Little Things In Life
All that said, it was the little things that kept me engaged. Although the basic expected household decor felt limited in scope, there were all sorts of oddments like giant dinosaurs for children, or wooden dragons sculptable with enough skill and a woodworking table. One of my Sims caught on fire when she failed to cook a meal properly. But when she succeeded in cooking an excellent meal, she felt Confident and basic options such as “Use” on the toilet were transformed into confidence-based options such as “Pee Like a Champion.” Though the world is small, it’s worth examining–there are a few hidden lots and, I’m sure, more secrets to come.
The emotion and “moodlet” system is certainly the high point of The Sims 4. I loved watching my Sims interact with one another and the world, to see its impact on them. My writer Sim was frequently inspired, and my comedian was always playful and doing silly things like jumping in puddles. A boring conversation left my Sims sleepy and needing stimulus. Due to a strange disregard for convenient walking paths between rooms, my Sims were always walking in on one another in the bathroom, resulting in extreme embarrassment that left my Sims hiding under the bed or trying to pep talk themselves in the mirror. Sims also have unique body language depending on their mood–they slump when tired, penguin-walk when they have to use the bathroom, and strut proudly when confident.
The multitasking feature is both useful and effective, to a point. Having conversations while eating or playing chess, or browsing the Internet while on the toilet are great and all, but my Sims seemed incapable of talking while doing other tasks such as gardening or cleaning. They also frequently dropped their conversations when their other task ended, forcing me to make them start over from the beginning if I was having them converse with a particular goal in mind.
Though I never ran into the deformed baby glitch everyone’s talking about, I did run into a few strange problems. Visiting Sims would frequently walk straight through the front door, then turn around and knock on it from the inside. My Sims were always accidentally seeing one another pee through walls, they took the most absurd walking paths from room to room, and would sometimes produce meals to eat from other Sims’ dirty dishes.
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As a standalone game, The Sims 4 doesn’t have an awful lot to it. Excellent adjustments to the gameplay itself, such as moodlets and highly-customizable Sims left little game space for an expansive and interesting universe. There were few surprises. Though it may appeal to those interested in following every career path and exploring every option available, there aren’t enough unique rewards in the gameplay to engage anyone for the long term. Enough reviewers and writers have gone over the many features missing from The Sims 4. Some of them were painfully obvious even to newbies like myself, such as the lack of toddlers (and the dullness of babies), dishwashers, transportation vehicles, and height variations. Others, such as pools, basements, and aliens, I got on fine without. Really, the quality of this game as a whole will be measured on what EA comes out with in the form of DLCs and expansion packs, and how much they ask long-time players to pay for missing features that have become series staples.
I give The Sims 4 a 6/10. Though some of its new additions are polished and fun, the base game is $60 for not an awful lot. I recommend waiting to see EA’s first offerings in the way of DLC and expansions before purchasing. The moodlet system and ease of gameplay features give me hope that upcoming expansions will fill out the Sims 4 universe and eventually make possibilities near limitless. As a standalone game, the Sims 4 is rather flat and limited…at least for now.
(A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review.)