lively and calming. The best part about this expansion is that each pet feels unique. Like the Sims, they develop personalities and enjoyment that dictate how they behave. Part of the joy of this expansion is allowing the Sims to bond with their pets.

Like Seasons, Cats & Dogs comes with other features as well. Obviously, the main part is getting the option to have pets, but The Sims 4 wouldn’t stop there. This expansion allows Sims to become a veterinarian and if they want to, they can even open up their own veterinary clinic. Cats & Dogs also comes with a new area to explore, Brindleton Bay. Brindleton Bay is a pet-loving community where Sims can enjoy life with their pets. This new area has loads of activities that Sims can do with their pets. It even has stray animals wandering around that Sims can take in and adopt if they want.

3. Island Living

A Sim sailing in Island Living

Island Living has a similar vibe to several other expansion packs, like City Living and Cottage Living. These add-ons are designed to give the player more options for where their Sims live and how their lifestyle is affected by those locations. Each one of these unique expansions is worth having. Sims can experience all sorts of walks of life with them. The reason that Island Living stands above the rest is that it offers an experience that many people will never experience.

The Island Living expansion pack adds Sulani, a sunny island with friendly neighbors and a cheerful way of life. This expansion offers many new skills and career choices. Sims can build sand castles, clean up beaches, swim, fish, and dive. Sims don’t necessarily need to have a job in order to live, as they can make ends meet by other methods. If they choose to work, though, they can become a lifeguard.

One of the coolest features of Island Living is how the player’s Sim will immerse themselves in the island’s culture. They’ll learn all about the island’s culture, way of life, and folklore, which really helps them feel more at home on the island.

2. Eco Lifestyle

The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle expansion pack logo

Eco Lifestyle might be one of the most unique Sims 4 expansion packs. As the name suggests, Eco Lifestyle focuses on sustainable living. The phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” lives at the heart of this expansion pack. Eco Lifestyle allows Sims to create their own electricity by utilizing tools like solar panels and wind turbines. Sims can grow their own food and dumpster dive for ways to reduce their waste.

This expansion builds a strong sense of community for the Sims. The player’s actions don’t just impact their own Sims, they impact the entire neighborhood. Sims can vote in weekly Neighborhood Action Plans to make community-wide decisions and changes. Players can even gain support for their causes through various methods. What the Sims ultimately do in this expansion pack reflects on the world. The better the Sims are, the cleaner the world around them becomes. If Sims are harmful and neglectful, the city will be covered in thick smog, but the player has the power to change that.

Eco Lifestyle also offers upcycled decor. This more or less means furnishing a home for free or mostly free by reusing old items. This helps fuel the purpose of the expansion, by focusing on ways to reduce the Sims’ carbon footprint.

1. Growing Together

The Sims 4 Growing Together expansion pack

Growing Together is one of the newer expansion packs available for The Sims 4. Released on March 16, 2023, this expansion offers players a deeper way for their Sims to connect. This expansion focuses on the realism of a Sim just existing. They’ll go through major milestones in their lives that help shape them for better or worse. Growing Together gives Sims some difficult experiences to push through, like having a midlife crisis and moving in with family or significant others. Traditionally, when something happens in a Sim’s life, they accept it and move on without really experiencing the hardships that come from the change. Growing Together adds that dynamic layer of learning to cope with everything life throws at them.

This expansion pack also adds social dynamics as a feature. Sims have preferences for Sims they like and don’t like. Some Sims just click while others will naturally dislike one another. Growing Together also includes the family ties function. This adds a lot of thought behind how Sims live and grow with their family. Sometimes there are hard times that lead to drama and resentment, while other times, family will come together.

Growing Together provides a new, family-friendly town called San Sequoia. This town features a tight-knit community that is perfect for raising a family. While these features sound small and expected, the impact Growing Together has on The Sims 4 can’t be denied. Sims have never felt more realistic than they do with this expansion pack. Many players claim that after having Growing Together, they couldn’t imagine going back to playing without it. It has such a massive impact on how players can play The Sims 4.

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