Gamescom 2013: Hands on with The Sims 4

Gamescom 2013: Hands on with The Sims 4

After months of waiting, EA finally showed us The Sims 4 at Gamescom 2013. First we saw the trailer at the pre-event conference, then we tried out a pre-alpha version of the Sims creation mode, saw the improved Build mode and got a first look at the new Sims personalities. After this little intro, we can’t wait to get our hands on The Sims 4.

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Better Sim customization

Each version of the first three generations of Sims took a huge leap in the evolution of character editing mode, but there was always room for improvement. For example, why can’t we edit body parts? Well, in The Sims 4 you can, thanks to a very intuitive UI for grabbing any part of the body or face of a Sim to shape it to our liking: cankles? A droopy butt? A beer belly? More muscle mass? Just a few clicks and you’ll be able to change the way your Sim looks like never before.

If you want an easier option, you can now choose from a few dozen predefined Sims that finally have long-overdue features like the ability to match facial features to skin tone, making Sims more closely resemble the world’s ethnic diversity.

But it’s not just about looks… The Sims 4 includes more advanced customization features, although these options were unavailable in the pre-alpha version we saw. Choosing the tone of a Sim’s voice was available in previous versions but it’s now is more finely-tuned. We can now also change the way a Sim walks: want a prim and proper Sim or a flashy wideboy? Easygoing or flirty? The way a person walks speak volumes…

Build mode is faster and easier

I always liked building houses in the Sims, but I usually chose predefined houses since building a home from scratch was a time-consuming task. Not so with The Sims 4!

Building homes is now much simpler: you no longer build a wall at a time, but instead select modules and customize them as you please. The same thing with roofs. There used to be a risk that they’d end up patchy and unfinished despite your best efforts. Like the characters, roofs can now be modeled, so the options open to you are infinite.

Making windows look good in your houses is an art. If you lack patience, this new version features an intelligent system that detects the size of the rooms and conveniently distributes windows throughout the home. The result looks great.

Choosing furniture in The Sims can be even more of a pain than shopping at a certain famous Swedish store. To save time, The Sims 4 includes several preset furniture sets, which are distributed around the room according to their size. You can then relocate each piece separately.

With the addition of all these build enhancements, EA have ensured that players no longer have to waste their valuable in-game time with boring, repetitive tasks, letting you get down to what the Sims is really all about – living your life!

Livin’ large

We already saw a hint in the trailer, and what we saw in the demo definitely convinced us – the Sims are more realistic and unpredictable than ever. We saw the moods introduced in the Sims 3 evolve into something much more logical and a feature that’s surely going to keep us on our toes.

Every action a Sim performs, either alone or through interaction with other Sims, will really affect their mood. Share your creative ideas for Sims on the Hub, and watch how The Sims 4 tells you if your Sim is animated, excited, exhausted or angry.

Not only have our Sims’ moods evolved, but also the way the Sims interact with each other. In earlier Sims versions, did you feel that no one even noticed if your Sim did something strange? This won’t happen in The Sims 4 – the other Sims will react to everything your little digital friend does.

But that’s not all. Sims’ life experience will influence the way they react and interact with other Sims. Your Sims will continue to have classic “Sim” interactions, but they’ll also be able to have conversations about things they have experienced, making day-to-day experiences much more varied.

Are there other surprises in store?

At first glance, The Sims 4 won’t include any major graphics enhancements like we saw in the previous version, but this version takes a big leap in gameplay.

The new editing modes seem game-changing, but the stars of this version will definitely be the Sims themselves… Will they really be as “human” as EA claims or will we be disappointed? We’ll get our answer in 2014.

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