The finally awaited Maxis game is out on console but a massive fanbase argued that it should’ve stayed on PC, a simple drag and click interface, which after a few hours of gameplay I sadly agree to.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: November 17, 2017
This review is based on a review copy provided by Electronic Arts.
This game has one of the most challenging, infuriating, clumsy control scheme. Definitely feels slow that I had no choice but to pause the scene most of the time so I could get my tasks altogether or to cancel out a queued task because I pressed the wrong button.
You have to excessively switch from analog sticks to the pad of your console to get a better hold of the game. The touchpad will let you shift to a mouse mode but the movement of the cursor is so awkward and sluggish. It is poorly optimized for the console, it feels like they converted a PC environment game and just slap it onto a console.
Menus and submenus are quite a chore to navigate in which will bring me to the tedious Build Mode phase. Something new this game presented were pre-arranged rooms that you just need to bring in to the lot and fit them all together like in a Tetris game. I would gladly prefer this method rather than starting from scratch! Camera controls just made creating walls or placing tiles frustrating, items or walls swing out of place when you turn the camera and positioning it to the desired frame takes longer than usual. Again, it would’ve been better if this was all happening in PC.
But I have always been a great fan of The Sims 4 as I gleamingly pointed out in my previous article pertaining to the history of Electronic Arts Inc. This game could be anything from the gamers perspective; a dollhouse where it could be a perfect platform to play God or the Devil and do stuff which isn’t normal in the real world or you could be creating your alternative ego where you can be anyone you want to and be anyone you want to without feeling the guilt and hindrance of real-life consequences. Character customization still involves a Major aspiration that your Sim would work hard and personality to add to the mix to make them more unique and definitely add life to sim interaction. I also liked it that they have this secondary wants which are called whims. It’s okay not to fulfill them but fulfilling them means Aspiration points and more points means you can purchase rewards such as a temporary mood booster, permanent personalities or items that can help your Sims moods. I must say that clothing is quite limited in this game, especially since Mods are not supported it could really leave you with the dissatisfaction in creating the Sim you really want. Gallery mode on The Sims 4 will not be able to connect through the other Sims players so you wouldn’t really be able to download or get inspirations from them.
Other new features that truly was welcomed was how moody these Sims could be. Some events could prove very impacting to them. They get embarrassed when they get romantically rejected in public, gets stressed when their lover is not around or immediately gets roused when the opposite happens. Little details on the gameplay made it more interesting for me because once they are in these moods you will be able to observe their behavior changes too. So if my character was stressed and gets food from the fridge, she slams the fridge door with all the frustration she can muster and that was a little gem to see! You would actually have to spend extra minutes comforting them by letting them vent out to someone or taking a cold bath. Other moodlets affect their interest like Focused sims prefers playing chess or Inspired Sims wants to create new dishes, Energized ones just want to sweat it out in a gym. Other add-ons were when they greet their neighbors, they need not to put down their lunch or they can also multitask: eating while watching TV which is great if they are about to go to work and you need to max those moods, or playing on their Pads while taking a dump.
This being said is dandy and all but it seems that they again missed on one crucial thing I highly enjoyed on the previous game and that is the free-roaming capacity of Sims or the feel of open world, where they could just walk to the next commercial lot or make your Sim jog and the next minute she is on the other side of the town. It has now been replaced by smaller lots and traveling is not only a chore but a bore because of the frequent loading screens that you encounter. So if you have multiple Sims in your lot area, it would be an effort to not only maintain your Sim while they are out and about, but you have to be mindful on the Sims that you left at your house. Even said so they could’ve added maybe a bicycle feature to traverse around the town. Traveling by car is not present on this game which is a bit of disappointment, previously you would be able to see your sim drive across town, seeing hills and visiting graveyards to talk to ghosts which are again, not present in the map. Sad.
Bugs is something you somehow expect in this game but you were hoping that developers would be able to iron out. Plumbob, sims’ overhead green thingy when you make them active got suspended halfway in the kitchen area while my Sims was heading towards her bedroom. There’s this occasional bug when Sims gets to walk pass through the wall to get to other room and what I find irritating is switching to game menus (build mode, buy mode and travelling), the scene pauses somehow similar to being frozen and couldn’t help but think if you saved this game as to this point because it looks like it crashed!
At the end of the day The Sims franchise will always have a special place in my heart, even with the monotonous events; reminding your Sim to eat, poop, interact and bathe, there is a certain addictiveness to it. Seeing your Sim do their confident strut and watching their compelling stories evolve. You can’t help it but smile every time. Graphics wise, there isn’t much difference between PC vs Console graphics which is one of the amazing aspects of this game. I would’ve wanted the Memories feature though where certain special events will leave a history trail on Sims storyline. But with clunky controls, frequent loading screens, and limited presence, this game feels more like a downgrade to The Sims 3 rather than an upgrade.