The Sims 3 Review
The Sims 3 improves on the franchise in fresh and interesting new ways, but intentional lack of content and some underdeveloped ideas keep it from reaching the heights of the original
Posted by Alex V (SpectralShock) on Aug 2, 2009 - 3:44pm EST (Aug 2, 2009 15:44)
The Sims 3 is a life simulation video game in the popular and critically acclaimed The Sims franchise, originally created by Maxis. It still stands tall and unique, as no other game has come close, or even attempted to, overthrow the Sims franchise in the genre. The reason for this is the sheer brilliance of the original game, which lets you control your Sim, a human being, as they go about their daily lives and you control their every move and decision. It was addicting, revolutionary, and of course great fun.
Many big content expansion packs later, Sims 2 was released. It received a huge boost in graphics, content, and features. But to the disappointment of many, the game lacked any of the features from expansion packs of the original game. It was fair though, since the new engine required EA to re-build everything from scratch, and all of the original Sims expansions would simply create too much of a game. But no matter, fans were lining up and breaking sales records for the game. EA then decided to start releasing content packs for Sims 2 much like they did with the original. However, fans were split over EA’s decision to create new packs, rather than re-create those from The Sims. Closer to the announcement of Sims 3, EA was simply putting out “Stuff Packs” now rather than any new gameplay content or elements. This only appealed to hardcore players and bored mothers, alienating whatever true gamer audience was left.
And so arrived The Sims 3. This review may seem to be all over the place, because in all honesty it is rather difficult to review such an impressive and expansive game all in one sitting. So I will assume that my readers already know what The Sims series is about and what the general gameplay mechanics are. So instead I will focus on the new stuff. One thing I’d like to get out of the way, is that Sims 3 may feel like a ripoff to some. Yes, it already broke sales records of Sims 2, but unfortunately the Sims 3 actually has even less content than Sims 2 did at launch. This is disappointing, since there is not an excuse “because it’s a new engine” this time.
Also instead of expansion packs, it seems EA is moving into the direction of micro-transactions. Chipping away at your money from home rather than making you go to the store to get another box. The Sims 3 requires the EA download manager to even start the game (clicking the EXE will not work), and there are a bunch of community features available. Sure, you can now easily find friends, upload gameplay videos and share stories with others Sims 3 players pretty quickly, but it also means you must run the Download Manager the whole time you wish to play the game, and have it idle in the background. Another option in the Manager is the mentioned mini-transactions. Here, you manage all of the content you’ve purchased at EA Store and can add/remove it from the game pretty seamlessly. It’s clear that in the future as more content becomes available to purchase, the Download Manager will have quite a big role.