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Two Years On: Is The Sims 4 Worth Buying?

With The Sims 4’s third expansion pack, ‘City Living’, coming out on the 2nd November it seemed appropriate to review the value of Maxis’ fourth iteration of their most popular simulation game. The Sims was first published on 4 February 2000, and each new generation of the game builds on the player’s quasi-godlike ability to control and manipulate the lives of a virtual people known as the sims. So, why do I feel cheated when it comes to the fourth generation of The Sims franchise?

Firefighting in The Sims 2 [image from The Sims Wiki]

Some of the issues I have with The Sims 4 are minor, but when these issues build up, it feels like the quality of the game does deteriorate every time I start it up. Some of the tiny things missing from previous installments include anything fire-related; there are no firemen, and it’s much harder for sims to die from fire. I know most of us as kids had a malicious sense of wonder when it came to torturing/murdering our sims in creative ways, but if a game aims to simulate domestic life, why would you remove real-life services like firemen? What’s the deal, EA?

They also removed the emergency phone calls you could make in the previous generation of the game; there are now no policemen, no burglars and no emergency alarms for these situations. I know in real life it’s unlikely that your house will be burgled multiple times, but getting rid of the features listed takes away some of the quirkiness that I loved in The Sims.

There are more universal issues and complaints shared by the fans. The open world concept from The Sims 3 has been scrapped, and the use of loading screens has been brought back. Whilst loading may only last for thirty seconds, this less dynamic method becomes annoying when you want your sims to go to the park, yet you can’t watch them walk or take a taxi. Instead, you are left with a boring white screen.

Ocean swimming in The Sims 3: Seasons

Before The Sims 4 released, toddlers and pools had already been announced as not included in the game. I know I sound like I’m moaning, and I am; I spent £25 on a base game that doesn’t include a feature that was in all previous generations – minus The Sims (2000). I could snorkel and dive in the Sims 3 expansion pack ‘Island Paradise’, gameplay I expected to be continued on in this new generation of simming. That doesn’t seem very likely as now players cannot even swim in the sea, even though EA did add swimming pools later in a patch update. But they cannot, and seem unlikely to add toddlers as a life stage even two years on. Admittedly, no one is likely to remember what they did when they were two. But it’s weird watching a sim transform from a baby into a toilet-trained child… That’s magic right there.

However, I know The Sims 4 has brand new features added, such as in ‘Create a Sim’ mode where you can now change the size and shape of any body part.

[Image from]

Sims can now multitask, they can get writer’s block, they can photobomb, they can bake birthday cakes, the player can move entire rooms and more. But even then, I find the gameplay of The Sims 4 very lackluster and boring.

In reality, the game was meant to fix the issues of The Sims 3 and improve upon the franchise. It really feels like a step back or a faltered step from EA. I know I sound pessimistic but I doubt the new expansion pack will improve on things since the last two have provided very forgettable experiences.

However, If you are eager to buy the game or the upcoming expansion pack, you can get it cheap on CDKeys – or, if you want a cheap physical copy, SimplyGames. We’re all on a student budget!

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