Review: The Sims 3 (PC)June 3rd, 2009 | Written by Danreb Victorio | Topic: Uncategorized
The Sims series is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, experiences you can have on the PC. Both the first game and The Sims 2 have had numerous expansion packs, further extending the plethora of activities there are in the game. However, the sequel had a few shortcomings that prevented the game from feeling like a true-life simulator. After years of development, The Sims 3 is finally here, and it’s definitely the best in the series by far.
Those who have never played or heard of The Sims before should bow their heads in shame. But aside from that, those who have played the game before know that nothing can be done until you Create-A-Sim. It is here where most of the changes become apparent. For instance, in typical create-your-avatar style, you are in total control of what your Sim will look and sound like. Everything from the Sim’s clothing style to his or her skin color is yours to customize. So if you want to make an afro-donning, green-skinned Sim, go ahead. You have room for different kinds of outfits—your casual outfit, your sleeping outfit or pajamas, your athletic outfit for when you’re working out and your business-casual outfit if your job entails it. But what separates this game from the rest is that you get to select five traits the Sim will have to influence his or her personality. Some of the traits include funny, mean-spirited, romantic, charismatic, kleptomaniac, brave, artistic, paranoid, and a handful of others. Each of these traits not only delves deeper into your Sim’s personality, but when you choose to not be in control, these traits ultimately affect the patterns of their lifestyle, further adding to the game’s realism.
After selecting the traits, long-term goals depending on these traits are given in the form of lifetime wishes. Some of them only require you to be a social butterfly and become extremely popular, while others are more devious like the Emperor of Evil profession for those with mean-spirited traits. The decisions you make with your Sim ultimately affect his or her progression when it comes to achieving these goals, and they also ultimately affect his or her happiness. And like the previous entry, the clock and aging are intact, so if you spend most of your time lollygagging around the city, your Sim will die—unfulfilled. Luckily, to solve that, you can slow down time or just stop aging from happening. Of course, if you’re careless, you can still die—which is fine since you can make more Sims and families of Sims anyway.
When you’ve created your Sim(s) and know what it is you want them to do, the next step is to move to the city and buy a home. You have quite a few options, but none of these houses are what you’d call “dream homes.” So you have the option of buying them furnished or unfurnished, with the furnished homes obviously being a tad more expensive. If you’re a penny-saver and go with the unfurnished home, necessities like a kitchen with a stove and fridge will be there, but convenience items like a sofa and bed won’t. So obviously buying these are necessary, and you can do this by going into Buy and Build Mode. The weird thing about Buy and Build Mode is that you can buy these necessities on the fly without having to go to a store. As unrealistic as that is, it’s still pretty convenient, especially if your Sim is nocturnal and spends a lot of his or her time up at two in the morning.
Social interaction is not only beneficial (duh), but it’s hysterical in The Sims 3. If you’re in the middle of paying your bills and the local paperboy shows up to deliver the paper, you can talk with him for hours upon end, eventually having night fall (and not have his parents worried). Of course, if you want to be less creepy, and more sadistic, you can shoo him away or tell him to leave, and he’ll bike away so fast you won’t even remember what happened. The friendships you garner along the way will keep your Sim happy, and if you’re daring, you can go ahead and play the dating game. Then again, if you’re a green-skinned guy with an afro, you probably may not seem like the most approachable person for a girl to come up and talk to—so that’s where you do all the work.
But in all actuality, it really doesn’t matter how you look if you want to make a living. In previous Sims games, you had to find a job by looking in the newspaper. But in today’s economy, that’s really not an option, so whenever you visit one of the local buildings in town, you have the opportunity to apply in-person. While a lot of these are pretty much impossible (you can go to the local sports stadium and apply to be an athlete), money has to be made some way, because you can’t afford to buy furniture and eat out every day. Making a living is essential, and the cool part about it is it doesn’t really have to be anything close to your Lifetime Wish. When you finally have a job, the game doesn’t force you to stick to your duties, so if all you want to do is hit on the office secretary Michael Scott-style, then by all means, it’s all up to you.
Freedom is taken to a whole new level in The Sims 3. While previous games and expansion packs allowed you to do a wealth of different activities in many different areas, load screens really prevented a streamlined experience. With The Sims 3, the only loading screen you get is when you first boot up the game and when you start saving the game. Other than that, your Sim can do anything freely and in no time at all. Want to travel to the sports stadium miles away from your home? Wait outside and a taxi will come out of nowhere. Just want to go a block away? There’s nothing wrong with the Sim deciding to walk (and dropping a few extra calories). Common sense at its best is used with every character and their AI in the game, and that’s part of what makes The Sims 3 such a realistic and refreshing experience.
When comparing it to the original game, The Sims 3 is above and beyond it’s 2D predecessor. Part of what made the previous games so successful is its small amount of hardware requirements, making the game playable with pretty much any modern PC or Mac that has at least Windows XP or Leopard OSX on it. With a complete array of keyboard and mouse shortcuts, zooming in and out is easy. Those who are using one of the new MacBooks with TrackPad technology might find it a bit confusing at first, but you can get used to it—or you can just install a new USB mouse for more solid play. As long as your graphics card is acceptable, The Sims 3 is definitely a colorful game and has a lot of good details with the environment and the interactivity of your Sims.
The game also sounds the way it always had. The soundtrack is both endearing and fresh, and the Sims still speak their gibberish “Simlish” language. Music fits each mood, and that’s easily recognizable when your Sim is out dancing into the early morning hours.
The customization options and freedom to do anything in The Sims 3 allow players to not only make any person or any family, but they allow players to have their own story. Instead of being a young adult studying to become a journalist, why not start out as an immature little kid going through school? Why not start out as an old man getting ready to live the last days of his life with his favorite college student? This review is very bare-boned (we didn’t even talk about making movies or taking classes) and to the point, so if you think the game can be better, and trust is, it definitely is—then you’ll have to pick up the game and create your own story. When registering the game online at The Sims 3 website, you’ll have access to a new town (which is free) and a whole lot of other content (which unfortunately comes with a small free) to further enhance the experience. Of course, like the past Sims games, The Sims 3 will have a wealth of expansion packs. This game is about the player and how they want it—that’s what made the series so successful—and this is what makes The Sims 3 the best game in the series.