Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Erin Aulfinger (Central High School)
In mid-Februrary, Maxis’s The Sims 4 (TS4) was finally released for Mac Simmers after its initial Sept. 1 PC release. The game, though already the subject of multiple YouTube videos blog posts, and gaming websites, is far better to play and experience first-hand, than it is to read or watch about.
Compared to its predecessor, The Sims 3, TS4 is vastly improved. It has cleaner graphics, a better loading system and more inclusive Sim-creation. For those unfamiliar with Sims, the game allows you to create and control a fantasy/Simulated community/city and control Sims (people) and their actions.
When beginning a game, the user is immediately brought to “Create a Sim” (frequently referred to as CAS) where they can directly click their Sim to push the body into the desired shape. Preset Sims of various ethnicities can provide a good base for unique and stunning people. This differs from the previous CAS sliders, affecting only muscle weight, muscle definition, body weight, and bust size. Now users can even manipulate the shoulder width and foot length of their creations.
Another major change in the TS4 creation process is found in the clothing; rather than having color wheels and patterns, every item has a palette to choose from. Though this initially limited some Simmers, Maxis’ unofficial acceptance of the modding and content community (users who create clothing, meshes, and programming for the game) has made getting around this one issue easy.
After creating the perfect Sim, they can move into one of the two towns, Oasis Springs or Willow Creek. Both are small, separated into neighborhoods, with small homes and empty lots. The small homes provide pre-built, usually single bedroom houses for them; however, an empty lot may hold infinite possibilities with the new build mode.
Build mode has become much more hands-on, much like CAS. You can now pick up and move entire rooms, use arrows to resize them, and even change wall heights. Many functions have been automated, such as window placement. Besides this, roofing is much easier, since the user can just plop, resize, and paint a section of roof.
The gameplay can still be described, and feels like, classic Sims style, involving “pie menus” and moodlets. However, a new feature has been added—emotions. Sims can now feel intensely embarrassed, flirty, tense, or inspired; their emotional state can affect gameplay significantly and a certain one is usually required to fulfill certain goals.
Though some features are missing from the game, such as toddlers and basements, the gaming community is hopeful that past requests for ghosts, pools, and genealogy which were fulfilled will lead to the rest of the requests being honored. One must also keep in mind that the Sims franchise runs on an expansion system, meaning major gameplay changes are released in separate add-ons one must purchase, such as the already made Outdoor Retreat and Get to Work.
In comparison with TS3, TS4 has been much more fun to play in my opinion. It feels a lot more realistic, smoother, and altogether more accommodating to a gamers desires. Other small features, such as direct access to the rest of the Simming community’s households and builds and a long list of player-made challenges, make the game vastly more interesting. I’m eager to further explore this fascinating and long-anticipated game.