The Sims 3: World Adventures Review for PC

The Sims 3: World Adventures Review for PC

Same Sims, New and Fun Focus

It didn’t take long for EA to release the first expansion pack for The Sims 3. Only a few months after the third installment’s release, gamers are treated to World Adventures, which is designed to not only provide new content, as any self-respecting expansion pack should, but also new gameplay elements that focus on more than going to work, getting money, and buying new stuff.

The Sims 3: World Adventures screenshot

World Adventures is an expansion pack that does something rather experimental with the franchise by giving it some light puzzle-solving and questing mechanics. The expansion pack delivers more than some internationally-themed furniture to buy or new characters to meet.

Most of the game’s menus remain exactly the same, with only added features. For example, the main addition in the expansion pack is the added “Travel” option on your PDA. One click and your character calls up the travel agent to book your destination and length of stay. Once you select where you want to go and for how long, a cab arrives to pick you up, it drives for a short while, and then your staring at a loading screen.

Loading can sometimes be an issue, but that is simply a result of each vacation destination being nearly the size of your main town. The amount of time it takes to load each location (France, Egypt, and China), is slightly shorter than the time it takes to load your main game from the main menu.

Accessing the expansion pack’s content isn’t absolutely clear upon startup. There are tips that will pop-up and explain some of the new features, but there are a few things that you have to figure out on your own. For example, after visiting China for the first time and acquiring the Martial Arts skill by training using a training dummy and chopping block, I wanted to purchase those items and place them in my home so I could train while not on vacation.

The Sims 3: World Adventures screenshot

Unfortunately, when I got back and brought up the Buy Mode menus, I noticed that those items weren’t available. A 20-second search under the Help menu revealed that I would need to purchase any foreign furniture or items from merchants in that location. As soon as I revisited China, I went straight to the merchant, bought a training dummy, and put it in my house upon returning.

While some may see such steps as a game design flaw, wondering why you couldn’t have access to the new content right from the start, I think it helps develop the charm of the new content. If World Adventures was simply a content update with additional towns, then the charm would be non-existent, and EA probably would have benefited from simply adding the content to its online store. Instead, they not only want you to visit the new locations, but invest time and money into them, which is a good thing. The vacation locations are meant to be explored, not just tacked on for a few minutes of entertainment before getting bored.

The Sims 3: World Adventures screenshot

World Adventures focuses on providing adventures for the player to experience. From navigating tombs to competing in martial arts tournaments, there are a variety of quests. However, while some can be interesting, such as navigating a tomb by solving all its puzzles and uncovering a certain artifact, others can be mundane, and will remind well-rounded gamers of the dreaded “FedEx” quests seen in MMORPGs. For example, upon accepting a new opportunity from the mission board at my base camp, where you go to receive a bulk of your adventures, I was told to go see a local townsperson. From there, I was told to collect three types of stones, which was extremely easy since the zoomed-out view of the map points to where you can get them. Once I collected them and reported to the person a second time, she asked that I find her two relics. This was much less clear as the map provided no locations. It took a little while to realize that relics could be purchased from a merchant. While these “FedEx” adventures do have a place in World Adventures, they aren’t so frequent to be annoying, and the ability to speed up time makes them even more painless.

The puzzle-solving gameplay comes into play while navigating the various tombs you’ll encounter, and those seeking challenging puzzles will be supremely disappointed. A majority of the puzzles involve locating tiles on the floor you’ll need to stand on to open a door, or inspecting a suspicious looking wall to reveal a hidden door. Nevertheless, there are a lot of different ways you can navigate the tombs such as disarming traps, swimming to the bottom of wells and finding a passage leading to another room, clearing rubble to find hidden treasure, setting up a tent and resting to avoid death in larger tombs, and timing jumps over fire traps to reach a door or switch. In the end, each different puzzle is relatively easy to solve, but once combined with a significant number and variety of others, completing each tomb is still a rewarding experience.

The Sims 3: World Adventures screenshot

Of course, players aren’t forced into adventures while vacationing if they don’t want to. You can simply go and make friends with the locals, train in new skills, or even buy a vacation home. And, once you return home, you can even invite friends from foreign countries to visit you. On the other hand, completing adventures for the locals earns you Visa points, which go toward increasing your Visa level. The amount of time you visit these locations depends on your Visa level. Moreover, your Visa level is connected to each specific location, so while you may have a Visa level of two in China, your Visa level in a place you haven’t been, such as Egypt, is still the lowest.

World Adventures also features a host of new lifetime awards that can be obtained. For example, there is a lifetime award that can make it so your vacation stays are longer, while another one makes it so the travel costs are lower. Interestingly, there is also one that allows you to vacation as much as you want while seeing no negative impact on your job. While I haven’t acquired this lifetime award yet, I can say that I vacationed quite a lot, only spending a day or two between vacations so I could earn some money to spend, and never saw any negative impact on my job status.

It is also important to note that the dreaded “Error Code 12” that occurs when attempting to save games that have been running for long periods of time is still here. I did get this particular error code once during my time with World Adventures. However, what did make for a frustrating experience were the frequent and unexpected crashes. Now whether these crashes are a result of running the game on the newly released Windows 7, 64-bit OS, or something else is unclear, but I found myself routinely having to save my game, sometimes forgetting to save and losing an hour and a half worth of progress.

While those technical problems could have less to do with World Adventures and more with the system running it, it is also worth mentioning that the game isn’t without its own bugs. For example, while on a three-day vacation in France, I was exploring the local Nectary and improving my Nectar-making skill. By the way, “nectar” is code for “wine.” Anyway, an indicator came up saying I had one hour left on my vacation, but once the hour had past, the usual dialogue box letting me know my vacation was over, which would then load me back into my main town, never appeared. Instead, the time was stuck on 11:59 and I lost the ability to see inside any of the buildings. Even more strange was that my character was still performing actions within those buildings, the day/night cycle was still being rotated visually, and other characters were going about their daily lives. It was at this point, and after looking over all the menus and PDA options, I noticed that there is no other way of returning home once abroad, even if you wanted to leave early. Now, this only happened to me once and luckily I had a save point just before the vacation was over, so a quick load and it worked on the second run.

The Sims 3: World Adventures screenshot

The Sims 3: World Adventures is definitely a fun and focused expansion pack that improves upon the franchise’s strengths, delivers some new content, and, most importantly, adds a quest-driven focus to the gameplay. It is visually identical to the original and the controls are exactly the same, so veterans can expect no surprises in this regard. And, while there are a few technical problems that may arise, the expansion remains an overwhelmingly satisfying experience. If the constant flow of optional DLC hasn’t inspired you enough to keep playing The Sims 3, I suggest giving World Adventures a look.

Adequate visuals and good animations remain, but still result in slightly longer load times and some slower frame rates when zoomed out completely. 4.0 Control
The same traditional controls are intact and left unchanged from the original. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
New background music tracks for each foreign destination work very well. Voice-overs and sound effects are still well done and funny. 4.0 Play Value
New gameplay focused on “adventures,” simple puzzle-solving, and vacationing, along with a decent amount of new content, make for a fun and enjoyable Sims experience, despite some technical bugs. 3.8 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Start Your Own Adventure – Accept challenges, find treasures, discover what’s lurking in hidden caves, and more.
  • Visit Real-World Locations – Explore famous landmarks in China, Egypt, and France.
  • More Customization – Customize your Sims’ homes with new styles & artifacts from their adventures.
  • New Skills to Master – Learn new skills like photography and pursue new opportunities.

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