E3 2014: The Sims 4 are smarter, but with stranger personalities

The Sims is one of the most popular EA franchises on the market, and while this fourth installment has taken longer than expected to hit the shelves, the truth is that it’s definitely been worth the wait. The Sims 4 promises to be the most complete social life simulation in history with great graphics, and we had the chance to check it out at E3 last week.

The Sims…but with feelings

Developers warned us at the beginning– because of the changing personalities of the Sims, each demo might be slightly different than the one before. Why? Sims now have feelings and very strong personalities, making them more volatile and reactive to those around them, whether that be objects, places or other Sims.

When creating your Sim, you’ve got to choose your highest aspiration in life. I couldn’t see all of them, but there seemed to be over 50. Each of these aspirations also give your Sim a unique skill that will help them achieve that goal. In parallel, you’ll also have to choose three additional characteristics that define their personality and feelings.

Depending on each Sim’s mood, the way they relate to others will either make it better, or worse.

An example: if your Sim is angry (for whatever reason), they’ll be in a better position to exercise to relieve the stress. So far so good, but the difference is that their level of anger increases the speed of improving your Sim’s “fitness” level.

Now, let’s say that your Sim is also crazy about sports, giving you a plus in this skill, and let’s also say that your Sim gets along with another Sim friend who encourages them when they do sports. When all these variables combine, that particular situation can substantially improve their fitness level of your Sim.

Sims4

This example can be applied to lots of situations. Since parties can be organized via cell phone, in moments of solitude, more scholarly Sims can raise their level faster in a quiet space or in everyday situations like walking in the park with a Sim friend. The feelings between Sims completely change relationships and their skill levels.

Character editor and really advanced houses

Another new feature I really liked was the game editor. Whether it’s to edit the Sims (which we talked about a few weeks ago) or the houses, the game editor is super simple to use but also full of possibilities.

The presentation teaches you how to change a house from top to bottom in just seconds. It’s as easy as picking up walls and dragging them where you want them, moving rooms from with all their contents  just by using “click and drag.”

Editor

I always found The Sims editor clunky and slow, but this new editor has completely changed my mind. It’s quite the opposite of how it used to be: it’s now fun, and that’s just what they wanted.

Gallery mode, another big new feature

Finally, another major new feature of Sims 4 relates to the online connection and how players interact with each other. The focus has been to create a Gallery Mode that’s updated every day. This Gallery is built into the game and it’s like a bazaar of characters, objects, and houses which you can access and purchase.

The system is easy. You can upload your belongings or creations, anything from the house you created, to objects you like. Then, other players can enter the gallery, click, and buy with Simoleons. You can even buy entire houses, fully furnished and decorated! It couldn’t be easier.

The Sims 4 is about personality, feelings, and friendship between Sims. Throwing all these elements into the mix creates different, strange, and funny situations. What I’ve seen has convinced me completely, from the graphics section, which really hits you between the eyes, through to the very simplified and accessible interface, all topped off with this new focus on Sims’ relationships.

The Sims 4 will (finally) be released in September.

Follow me on Twitter: @raulprz

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