Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
The Sims 4 (PC)
Popular life simulator returns with more possibilities for domestic mayhem
- High level of customisation.
- Installs well and runs good.
- Camera could be better in spots.
- Missing features from past games.
Sims 4 does a good job of bringing a new coat of polish to the familiar people management simulator. Fans may come to view it as a slimmed-down version of the Sims 3, though new gamers will find much to explore.
Price$ 69.00 (AUD)
For more than a decade, The Sims games have allowed gamers to experiment with digital realities where anything can happen. After creating a Sim, you are in charge of shaping their evolution and development, as well as relationships and community involvement. Every new iteration of the game has added a new layer of depth and polish to the concept, and the Sims 4 promises to be the more immersive than before.
Plenty of customisation
The first thing that immediately stands out with Sims 4 is the amount of customisation it offers. The past games already gave the player a lot of freedom when it came to creating their Sim, though the latest game manages to take it even further. The sheer amount of physical customisation available, as well as the ability to tweak it granularly, means you can spend an hour or more just constructing your Sim.
Beyond customisation of the character, you have the ability control the look of your house and how it fits within the neighbourhood. The interior of the Sims domicile is editable, letting you add or move furniture and fittings around to get the right look. The camera can sometimes be obstructed in this mode, particularly once rooms fill up with items, but for the most part house management is manageable.
Another new feature is moods and emotions for Sims. This has an impact on what the character is doing, as well as what they will do in the short- and long-term. An energetic Sim will always show initiative, while a low energy Sim is less likely to follow instructions and/or do anything.
A refined experience
The long history of the Sims series, as well as numerous expansion packs that have been released, means fans expect a wide variety of features in a new title. Sims 4 comes with most of it intact with enhanced visual fidelity, though some features, such as swimming pools and toddlers, did not make the cut. Those new to the series or casual gamers may not notice the absence amongst all the other content in the game, but fans will likely hope these features return in a future expansion pack.
EA looks to have learned from its experiences with launching SimCity last year, as the download and installation experience with Sims 4 was markedly improved, with no need to remain logged-in to play the game. The game also runs surprisingly well on a modest system while retaining a lot of its visual fidelity, ensuring that it will run on most PCs out there. The game really comes to life when the visual settings are turned to Ultra and the screen resolution is high.
The appeal of the Sims game has always been in the ability to create a character and build an immersive world around them, which is a concept the fourth game enhances with the benefit of better technology. The game could have benefited with a bit more tweaking of the camera controls, and fans may lament the exclusion of certain features from past games. But for the most part, Sims 4 does a good job of letting you create as much fun or havoc for your Sim as you want.
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