The Sims 4 – Simulating real life has never been so much fun
By Callum Smith
Is life treating you badly? Why not escape from it all and create your own virtual paradise? You can do just that in The Sims series, the biggest simulation game franchise on the market. Brought to you by EA and designed by gaming genius Will Wright, you wouldn’t imagine that the concept of creating and running the lives of simulated people would be anywhere near as intriguing as it is. The most recent entry in the series is The Sims 4, which can now be playing in conjunction with a number of expansion packs which allow you to live in a variety of locations from the city to the countryside and even the desert.
I bought the game for Xbox One, a system I was extremely surprised to see it land on. For years the series had only been available to PC gamers, which for me was problematic as my computer was nowhere near enough powerful to run it. All I had was a laptop running Windows 7 which struggled to cope with the requirements of The Sims 2, so the 4th entry in the series was an impossible task. EA actually said that they had no intention of releasing it for the consoles, so when it suddenly emerged I was gobsmacked and rushed out to buy it, despite wondering if it would be exactly the same as the PC version
“When it suddenly emerged I was gobsmacked and rushed out to buy it”
As someone with a creative streak, I am a long running fan of the series, not for the running of the sim lives but the ability to craft them and design houses however you see fit. Rather than designing fake characters though, I like to put real people in the games to see what they would become and usually start with my mum and dad who I am still living with which makes them easy to create! It makes customisation easy as there is a huge variety of clothes to wear and traits to give in addition to a new feature that customises the way they move. However, the design aspect that struck me most is how you can craft the sims’ body shape. Gone is the slider of old, now you just however the cursor over the character and reshape them. It can be tricky to master but is worth persevering.
My mum actually became intrigued by the game and helped me design her sim which was a funny experience. She added tattoos, which she likes, and as I’m no fashion expert she picked out some trendy clothes for the characters. The clothes are actually one area of the game which I would criticise. Previously you could actually edit the clothes by altering the colours and textures as well as making your own designs. However, in this version those options were removed which is a shame.
“My mum actually became intrigued by the game and helped me design her sim”
Another disappointing change from the previous entries was the decrease in the availability of jobs for the sims. Many iconic careers such as police officer, soldier, doctor and scientist were removed and the available roles are quite broad. However, you can still become an astronaut or a secret agent and I was able to get my sims the coolest job of all, pro gamer!
Despite the few bad points though, it’s still an incredibly well constructed game and remains a huge improvement on its predecessor. I think, in particular, the personalities of the sims are more realistic and they now feel looser when talking to one another whereas before they were quite stiff. This is, in part, down to the the new emotions feature. Whereas the previous games saw quite a basic system of the characters acting differently based on whether their ‘moodlet’ was good or bad, now the system is far more in depth and the moodlets link to different emotions. For example, if a sim drinks coffee they will feel energised. Another emotion is increased focus which can help a child sim do their homework quicker or an adult sim improve various skills.
If running your life was this easy, we would all be living in riches, or perhaps rotting in a grave depending on what your choices are. So to those of you in the real world, don’t let it bring you down and get creating to add to the millions of sims already roaming around.
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