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
On to the game then. One of the big new features in Sims 3 is finally the ability to leave your square piece of property at any time, and either walk or drive anywhere in the huge town map. Unfortunately, while it seems like a feature everyone has asked for in a very long time, it does not quite offer that much to do. There are a many “public” venues you can visit where you can shop, buy books, see a play or simply interact with other Sims. With enough money, you can buy a property and actually come back every week to pick up a percentage of the profit it made. It’s a neat feature, but adds little to actual gameplay other than providing some extra income with no effort on your part.
Public venues such as parks and simple streets are also a cool place to go and do things like fishing, jogging, and just enjoying your day out. Everything is not as great as it appears though. For public venues such as the grocery store, stadium, city hall and many others, you can enter and perform some kind of specific action which will bring you a random bonus. For example, enter city hall and select to get a tour – this will increase some of your skills and entertain you. Go see a movie at the theater – get some comfort and entertainment points. The problem here, is that all these public buildings are empty. That’s right, your Sim just enters them and disappears. You can’t zoom into the building and see it like you see your home. It’s just a blank building if you zoom into it, which is extremely disappointing I think. The public places such as parks and streets aren’t that much fun either.
Because the game doesn’t wish to take up your PC’s resources, you live in an empty world (with some cars randomly zooming about) until you drive out to a location such as a park. When you get there, it’s empty, no matter the time of day. The game then realizes where you are, and you can watch other Sims arrive, all from almost the same direction. Again, this completely takes the immersion away from the game. From there they behave fairly naturally, talking to each other and performing whatever activities are available. You can interact with whatever Sims you choose, and there is a nice feature that you can invite them back to your home right away if you’ve made a friend.
As usual, you get started with the game by creating a Sim. The character customization is not very different from Sims 2. You can adjust all kinds of sliders for facial features, attempting to create a photo realistic self. You still have the body type slider which takes your Sim from skinny to fat. Pick this wisely, because the same as your facial features, you cannot change your Sim’s appearance after you start (even if you make your Sim work out and max his athletic skill).
Once you’re happy with your physical looks, you can select your Sim’s standard clothing for all occasions, much like in previous games. But this is all old news. The catch here is that only a few hairstyles and clothing selections are available, and if you want more – to EA Store you go and shell out a few bucks. A new feature of your Sim customization is the ability to select your voice by either making it low or high pitched. But the biggest change is the Sim Personality selection, that will greatly affect how your Sim will live out his life and what action he will take, what he will like, etc. You can give your Sim 5 distinct traits from a selection of about 60, things like party animal, kleptomaniac, daredevil, childish, hot-headed, ambitious, snob, vegetarian, hates the outdoors, technophobe, inappropriate, loner, grumpy, great kisser, workaholic, excitable, green thumb, never nude, insane, flirty, evil and clumsy. These traits will then affect your Sim’s mood in the game accordingly, and also give various bonuses. For example, selecting “Neat Freak” will make your Sim fast at cleaning the house, and will also give a big Mood boost when he lives in a clean house. It’s a very cool system that lets you create tons of interesting personality variations and play the game differently.
You also have the huge “Lifetime Achievement” selection, and this usually means choosing a difficult to obtain goal, such as reaching a certain career level. Accomplishing this task will give your Sim a huge boost in Lifetime Points (discussed later) and big moral boost for a few days. You can then select a different wish by spending a lot of the Lifetime points. Don’t be surprised to spend some time customizing your Sim, the system in place is definitely quite good. For the first time ever, you can also create more than one Sim and control them within your game. The game now takes perspective of the whole town rather than just you. The rest of the world lives on while you control one family. Often, the other family you create can even come for a visit to the family you currently play as. If you want to switch though, another loading screen is required and you can only control one family in real time.
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