The Sims is the kind of game you either love or hate. I fall into the first category but at the same time I know people who get bored of playing it after two minutes. I’m not sure whether the long-awaited third iteration of the title will make them get to love the game. But I do know that this new version of the popular game franchise will thrill all Sims fans worldwide, and will surely meet whatever expectations they had about The Sims 3.
While maintaining the game’s main structure and storyline, The Sims 3 includes many new features. To begin with, there’s only one town to play with when starting the game – unlike The Sims 2, where you could choose between three. The next logical step is creating your first sim, and the moment you enter the all-new sim editor you begin to realize how much better The Sims 3 is than its predecessors.
The insanely detailed sim editor is a powerful tool with which you can create sims and customize them in every way you can think of. When designing their body and facial shape, you can use simple templates with pre-defined physical characteristics, or go a bit deeper by customizing specific areas: nose, chin, eyes, ears, etc. You can even add freckles, beauty spots and other small details.
As for clothes, there’s quite a wide choice – just like previous editions of the game – only that this time you can customize many of the available pieces of clothing with colors and patterns of your choice. Oddly, bikinis have disappeared from the girls’ swimsuit menu. There are also many more accessories (sunglasses, earrings and the likes) and generally speaking, much more detailed options to create your sim. For example, you can set color highlights for hair, as well as define eyelashes length!
Besides physical appearance, the editor also helps you define your sim’s personality. You no longer need to distribute points among several fixed criteria. The Sims 3 lets you select up to five personality traits from a wide variety of them, regarding different areas in a sim’s life such as the personal, professional or social areas. Some of these traits are brave, friendly, ambitious, coach potato, friendly, charismatic, mean, neurotic, good sense of humor, commitment issue, dislikes children or loves the outdoors, among others. Depending on your choice of traits, you’ll be given a selection of five possible life goals from which you can choose one for your sim. Again, there are many more options than in previous versions of The Sims.
After creating your sims, the next natural step is moving them to a house. The Sims 3 now enables you to buy land lots, empty houses or pre-furnished homes. The Buying and Building modes have been considerably improved: objects are now easier to locate thanks to a new distribution with pretty self-explanatory icons. Plus many of them, like clothes, can also be customized with user-selected colors and patterns. Other new features are the possibility to resize rooms much more easily by dragging walls and more angles by which you can rotate objects and walls, including placing items diagonally. There are dozens of new decorative items, though I also miss some stuff from The Sims 2 (where did the jacuzzi go?).
Curiously, objects tend to be more expensive – like charging an incredible 1,100 simoleons for a coffee-maker – and seem to break more often: one of my families, for instance, had to call the repairman every other day to fix the sink, the toilet and the shower. Could it be a tactic to encourage you to upgrade your stuff more quickly?
Once you start playing the game, you’ll realize that finding the right job or making friends is now much easier in The Sims 3. Regarding the first point, you can use the newspaper or the computer as usual, or simply visit the place where you would like to work (hospital, military headquarters, newspaper office) and ask for a job right on the spot. As for the second point, you don’t need to wait until your neighbors come over to welcome you. The Sims 3 lets you go out of home and visit not only public community places, but also other sims’ houses – and enter them!
Jobs have also changed a bit in The Sims 3. While at work, you can make your sim switch between different moods or attitudes, from slacking off to sucking up to boss. Also, you’ll get small assignments to do in a certain period of time, which if completed successfully, can help you increase work productivity or get a pay raise. These different moods and small assignments are also found in school for your sim kids. Oh, and by the way, there’s no private school in The Sims 3.
Some features in the game remain the same, such as the traditional indicators for hunger, fun, social or bladder among others, and skills for different activities. However there are also a few new features, such as a variety of feelings that affect your sims – either in a positive or in a negative way – as a result from your actions or your environment. As an example, a good night’s sleep will keep you happy for a few hours, while a dirty house will revolt your sim. There are also a few new skills, such as gardening or fishing, and more ways to improve them.
Regarding relationships with other sims, the variety of available actions is much wider in The Sims 3 than in any previous title. You get the basics like chatting, making fun or showing appreciation, plus special choices that depend on your sim’s personality traits. Another great new feature is that you can actually get feedback from what the other sims think about you with interacting with them.
As you can imagine, I haven’t had enough time to explore all the locations and try all the possibilities in The Sims 3. So far, I think it’s the best Sims game I’ve ever played yet – and believe me, I’ve tried almost everything sim-related. I’m sure there are still tons of new things waiting to be discovered in the game, but I’ll just leave those up to you. As for me, I’m heading to the town’s graveyard now: they say you can see ghosts walking among tombs after sunset!
The Sims 3; out now. Softonic rating: 10/10