“The Sims,” a popular and well-known video game franchise, combines its life simulator qualities with (a lot of) chaos. With four installments in the franchise’s repertoire, it is disappointing that the most recent installment, “The Sims 4,” is one of the most mediocre.
“The Sims 4” came out in September. January 2, 2014, and the base game was originally $40. As of now, the game is free to play (although players who paid the original cost were not compensated, but that’s another conversation). With “The Sims 4,” players were ecstatic about the new content, better graphics, and a more immersive gaming experience, but were immediately disappointed.
Customization errors and more
The new game had better graphics than previous games, but the customization, from clothing and decor to creating the Sims themselves, shined compared to the previous game, “The Sims 3.” Many, including myself, argued that the base game’s clothing was boring and the color options were often ugly, including hair customization.
Even now, I find that a lot of the clothing in the game seems really repetitive or just boring, especially when it comes to dyed hair. In addition to this, I find that a lot of clothes are unflattering on Sims, and if you try to put masculine clothes on a feminine body or the opposite, they don’t seem to fit well. However, this is far from the game’s biggest problem.
In addition to clothing options, Sims’ quirks, which are things characters like to do, as well as their moodlets are usually the same no matter what personality traits you’ve given them. While in previous games these aspects were interesting and unique, now it can be easy to simply forget the traits you’ve given your Sims because of how little they matter.
Personally, I was very excited about the open world aspect that was supposed to be in “The Sims 4,” due to the fact that it was introduced in “The Sims 3.” But the open world concept disappeared with the new installment. This was confusing in many ways, considering the fact that the open world concept was well received by players, including me.
I feel like “The Sims 4” has the same problem with non-playable characters (NPCs) that “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” has, in that these NPCs have no personality. In previous Sims games, all of the NPC characters felt alive and had a lot of interesting history and personality. “The Sims 4” was severely lacking in this, with many of the NPCs feeling exactly the same as each other.
The gameplay was also disappointing for many players. I found that many mechanics just didn’t work. If there was some kind of fire in your house (which was rare), many times calling a firefighter did nothing, and your Sim would simply burn if he couldn’t put out the fire himself.
Many of the game’s concepts seemed half-baked and unfinished, which can be extremely frustrating when trying to play using the basic mechanics. A game from a company like EA should be able to create games that have finished experiences that can run smoothly, especially with the popularity of their “Sims” franchise. This includes even the basic autonomy of the Sims. Sims often can’t take care of themselves at all and have to constantly be instructed. This can be tedious and annoying, and as someone prone to micromanaging the games I play, it can make gameplay a bit stressful.
When toddlers were added, no, they weren’t originally in the base game; they were not added until 2017; Their high chairs didn’t work. Even now, they can be buggy and difficult to manage. These bad mechanics and late additions become more disappointing when you consider that both “The Sims 2” and “The Sims 3” started with young children in the base games.
Hellish Expansion Packs
Once again, however, these issues were not the main issue that bothered most fans, as that award goes to the mediocre quality of the base game and the millions of expansion packs. Without the expansions, the game gets very boring very quickly. Each package costs $20 or $40 and sometimes it won’t have much content or will just have a lot of errors.
For example, when the “Wedding Stories” expansion pack was released on February 22, 2022, many bought it in the hope that it would improve and organize weddings. As expected, he did opposite most of the time, completely bothering or it just doesn’t work at all, which can be quite frustrating after spending $20 on it.
I first got the game at the end of high school, so I obviously didn’t have the money to buy a bunch of expansion packs and kits to make the game interesting. I often forced myself to play to reach new milestones and get to the more “interesting” parts, like creating new Sims or moving house, which is not the intent of the game. Now, as a college student, I still don’t have a lot of money to spend on this kind of stuff, and I find the game boring if I play for more than three hours, even with the expansions.
While “The Sims 3” had a lot of interesting aspects, such as interesting races, vehicles, diseases, and more, the base game of “The Sims 4” lacked all of them. As of today, the base game only has three worlds, one of which is completely empty and two others that have practically nothing. In addition to the lack of unique weather and pets, “The Sims 4” has boring, lifeless careers that have no incentive to rise through the ranks.
To me, and much of the fanbase, “The Sims 4” just seems like a cash grab. This is really disappointing when a game like this has so much potential.
While previous “Sims” games also had expansion packs, the game itself was fun to play on its own and those packs could come as an additional aspect, such as the supernatural. This is what expansion packs should be like: you shouldn’t have to spend almost $100 to have the weather and a dog in your life simulator game.
The fact that Electronic Arts continues to release expansion packs to this day only shows the company’s desperate attempt to keep people excited about the game despite all of its flaws with no solution in sight.
EA can do better; has shown us better and yet here we are all with “The Sims 4”. Let’s hope that if “The Sims 5” ever comes out, you won’t have to buy an expansion pack to breathe.