REVIEW: The Sims 4

Friday, September 12th, 2014

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The Sims 4 | oprainfall
Title The Sims 4
Developer Maxis, The Sims Studio
Publisher Electronic Arts
Release Date NA September 2, 2014
GB September 5, 2014
EU September 4, 2014
AUS September 4, 2014
Genre Life Simulation
Platform PC
Age Rating ESRB: T
PEGI: 12
Federal Law of Russian Federation: 18
Official Website


The Sims 4 | Fruit


As a long time Sim enthusiast, I had a lot of mixed feelings about The Sims 4 before its release. It seemed that almost no news coming out of EA or various Sim news sites had any positive things to say about the game. It was with a heavy, sinking heart that I started up the game and started playing. Despite the many negatives I saw before the game was released, I spent a solid week playing it and have rather enjoyed my time with The Sims 4. If you read my Sims 2 review, you will know that it’s my favorite game in the series so far. Lets get into it and see if that has changed!

The Sims 4 | Useless View

Look at all the places you can never go! Exciting!

The Sims 4 is a 3D game that uses mouse and keyboard to control what is going on in your Sims’ homes. There are your standard keyboard shortcuts and, since the design of the game is a lot more minimalistic this time around, you’re going to want to learn most of the shortcuts so that you’re not hunting around trying to find things. To explain simply what it is, Sims 4 is a life simulation game where you goal is to make your Sims happy. Sounds simple, but just like with most simple concepts, it can be expanded on greatly

One of the first things I noticed myself really enjoying in Sims 4 was music. If I was comparing it to Sims 2, I’d say I like the music a lot better. The tracks that play on the Build/Buy Mode is my favorite in the series. Sims 4‘s music however, is fresh and fun with not a lot of real world songs changed into Simlish. Personally, I prefer the made-up songs more than the songs I hear everywhere already. The tracks on the loading screen is cheerful and fun, while the loading screen itself is bare, like a college student’s kitchen right before paychecks. Your splash screen on the main menu matches that music, showing off some of the NPC characters being ‘wacky and weird.’ That was the pitch this time around, after all. EA was abuzz with how wacky, zany and/or weird your Sims could be. Personally, dying of laughter isn’t all that zany to me — its more like a reason to keep your Sim as sad as possible.

The Sims 4 | Mood

Someone is just not happy with the world! Sleeping makes everything better!

The art of the game is more cartoony, exaggerated and a lot more individual than Sims 3 was in my opinion, except for teenagers looking exactly like adults, which is weird and disturbing. Having a child spin in a circle and suddenly become the same height as there parents while wearing the same type of clothes is definitely not a plus. I found myself panning the game close to watch my Sim, finding the play of emotion rather interesting to watch. In one playthrough, my Sim became sad when she realized another Sim she had her eye on romantically was flirting with her roommate. She became visibly sad and headed to her room for a cry. She stayed sad about it for some time and, of course, their relationship took a plunge.

The Sims 4 | Gardening

When you get really good at Gardening you can splice plants, with your mind!

While there isn’t any multiplayer in the game, you can add player-made houses, rooms and Sims to your game at will. Make a great Sim, but cant find a guy or girl in the neighborhood that would will suit him? Ask your friend to upload one of theirs, and you can seamlessly add that Sim to your household to make them roommates. It’s a really cool feature that makes you want to talk to your friends and include them in your game. That being said, it can be confusing trying to navigate around the online community. And some people can’t be found because of random server bugs at the time of this review. I like the new addition, however, and there’s even a hashtag feature that makes looking for a topic easier. Though that only works if they didn’t run out of room to type the hashtag — something EA might want to work on.

Moving on to look at the gameplay, the question you really want to ask is whether the game is fun or not. There were a lot of intuitive features added to the game that let new players jump in and have a ton of fun. The big thing for me was that Sims can now multitask. While eating dinner with there family, Sims can have a conversation and watch TV. It’s a great way to make the game less about crunching numbers and making sure your Sims are more like an exact science, and more about having fun. I’ve maintained better friendships with NPC’s in this version of The Sims than previous ones. However, this game isn’t perfect, either.

The Sims 4 | Kitchen Shot

Bright and sunny kitchen? No thanks! This is the night lounge of kitchens!

This is very much a base game. While looking through the Buy menu, you will notice there isn’t a ton of selections. Not only that, but a lot of high-end appliances and other items are only unlocked by completing in-game tasks. There’s a lot in the base game, but it’s all spread very thin. For instance, there are seven refrigerators in the game, but the best one is locked off and can only be used when you get one Sim to Level 8 of the Chef career.

The Sims 4 | Job Panel

They took out being robbed and cops, but… you can still be a thief??

The jobs have changed, as well. There are no everyday-type jobs like Doctor or the very vague “Businessman” anymore. Instead of Police Officer, there is the ‘Secret Agent’ career track that branches into to job lines ‘Diamond Agent’ or ‘Villain.’ As a matter of fact, Police Officers aren’t in the game at all, along with Repairman or Firemen. When your Sims set fires to their stove making salad, they have to put it out themselves, making the option to buy a fire alarm rather stupid. Who are your alarming? The Sims know there’s a fire because they just made it. With the jobs in the game (there is a total of eight, all of which split into two separate jobs at Career Level 5), it’s very hard to have a Sim do the job you would want them to have. If you wanted to make a lady Cop Sim who seems gruff, but has a heart of gold, maybe it will be in the expansion packs, but it isn’t here.

I found myself saying to myself a lot while playing Sims 4, “I’m having fun, but I want more content,” and, for 70 dollars, it’s hard to recommend to anyone but die-hard fans. Sure, I had fun with the game, but it’s a lot like a kaleidoscope. It has a lot of pretty colors and it’s amusing, but, after a while, you realize it’s very basic and you’re just looking at the same colors over and over. I’d recommend waiting for it to go on sale, possible for a Double Deluxe version that bundles the base game with an expansion pack or two. With the massive amount of stuff missing that players had taken for granted in Sims 3, I didn’t think it was going to be as much fun as it was. (For instance there are no pools, but there are fountains… What?) But, that being said, at the current price, it’s a tough sell. It’s a nice gift idea, though!

Review Score

Review Copy Purchased By Author

About Kelsey Brinson

Avid video game player and nerd extraordinaire. I play games and give people my opinions about them, sometimes while on the subway wearing a tin foil hat and sometimes on the internet! I also stream video games with help on Twitch! How thrilling!