The Sims 3 is set for release here in the UK tomorow, I have spent the past week playing around with the final version of the game and I can now bring you my ‘evil’ verdict on the life simulation game. Now put your mind in Sim mode, select ‘Read the rest of this entry’ and learn more about The Sims 3.
The first order of business in any Sims game is to create yourself; in The Sims 3 you immediately notice the expanded level of options for creating your character. I was able to become a ‘Young Adult’ which suits me best, this is a marked improvement on the options in The Sims 2 which didn’t have this stage between being a teen and an adult.
From here I had to create my image, unfortunately there aren’t as many hair styles as I would have liked and there does seem to be a bit of a leaning towards ‘emo’ hair styles, but I chose one that suited me fine. I was tempted by the mono-brow, but if I was to be a self-respected Emperor of Evil that couldn’t be what I chose. I went for some fetching dark stubble; I just wish mine would be as good as it is in the game! Clothing options are as ever plentiful and there is a massive amount of customisation you can add to them, change the colours and patterns, you can do it all. I am a bloke and a colour-blind one at that (I wonder what it would be like if your Sim could be colour-blind…) so I decided to avoid changing the colours. A nice dark camo shirt with a black t-shirt underneath and black jeans, incidentally my Sims’ favourite colour is Black.
Managing my personality was perhaps the best part of the Create a Sim section; I was introduced to traits with SimSocial so I was easily able to figure out what I wanted to be. I became an evil computer whiz who is friendly with a good sense of humour and a dash of luck. I was pleasantly surprised to see options such as good and technophobe get greyed out once I chose their opposite, it is only a small thing, but one that I know less polished games wouldn’t implement.
The Ultimate Wish options are nicely varied, I chose to become an Emperor of Evil but I could have become an International Super Spy or Master Thief amongst others, I think I made the right choice though. If I was to become an Emperor of Evil I would have to climb to the top of the Criminal career, I took my Sim out of the creation studio and into the world.
(Quick side note – only one world comes with the game, but a second is downloadable for free when you register on The Sims 3 website)
I had the choice, as usual in these games, to move into a new home or make my own. I’m not one for building from scratch so I invested in a small one bed house in town. A fun little feature when selecting your home allows you to decide if you want a Furnished or Unfurnished house, obviously Furnished is more expensive, but it gives you a fully fitted house. The downside is that most objects are relatively crap, your bed isn’t that comfortable, your Sim will complain of cold showers and don’t get me started about that oven! You can readily outfit your humble abode with a vast array of new objects. Ignore the haters, there is plenty to buy in the game, if you really want to then you can get more from The Sims store using the handy free 1000 SimPoints you get with buying the game.
Being The Sims you would expect a lot of hand holding and guidance of your Sim, this is where Sims 3 has made some great strides over its predecessors, if you set your Sims to have a high level of free will they will take care of the essentials for you, most of the time.
The biggest change is the world you live in, rather than each separate plot its own independent world, the whole town is open to you. It is easy to walk out your door and visit your neighbours or go to the park, this all happens without the need for loading screens. This makes the sense that your Sim is living in a world much more real, the addition of a vast array of places to visit plays a bit part in this too.
For the first time you can actually see where you work, though you still don’t have the chance to go inside your place of work like you do with your home. If you are running late for work then don’t worry, simply hop in a cab and you are there in a flash. Most actions now can be customised, if your Sim has a good skill level in athletics you can set him to the ‘Don’t Break a Sweat’ mode thus avoiding those nasty sweat patches. These options transfer over to work, do you want an easy shift or do you want to brown nose with the boss?
These are the choices that really let you shape your character in a way you never were able in the previous games, for instance after I reached a certain level in my criminal career path I was posed with a choice, did I want to split off to the thieving career, or was it my destiny to be evil. Evil is what I chose, after all that is the only way my Sim can become an Emperor of Evil!
Lets talk about the small details that make this game so good in my eyes, the mood meter is still there, but this time things that are effecting your mood are displayed by a cute little picture. You can just use these to gauge how your Sim is doing, obviously you can still look at the needs tab, but if you see the ‘Having a Blast’ face appear then you know your Sim is very happy.
The Skill Journal is a great little feature; you get some extra information about what your skill is about and gives you some statistics related to that skill. For example, at the time of writing this very paragraph my Sim has spent 20 hours and 25 minutes doing cardio exercises, if I reach 75 hours I will have passed a challenge which will allow my Sim to do any cardio exercise he wants for as long as he wants without getting fatigued. Similar things are with cooking, if you prepare more meals then any further dishes made are of better quality.
On the subject of skills, the handiness one is very useful; you can repair objects and even upgrade them, so if your toilet gets dirty all the time then simply upgrade it to being self-cleaning. When you are wandering around town you will find butterflies and random rocks on the ground, your Skill Journal keeps track of all of these things so you know what to look for in the surroundings.
The PC mechanics have been heavily upgraded, if you have the right traits you can troll on a forum and try overclocking your machine, hell if you are evil like my Sim you are able to do some hacking late at night to earn some extra coins. If you zoom in on your Sims PC screen you can see what game he is playing, I have spotted Burnout and Madden NFL being played.
At the end of the day, this is The Sims so you know what to expect from it, the important thing to note though is that The Sims 3 is much more of a game than the previous versions, you have the skill challenges you can complete and opportunities to make the most of. You will spend less time managing the small inconsequential actions of your Sim and more time exploring the world and having a good time.
The Sims 3 is a great game, it looks very good and the open world environment really makes the game much more of a complete entity. Some of the usual bug bears are still there; you lose friends too easily if you don’t keep in touch regularly, though they will slip to distant friends first. Food seems to take forever to cook and I find myself wondering why my Sim won’t just take a quick shower. These are just small things, just me trying to find something wrong with the game.
This is a culmination of the previous two games, and the customisation and community features seem to have taken a bit of an influence from Spore. If you enjoyed The Sims or Sims 2 then you will love this, for the rest of you, stop being too embarrassed to play it and give this one a go. It rocks.