So it’s been about a week that I’ve been messing with Sims 3 and about time I came up with a verdict. Well, it’s a difficult one — perhaps being preoccupied with other things keeps me from enjoying it like I should, though that is not to say I am not liking it.
Sims 3 sees a lot of changes and improvements from the previous generation. The biggest one is that now you have access to the entire neighbourhood/town instead of just the active Sim household. Thus, if you want your Sim to go ring the bell of a neighbour’s house or pop into town for shopping or to catch a movie or game, you can do so without those interminable loading screens. And while your Sim is away in town, you still can control those left behind at home (even if you don’t, time continues to move for them).
Which brings me to the second major change. You have one active household per town (this can be got around by saving multiple versions of the town with different active households). This makes sense because you control their movements and lives in the entire town now instead of just controlling the house. Even though the active household can be changed through the Edit Town option, the story progression features of the new game keep time passing for your old families. This can be a bit of an annoyance if you want to control every choice your Sims make,
but thankfully story progression can be turned off [EDIT: Sorry, I had the wrong idea about this. Turning story progression off doesn’t keep your other households from ageing. It just stops the community ticking over; in other words, Sims age and die, but the game does not replace them with new Sims, so eventually your neighbourhood population will die off]. The good thing about story progression is that your Sims’ friends now age along with them — so no more of friends remaining kiddies while your Sims pass into old age!
You now also get to control what Sims do at school or work, though you can’t actually control them in their workplace/school. They can take it easy, work hard, meet co-wokers/fellow students, suck up to the boss and so on. Gaining skills is far more realistic, with options to take classes. Careers now often branch off into specializations. In short, everyday living and growing up is not as ridiculously easy as it was in The Sims 2.
Sims have many more traits and their personalities are little more “developed”, for want of a better term. Which makes them moodier and a little more difficult to keep happy. For example, a bookworm and loner Sim will not be happy if you make them socialize too much, and the nervous types end up getting frazzled at the slightest provocation, making you spend a fortune at the spa for relaxation therapy!
Bringing up kids seems much more difficult. Sims need to read books to learn new recipes even if their cooking skills are high. And to cook a certain dish one needs to have the fridge stocked with the right ingredients — or be prepared to pay a premium price to make it anyway. Sims may grow their own fruits and veggies, and catch fish from a pond, river or ocean. You also finally have the option of sending your Sim to the hospital to have their babies. Beware though, for now Sims may have not just twins, but also triplets!
EA’s cheap trick to make users pay to buy custom content is dastardly to say the least, but there are a lot of nice free things floating around. You do get a free downloadable new town after you register the game, and 1,000 Simpoints to spend at the EA Store.
My verdict so far: 7/10.