The Sims 4 Review - More BooHoo Than WooHoo

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The Sims 4 Review - More BooHoo Than WooHoo

A solid game at its core, but it feels like little more THAN a core.

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Sounds like an utterly shriveled, diseased mouse dong of a game in comparison to its equally afflicted but more elephantine predecessors.

It's pretty sad that The Sims 4 just sounds like a crappier version of The Sims 2, considering that game came out a decade ago. I love the series so it really sucks to see it falling behind the times.

Thank god they gave out The Sims 2 for free. With that, why should I even bother with this drivel?

Well it sounds like my 1-man EA boycott continues. I regret not grabbing the Sims 2 when they were giving it out for free, but such is life. Thanks for the review Jim.

Mahorfeus:
Thank god they gave out The Sims 2 for free. With that, why should I even bother with this drivel?

Yeah, I think that was the attitude of a lot of people when they saw just how sanitized the game was gonna be. I know it was for me.

i should be the perfect customer for this. after all ive owned all the games and the expansion packs for each, and ive loved each version and sims 3 was my favourite. but sims 4 every piece of news made it sound worse and this review confirms what i was expecting and i wont be touching something thats an actual step back

Well, I'm glad I waited for your review Jim. EA wants AUD$90 for this shell of a game. I was thinking that I'd spend the cash on the Sims 3 expansions - then I felt sick at the thought of giving them more money... I'm not on the "worst company in America" train but bloody hell EA, enough is enough. We can see through your bullshit.

Also, every time I hear, read or say 'emotion' I hear it in Jim's David Cage impression. Thanks a lot xD

Seems like EA didn't learn from the disaster that was SimCity.

Worst of all they knew that the Sims 4 is bad game so they didn't send any review copies to the press. Instead of taking more time to make a better game, they release a crappy and buggy game to make more money! And you know they are going to release tons of DLCs.

Incredibly small maps necessitating jumping from map to map. So yes faster load time per map but with the amount of times you move from map to map, the total load time is worse and it breaks the immersion of the game.

Making promises an never keeping them. Yes SimCity has smaller maps but we promise to give bigger maps soon! Let's hope they keep their promise for the Sims 4 and implement pools and toddlers in a FREE update and not a PAID DLC.

Can you tell that I'm still bitter about SimCity?

"Recommendation: The Sims 3"
That was gold.

I'm not expecting a new Sims game to have everything the previous one and its expansions had. But when you start cutting stuff away from the core, that's where you can go fuck yourself. And it's a shame, because the new building tools look awesome, and that's my favorite thing in The Sims.

Fire and blood, Jim.

Fire and blood.

DirgeNovak:
"Recommendation: The Sims 3"
That was gold.

I'm not expecting a new Sims game to have everything the previous one and its expansions had. But when you start cutting stuff away from the core, that's where you can go fuck yourself. And it's a shame, because the new building tools look awesome, and that's my favorite thing in The Sims.

Agreed, in fact i would expect a sequel to maybe even include some features from the previous game's expansions, not all but some. However making the base game even smaller then the last base game is just taking the piss.

I am playing the sims 3 right now. Another week or two of hard work and I will have enough to finish my basement.

Yay for good sim games! They are fun.
Too bad this is not one of them. It is just... Not good. At least when held up next to sims 3, 2, heck, even 1.

With the caveat I do not own the Sims 4 (I stopped buying EA products around the time Origin came out, although Origin wasn't the main reason) ------- what I understand is the issue isn't that the Sims 4 feels empty compared to prior games with expansions....

It's that the Sims 4 feels empty compared to prior BASE games.

I started looking up game features of just the BASE games, and you can see an obvious improvement largely from game to game, from Sims 1-3. There's not clear cut improvement for 4. There are SOME improvements -- beyond the obvious graphics and UI improvements which every game has had incrementally -- seems like the AI is a little better, building seems easier, there's more skills. In other places it seems like where something was given, something else, often something significant, was taken away. For example -- their new Create A Sim is more intuitive and offers more specific tweaking than ever, and there's some more voices and things like walk styles, BUT they took away the massively cool and helpful customization tool that was Create-a-Style (and I have a feeling they took away Create-a-Style because when people feel like they can ubercustomize their clothes so easily, they might buy less DLC). Create-a-Style also applied to house/furniture design and its loss is huge. The Sims from I think the Sims 2 on offered pre-rendered color variations so the fact that the Sims 4 offers that (albeit in a prettier interface) is nothing new and is in fact an obvious step backwards. There seems to be smoother evolution and development and skills for child and older skills, but babies have turned back into an object rather than a character again (which has not been the case since the first Sims, a 14 year old game) and toddlers have been removed entirely (and with them a whole subset of objects, skills, and challenges available in the previous games). There are simultaneously more and fewer careers -- 8 career options, all of which split in two different paths down the line, so technically there's 16 career paths (more than in any Sim game) but they're really just more choices in only 8 fields (fewer than in any Sim game -- the Sims 1 came with 9 careers; the Sims 3 base game came with 11 careers, 3 of which had dual paths).

Emotions are only new-ish -- Sims have always had moods, and how they work has grown more complex in each game. In the Sims 3, I can look at my Sims aspiration bar and see where it is, hover over it and see the emotion my Sim is feeling (angry, uncomfortable, sad, excited, happy), and indeed those emotions influence what wants appear for me to choose from --- that's actually nothing new, the only new thing the way the Sims 4 does it is it's shifted the focus toward it even more, and made that interface easy to interpret. Those improvements are a good thing, but they're not actually NEW, nor as innovative or game changing as the marketing materials make them out to be.

In the Sims 3 BASE game I can do pretty much all I can in the Sims 4, save for some largely superficial changes to Sim design itself, and a few skills. There's still loads to do -- and the kicker is, there's a larger and more interactive neighborhood to do it in.

It's also not clear to me from what I've seen if Sims 4 has bug and rock collecting which was a Sims 3 base feature and was a cool way to get your Sim cash without getting them a job. Also, to Jim (if he reads these) or anyone else who's got the Sims 4-- did they keep skill challenges and opportunities? Those were both introduced in the Sims 3 and helped make even base gameplay interesting. I've seen that the Sims 4 has achievements, but those are for players, not the Sims themselves (in the Sims 3, earning skill challenges unlocked new abilities the Sims could have). I see the Sims 4 kept aspiration awards which is cool, but what about things that help you earn short term goals like opportunities? Or is the Sims 4 just like Sims 1 gameplay (work, eat, talk, pee, sleep) without challenges to push you forward?

I watched Robbaz's review of Sim's 4, and he pretty much voiced all the same issues and complaints Jim did with the game.

HOWEVER, he voiced one thing about loading times that I feel is criminal that Jim didn't bring up:

WHY THE FUCK DOES THE GAME NEED TO LOAD 3-10 SECONDS IN ORDER FOR YOU TO CROSS THE STREET TO YOUR NEIGHBORS' HOUSE!!?? WHAT IS THIS? SONIC '06!??!?!

My exuberant bluster aside, let's ignore the fact the game is bare bones for DLC purposes. Let's ignore the fact that it's arguably a weaker game than Sims 3 (and considering how much money people have sunk into Sims 3, there's no real incentive to get the new installment). Let's just look at the fact that this is a game that requires LOADING SCREENS TO CROSS THE STREET. What happens when they start adding DLC? What happens when they add pools ($5.99)? What happens when they add the future and the past ($24.75)? What happens when you build a castle with turrets, a knight barracks, and a full garrison of troops (priceless)? The game will start chugging like Youtube on dial-up. These loading screens and loading times need to be addressed, and addressed PRONTO.

Mahorfeus:
Thank god they gave out The Sims 2 for free. With that, why should I even bother with this drivel?

The Sims 3 was a better game in basically every respect. Pick it up on sale, or maybe wait for them to give it away when The Sims 5 comes out.

It feels like a throwback to Sims 1, where you never left the house. There's really no reason to go outside. You use the library until you can afford a computer and the gym until you can afford a weight machine, and you never leave your neighborhood again. There are no cars so you just teleport everywhere, even if you're just going one lot over (which means another loading screen). My understanding is that the open world of Sims 3 was a cpu and gpu crusher the more custom content and DLC you added, so I understand the desire to scale that world back but I think they went too far. Or that world will slowly open up at $29.99 a pop. It looks fantastic and while there's some wonkiness with the camera controls in build mode (you can't edge scroll down with an item selected), the ability to build a fully furnished room with two clicks is nice and some of the emotional states are truly funny. My Sim was family oriented and his spouse's job started a day earlier than his, leaving him alone for a whole day. By 3 pm he was curled up under the blankets in bed, crying. So ronery. But Jim's right. There really isn't much game in this game.

Toddlers?
They removed toddlers?
.
.
.
[facepalm]
.
.
.
[facepalm]
.
.
.
[facepalm]
.
.
.
Wait a minute!
Why am I hitting myself?
I should try to beat stupid out of their heads.

But seriously, Sims4 doesn't have full reproduction cycle for sims themselves?
O_O

Can someone please post a pic, animated gif or video that could express my current feelings?
I simply am speechless.

blackrave:
(...)But seriously, Sims4 doesn't have full reproduction cycle for sims themselves?
O_O

Can someone please post a pic, animated gif or video that could express my current feelings?
I simply am speechless.

Here you are - this little quote has gotten me through some hard times, dude.
http://listenonrepeat.com/?v=XhI0OVs_zj0#God_DAMNIT

More tabs = More fun.

"You ever hear of a place called Vietnam, Larry?"

Weeelllll, this wasn't really much of a surprise. Glad there was an earlier leak of the cut content to warn people off it.

Loved the Sims 3. Hell, I still play it from time to time. I remember the first time I pulled the map back and saw that you really could just go anywhere you wanted? It was great. Felt like a genuine followup to what the 2nd game had done.

And now its sequel, like 5 years later, has less then the Sims 2, which is 10 years old. Shit's pathetic and, every other company, they ain't gone be no GOTY Edition. So if you want the "COMPLETE EDITION" somewhere down the line, get ready to fork over $100+.

I'll stick with 3.

So when are they releasing the Sims 3 ultimate collection? Hopefully they'll price is reasonably.

Shame it will probably sell like hotcakes, since every dad trying to connect with his daughter will buy it, & once he's got her the basegame the expansions/DLC will become the triennial "I'm paying attention to you" gesture for the next few years.

Mahorfeus:
Thank god they gave out The Sims 2 for free. With that, why should I even bother with this drivel?

I still play the sims 2 from time to time. Mansions and gardens stuff is the last EA product I've ever bought.

PirateRose:
So when are they releasing the Sims 3 ultimate collection? Hopefully they'll price is reasonably.

If history is a guide when the sims 5 comes out.

Pretty much sounds like my experience with vanilla Sims 3 compared to vanilla Sims 2 when it came out back in '08, but much, MUCH worse. Granted, Sims 3 with a few expansions definitely surpasses even Sims 2 with all it's expansions, but I won't be jumping into that bandwagon again, "fool me once" and all that.

I'll be sticking to Sims 2 & 3 EA, thank you very much.

(Note: This is coming from someone that has a slight addiction problem to the Sims games, having spent almost as much time playing TS3 as other games like Skyrim or an MMO)

Well, I kinda saw that coming. The game is not bad but it's not good either. I knew well enough that the game would feel like it was missing content when compared to the older games and their dlc extravaganza, but it does feel like it EA/Maxis went a bit too far in the cutting back content.

I read somewhere a good explanation of why the Create-a-Style feature from TS3 went away: the fact that you could customize almost every single item and texture in the game means that it has to spend a lot of resources loading every single texture and it tends to hit the game's performance quite a lot (specially on the larger cities or near the end game when you have a big mansion and hundreds of items need to individually load each custom texture). Same for the open world feature, it makes little sense to spend resources having the whole city loaded and other sims walking around if you're going to spend most of your time on your house.

But there's other features that I have no idea why they removed. Sure, toddlers were annoying in TS3 but I don't see a reason why they would remove them from the game (or turn babies into objects), and pools? why on earth would you remove pools?

And as someone else mentioned, the fact that you have to go through loading screens for everything (like visiting the house next door) is annoying as hell.

I'd say it's better to wait for it to either go on sale or for the expansion packs to come out bundled with the game. Otherwise don't bother.

"Recommendation: The Sims 3"

I lol'd.

Seriously, stick with either The Sims 2 or The Sims 3. Sims 2 has a stronger modding community, Sims 3 has a better base game. Most people prefer The Sims 3. Don't get this drivel. Literally the only good thing I've heard about it is that the new body customizations of the Sims is actually pretty cool. Thats not enough to warrant getting a hollow shell of a game though. Even The Sims 2 had more base content.

If the rumors are true (and some people have connected the dots pretty well based on developer statements), Sims 4 was originally supposed to be an online game (probably until the whole SimCity debacle). When I was playing it with the online aspect in mind, I could almost sense where online aspects would come into play--especially why each building forced its own load.

I preferred Sims 3 open world and Create-a-Style to Sims 2 (though the former game did have more innovative gameplay). Sims 4 does feel like a shell and as I'm playing I do keep thinking that, even after 2 days, I'm ready for DLC (or for the modding community to bolster the game).

Like so many EA projects of late, the game feels rushed out the door, despite years of development work, and that's probably because of a shift in gears once the game was no longer going to use an online audience.

shirkbot:
Well it sounds like my 1-man EA boycott continues. I regret not grabbing the Sims 2 when they were giving it out for free, but such is life. Thanks for the review Jim.

Your not alone. There are at least 6 of us now!

PirateRose:
So when are they releasing the Sims 3 ultimate collection? Hopefully they'll price is reasonably.

What part of "Made By EA" would make you think you could use the word "reasonably" in there? How about "not as extortionate as their other games"?

Well, that was a shocker, wasn't it? EA screwing up a well-loved game? Who knew? And still the idiots that blindly follow EA and Maxis like they're gods will buy this shit up, along with the 5 dozen EP's and SP's that are no doubt coming, feeding the beast that is EA's greed.

Meanwhile, I took Sims 2 off of EA's hands when they were giving it all out for free on Origin, and I'm having a blast.

It really is a hell of a condemnation when a reviewer says "Play the last game, it's better", but that's kind of come to be expected with EA, really. Dead Space and Mass Effect are two titles that come to mind.

Well I used to enjoy The Sims a lot back in the day, upon reading this I thought, "hey let's just check out Sims 3 they've got to have a edition out with all the dlc and stuff in it right?"

*Opens origin, searches Sims*
Haha, WRONG!

I... what the... 160$ for a bunch of simpoints? Everything there at the price as a a full game?
Yeah......not happening.
I knew it was bad, but not THIS bad. Don't even dare to think about what they have planned for this one.

This is insane actually, considering I just grabbed Civ 5 with everything for about 19$ off steam. Something is very wrong here.

JarinArenos:

Mahorfeus:
Thank god they gave out The Sims 2 for free. With that, why should I even bother with this drivel?

The Sims 3 was a better game in basically every respect. Pick it up on sale, or maybe wait for them to give it away when The Sims 5 comes out.

Truth be told, while I do enjoy what I have played of the franchise, The Sims is not something I have ever been particularly keen on spending my money on. I cannot really argue that The Sims 3 is not better, but I suppose my point is more that The Sims 2 in its current state is a decidedly superior product compared to The Sims 4. And yet, it did not cost anyone who grabbed it recently a dime.

First we lose Simcity. Now EA kills The Sims. If not for Civ: Beyond Earth coming out I'd be going nuts.

Attercap:
If the rumors are true (and some people have connected the dots pretty well based on developer statements), Sims 4 was originally supposed to be an online game (probably until the whole SimCity debacle). When I was playing it with the online aspect in mind, I could almost sense where online aspects would come into play--especially why each building forced its own load.

The Sims, as a franchise, makes far more sense to me as an online game than SimCity. That way, your family of Sims would be just one aspect of a much bigger world. Of course, no one would have hated SimCity the way they did if an offline mode existed at launch. Really, Diablo hit the perfect model for this sort of game over a decade ago: give people a single-player mode, get them to go online by the online being even more fun to play with other people.

(And then Diablo III happened...)

While some may argue that it's unrealistic to expect all the expansions and DLC from The Sims 3 to show up in the sequel, I'd argue it's equally unrealistic to try and turn back the clock on everything we've gotten used to and not expect anybody to notice.

I like ya, Mr. Sterling, but do you realize it's no longer "unrealistic" after they've successfully done this in the Sims 2 and The Sims 3, right? It's certainly, "Chintzy," but not, "Unrealistic."

Sims can now multitask, able to play on their phone while chatting

My favorite was when one whipped out their phone and browsed the web while peeing.

By far this game's biggest crime? It's boring, and The Sims should never be boring

Games should not be boring. The Sims series in general, however... well, it's always been sort of Zen in its focus on everyday monotony.

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