The Sims 4 was released worldwide last week and when it came out here in Ireland on Friday; I picked up my copy first thing in the morning! I’ve been playing it over the weekend and decided to do a post based on my first impressions of this much anticipated game.
First thing’s first, a quick word relating to system requirements. I sensed from the start that something wasn’t right when this took over an hour to install. When I finally got to game-play mode, I was pretty disappointed — the graphics were poor, the music was off, the load screens were taking up to five minutes each…and then the whole game crashed.
My boyfriend L had a look at it and confirmed my suspicions — my poor laptop just couldn’t handle the game. Fortunately L knew how much I wanted to play this game and so he let me install it on his Alienware laptop. The difference is unreal — I can now play the game the way it’s meant to be played without constant lags and lengthy loading screens.
So to anyone who’s thinking about buying this game, triple check that your system meets the requirements! I honestly thought my laptop would be fine because it’s only a year old, has a decent enough memory and The Sims 3 worked relatively well on it (shows how much I know about these things!). Moving on anyway…
To start with; the load screens are back. They come up every time you travel to a different lot —even to your next door neighbour’s. Like I said, these load screens were taking forever on my laptop. Then when I started playing it on L’s Alienware; they weren’t such a problem anymore. Ten to twenty seconds should be your average wait time. I loved the open world of The Sims 3 so, needless to say, I’m not a big fan of this change (no matter how quickly the screens load). I really miss being able to divide up the household and send them all in different directions. Instead what’s happening now is that if you want a Sim to go to the park, you have to go with them and stay there too. Any other Sims in the household can either come with or stay behind where they’re out of your control.
Speaking of travel, there are two worlds and five neighbourhoods within each world with Sims being able to move between both worlds and all of the neighbourhoods. At first glance, both worlds look shockingly small….and to be honest, that’s because they are. There’s a museum, library, club, gym and park in each world. There are also maybe a dozen residential lots, some of which are occupied. Personally I would have preferred if they had just created one world with better neighbourhoods. Unlike in TS3, you can’t see your Sims’ workplace or school. There are no cars or buses so when it comes to work or school time, your Sims just walk out their front door and disappear. If you want your Sim to meet other Sims, your best bet is to go to a community lot. So far my Sims haven’t made any friends through work or school but they’ve met a bunch of people just by sitting at the bar or taking a walk through the park.
As for the Sims themselves…there are some characters in there, for sure! They really are smarter and more complex. Every one of them will surprise you with their little expressions and habits and reactions. They’re constantly influenced by their emotions so what they do will depend on whether they’re sad, happy, tense, playful, uncomfortable, inspired…
I still miss toddlers but not as much as I thought I would. The babies look cute (except for when there was a “demon baby” bug which has fortunately since been fixed!) and the children are adorable. I’ve only had one teen Sim so far and all I can say right now, is that it’s pretty hard to tell them apart from adults looks-wise.
^ demon baby! ^
As a family-oriented player, I’m not too happy about the fact that there are no family trees. It makes it virtually impossible to keep track of the Sims’ relations. For example, the first Sims I created had four children. When their eldest became a young adult, I moved her out and focused on her new household. However, when she returned to visit her family home a week later, I found out that her parents had died in the meantime…! There was no notification so she obviously had no reaction which meant it was like they had never existed — pretty annoying, I have to say.
It also seems that the whole story progression thing has been done away it. I switched back to my Sim’s family home to see what her siblings were up to and they were literally just sitting around the house, doing nothing. They didn’t have a career or a partner between them. For me, open worlds and story progression were the best things about TS3. It would mean the Sims’ world was constantly changing which made the game feel much more realistic and interesting.
All in all (despite my complaints!), I’m actually about 75% happy with The Sims 4 so far. There are a lot of things that I’m missing but there is also a lot of new stuff that I like. The new Create-a-Sim is both straightforward and detailed and comes with gorgeous new clothes. The combined build/buy mode makes it easier than ever to create your perfect home. Emotions and new interactions make for more interesting personalities. I also love that Sims can multi-task — it seems like such a small thing but it makes such a difference!
A number of players have pointed out that The Sims 4 is only a base game so we can surely expect it to develop in time to come. The big changes will most likely come in the form of expansion packs but I’m hoping that EA will have the decency to patch in at least a few cool updates. Also do bear in mind that I’ve only been playing the game for a few days so there are still many new features that I want to talk/discover more about. This is simply a little introduction to a big new game! Be sure to check in here later this week when I will be posting a more in-depth review!