The Sims Medieval makes the dreams of having your own kingdom a reality, for better or worse. Everyone can finally become their own Henry VIII, notable for their crazy antics, or become their very own Hero in their professions of craft, or even the dark arts of magic and sorcery like the famed Merlin of Arthurian times. The Sims Medieval takes the Sims franchise to a newer level of creativity since its inception and release on February 4th, 2000 which won WhatIfGaming’s prestigious and renowned Editor’s Choice award. The Sims Medieval heralds the light where players give an unruly civilization, dominated with its own greed and human nature in Machiavellian selfishness, their own level of power and help through making sure the Kingdom succeeds. The gameplay itself focuses on simulated people and quest experiences that are memorable for the franchise, but the core foundation of The Sims Medieval largely revolves around the very structure of The Sims 3, a basic rehash of the Sims 2 engine with an open world atmosphere. The Sims Medieval provides a decent outlook on the life and workings of a Kingdom for the various professions and gives uniquely created hero’s a life of their own with guidance from the players known previously as The Watcher.
The Sims Medieval quest storyline begins with a prosperous tribal civilization. In their wakes, they worshipped you, The Watcher and celebrated your reign over their peoples. Unfortunately, the follies of man took over and soon the Watchers saw what a people nation can do to themselves without any sort of intervention. As the dawn of a new age begins, players will no longer be just known as The Watcher. The Watchers will now have a role in leading a civilization to true prosperity, and players will lead the kingdom through its trials and tribulations of disasters, and hero’s that can conquer any odds through RPG-style quests.
The Sims Medieval focuses on one main precept: managing the Kingdom and allowing it to achieve its Kingdom Ambition, while controlling Hero’s that will make this Kingdom live the vision of a prosperous one. Players can choose to become a Tyrant Monarch or a Benevolent Ruler, a loyal Scribe, the religiously endowed Priest, the pretentious Aristocrat, a glorious Knight, the stealthy spy, a powerful and enchanting Wizard, the musical Bard, a helpful Physician, or a weapon forging Blacksmith. All of these professions for Hero’s lend players to take the most integral parts of society and control them to make a successful kingdom.
The Sims Medieval actualizes with players choosing a Monarch and then adding more Hero’s as the time goes on. Hero’s participate in a questing structure to advance, similar to participating in random tasks and opportunities in The Sims 3 to further professions and more. The quests garner Quest Points which can then be used as Kingdom Points for rebuilding the Kingdom, achieving certain ambitions like having a wealthy kingdom or a kingdom filled with prosperity in certain traits (having level 5 or more Hero’s in one village, etc.) Quests themselves are great in variety, and are a decent amount of fun. But this is where the problem begins with the expansiveness of the quests: these are limited and hardly feel too adventurous. Being based on The Sims 2 engine, more so The Sims 2.5 (our misnomer for The Sims 3), The Sims Medieval suffers the same weaknesses from its previous titles. The world of The Sims Medieval itself is limited, which can clearly be seen from Watcher Mode, a mode which allows players to look out into the kingdom. There are the Docks, the Kings Court, and neighboring territories, but there is a level of miniscule proportions to something as grandiose as a Kingdom. Aside from the apparent lack of land, there is no way to expand kingdoms into other territories and truly see them grow outward and attract more followers. Instead, Village Sims is the ordinary type of sims that populate a village in fewer numbers and there does not seem to be a grand presence of a Monarch. This leaves a grand portion of The Sims Medieval feeling a lot like a Sims 3 Medieval modification/expansion of the original game, rather than an entirely new IP altogether worth $49.99 MSRP.
Further progress and advancement of the game continues with leading Hero’s through their own respective quests and doing daily tasks for their performance to keep up their progress of furthering the Kingdom Ambition and gain the various Achievements in their Achievement journal. Different professions do what is expected: a Monarch can send people to the gallows, and a Physician can make house calls and heal sick children and adults. Along the way, players still maintain the basic core foundations found in The Sims 3, which includes Needs based on traits at character creation. Furnishing Mode is a great way to customize objects in different buildings, but does not aggrandize out into every object in the kingdom within the neighboring villages. Inventory makes a return but is given a new RPG-type element concept, where each NPC carries with it many interaction items where some can be used to fulfill quests and others directly relate to the quests. Changing the Inventory items use is definitely a wise choice from The Sims Studio, and gives a purpose to carrying around items than just singing with a guitar in the kingdom square.
The Sims Medieval is definitely a new step in a direction that The Sims franchise needed, but a lot of the Sims Medieval is purely grandfathered into a constituent which feels exactly similar to The Sims 3. The kingdom of the Sims Medieval feels eerie, partly because it is a rehash of older The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 elements but also giving a facade of being new at the same time, with a different setting that is admirable for being different than modern times. All of this impels a very shaky balance that a new IP series of an already established franchise does not need if it is hoping to be successful. Historic buffs and Dark Age enthusiasts that crave anything medieval are sure to find The Sims Medieval a delightful tale of a kingdom and its Hero’s, delinquent of how outdated The Sims Medieval already feels in its candor and recounted design.