Published on September 15th, 2014 | by Rachel Wolfenberg

The Sims 4 Review

Hello, Rachel here! Time for a review. The Sims 4 came out 2 weeks ago now and I’ve had plenty of time to play it. I started playing the Sims about a year after the first one came out. And I’ve been playing various Sims games ever since.

The review is broken into sections to make it easier to read what you’re interested in.

General Performance
As someone with a computer that is a few years old I can actually load the game really fast. I’m also surprised to see that the Sims 4 runs really well with no lag. As you’ve probably heard there are a number of loading screens (which I’ll talk about later on) and they don’t take that long to load. Now I’ve not timed it or anything but I’d say around 20-30 seconds depending on the lot, keep in mind my computer is a little older.

I’ve spent a lot of time loading my Sims 3 games in the past, especially near the end of it’s life cycle with the amount of expansions and stuff packs. I use to wait 5-10 minutes for my world to load, depending on the world. And then it would lag to the point where I had to stop playing entirely. The Sims 4 doesn’t lag at all in my experience and it is fantastic!

Create a Sim
I miss create a style. There I said it. I didn’t think I would miss it but I certainly do. It wouldn’t be missed so much if the palettes that were available for clothes (and for build/buy mode) actually covered the basic colours. Now, they’ve added more palette colours since the demo so I hope that new colours are something they can add in patches as time goes on. I’d really like to just see a colour wheel, just a basic one for colours.

Now the actual creation of a sim is a ton of fun! I really like this new click and drag system. It does take a bit of getting use to but I’ve already made more unique looking sims than I have in previous games. You can go into detail and change the pupils in the eyes and the nostrils if you want or you can pick a default face (from a rather impressive list of defaults) and move on.

For a base game, there are a number of clothing options to choose from. Along with a number of clothes is a great sorting system. No longer do you have to sift through a long list of tops to find a sweater, you can now just pick the sweater tab and there they are! Even better when you can tell the list to sort all tops by colour. If you want a green shirt, select green and all shirts that have a green variation will appear. This sorting system will become insanely handy when we have a few expansions and stuff packs and the amount of content to sort through becomes too much.

They also added in Styled looks, which are preset outfits for different categories. I really like them! It’s a nice option to have when I just want to get back to the main play of the game. If I recall correctly the Simgurs said that they wanted to keep adding new options to the Styled looks as the game gets older. So it’s a nice way to refresh the looks of sims quickly.

Once you’ve made a sim you have all the other details to finish, naming them, picking their voice, walk style and their traits. In the Sims 3 you could pick up to 5 traits for an adult sim. Here you get 3, however you can earn more traits in live mode. Some traits are gained from spending your aspiration points and others are from completing lifetime aspirations. These are like a series of challenges you complete in your sims life, ranging from finding a soulmate to training your brain. So really you can end up with a sim with 10 traits at the end of their life. Certainly adds to the variety.


Live Mode
Live mode, the mode where your sims live their lives. Generally it’s the same as it’s always been. We’ve heard for over a year about how emotional the sims are now and really, they are emotional and it’s kinda awesome! They go about their day to day activities influenced by how they feel. I think it really adds to the gameplay and I actually feel bad for my sims when they feel sad because they look so depressed when they walk, eat cereal or interact with others. Moods are affected by everything, a conversation they had, how the slept, how clean the room is etc. And it’s fun to play around with.
A major change to live mode is the multitasking system. Your sims can now eat a meal, watch tv to level up a skill and talk to their family, all at the same time! It’s really useful, no longer do you have to decide between raising your social level or raising your hunger level. The sims will multitask wherever they get the chance to. My one issue with this is that the Sims have become so social they don’t want to not be in a group conversation, it makes having romantic interactions with your sims spouse a little awkward when their kid is in the conversation as well.

Have I mentioned that they almost never get stuck anymore? This is the best change to live mode by far. They can easily navigate through a room, around objects and other sims. It’s nice being able to not have to keep a room nearly empty because sims are too stupid to move around one chair.

Jobs and school work a bit like a hybrid between the Sims 2 and 3. They walk off the lot to go to work, but you still get to decide what it is they are doing while there. I’m not sure how I like this yet. Really my main issue is that even if they ‘talk to coworkers’ there are no sims they are talking to. In the Sims 3 my sims had a number of work friends, not so anymore.

The decision to not include ‘normal’ jobs confuses me a bit. Medical, business and law enforcement are all gone. Things like entertainment, astronaut and criminal are there. You get 10 careers, all of which have branching paths, but I kinda miss having sims with more normal careers. The new career system is also hard. It takes longer to progress, you need to complete some challenges (like skilling up or doing something related to your field of work) before getting a promotion. In the Sims 3 I could advance to level 7-8 fairly quickly. In the Sims 4 my sims are level 3-4 and they’ve been going for a while. I like the challenge though, and because it takes longer to progress you don’t start bringing a lot of money quickly, adding to the challenge of live mode.

Ok so live mode at home is fun, but what about the other lots? Well they’re fun to go to, but to go anywhere requires a loading screen. Now it really doesn’t take that long to load the new lot in but I’m not entirely happy with having to go through another loading screen if I wanted to go from the Library to the Gym next door. I’m also having an issue with moods not carrying over between loading screens, hoping that’s bug. Once you get to other lots you’ll see something we haven’t seen in a while. The lot actually has a fair number of other sims on it! I like this part a lot, I really don’t like the idea of going to a park and there only being one other sim because everyone else is wandering around some other street.

Map View
There are two towns to choose from. Willow Creek and Oasis Springs.

There is not a lot to the map view in either town. The whole town is broken up into a few sections, each with 3-5 lots. That’s it. You can’t add new lots, and there aren’t a lot of commercial lots to go to. I will say that the commercial lots that do exist are really nice, and each town has a bar/nightclub hangout. We had to wait a year and a half for bars in the Sims 3. Things like rabbit holes are gone, so they don’t take up any space.

When you start a new game there are only 2 small houses you can afford and 3 empty lots, all empty lots are 20×30. I enjoy building and it really looks like I’m going to need to start a new world and delete all lots and build there.

Build/Buy Mode
Oh my plumbob it is so much fun to build. Frustrating? Yup that too! So it takes a lot of getting use to the new tools but once you figure it out it’s super rewarding. Put a room in the wrong place? Pick it up and move it! Put the entire house slightly off centre by accident? Pick it up and move it, furniture and all! Forget to add foundations? Add them in at any point. Seriously, the build mode fixed some many problems I had with the Sims 3 build mode.

The buy mode is also great. It has a lot to offer for a base game. There are a ton of decorations to add and it really makes the houses look lived in. Paintings have free movement over the walls so you can place them basically anywhere. The furniture looks heavy, like it has weight to it. I know that sounds weird but I love how it looks.

Just like create a sim though I’m still having issues with no create a style. Sometimes you just want the bedroom set to match, and usually that’s hard to do. If you get the bed frame to match the night tables the sheets look bad and you wish you could change them.

In general though, it’s great. I still haven’t fully figured everything out (I only recently found out about advanced counter building, hello round counter tops!) but I’m having a lot of fun building and furnishing houses.

Final thoughts
What it really comes down to is. Is it worth $60? I bought the Premium edition on Amazon for an amazing price (cheaper than just the normal version) and I don’t regret it at all. Had I bought it at it’s full $80 price I probably wouldn’t feel the same. My recommendation is to get the game when it goes on sale. I certainly see it going on sale for the Christmas shopping season. If you really want to try it now the game qualifies for a ‘Great game Guarantee’ on Origin, meaning you can buy it and return it for the full price back within 24 hours.

This game is fun. Does it have some issues? Yup! But do I still get lost for hours in the daily activities of the family I’ve created? Totally.  It’s a solid Sims base game, but it’s still a base game. The mechanics are really well done, and I think the expansions and stuff packs can really build on it and the Sims 4 will be a great addition to the series in the future. I look forward to the next 5 years with the Sims 4.


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About the Author

Freelance graphic designer, illustrator and liker of awesome things. Video games and drawing are her favourite things in the category of awesome.

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