The Sims 4: A Review

As many of you may know from this blog, I'm a big video game fan, especially if the game has something to do with sci-fi—but I also have a soft spot for certain titles that don't quite fit that description. Although quite skeptical at first, I grew to like the Sims right around the time the Sims 2 was released and have played it on and off since. I loved a lot of what was done with the Sims 3, but it was plagued by bugs and problems that EA just didn't seem interested in fixing. So it was with great trepidation that I approached the Sims 4. I almost didn't buy it, and I'm still a bit on the fence about whether or not caving to my "must have a complete collection" urge was a wise move.

What works:

The graphics are good, the interface is even better.
I like what they did with organizing and modifying the skills and skill building. I like the way the game looks and how the camera angles work quite a bit. The controls, although not new, have a fresh feel to it that I enjoy.

I like the new objects and their interactions.
House building and furnishing is streamlined and much easier to use. I love that you can position objects almost anywhere on a wall now (and the same with windows). You can even adjust the ceiling height.

The create a Sim feature is really where they put their time and energy.
It's obvious since it is much more flexible, especially with the ability to sculpt your Sim's features as though they were clay.

There's a rocket ship.
Yeah, I know, I'm a sucker for this (sci-fi tie-in!). There's also a new Rocket Science skill and a whole Astronaut career from the get go. It's cool.

What doesn't work:

The game has an incomplete feeling.
There aren't many careers or neighborhoods, and the ability to move around has been curtailed. It really seems like EA rushed yet another game out the door before it was really ready. Although not the disaster that Sim City was (it remains one of the few games in recent memory I got so fed up with I just uninstalled it before playing through all of its content. The first week of mayhem with its launch alone made me hate myself for spending money on it), it still seems like a lot more time should have been put in. Life stages available in previous Sims titles are missing, as are pools, vehicles, and a lot of functionality.

It gets sort of boring sort of quickly.
With not that much to do, and a lot of it frustrating in that one has to relearn how to do certain activities because EA changed how it works (for not entirely obvious reasons), I found it was easy to put this game down after about 2-3 days of binge playing. That's not very long for me, as I've been known to play a new game obsessively for 2-3 weeks when it first catches my attention (although, I'll note, my lack of obsessive interest was good for my writing this week as I was able to return to it faster). It's not that I don't go back to the game periodically, but it just doesn't have that grab you and hold you factor.

There are still bugs.
It's an EA title, after all, but the number of glitches is annoying. Objects vanish and require you to repurchase them, tools get stuck in your Sims' hands, and conversation bars get frozen on Sims even though you're no longer having a conversation. I wish I could say I had faith that EA will clean these issues up as time moves on, but they've got a record of not doing so that is a bit discouraging.

So, the overall verdict?
It's okay. Is it worth the money? Right now? Meh. But if you're a fan of the series you'll definitely find some charm to the new game (and go a bit mad trying to figure out the new emotion system). I guess we'll have to see if it improves as the new expansions come out.


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