I amongst thousands of others waited for the Sims 3 to hit shelves months ago, after EA announced a sad announcement that The Sims 3 would not be available till June.
Us gamers? We cried, we huffed, we puffed, we cussed.
June though finally came, and it’s nearly gone. Many fans bought the game up, some downloaded it illegally, and others have avoided it.
Those of you who haven’t gotten the game though, maybe you are wondering how it is, and if it is worth buying. So read on, take a seat, and get ready for this lengthy review.
Once I finally had my game in hand, I plowed it into my PC tower, and got ready for action. The game starts off by allowing you to make a Sims 3 account. This account is an online ID which allows you to share creations, upload store, and user creations, and download new items.
I immediately signed up in order to get my free $10.00 in SimPoints, and to get the free Riverview town.
What you will notice immediately after downloading the new town, is how wonderfully simple the new download tool is that comes with The Sims 3. No more hunting and pecking for folders and adding them to the right folder. The new download tool will pop the objects right into the game! Thank heavens!
After the game loaded up I had the option to pick Sunset Valley which was the included town in the game, or the new downloaded town. I went with the original town Sunset Valley.
The town loaded up in a few seconds. The load time on the main town varies depending on your PC speed. My gaming rig chews up and munches at games with ease, so within 30 seconds all of Sunset Valley was fully loaded.
I wanted to scroll in and get a closer look, as I normally would on the Sims 2 using my mouse wheel. This did not work, viewing the town involves new controls, which take some time getting used to.
Before viewing what this large town had to offer though, I first had to create a Sim family to play.
Create a Sim
For months I had been hearing news from EA’s updates about how wonderful the new Create a Sim tools were. Frankly they were nice, and the option to change the color of clothing, hair and eyes was awesome, however creating the Sims actual appearance is lacking the tools that Sims 2 had. Although I can manipulate the Sims faces, no matter how much a manipulate, the Sims always have this look about the that is all too similar.
The choices in hair, is also very slim and lack luster. All in all it was a huge set back compared to what I had in the Sims 2. A lot of custom content made TS2 an excellent game. In the Sims 3, you are back to your basics, and it’s going to take some getting used to.
Choosing clothing is cool, and as I said you change the colors, and patterns to your liking. The meshes though are so few, so even though you have the option to create different colored pants, shirts, dresses and shoes, people in your Sim town will sport the same clothing, only in different colors, and patterns. It’s just too similar.
Makeup is the same. The lipstick only comes in about 5 colors, and none of them even look natural. As with jewelery, your picking are slim, which is disappointing.
Adjusting skin tones is neat, with many options from really light skin, to really dark skin; but the skin of the Sims in general looks clay like, which is something that I think fans of the first 2 titles are going to notice and not like all too much.
Choosing your Sims traits are really neat with a lot of available traits to choose from. Your adult Sims can pick up to 5 traits.
You can have an evil Sim who hates children, but is flirty and a hopeless romantic. Pop in the kleptomaniac skill and you will have a Sim who will likely want to strive to become the emperor of evil, or a master thief.
Along the journey maybe he will impregnate a few Sims whom he will then steal from after spreading his baby making seed. This Sim will likely never be around to raise his children that he hates. Bwhahaha!
The possibilities are endless, and your Sims life, is your story, so create it however you’d like.
There are so many traits with so many different mixes you can create and choose from.
Traits can make or break a Sim, and how others react to them. I had one Sim named Sandy who was family oriented, flirty, a hopeless romantic, charismatic, and with a good sense of humor.
The problem was, Sandy was married, with children, and if I did not keep a close eye on her while she was in town, I would find her making out with other Sims, due to her flirty nature. When her husband found out, he was not a happy camper.
Cheating Sims are also easier to catch in this game. If another Sim in town catches sandy making out with someone else, the word could get back to her husband from the Sim who witnessed it, or from a Sim who heard the gossip from someone else.
Sandy got away with cheating for about a Sim month, till a neighbor who spotted her kissing another guy spilled the gossip to her husband! Whoops!
Lifetime achievements are also added to the game. So if you create an evil Sim, evil lifetime achievements will come up in a group of 5 other achievement’s that you can pick.
You can pick to either become a master thief, the emperor of evil, or 3 other choices that will vary.
If you complete this lifetime achievement your Sim will get a ton of reward points, which can be used to upgrade your Sim. Rewards vary from having a steel bladder, to becoming a legendary host, never dull, or a multitasker. there are many, many other rewards to choose from. Each upgrade costs points that your Sim must earn in order to unlock them.
Wishes are also incorporated into the game. If you fulfill them, you will earn reward points which can be used for rewards. Wishes will range from meeting someone new, buying new things, having children, stealing candy from a baby, kissing someone, hanging out with someone, and much, much more. You can either chose to fulfill the wish, or ignore it.
Moving In To Sunset Valley
After creating a small family of just 2 members, I then got to choose a home. My pickings were very slim as my Sims could afford practically nothing. I had the option to move into a small 1 bedroom home, or to pair up and move in with another Sim family.
I wanted to start off on my own, so I went with the smaller 1 bedroom home, which resembled a trailer. The original Motherlode code works in the same manner in this game, so if you want to cheat your way to the top, use the code and get lots of money. This allows you to build a nicer home for your Sims. You could also work from ground zero up to the top and earn your money by getting your Sim a job.
Now the first thing players will notice is the new menus. Here your Sims display their needs, which include hygiene, hunger, bladder, social, energy and fun.
The plus side of this is that if you are playing with one Sim character, the neglected Sim will take care of their needs due to the high free will default setting. Sims will go about their business, and live without constant babysitting. If you don’t want your Sim to freely go about doing whatever they want, you can change the setting to a lower free will. Your Sims will need interactions from you the player to do certain tasks. Allowing them free will though is really the best and funnest option.
There are many changes in the new game, but the biggest of course is the ability to send your Sims out of the house, to visit places in town, others homes, and more. The streaming world is simply awesome, with absolutely no load screens.
If you want to go to the beach and hang out, you can go there instantly with no annoying long loading windows. If your Sim wants to visit a local diner, send them there and have them grab some grub, while meeting new Sims in town.
It’s very cool, and a much appreciated addition to the game.
The town is what makes the game so special. Here other Sims go about their lives, they will age, they could die, they could fall in love, get married or cheat on their partners.
The menus also include tabs which allow you to view your Sims skills, their career if they have one, reward points, inventory, skills journal which will show you what level of skills you will need to open up new interactions or bonuses for your Sims. The friends panel is also there which will show you your relationships with other Sims.
Establishing relationships is a little different than what you will remember from the Sims 2. I personally don’t like it, because you can’t see what your relationship status number is. You base everything off of how other Sims are reacting to you, and how far the relationship bar is. I liked being able to know where I stood with Sims in the past, now it’s different. Easy to understand but very different.
Your Sims also still use simmish language, but menus will pop up and read how your Sim is reacting to another. For instance, if you keep chatting with a Sim, a pop up will state that the Sim finds you amusing, or boring.
Relationships also seem to change from day to day, where in the Sims 2, if your Sim wanted to woohoo with someone, the woohoo interaction would always be there so long as your relationship was in good standing. In the Sims 3, you have to once again flirt, and get the Sim in the mood to woohoo.
My Sims names Betty had a male over whom she was going to woohoo with, and when they went into the bedroom another Sim was lying in her bed watching TV. They tried shooing her out, and she left. However when I went to have them woohoo again, the flirting and romantic interactions had to take place again before jumping into the sack. It was annoying, but in a way provided my Sims some foreplay.
There are many new careers for your Sims to take on. I would have however liked to see more done in the career aspect. We had so many options in the Sims 2, and the options (although plentiful) are slimmer. You cannot get a full time job in the psychic/mystifying career, which was major disappointing. I wanted a full time gory job at the community graveyard, but it only allowed my Sim to work in such a field part time! Boo!
You Sim can build on skills as you play the game. They can gain logic skills, athletic skills, gardening skills, fishing skills, charisma skills, and many many more. As your Sim progresses in skill levels new opportunities arise, such as cooking new recipes, new introductions to other Sims, and so much more. The skill journal should be looked at every now and then to give you an idea of what leveling up will offer your Sim.
Opportunities will randomly pop up during game play. If your Sim is a handy Sim, and has worked on achieving a high level in maintenance skills, sometimes other Sims will call him or her to fix an object of theirs, or to upgrade it. You can choose the opportunity if you’d like to earn some money.
If your Sim is charismatic they may be asked to speak out at the school. Gardner’s will have opportunity’s pop up, as well as those Sims who enjoy fishing and have a high skill level.
Career opportunity’s will also pop up as well, such as staying late for work, or meeting with clients for your boss. Opportunities also happen to teens too. Teens can take on part time jobs and earn some money as well.
Opportunities are fun and random, and are a very cool addition to the game.
Now to the town…
The town is filled with many other Sims, with tons of different personalities. You can meet and mingle with the townies, or create some of your own and add them to your game.
The town is very customizable, and you can delete and add community lots as you see fit. You can leave the community lots where they are and customize the surroundings, or you can delete them and start from scratch. For instance, if you don’t like where the local book shop is located, simply move it somewhere else, and customize it to your liking.
You can also evict Sims, and bulldoze their homes to create new ones in the old ones plot. Making your own homes is a lot of fun, and will take you hours and hours if you plan on remodeling the whole town.
Customizing the entire towns community lots could also take hours and hours, but it is what makes the Sims so unique.
The only thing I didn’t like however was not being able to place lots where I wanted. There is a set amount of lots, and sizes. You have no control over their size, or placement. There are many many free areas to customize, too many in fact. Adding places where you want them though would be nice, and its too bad the feature is not added.
You also cannot customize the roads, or where the ocean is placed. I would have liked to have control over my town fully by adding roads where I wanted them, sadly its not an option as of yet. Thats not saying though EA wont incorporate it in the future.
I’m hoping that EA brings us full customizable options on how we want our town to look, from where the ocean is placed, to the lot amount and sizes.
Scrolling around the town is done differently and takes some getting used to. In previous games we simply had to place the mouse at the far corner of our PC monitor, and the view would change to where we were looking to view. Scrolling in and out using the mouse wheel also allowed us to zoom in and zoom out. You can zoom out in the same manner, but moving the view around is done using the right click button, which will take some getting used to. I actually learned to like the new controls though, so the change is no big deal.
You can change the controls to edge scroll by going into settings, and changing them. I discovered this later on which was excellent.
You can also now follow a certain Sim around by double clicking on their avatar. I like this feature for when my Sim is driving, bike riding, or jogging somewhere. It lets me follow them to enjoy the views along the way.
Build mode is nearly the same as in the Sims 2, except now in the Sims 3 you can place objects on a slanted angle. I love the slanted angle addition, and love how I can now place furniture or dressers on a slant, instead of having to be straight all the time. A couch located in a wall corner looks great and saves space in Sim homes.
Extending walls with the click of a button is also an awesome addition to the game.
Windows, doors, floors and walls are all customizable to your liking using patterns, and colors galore. I love the build feature, but would have liked to have seen a half wall added to the walls section.
The game includes a lot of trees, flowers, and bushes to add to your yard, and I love the look of the new flowers. I would have liked to of had customization options on colors when it came to the flowers, trees, and fences however.
Grass paints are also included in a nice bucket-full of selections, and you can still build a pool, and a pond.
The options in build mode are plentiful, but I am hoping to see tons more in expansion packs in order to really have a party in build mode.
Buy Mode is a disappointment as there are very few selections in furniture, and objects. Its fun being able to customize everything from the patterns to the colors, but having the same shaped couch in nearly every Sim home makes things a little lackluster, and bland.
We were spoiled with the Sims 2 due to all of the expansion packs, so I am hoping to see the same spoilizations come from future expansion packs, times 100! Hahaha.
Anyhow, if you don’t want to customize, and you fully want to get into the game, just dive right into the game and explore the town.
Along the way you can go fishing and collect as many fish as possible. Like in Animal Crossing certain fish only come out
during certain times of the day, and rare fish can only be found in certain ponds. Bait can be used to catch special fish such as the vampire fish!!!
Other collectibles include moon rocks, gems, butterflies, bugs, and seeds for gardening!
There are really so many things to discover in Sunset Valley, and finding all of them could take a really long time! All the more reason that the game is so addicting though. Special rare items can be found along your journey as well.
Aging in the game also takes place. You can set the aging settings though to allow your Sims to age, but it will take much longer than usual. You can also turn off aging if you don’t want any of your Sims getting old. They will forever remain the age you set them at.
The graphics have definitely been upgraded quite a bit. Environments look lush, and the water in the game is simply spectacular to view! Especially the ocean at sunset, or sunrise. Other things though could have used some extra special details, or upgrading. Those lack luster items though are slim and few, everything else in the game looks pretty spectacular, although I still think they cold have worked some better graphics on the skin on the Sims. As I mentioned earlier, the Sims skin looks like clay-like.
The sounds in the game have been upgraded a tad, with some new music selections. Some actually contain lyrics, and its a nice addition. Other sounds such as the breaking waves at the shore, and other regular noises you would hear in real life have been added to the game. if you narrow in on the Sims school, you will hear children in halls, and the sound of a bell ringing. Every community lot has sounds associated with whatever is on the lot. Diners have sounds you’d hear in diners, police stations have sounds, the hospital has sounds.
It adds to the realistic feel the town is going for, and is a nice addition.
The Big Let Down
I really love the game so far, but the biggest let down as of now is the fact that when Sims enter community lots such as diners, schools, work, etc, you cannot follow them. They go inside, and come back out once they are done doing whatever it is they are doing inside.
You can send your Sim in to a diner, but cannot see what is going on. They will fill their hunger need, but you don’t get to see whats going on inside. You can however go inside of other Sims homes when you are invited! I would have been really pissed if this were not possible.
A Big Plus:
When you purchase The Sims 3, the game will come with a free $10.00 points card to purchase things from the EA Sims Store. As of now the selections are limited, and $10.00 is not enough to even buy a set of furniture. You can buy more points though and get really nice collections to add to the game.
Another plus is the free town that comes with a purchased game. You have to register your game, and you will get a free download for Riverview. It’s a quaint town, which does not seem to be as large as Sunset Valley. I actually played Riverview for quite some time, and grew to liking the charming quaint town almost as much as Sunset Valley. The only thing I didn’t like about Riverview was the lack of an ocean, and that it is an entire separate playable town. It would have been cool if Riverview was accessible by my Sims by driving there. Unfortunately its an entire separate town, which is not accessible from Sunset Valley. EA should have twined the two together, which would have really expanded Sunset Valley into 2 towns.
I have had no issues with The Sims 3 as far as game play. A lot of gamers have been complaining that the first start up load page takes way too long. This however has nothing to do with the game, and is an issue with their PC, and not the game. If you have a cruddy computer, expect it to lag.
My Dell XPS 630 runs the game flawlessly and without any painfully slow menu load times. Everything is fast, crisp, and responsive.
There are however some issues I wanted to bring up as far as the game itself. I think that the Sims could have used a longer energy expansion. I seem to be working on having to keep my Sims hunger and energy up, before making my way into the town to explore, and meet others. Once the energy bar is full, I only get a few moments of playing in town before my Sim must return home to sleep.
Sims who have jobs also have a hard time at balancing out work and play. Whenever my Sim comes home from work their energy is drained, and the only times they have enough energy to go off into town is when they have a day off, which sucks, because they have to work on skills in order to get promotions.
Some really neat new things added to the Sims 3 is that Sims can now interact with ghosts. One of my Sims wanted to see a ghost as a wish. I allowed the wish, and took him to the graveyard late at night, where he met not one, but 2 ghosts who were roaming about the graveyard. It was really neat because I was able to see how they died. A Sim who burnt in a fire would have an awesome fiery glow, with see through skin that looked like flames. Another ghost apparently drowned, as her skin was a transparent blue, and had water dripping from it.
Sims have the option to fall in love with the dead as well, which is creepy, but very cool.
Another really neat thing to spot in Sunset Valley is fish. You will see schools of fish in the water that will jump out of the water and into the air every now and then. In the ocean at night though I spotted a black tip shark, which was pretty cool.
To fish your Sim can use odd baits such as apples, lettuce, grapes, and anything else you can grow or harvest in the game.
The vampire fish can be caught in the graveyard as well!
Another awesome addition is also the fact that female Sims can now give birth in the hospital. This was something I was hoping we would see from the game, and sure enough it is there! When a Sim is about to give birth, you have the option to make her go to the hospital, or she can plop it out in the house. There are no yucky visuals either way.
You can also adjust when you want Sims to age if you don’t want to wait for the change to happen on its own. You can buy a birthday cake, and direct the Sim to the cake to blow out the candles.
Traits that each Sim has will also add some really cool factors into the game. You will notice Sims in the town who have the insane trait, the flirty trait, or the grumpy trait just by how they are behaving toward you, or to others.
Gossiping in the game has also been taken up a huge notch. Gossip gets around in town, and you can learn some really interesting things from other Sims.
Being able to take my Sim anywhere in Sunset Valley instantly with no load screens is simply phenomenal. Although the game lacks quite a few things we saw in the Sims 2, the additions we will likely get from expansion packs are going to really charge this game up into an even more addicting game than it already is. I highly recommend it, as I know EA is busy working on expansion packs as we speak.
So far the game has been excellent. It offers tons of fun game time till expansion packs are released, and is a fun way to waste away a rainy day. It’s addicting, so wasting away a sunny day is likely to occur as well. Haha!