The EA Sims game and I have become fond friends over the years growing into--may I even say an obsessive relationship--although mostly on my side. I remember playing as a wee teen and designing the house of my dreams, making romances and enemies and creating a world full drama, love and desire. Compared to the Sims 3, those early days of game-play seem very simplistic and now with the Sims 4 it seems almost cave-like. But the first game had me hooked and over the years I have spent many, many, many hours building a virtual community, traveling around the world, chasing ghosts and even shamefully having the sim social services take my baby away! I have laughed at the hi-jinks that you can create during the game, I have cried when a save file didn't take and have cursed when I could not find the appropriate extension pack disc. Now I am ready to go through it all again with the Sims 4, the highly anticipated next generation of EA's Sims line!
Sims 3 was by far the most highly rated in the Sims franchise so I was curious to see how they could improve on a game that (except for the load time) was pretty much perfect. For Simmers there are usually one of the two main customizable things you obsess about- creating your Sim or creating your home. For myself I am really into customizing my Sim and was just super excited to make my first Sim; my husband Mike. It took me about an hour to play around with the new customizations and it left me with a feeling of awe. The new Creat-a-Sim is the bee's knees when it comes to fully being able to customize your characters. You can literally tweak every aspect of your Sim. From their nose to their thighs, you can mold each Sim into an eery simulation of loved ones, foes or on-screen romantic interests. I have to say I pretty much nailed the sim version of my hubby, not that I'm bragging but come onnn (see photo). The only
thing I am missing is the ability to manipulate colors and fabrics. You can no longer fully customize the clothing or hair color which was a slight disappointment. However once you start playing around with the facial features you realize that if you were to put that same amount of effort into the cloths you would never get to the actual game.
You can tell that the creators were all about playing on emotions when creating this game, while in the last game it was about being more mobile. Keeping your Sim emotionally sound is a game in itself and you are constantly trying to create or avoid situations to enhance or decrease your mood. I made one of my Sims, Robby, a loner who is family oriented and also a little bit crazy. He gets a emotionally upset when he is around people he doesn't know or if a place is too crowded and will run away. When he is embarrassed his first reaction is to go run into bed and hide until everyone goes home- its so funny. My other character is Rose, a flirty artist who when she feels especially flirty she will tell dirty jokes to just about anyone (to Robby's dismay). There are various ways to make her more flirty or less flirty some of which will appear above her picture on your control panel--my favorite is to take a cold shower in order to calm her down.
The emotional awkwardness that you can ensue, as well as the story lines you can create are really endless, Your emotions can even kill you! For me at least losing bicycles and cars were not a huge loss. Although the loading screens between locations are kind of a bummer. Personalized Sims traits are still around but are limited to three (four if you count their lifetime goals which also gives you a sub trait.). But the worst thing to have happened in the Sim world is there is NO GRAVEYARD! No more hauntings and creepy music or fun trips down the catacombs. It is something that I wish they would fix, and hopefully they will with an update (hint hint). When you have a baby you now skip the toddler age, which is fine for me because I already have a toddler hanging around my house, And finally the last big change can be good or bad--but it is harder to kill the Sim. No longer will just pulling out the ladder in the pool cause them to drown (eventually) because now they can just hop in and out of it. When there is a fire, well they tend to be able to put it out quicker. But there is always giving an older Sim a heart-attack when they get too excited- that is something to look forward to. You can also plead with the reaper to save a life, which does not always work but heck it is worth a try!
Oh and two Easter eggs I have found are two entrances to secret lots. One in each town. Now you cannot build on the lots, but you can find rare collectibles--plus its super cool to find! I'll leave it to you to figure out how to get there :)
My final thought is even with the smaller outside world, the Sims 4 hit the mark with fully customizing your Sim creations. Focusing on the social aspect of the game and giving the Sims in-depth emotions to play around with greatly enhanced the game-play itself and I look forward to the expansion packs they come out with! Thanks EA for continuing to let me at age (ahem) 29 able to still play with dolls!