After more than a 3 month delay, The Sims 3 is finally here, and it really has been worth the wait. The Sims 3 brings you the same highly addictive game, but improves on just about everything.
The new Create-A-Sim feature is now more like a souped-up version of the Gameface character editor that the Tiger Woods’ games have had for many years, and it’s about flippin’ time. The possibilities for physical customisation are now so vast that you can create a pretty good likeness of yourself in no time at all, but can just as easily lose hours crafting the perfect sim. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t still use or download pre-made sims.
There is also now the option of importing different patterns into your game. The patterns can be edited and used in a variety of ways - you could use your pattern on a sim’s clothing to give them a completely unique outfit, or use your pattern within their house to give them matching wallpaper and bedding. The number of possibilities is mindboggling and ensures that you’re not likely to find someone with the same decor as you.
Your sims also now have traits, (they can have up to 5) which can be chosen if you create your own sim, or inherited from parents. Certain traits contradict others, so you can’t have a sim who is ‘Brave’ and also a ‘Coward’ and each trait comes with its own special actions, for example, a ‘Virtuoso’ will be able to enthuse other sims about music. Sims now also have ‘Favourites’ (Food, Music Genre, and Colour) which are determined in the same way as traits. A sim’s traits dictate what their lifetime wish can be and what their ultimate goal will be. These are complimented by smaller wishes which provide smaller objectives and (if completed) earn your sim Lifetime Happiness points (as they did in The Sims 2) which can be used to purchase special rewards. The rewards are slightly different to TS2 - they are no longer objects, but abilities, such as ‘Fertility Treatment’ which gives your sim a greater likelihood of having multiple births, and ‘Super Green Thumb’ – so your sim always grows perfect produce.
In the previous games it never really felt like you were playing a living world. Now, the seamless neighbourhood makes visiting other areas far quicker and easier. This also gives you a new added option of visiting your neighbours’ houses – something that the earlier games lacked. The whole neighbourhood ages at the same pace as your playable sim, which completely relieves the problem of overcrowding that occurred in TS2, where your sim could potentially die of old age before his/her parents if the families weren’t played for equal amounts of time. There are now Venues as well as Community Lots. Your sim can enter a Venue, including places like the hospital, grocery store and work places, but you cannot see inside. You can travel with your sim to Community Lots, such as the park, graveyard and art gallery. Simple improvements are what really make TS3 stand out.
Simply being able to send your sim to the hospital to have their baby (rather than them just screaming in the middle of the lounge) is (like the new Create-A-Sim) probably something that should’ve been done ages ago. Your sims now also have ‘moodlets’, which are mood altering events or situations. Moodlets can be positive, neutral or negative and can be indefinite or timed. Moodlets can also have secondary effects, such as making it easier to gain skills. You can also control how your sim behaves at work and school. Choosing to make your sim work hard will result in better grades/performance, but will mean that they come back from work with a stressed moodlet. Instructing your sim to take it easy, or meet/chat to co-workers/friends will mean that they come back from work or school much happier, but their performance will suffer.
All in all, The Sims 3 is more “evolution than revolution” and is - as every sequel should be - a solid improvement on The Sims 2. It is just as (if not more) addictive than its predecessors, and is therefore a must-have for all Sims fans, while easily followed tutorials (that can be turned on or off) will also make it easy for newcomers to jump straight in.