Your Sims can go to the bookstore, out to dates at the movies, hang out at the town pool, or spend time working after school taking care of the class pet to earn extra credit - and that's just a tiny fraction of the options Sims 3 gives you. When other Sims drop by to hang out with your family, they actually get in the car from their house and drive all the way over. The Living Town does a very good job at drawing you into the world, and (particularly with DLC) means that there's almost infinite replayability in this newest world of The Sims.
Sometimes, it actually seems like there's just too much to do. It's one thing to keep your Sims happy, fed, and rested, but when you're trying to do all that while keeping your relationships strong, keeping the kids' grades up, improving your skills so you can earn a promotion, and fulfilling that wish to spend some time at the library reading a book? It gets kind of frantic. Sure, if you could do everything it'd be too easy, but knowing you're only doing a fraction of what's available can be frustrating at times.
Though in the end, sometimes it's far more entertaining to stop trying to directly control your Sims' every move (go here, make this food, serve the entire family, now go watch TV and play a game with your best friend), and just let their personalities and wishes play out in ways you might not ever have expected.
My family of Bookworms spent so much time reading books in their free time that the TV I so thoughtfully purchased for them went completely unused. My (flirty) aspiring doctor fell in love with her female best friend, who broke up with her current boyfriend in order to date my Sim. Unfortunately, her ex-boyfriend was my Sim's coworker, meaning that there was an extra source of stress at work. That sort of thing happens all the time in The Sims 3, and it does a fantastic job of getting you invested in your characters and what happens to them.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to cut this review short - my Sim is on the verge of getting a promotion and I need to make sure he puts in the extra mile to push him over the top.
Bottom Line: It's The Sims, bigger and better than ever. The Living Town is a fantastic new addition to the series, and while there's so much to do that it can honestly be kind of overwhelming the characters' personalities and goals help you guide them through life. It's engaging, addicting, and just plain fun.
Recommendation: If you can't do without explosions and gore in your game, The Sims 3 is not for you. If you've ever liked a SimWhatever game in the past, or if the idea of running a virtual life appeals to you, pick it up - you'll probably love it.
John Funk attempted to recreate the cast of Persona 4 in The Sims 3. It didn't work too well.