THE SIMS 4
By Claudia "The Voice" Dumee on November 28, 2017
Let me first say that I am a huge fan of The Sims ever since my big brother introduced me to it (like he did with a number of games I am very fond of). "But what do you like about this particular game," I hear you ask? Well, I like to control the lives of those (sometimes unfortunate) Sims. This way, I can live out a number of fantasies, like being a doctor or a secret agent, make the perfect guy fall in love with my Sim and build that dream house I always wanted. I Guess I am just a dreamer and a control freak, all rolled into one. On the other hand, if you are reading this review, I guess I really do not have to elaborate on how much fun this game really is!
That being said, this is the first time I played The Sims on the Xbox, instead of on my laptop or PC. I was a bit anxious to try and see how this escapade would go. Well readers, it was like a bad first date.... Wonky, awkward, annoying and no extensive or obvious tutorial. It was a difficult and aggravating experience. Tutorials, as I said, were not very elaborate, so I have spent most of my time trying to click on something and then either nothing happened or I got something I did not even want to click. There was this annoying habit of the controls flickering through the screen, only to disappear and become not an arrow mouse, but controls to flick through the boxes of different options. So the only way to find your arrow back, was by clicking, which made something else appear that you didn't even want... Again... Argh frustrating!
So... I quit before I even started. This was not worth my time or my patience. I figured, I could definitely do better, maybe even step back to my old and comfort The Sims 3. I mean, I spend all my money on those expansion packs and I just know I have to do that again with The Sims 4, right? But, of course, I am never one to shy away from a challenge. And I figured that once I got to know the controls and learned to play in this, for me, very different way, maybe I'd get a good experience out of it. I mean, I was still curious to see where this first date with The Sims 4 could go, even if I had ended it prematurely.
So, I got my tasty drinks and crispy snacks back on the table, dressed in my most comfy jammies and went for that second date. I will say this; If you are used to playing the Sims with a joystick and unlike me, actually dig it, you can adjust quite rapidly. It has ways to be used as a quick click system and if you choose your commands wisely, you can be quicker in your commands and gameplay. After learning how to use the controls more efficiently (by myself I might add, cause the game would not explain a single thing to me) I finally created my first Sim. When you start off, there isn't that much choice in the clothing department and all that, but I was actually excited to see that The Sims 4 got more fashionable going forward.
Creating your Sim got a bit more expansive. You can manage the way they walk for example (from a normal walk, to a zombie walk) and adjust body types piece by piece. And the option to expand different looks up to 5 outfits per clothing type! Gods, I had fun (Hey guys, don't complain I am still a girl!). But enough about those fun times with me over-styling my Sim.
After I did that I decided a break was in order. But I would definitely go on that third date being plagued with new enthusiasm, even though I was still not thrilled with the confusing Xbox controls. So for my third date, it was definitely time to take my Sim into the world. You start by choosing 1 of 3 neighbourhoods to live in. Without a cheat, you can start with a low budget house that will fulfil your every need for the time being. I was a bit surprised because the area is way smaller than any of the neighbourhoods in The Sims 3. It felt a little downsized.
But then you start exploring this little area and I promise: You will be amazed by these graphics. My mouth dropped at how lifelike and realistic the surroundings actually were. The wind rushing the trees, the subtle splashing of the water in the creeks, the way the shadows move around (even following a realistic cycle from morning to evening) and the much more detailed buildings, giving you an experience like you haven't had before in any of the Sims games.
At first, I thought the smaller neighbourhood would minimize my experience, but it gives you a more relaxed way of playing cause you do not have to focus on so many things. You can enjoy the minor but nonetheless greatly impacting changes of the game. For example: they have expanded the dish and conversation options, while still obtaining the old ones. There is also an easier way to keep up with your friends and family. Friends and family that do not belong to your household will call and contact you every other day to talk or hang out. This was something you had to maintain yourself in the previous games, but now you do not have to bother about it and spend more time on your skills, hobbies or job! It actually allows you to sit back and relax to really enjoy the game and the beauty of your surroundings. Talking about beauty; take notice of how realistic your Sims are and how personalized they can be with the extensive new "Creating a Sim" menu!
So, suffice to say that, after three dates, a lot more followed. An excellent result of me being more open and just trying something new. I will say this though, you will need to commit to the wonky and confusing controls, or don't even bother playing the Sims on the Xbox. For veterans of this console I say, go right ahead and enjoy! You might notice that The Sims 4 has somewhat been minimized in some areas, ranging from the neighbourhoods to jobs and professions... BUT!
This minimization is not bad however (if you had told me this on my first date, I would not have believed you!); it actually allows for a lot more focus on your Sim instead of trying to keep up with the 100 other things that are happening in your area. Decreasing options has definitely improved my gaming experience. Perhaps the creators of The Sims, had decided to go back to their roots. With better graphics but the same charm, The Sims 4 does remind me of The Sims 1... or just plain The Sims. Only better, of course.
I suggest that every The Sims lover out there gives this game a whirl on his or her favourite type of computer, be it pc, laptop or console. I can assure you that you will adore this game. So get out, buy it and create (or destroy, if you are so inclined...) your new Sims' lives!