The Sims Medieval Review

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to be fair i never really fancied this game from when i hear about it, the sims for me raises the question as to why you would want to make your character go to the toilet, when you most likely have a fully usable toilet in your own home. though i can see this one might tug some interest strings as its not just house building and kid making.

"Like The Sims 3, each Sim under your control has two traits and one flaw and these determine how it goes about its business."

I just wish TS3 worked that way - or are you referring to the console version which I am not familiar with?. In the PC version at least you there have five traits from which you can freely pick, with no reason other than sheer sadism to pick bad ones. The only limitation there is that some are mutually exclusive (e.g. Good vs Evil).

A few mistakes in this review:

-The game is not made by Maxis, it's made by The Sims Studio.

-The Sims 3 does not require "choosing two traits and one flaw", it requires choosing five traits.

-"All of gameplay elements [from The Sims]" are definitely not "preserved"; for many players, building houses and raising families was a major part of the gameplay, and The Sims Medieval does not allow either.

I just hope that they will make a Sims game or an expansion pack about the 20s-50s era.

Thanks, guys. I clarified the text so as to not be misleading.

Greg

Up until now, I honestly thought this game was a hoax.

Would anyone recommend buying this immediately, or wait for a price drop?

Yes, The Sims Medieval is more shallow than my other current time sink: Dragon Age 2. On the other hand, it frequently makes me startle my family with sudden laughs. There are many, many little injokes and absurdities, and the game does not yet bore me.

So to rephrase the existential question near the end; "Who watches the Watcher"?

Really, I can only see playing S:M one way. I would play it straight for a couple of hours, get bored, and then do what I *always* do in Sims games: act like a total sadist.

erbkaiser:
"Like The Sims 3, each Sim under your control has two traits and one flaw and these determine how it goes about its business."

I just wish TS3 worked that way - or are you referring to the console version which I am not familiar with?. In the PC version at least you there have five traits from which you can freely pick, with no reason other than sheer sadism to pick bad ones. The only limitation there is that some are mutually exclusive (e.g. Good vs Evil).

Actually, I found having a vegetarian that liked to exercise actually made them live longer than my easily entertained "stoner" sim.

Plus the kleptomaniac is awesome if you want some free items.

OT: I saw this in the store a few hours ago and I thought it was an item update like High-End loft stuff or Fast Lane stuff, I didnt think it was it's own game.

It feels like it is trying to get a Black and White play to it, but planting the player as an actual god over their sims, instead of some malevolent being that loves to trap sims in small areas seems a bit............weird, if that is possible.

I like making little adjustments to my sims lives, buy a new car here, drown a grandmother there, ad a new floor to the family home, you know, the usual. But going on quests and such would seem more fit if you controlled one sim entirely instead of multiple ones.

it might be good in the same sense that if I was to play in the street I might not get hit by a car, so I think I will save my money.

AC10:
Would anyone recommend buying this immediately, or wait for a price drop?

I'd recommend waiting for a price drop. To me it feels like a game you'd pay $30 for, not $50. There's no building to speak of, and a lot less customization and freedom in general, so it has considerably less longevity than other Sims games, IMHO.

"See our Total War: Shogun 2 text review here." Orly?

OT: I have the game, and I like it -- in small doses. It really seems more designed for the piecemeal play style than the classic Sims games, and the mission style seems to support this. Especially since you only get a limited number of points to use for quests, and when they're all gone, the only thing you can really do is to start a new world (in the same setting) with a different cast of characters. Of course, that's when the Ambition thing kicks in -- you're supposed to pick a different Ambition each time, so that you end up doing things quite differently in subsequent playthroughs.

And yes, the trait system is quite different from TS3. It's actually an interesting departure, forcing you to choose a flaw to complicate the lives of your sims (although you can transform that into a positive trait via certain quests).

Whether people will like it depends on what they liked about the other Sims games. This one has none of the building aspects (all the buildings come fully-formed; you can't move walls around or add rooms or anything) and somewhat limited furniture placement options (while there's quite a few things that can be placed, it hardly seems worth it a lot of the time; buildings come furnished with the essentials anyway), but the Live mode is essentially the same, with most of the same Sim-to-Sim interactions as in other games.

But ultimately you can't get too attached to the characters, since you can only play them while on a quest, and there's an invisible timer running all the time while on a quest (if you take too long to complete it then your Sims start to lose focus -- though there's usually still quite a bit of "screwing around" margin), and when you run out of quest points there's not much more you can do with those characters. (Apparently, finishing the first ambition will unlock a "free time" quest which relaxes these restrictions, but it also removes the daily tasks, which help define and differentiate the characters' roles in the first place.)

So, I don't regret buying it, it's still a lot of fun, but some people might want to wait for a price drop before joining in. And people who prefer a fully open sandbox rather than a more directed experience might want to steer clear.

I'm not really sure why there are so many complaints about the camera, though. Sure, it's a bit limiting when you're in the "inside view" to not have full rotation, but outside in the world you can pan, zoom, and rotate to whatever level you feel like, just like the other games.

AC10:
Would anyone recommend buying this immediately, or wait for a price drop?

wait in so many ways, like until it's free, this game is so buggy, they didn't have no-where near enough time to finish making it, and it's repeatative sleep inducing game play is... I don't have a rude enough word to discribe!

Wow, some of the humour in this game looks pretty dark...

I'm not a huge sims fan, so I think I might pass.

I miss the construction (the decorating was much less interesting to me than the blueprint), but this game is video crack. Five nights in, it's stil a solid distraction for me.

I've loved The Sims games forever, but I didn't like Sims 3 very much. I had really enjoyed Sims 2 and all it's expansion packs, and for me, the Sims 3 did not live up to that high of its predecessor. That being said, while I do find something intriguing about the concept of this new Sims: Medieval title, I'll probably pass on it as well. Or at least wait for a reduced price. Then again, its probably just because I've been craving Sims lately, but my operating system isn't compatible with the ones I like (curse you Windows 7!)

Holy CRAP...! A Sims game that differs in a non-insignificant way from the original game? I almost would have thought it impossible for the series to actually find something NEW it could do and just wrote this off as another re-released skin/object pack from the first or second game, which is basically all Sims 3 has done so far.

I agree with everything except for the idea that loading your game is a pain in the ass. I've reloaded Medieval a few times while playing and it went smoothly. What issue did you run into in that area?

The camera is a pain in the ass. It's by far the one thing that annoys me the most about the game. But I did find that I could zoom out a good distance without going into Watcher's Eye mode. The only problem is, though, if you zoom out too far, you'll get that eyeball icon (similar to the spyglass icon of TS3) that will be trying to lure you into the overhead stare. My view was never really obstructed; however, I did run into an issue where the camera would readjust itself like mad, pivoting and raising/lowering in huge amounts when I'm just trying to make subtle changes.

AC10:
Would anyone recommend buying this immediately, or wait for a price drop?

I say wait for a price drop. Personally, I love the game and am too much of a zombie fan of The Sims franchise not to have it pre-ordered. But if you can wait it out, getting it cheaper would probably be best.

It's very humorous and has a lot of surprisingly dark and/or mature comedy elements, though. I like how much of a change of pace it is from a normal Sims game.

You know, I thought about getting Sims 3 for the 3DS, but if this exists then I don't see why I would need two new Sims games. But is there really no mode that lets you just play regular Sims with this medieval backdrop? It's great that Maxis is aiming for innovation, but I was looking forward to just making a dude and guiding him through his life as a blacksmith/knight/wizard/whatever.

Glic2003:
-"All of gameplay elements [from The Sims]" are definitely not "preserved"; for many players, building houses and raising families was a major part of the gameplay, and The Sims Medieval does not allow either.

Oh, man that sucks!

Building castles is pretty much what I alwayws used the sims for, and now that I could really do it, I can't!?

Why can't I buy this on Steam? WHY?!

Seriously I've been waiting for this game forever and now I find I can't get it via my favorite (and truthfully, lately, ONLY) medium for buying games.

I've been playing the game, I really like it so far, it's a new direction for the Sims, not better or worse, but different. It's good that this series has chosen to shake things up, rather than creating yet another sequel that is the same bloody game, but with an extra addon or two!

Also, my girlfriend loves it! Finally, she's actually starting to play more complicated games than Wii Bowling! Downside is it's install on my PC, so that means I get less time to spend on it, but just so long as I have my hot gamer girlfriend then it's all good :P

To be honest, I like this game. I like it because it takes the aspect of "storytelling" and makes it the core of the game. However, it's also not quite there yet.
In standard EA Fashion, Sims Medieval is a game with great potential (like Spore) that keeps the ball low so as not to scare casual customers (like Spore). However, given the history of the Sims Franchise, there is a light at the end of the tunnel - expansions might actually make this a worthy purchase for anyone who likes to be told a story - and this game does just that. It's not challenging, it's not overly immersive, it's not impressive, but it does the storytelling so well that it covers for all these weaknesses.

What would I like to see in an expansion? Conflict! Conflict between characters is one thing that was way too easy to avoid in the Sims games, and despite some quests like murdering the King that show it's possible, I would like to see Medieval allow more conflict between, for example, conflicting noble families, or trade guilds, or maybe pirates and sea traders. There is a lot of potential here, and if they could make the narrative infinite by re-introducing the Sims' lifecycle AND more conflict, this would be a really great game.

nice of them to try to weave a bit of narrative into a people simulator. but i think they are beginning to miss the point if they keep going down this path. its called "the SIMS" as in short for Simulator. Freedom of choice should be inherent with the franchise. guess a bit of railroading is ok in small chunks.

on the other hand Simulating Medieval life as a peasant probably wont be any one's cup of tea. Toil all day so your lord can take most of it away as taxes, eat, sleep, make babies, and toil again some more.

you can rotate the camera with the midle mouse botton but you have a limited arc in the "doll's house" style buldings

cool. i've been tempted to pick this up anyway, since one of my old WoW guildmates worked on this game in a fairly important position (i'm just not sure which one...).

White Deer:
I just hope that they will make a Sims game or an expansion pack about the 20s-50s era.

The Sims :Jesucrist Version

The life and death of jesus our lord

Okay, I've bought and played this game, and the review is rather bogus - 4 stars is way too generous for this game. The only way this can be justified is if the games reviewer only played it "a little bit" and then wrote the article.

The game is seriously flawed in many key areas, and fails to satisfy the core demographics it is aiming for. I said demographics - that is plural - because it doesn't matter what style you favour, this game lacks it all.

There are three main issues that the game struggles with:

1) The main structure of the game is through Quests, which is decidedly counter-intuitive. The quest is merely a list of actions, with limited choice, that work as a rather obtuse timer determining how much time you have with your Sims. You are apparently supposed to balance going through the quest with responsibilities, need management, and other things you want to do with Free Time. However, the game presumes a "one quest action per day" rate of advancement, and all going any faster than this does is artificially reduces the time you have in the quest. There is nothing else to be gained. This actually results in attempting to go faster than the "one quest action per day" rate being detrimental to your quest completion score, which will affect your reward. In short, being successful at your quest doesn't actually improve your quest score - instead you are supposed to be successful at "life" with a certain amount of Free Time, to allow such success to affect your score. You can fail if you ignore the quest for too long though. Ironically, the only real way to discover this is actually by ignoring or failing the quest, which would normally result in a reduced score, but instead actually results in a better score. The Sims Medieval Fanboys and Fangirls claim this is a feature, and that it was designed this way to facilitate what they consider "well-rounded" play.

2) There's very little incentive to do things in the Sims Medieval. While this is pretty standard in a Sims game, with the player supposed to provide their own goals and objectives for spending Free Time, The Sims Medieval goes out of its way to make this pointlessness even worse. With the lack of needs, a lot of objects are simply just for providing Focus, and there's a lot of ways to do that anyway - for example, using a chamberpot is now optional, rather than something need to be looked after, which pretty much undermines much of the point of chamberpots. How many people WANT to use the toilet and find that a fun thing to do out of simple choice? But it's not just needs - families are in, but without the ability to control your spouse or children, nor the ability for children to age, let alone take over the roles of their parents, it's all generally a case of doing it because you can.

3) You can't even keep your Kingdom - this is something that most people don't realise, and certainly isn't discovered within the first few hours of play. Each kingdom has an Ambition, a goal, and a certain number of Quest Points to spend achieving it. Once these are spent, the Kingdom is essentially over - you have two additional quests: Free Play, which is very limited, in that Heroes stop gaining XP and there's no responsibilities or anything, so is rather pointless, and Brave New World which allows you to choose one of your heroes to take with you to the Next Kingdom you play. The thing is, this New Kingdom, starts over from scratch - and the game is otherwise exactly the same as before. Thus, most of the incentives for improving your Heroes and getting attached to them are pointless, because once the Kingdom is done, you have to discard them all. This makes it some what hard to justify how to spend your Free Time, especially when you start to complete the game's other achievements. It's not like the game actually changes at all when you start a new kingdom with a new ambition - you just have a different set of goals to achieve for the kingdom, but everything else is more or less the same. The townies might change names and traits, but other than that, it's the same Kingdom you previously built, started all over again.

There are other issues as well, but these are minor things. For example, if you are looking for creativity, while you can adjust the traits and appearance of your sims, the buildings are another matter. They are all pre-fabricated, pre-placed, and all you can do is change the furnishings within them. The views in these buildings are like traditional dolls houses, where the front wall is exposed, and they are all extremely small, and ill-equipped to deal with growing families.

Depending upon your patience and how long you can play while putting up with these poor game design decisions, you will find that the game doesn't have the lasting potential, and disappointment will grow as you play it more and more and discover it is exactly the same, with very little of the redeeming emergent gameplay that you expect from the Sims 3. Only the diehard fans defend this game, and even then, they mostly only have experience with the first quest, and add a lot of their own objectives into the game, convincing themselves that these are actual gameplay objectives rather than things they've added to cope with the emptiness of the game. It's fun to explore, but gets boring really quick.

Once you've played that first kingdom, if you've lasted that long, you'll realise that this game is actually only about 2 stars at most. Unfortunately, the time to complete the Kingdom will be longer than most reviewers have to actually play a game for review.

AC10:
Would anyone recommend buying this immediately, or wait for a price drop?

Wait for it, I was interested in it up until I played it, not that it's a bad game, because all of the features that could make it a great one are there, but it boils down to boring quest after boring quest.

Save your money for when a bundle comes out.

I'd have you know I'd happily prance around with Turk, Mr Tito. Mainly because I'm a Scrubs fan. >>

Anyway, I only know this game because of the advert with Donald Faison in and while it's sort of interesting, I lost interest in the Sims ages ago. Still, good review.

cplsharp:
to be fair i never really fancied this game from when i hear about it, the sims for me raises the question as to why you would want to make your character go to the toilet, when you most likely have a fully usable toilet in your own home. though i can see this one might tug some interest strings as its not just house building and kid making.

I'm getting the impression that it's not the gameplay of the Sims that puts you off, but that fact that it represents modern life. Indeed, for someone who seeks escapism, the Sims might seem boring because it doesn't feature dragons, alien invasions, or other "exciting" things.

That said, the answer as to why you would WANT to make your character go to the toilet is simple - this is a requirement that needs to be managed in the Sims games. It's exactly the same as managing resources in an RTS, for example. Generally, bad things happen if you don't go to the toilet and let the bladder need fail - although the immature might find seeing Sims pee themselves funny, it does get stale very fast, and generally it's another part of the gameplay. So it's not so much about WANTING to go to the toilet, rather as avoiding having Bladder fail by using.

This is really no different from any other form of gameplay. I often find myself getting bored with FPS games because they largely revolve around not running out of health, ammo, or some other resource in the exactly same way. Oh, and shooting everything gets old, fast. The game had best have a killer storyline, because it just won't hold my attention otherwise.

That said, this is one of the things that become an issue in The Sims Medieval, when they removed the Bladder need. It's one less thing to manage, but now there's no real reason to go to the toilet at all. All you get is a short minor focus boost. Sure, now it's a bonus for doing something rather than a penalty for not doing something, but seriously this is about going to the toilet. You don't have to go near a chamberpot ever if you don't want to. The quote says they "just made it in time" - even if it's your first pee in about a week. Talk about bladders of steel!

Just finished my second ambition. The game is no longer fun.

Da_Vane:
Talk about bladders of steel!

^ this is a reason to buy lol, "i dont need to piss, im iron sim." but yeh i can see why people would want to play it, im just not really into escapism in games unless its one like red dead where the world is phenomenal to look at and explore.

your point is valid thankfully, i was expecting to get flamed to be honest ^_^

Oh my god. I just finished trying this game and it's absolutely ghastly. A boring click-fest, combining all the dull micromanagement of the Sims with none of the fun, playful sandbox part.

One of the major problems with it is that it's slow. I mean, slow paced with really stupid quest instructions that involve travelling from one end of the map to the other (watch your Sim toddle at a snail's pace from the "village" to the "forest" or whatever) and long periods of time spent watching your sim be horizontal in bed sleeping or finishing some busywork task or another. Now normally the slow bits in the Sims are fixed by setting the time passage to the fastest speed, but even on cheetah speed that progress bar creeeeeeps along. One quest saw my hero placed in the stocks as part of the story, and you got to wait the full day's sentence of not doing ANYTHING, while your sim rattled around a bit. At least in the regular Sims, you can focus on something else while the first Sim catches up with sleep, but here you were stuck watching them go through whatever nonsense the game designer thought would be entertaining.

And the busywork, oh lord! Quests consist of a list of mundane errands like "Talk to minion X about plans for the castle" inter-spaced with responsibilities that may need to be redone several times in order to go through properly: "hunt bear" (no bear to be found), "write treaty" (had to repeat this six times before my sim was able to do it). Finding a lost child involved talking to a few guards and taking a boat cruise.

The Sims3 significantly reduced the ease in social interactions, and this was carried onto the game here as well. Want to make friends with people? Prepare to watch your two dollies face each other for a good thirty minutes while various pre-selected social actions run through, the results mostly indicated by a green or red progress bar at the top of the screen. Interacting with people with aspegers syndrome is easier and more dynamic than this snooze fest. How did they make conversation -less- animated than the sims2?

That's not even getting into the loading problems. As one giant map, in theory my sim should travel from one location to the next. Fine in idea, but in practice if you enter a new building everything but the clock freezes and you stare at a wall while the loading symbol flutters. So, more time lost because it didn't occur to them to add an auto-pause feature during loading.

A giant waste of time and money the gaming company should be ashamed to have put out. I've seen fan made content that did fantasy themed sims better than this!

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