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Friday | December 15, 2017
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Sims 3 (PC)

Sims 3 (PC)

 

The Sims franchise has been one of the biggest selling games on the PC for the last decade and while those of us who love gory first person shooters will snigger at the prospect of playing the latest incarnation of EA’s cash cow, there are many more who will dedicate months of their life to this virtual world. Sales figures alone prove this. The all important question however, does Sims 3 deliver the goods?

If you have been living under a rock The Sims is Will Wrights brainchild and it lets you play God and influence everything around you. Sims 3 has rewritten the formula because you are no longer just in charge of a single household at any given time, your sims can travel anywhere in town that they want without a hitch.

This change has huge ramifications in the confines of the game because you don’t feel as if you are tied to a single location and there have been massive code changes which mean you never have to wait for lengthy loading screens. Moving between characters feels very epic as the camera pans from location to location to zoom in on the new guy. Sending a sim into town while one is at home watching tv and another is gardening is very intuitive and gives a huge level of immersion to the experience never felt before.

Additionally, this time around the Sims have a certain degree of awareness, meaning they won’t just stand around feeling sorry for themselves and starve, they now have the ability to take care of their health and can keep occupied. In fact, many people will let them wander around on their own and see how things progress.

The world is now more alive, everything is massively more vibrant and as we said in our preview last month this has translated well to the game world on a variety of levels. Sims will age, die and interact with each other and behind the scenes there is a high level of sophistication in relation to the human mechanics that people in real life will exhibit. The gamut of personalities are faithfully reproduced, you will experience shy people, aggressive people, extroverts, brave sims and even ones who will fall over their own feet when they get intimidated. Interestingly there is even an area for crime related incidents and you may notice burglars at night breaking into houses to steal the goodies inside.

Inside the house there have also been changes to the mechanics of the core gameplay with some annoying aspects removed to make the game play faster and less frustrating. Certainly you still need to balance the daily requirements, such as working, eating and socialising with learning skills to enhance abilities for possible job promotions … but having to run to the toilet every 15 minutes for instance is no longer required. The sim characters will even need to work on maintaining friendships with other sims or they will lose touch. The fun part of balancing all these requirements is that there is never enough time to get it all done so some aspects will always need sacrificed.

While we have discussed the basic changes with the sims themselves there is a new system of building homes which involves a basic CAD style program. This gives people a more sophisticated system of building their virtual dream home and when this is combined with all the options for selecting interior furniture and objects it is a hugely rewarding experience. Heck, you can even create your own custom patterns to use in the game and even share and swap with friends online to customise your home.

To download user generated content such as furniture patterns you access The Exchange, an official website system. There is also a Store system which lets you pay Electronic Arts for pre designed characters, objects and a lot more. Whether the idea of paying EA for additional objects will appeal to many people is open for debate, but as they have released many expansion packs in the past it is almost a given that this will be successful. EA have also allowed users to make their own Sims 3 blogs and you can edit movies that you can record in the game. All in all, there is a great array of extras on offer which should satisfy even the most demanding of Sims gamer.

Graphically, the game has received a massive overhaul and the engine has been revamped to bring it in line with modern day requirements. We all know how shoddy the Sims 2 engine was as it would stall and hitch when given any opportunity. Playing on a semi powerful modern gaming system means you can crank all the sliders to the max and enjoy the experience. Even those with a less than stellar gaming system will be able to have fun. The developers list the minimum requirements as a 2ghz P4, 1GB of ram and a 128mb graphics card with Pixel Shader 2.0 support under Windows XP. If you are running Vista the requirements are higher – a 2.4ghz CPU and 1.5gb of Ram.

Surprisingly the Sims 3 is capable of running on Integrated graphics and for that you will need a GMA X3000 or better, as well as a 2.6GHz Pentium D, 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo or better as well as another 512mb of memory. This means that the game will run on a good variety of modern day semi powerful laptops and is sure to be a big seller for on the move. The install takes a rather large 6.5GB and another 1gb or so for additional content and updates.

The graphics have received other cosmetic enhancements such as a bigger selection of body sizes to play about with and the soft art style is really attractive for the nature of the game. The environments are very impressively detailed and the lighting has been improved so scenes such as the sun setting over the mountains or the ocean looks great. The stores in the city are very detailed and you almost feel at times as if you are able to reach in and grab items from the windows.

The audio is much in the same style as before with cutesy jabberings and to be honest it suits the game style perfectly. There are plenty of songs in a variety of genres ranging from classical to pop and you can choose them at any time which works well.

Sims 3 is a fantastic game and enough of an overhaul to attract a new audience … there are a wealth of options on offer to make long term playability extremely viable. The removal of loading screens also helps to create a very immersive world the end result of which is a flowing and interactive gaming experience. EA deserve credit for realizing that the franchise required an overhaul and this should ensure that the hardcore audience of Sim 3 fanatics are happy for a long time to come.

 

Gameplay
90

A huge and detailed environment which will appeal to a massive audience.
Graphics
86
A very capable engine and dramatically more sophisticated than previous outings.
Sound
78
Nice ambience and music with amusing “sim” style dialogue.
Value
97
High level of content suited for long term gameplay.
Overall
92

If you like the Sims then what are you waiting for?

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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