The Sims 3

Awww, dress up dollies – that’s how I’ve always thought of The Sims. It’s the ultimate ‘playing house’ game. In the original game just the ability to control a little computer person’s life was enough to keep you interested and the longevity came from the massive amount of user created material. While now common, that kind of community interactivity was fairly rare a decade ago. When the Sims 2 finally rolled around nearly five years ago it took the concept to a whole new level. Now we were controlling generations of families as they were born, grew old and died. You could get out of the house and go off to the park. As the expansion packs appeared, one after another, you could give your Sims valuable experience away from home to take through their life and open up new avenues to them. When it comes to The Sims 3 gamers fall in to a few different camps. We have those who never wanted to play with dollies and are unlikely to be moved to by this game. Thee are those who will buy it regardless of whether they are going to get anything new out of it because it’s The Sims. They are addicted to controlling virtual bladders and they must, must, must get their high spec fix of this. Then there are those like myself. I’ve played the Sims 2, I made several generations of my own family. I’ve married and remarried (To Jude Law… what?! he was popular five years ago) I’ve had babies, I’ve had alien babies, I’ve been an astronaut, I did the expansion pack thing and all that jazz. I only want to start all over again if the third game is going to offer me a big step up, as big as the step up as from The Sims to Sims 2.

On first glance gamers like me are going to be disappointed. The graphics are better but I’m not crying with delight. My sim looks a bit real and that’s kinda creepy. Once in the game of course I have to have this top down view on to get anything done and stick the graphics down a bit to stop any slow down, so how good my sim looks becomes kind of a moot point. The items you buy, your clothes, house , everything can be customised in an insane number of ways with colour, pattern and texture options coming out your ears. You could honestly spend 20 minutes just retooling how your couch looks. You can now raise and breed a wider variety of age groups, giving you a deeper experience of a sims life but it’s only one extra life stage over what you could get in the last game. Your interactions with others have been padded out and given a more RPG feel where you’ll unlock friends traits the better you know them. However again it’s not a revolution over the last game’s interactions.

You will have more time for fun with less emphasis on basic needs like doing a pee and washing yourself… so they say. I personally felt my work hours and toileting needs were pretty demanding, frustrating my attempts to get out the house and explore. When you go out you no longer load to different places. The town is free roaming and there is a ton of stuff to do from going to the theatre, a restaurant, the stadium, to some time down at the beach and various watering holes. You can do a bit of fishing there. It sounds like the giant leap we’ve been looking for but I was horrified to find that when you went into buildings most of them are just shells. You can’t see your sim in there. You just have to wait outside, watching their little marker tag until they come out. It’s such a terrible shame. Of course we should appreciate that you can at least get out and about, unlike in the last game but it’s almost too frustrating to bare that I can’t see my sim watching a show or eating with a friend at a restaurant. Unfortunately the fast forward buttons are slower than they used to be. Considerably so. So slow are they, that running at approximately one second per minute of in-game time, on the fastest setting, means you’ll have to watch your sim for about 8 minutes when they sleep every single night and the same again when they’re at their work… where you can’t actually see them.

There are a ton of changes for this game and the ground work has been laid for some great community interaction, item trading and expansion pack goodness. My own frustrations are mostly due to having stupidly high expectations and I’m acutely aware that if they’d taken away the basic things we love about The Sims I’d have been enraged. This is a God sim without parallel and everyone who like strategy simulation should own it. If you are a terrible curmudgeon though, like me, you might be playing it while mumbling and swearing under your breath. You’ll still be playing it though, right?







One response to “The Sims 3”

  1. Lorna avatar

    I too grumbled my way through many hours of this. I was left feeling strangely hollow and oddly bored by the game. While some new additions were interesting and welcome (the abolition of lots, traits) other tweaks were simply infuriating.

    I found relationship interactions now more bewildering thanks to the numbers vanishing and leaving just a guage, the faff involved to simpy switch playable families, and the pointless moodlets cluttering up the interface.

    With all the precious added content now gone, such as Uni and Business it feels like a shiny but largely empty experience 🙁

    Oh, and you are so sadly right about the fast forward speed. Unacceptable and I hope to hell they patch this.

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