Sunday, June 14, 2009

Review: The Sims 3

Release date: June 2, 2009 (delayed)
Developer: EA Games
Launch sales: $1.4 million

The Sims are back and they've learned a few new tricks.

EA seems to know a good thing when they have it. With The Sims 3 they've taken what has worked in the past and given it a rigorous polish. You'll find everything that made the first two a hit tucked neatly into this one. Some may bemoan that it's just more of the same, but, honestly, that's not always a bad thing.

Admittedly, while it's not the massive overhaul that the Sims 2 was to the first one, the newest title of the franchise comes packed with some much needed improvements, the first of which you'll probably notice being your Sim's ability to explore their town, which moves about at real-time as you play. No more are you sequestered into a single household, suffering through tedious loading screens just to change locales. Along with this, your friends and neighbors live and age, and will even eventually die, making for a much more immersive experience. Overall, you'll find play to be less disjointed and refreshingly seamless. This, however, brings along with an increased challenge of juggling your Sim's social life, but with a little practice the learning curve the game carries is an easy hurdle.

Another notable addition is the use of a personal inventory for each sim, in which they can carry a multitude of different things, ranging from books, to fruit, to even a laptop or their guitar. I was skeptical at first, bothered as I was by the fact that my sim would just as soon jam something into their inventory as put it away. However, I quickly became acclimated and before long I was wondering how we ever got along without it. It opens up new possibilities, such as computing on the go or hopping down to the park, guitar in hand, to play for the locals. Additional skills have also been added, including one for the aforementioned guitar.

Of course, The Sims 3 is hardly a perfect game. I found the selection of available items lacking at best, but this, no doubt, is so people will spend their real money on items from the Sims store. While the game comes with ten dollars for you to spend however you please, probably to get you hooked on the idea, my suggestion is to use The Exchange. Here you can find items that other users have created, but of course that comes with its own perils. Another gripe I had with this game was the sheer number of crashes I had to contend with. In one instance, the game crashed during a save, which resulted in irreparable data loss. Perhaps this will get fixed in the near future, but for now its an issue. That aside, the game is terribly resource hungry, and will prove difficult to run smoothly at times even on high end machines.

All in all, the Sims 3 is an ambitious game without forgetting where it came from, and it's something that old and new fans alike will appreciate.


What I liked:
  • Tons of new features.
  • A lot of old annoyances fixed.
  • Sims have a greater range of personalitly.
What I didn't like:
  • Lacking the same volume of items as previous titles.
  • Prone to data devouring crashes.
  • Difficult to run on low end machines.


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