Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Sims 3

This post has been a long time coming. While I know no one has been waiting for this with bated breath, here it is: my review of The Sims 3.

I actually bought this game back when it came out, in the beginning of June. Various computer issues, now apparently resolved, kept me from giving this a good once over. But the past week or so, I've been able to dive in-depth into the game and I can form a pretty good opinion of it. To put it bluntly, I'm hooked.

I've been a fan of the Sims franchise since the original. There have been some hits and plenty of misses as they expanded the original game. But for the most part, they've made forward progress. For example, in the original Sims game, your Sims didn't age. Not really. They remained largely static. In The Sims 2, your Sims could age and eventually die. And with the expansion packs, they could also go to college, own their own business, have hobbies, pets, and eventually, enjoy the seasons. But when you played one family, the others froze in time. They could come over to visit, but as a result, you could get weird situations like children being older than their parents.

No more. With The Sims 3, the entire town ages at the same rate. You can only play one family at a time, same as always, but the other families age and progress without you. It's a great addition. Now the town seems much more vibrant.

This can lead to some weird situations. For example, in one game, I created a woman for one of my Sims to eventually marry. I moved her into a vacant house and left her there for about a week or two (game time, obviously). When they finally did get married, much to my surprise, she moved in with a baby. I didn't give her a baby when I created her. But there he was.

Speaking of the creation process, it's a lot more versatile. You can create just about anybody with any body type. The level of detail is absolutely astounding. The other interesting change is the inclusion of personality traits. There are dozens of them and over a Sim's life, you can pop in five. Most give benefits. Some don't.

While all of this is well and good, there are some minor issues that make me a bit upset. For one thing, there's no way to easily tell the difference between "young adults" and "adults." This may not seem all that important, but when you've got a nice young adult lady looking for a life-long relationship, you want to find someone close to her age, not an adult about to transition into his elder years. If anyone knows of an easy way to figure this out, please, let me know.

But what's annoying are the little glitches. Little bugs that, in my not so humble opinion, should have been squashed before the game shipped.

Let me give you three examples: the first game I played, my Sim was going to get married. He threw a party while his maid was there cleaning. He and his blushing bride wound up getting married in a back bedroom of his house. The maid wound up standing in the door of the room, clapping and cheering. And she wouldn't stop. Or move. The happy couple and half their guests wound up trapped by the immobile cheering maid, so long that the groom soiled himself in front of everyone.

But the horror didn't end there. I couldn't get rid of her. I finally had to knock a hole in the wall to let everyone out. And I couldn't fix it because the maid was there. I tried dismissing her. I tried firing her. Nothing doing. She was bound and determined to remain in that doorway, cheering and clapping. I thought maybe she'd starve to death. Nope, not Terminator-Maid. I finally had to move my couple out, thinking that maybe the house would reset itself. Nothing doing. Any family that moved in would find their new home equipped with a cheering, clapping maid. I wound up deleting that game.

Second weird quirk: in my current game, I have a young woman who likes to go fishing. So I had her fish whenever she could to improve her skill. Strange thing is, for about three days, her skill kept improving even when she wasn't fishing. Even when she slept, it just kept growing. She gained two whole skill points that way.

The most disturbing glitch I've seen multiple times is what I like to call the elastic baby syndrome. You take a toddler, set him or her behind a chair, and then turn on a TV on the other side. They will start watching the TV and, occasionally, their torso (and arms) will stretch so they can see the TV. It scared the bejeezus out of me the first time it happened.

Those are admittedly minor problems and they haven't kept me from enjoying this game. And I really mean it. Let me put it to you this way: I'm seriously considering selling all of my Sims 2 games and expansion packs. I have this feeling I won't be going back.

1 comment:

Jamison said...

OMG I died laughing when I read the story about the maid... that was too funny.