We’ve all wished our lives went in a different direction at one point or another, and when The Sims came out back in 2000, we could have a second life. Well, not really, but we could run our own family of so-called Sims using a simple click of a mouse. The Sims became a commercial success, sprouting subsequent games and spin-offs across pretty much all platforms. You could build your own house, get jobs, raise your kids and socialise to your heart’s content.
Most recently, The Sims 4 hit PCs in 2014 and topped the charts. A console release was inevitable, and so it came. If you’ve missed out on The Sims games up until now, the premise is simple: Create a Sim (a virtual person), create their looks, personality and skills using one of the deepest and most expansive creation tools I’ve ever seen in a video game, then move into your new home or build your own. After creating these, you instruct your Sim to do normal everyday things, including hobbies, learning (such as reading books or browsing the interweb), talking to other Sims, shopping and working whilst, at the same time, tending to your Sim’s basic needs. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds. Developing relationships, hosting parties, attending clubs or just going grocery shopping are all real treats.
Emotional state plays a big part in The Sims 4. The game encourages social interaction to prevent your Sim from getting lonely and become reclusive. Neighbouring Sims regularly pass by and visit, allowing you to talk to them about certain subjects, with more options opening up as you get to know them better. However, it can sometimes act weird and unrealistic. I interacted with another Sim for the first time, and in the first few seconds, I neglected the conversation options and the guy let himself into my house to play on my computer. If that happened in real life, I’d have him picking up soap in the local nick.
The main problem is the transition from mouse and keyboard to controller. You control everything using an on-screen cursor that automatically highlights on-screen buttons if you hover the cursor near them. Obviously, the PC version didn’t need this, and I don’t think it’s needed here on consoles either. It makes things a lot more complicated than it needs to be. Clicking on my Sims manifested numerous options that hover above them. Selecting one was troublesome due to this frustrating behaviour of the cursor.
Thankfully, this is my only issue with The Sims 4; it’s still the same game we saw on PC and nothing more. As it’s the Christmas season, a Christmas themed add-on was automatically installed, allowing me to purchase Christmas jumpers, lights and decor for my home. I’m not sure if EA plan on regularly updating the console version with seasonal content, but it would be great if so. Unlike most console ports, this is no definitive edition. There is no included DLC, it’s just the base game, unfortunately, so if you want the ‘Get to Work’ or ‘City Living’ DLCs, you’ll have to buy them separately.
Personally, I hate decorating, detest it in fact, but in The Sims 4, it’s extremely fun considering you have the funds. You have many decorating options, from little portable televisions and ugly curtains to flashy 3D virtual reality video game stations and huge four poster beds, all of which your Sim can use to their heart’s content. Overuse can cause fires, though, requiring the need for a fire alarm. Fires aren’t the only things to watch out for; owning flashy stuff can attract unwanted visitors, and by that I mean burglars. How do you tackle that problem? Well, by installing a burglar alarm, of course.
Flourishing a relationship with another Sim can blossom into a happy home life. This can, of course, create a family complete with your very own child. With a child comes responsibility, you’ll need to make them a bedroom, complete with a cot and cute wallpaper, clean up after them and teach them. It’s a really intricate affair, if you choose that path, of course. If not, you can grow to become a successful bachelor or entrepreneur; there is an abundance of choices.
Graphically, The Sims 4 is the best looking Sims title yet, and it looks just as good on consoles as it does on PC. Sims are nicely animated with facial expressions and over the top actions, environments are adequately detailed with trees, foliage and greenery. In busier areas, I witnessed hardly any slowdown, and the loading screens don’t hang around.
Publisher: EA Games
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: 17th November 2017