The Sims has always maintained the same basic strategy: give the player the chance to live and, in most cases, destroy their own Sims life to whatever extremes chosen so the game is enjoyable and fun. That strategy has not changed and although, through each iteration of the title new features have been added, the same original Sims game is there. Fans will definitely not be disappointed by the new offerings as they do not stray far from The Sims 2 but will be disappointed by the high similarity to The Sims 2. There is also exclusive content to The Sims 3 that comes as more clothes, different cities, all at an additional cost rather than being added to the game to begin with. Unfortunately, the hashing of the same formula, with just a few upgrades and the synonymous game engine as The Sims 2 leaves The Sims 3 a major disappointment in terms of raising the bar as the third offering in the series.
We have been playing The Sims 3 for well over a month now, which is why our review has come a month later. While the offerings remain sporadic, The Sims 3 comes with some vast improvements to the previous title. There is a graphical change, but the most significant is the one large integrated community. Loading screens are gone, and everything is within reach to an extent as the commercials detail. Each sim now has a mind, common sense and most importantly a personality. Sims compare well to the loveable people from The Sims 2, but there is a big change: the sims now react to objects and each other in a more realistic way. While your sim is going to work, or just relaxing at home, there is a lot of realism to the simulation aspect, as is expected of a simulation title.
Gameplay structure in the Sims 3 circulates around traits. First, players choose traits which have been completely revamped with humoristic fashionline. There are traits such as: Green Thumb, Hopeless Romantic, Workaholic, etc. Players can pick up to five traits for each adult sim characters that determine the sim’s personality, how he/she interacts with other characters, and how they are influenced in their career paths. With provocative traits, there is reason for everything: lifetime wishes. The Sims 3 comes with 32 lifetime wishes, which each sim can pursue and will be their . Making progress towards lifetime wishes earns lifetime wish points that can be used not only for unlockables, but also “special perks.” Special perks are the newest additions to a sim’s personality such as “Best Host,” “Guests Always Leave Happy,” and many more that are unlocked as the game progresses. With all the new traits, and more interesting pursuits to lifetime wishes, The Sims 3 really makes a stride in sim personality and lifestyle.
The Sims 3 allows more freedom throughout the neighborhood by giving players the chance to go and visit neighbors and friends and see their swankily decorated abodes with that retro wallpaper or high-end speaker system. As such, another big part of The Sims 3 is community and this is the most community friendly game in the series, however, this can lead to a plethora of friendships and a hectic social life that brings down your Sims mood as there is no time for basic needs such as eating and washing. Another troubling aspect with the whole open-world in The Sims 3 is the fact that not every house is explorable. The houses are not seamless, and an annoying factor is that although you can see the houses, the people in them are standing like statues. Essentially, still and lifeless until that area is activated. This does serve as a let-down in a way, but is not a big deal when major areas such as the park, and restaurants are widely available. The entire relationship with a semi-limited open environment adverted as completely open-world, and the juggle between keeping your Sim happy and holding a steady social life makes the game difficult. As if the overly-dramatized commercials were not enough, it obviously comes as a disappointment that there was a level of deception to the adverts. The world is not as integrated as it seems, and is not a fully available community. Over time this major disappointment will cause the bruise it leaves to fade and The Sims 3 might be much more enjoyable, but all these things manage to leave a sore aftertaste to a long awaited title.
The Sims 3 editing suite remains the best improvement that truly delivers something that sims designers, builders and decorators have been pleading about for a long time. Patterns for house walls, trims, and virtually anything can be made from any sort of material set as provided. Every single item in the game is customizable with any sort of pattern that you can find. See a pattern in the sand? You can make boxer shorts out of them with the same texture and everything needed. Concept designers for this system in The Sims 3 should be rewarded graciously, as it is the best thing in the game and allows for incredibly easy and complex designs for players of any skill level. The way to make houses any way you want, and further customizing any item a sim owns to any sort of style or decor is fun and provides contentment for the imagination.
New games with long waits should come with something essentially brand new and revamped, rather than just new traits, wishes, and a new set of tools that are better than most aspects of the game itself. Unfortunately, the incongruity of The Sims 3 makes it annoying rather than something fresh. Most of the engine, despite the whole open-world marketing facade, is the same as The Sims 2. While the artificial intelligence itself is much more improved and believable, the graphics are more watered down in terms of details, and the branch-choice system of sim-to-sim interaction is just the same as The Sims 2. It does not take much to increase relationships other than a few buttons, and watching the sims react. Sadly, this formula has a similar flaw again with no real effort to progress. There is just time-management and how your sim manages its life. The lack of detail in not just graphics but also the long-established formula set in an unbalanced and more complex environment leaves something better to be desired from The Sims 3.
As far as add-ons go, The Sims 3 includes a ton of them for a price minus the Riverview town add-on to make the gameplay a little more customizable than the retail. With The Sims 3 majorly serving as a disappointment, it is resolutely hard to imagine that Electronic Arts is willing to charge for content that should have been in the game to begin with. Assuredly even though this might not have made the experience any better, it would have certainly served to make the experience more welcoming than it prevents players from being with a segmented market gimmick of an open-world community and rehash of The Sims 2 gameplay.
While The Sims 3 is the best game in the series with many new features and gameplay niches, the rehashing of the same formula, with the same engine and watered down graphic detail reveals a lack of real satisfaction. While The Sims 3 is certainly not The Sims 2, it becomes severely hard to discern it as The Sims 3 and exceptionally better and more prominent to identify it as The Sims 2.5. Most consumers can afford to dole out $49.99 for The Sims 3 plus an additional sum for a very highly priced set of “exclusive content” and admittedly unworthy additional hats and suits for sims to wear. It is sadly the injustice of a long wait expecting a new and improved title with a 3 at the end rather than a 2.5, paying for content that should have been included for the sake of making the game less bland and highly uninteresting, and receiving a marketing facade of a united community that stands to be largely false that makes The Sims 3 not worth the buy for fans and newcomers alike. It serves as an insult to a title that set to do things differently the second time around in The Sims 2, but fails largely the third time.