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By Jessica Brister On 8 Jul, 2016 At 06:53 PM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, Games You Slept On, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Throughout the time that I have been writing about video games, I have expressed my love for Sims 3. It is one of my favorite games, and I have probably played it more than most games. Although Sims 4 was a huge let-down for me, I still play a lot of Sims 3. Since it has had such a big impact on me, I have decided to do a belated review of it (the base game only). So here it is, though it’s a bit overdue…
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The initial base game for Sims 3 came out on June 2, 2009. It was the third installment of the popular life-simulation game. Sims 3 was developed by The Sims Studio (this was a group that was split off from Maxis) and published by Electronic Arts for PC. The game was a critical and commercial success, gaining mainly positive reviews and selling over ten million copies.
The core aspects of the game play remain: make a Sim (or a family of Sims), control their basic activities, build relationships, establish careers, and create homes. However, there were many changes and improvements to the base game which include the following:

Basic game play

Just as in previous Sims games, the game play itself does not have a definite ending or goal. You play as a Sim or set of Sims until you don’t feel like it anymore. There are mini goals such as certain career or school opportunities, as well as skill-based goals (more on the new skills and careers later). There is a new reward system for accomplishing certain tasks as well. These attribute to a Sim’s overall Lifetime Happiness points, which allows the player to purchase different rewards. Tasks could include something as simple as cooking a meal all the way up to getting a promotion. Players also choose a Lifetime Wish that holds a bunch of points if the Sims achieves it.

Sim Creation

The Create a Sim system was significantly updated from Sims 2. The player can customize Sims in a much easier fashion using sliders which adjust for weight, muscle mass, skin tone, and facial customization options. Hairstyles, make-up, and color options were also upgraded. The Advanced Mode feature allows the player to get really in-depth with the amount of Sim customization. Overall, the Sims looks much more realistic than previous Sims games and even include small details such as beauty marks and freckles.
Sims3_Sim

Open World

One of the biggest changes was the switch from lot-based game play of the original Sims games to an open world concept. For once, Sims could literally walk out of their house and seemlessly go for a jog around the neighborhood. It was an amazing step in the right direction for the game play because it allowed for the typical Sims-style life simulation of eat, sleep, go to the bathroom to exploration and adventure. Now only that, but the Sims 3 allows for Story Progression, a way for all of the NPCs to get married, advance in their careers, have babies, and move. The open world system also allows for Sims to leave the town with later expansions for visits to other areas (such as in the World Adventures and Into the Future expansions). The open world concept of Sims 3 was a huge leap ahead in game play and really added to the depth of game play.
Sims3_Map

New skills and careers

Sims 3 added more careers to the base game (and many, many more in the expansions). The main careers range from business to medical to science and anything inbetween. When Sims apply for these jobs, the player can follow them to their place of work in the open world while the Sim goes into a “rabbit hole” for the duration of the work day. Some people apparently hated this concept, but I personally thought that it was much better than the Sim disappearing off of the map entirely.
Along with new careers, there are also a slew of new skills to go with them. Some of the new skills include painting, guitar, charisma, handiness, athletics, gardening, writing, and so on. Each skill compliments a career, so the higher a Sim is at a skill, the better of he or she will perform at the career. The skills themselves have mini-goals that are based in a Skill Journal. There are challenges presented for each skill that include special perks if completed. For example, on the charisma skill, there is a “Celebrity” goal. When a Sim knows twenty-five other Sims, they will hit the goal and earn a large starting bonus in any relationship of any other Sims met afterward. The skill challenges are a great way to really get into a game that doesn’t have actual set goals or an end game. As a completionist, I have found myself obsessed with trying to get all of the achievements for each skill.
Sims3_cars

 Advanced lots and world building tools

Although Sims 2 did allow you to add and modify different lots and venues, Sims 3 takes it to a whole different level. Anything on the map can be changed or modified to allow for complete customization of the game play experience. You can change businesses, houses, add parks, or do whatever. With the open world style with no loading screens, it really feels like a custom city when you go through the “Edit Town” feature.
As well as editing existing towns and cities, EA also included a Creat a World tool, which allows players to create their own custom worlds. It was a really neat idea that allowed those really creative players to make the game their own. Players could also share their worlds (as well as any other content they created) with other players online.

Graphics

Just like with any other PC game, the graphics really depend on the type of PC you are playing on. I’ve played Sims 3 on a laptop with a low-end graphics card up to a heavy-duty gaming PC, so I know the span of what the game is capable of. On low settings, the game will look tolerable, but at this point, the game might start to show its age. On maxed out settings, I personally believe that the game looks amazing. Sims 4 is very cartoonish with its graphics, and Maxis didn’t focus on them to make the game more accessible to everyone. Due to this, I believe that Sims 3 maxed out competes with Sims 4, which is why I don’t have an issue playing Sims 3 instead of Sims 4.
Sims3_Mansion

Game engine

Although I am mostly positive about Sims 3, I will call the game out on one of its detractors: the game engine. Although I did say that I would only talk about the base game, I did want to give a warning out to anyone wanting to purchase more expansions on top of it. The game engine is fine for the base game. It runs well. It’s fine for a couple of expansions. But once you start adding a handful of expansions onto the base game, the game engine just cannot handle it. EA and Maxis pushed the game beyond what it could reasonably handle. I have every add-on available with my game, and it can be frustrating since it is so glitchy. However, for the purposes of this review, since I am only looking at the base game, this was never an issue with just the Sims 3 installed.

Overall

I do love Sims 3. It is one of my go-to games, even at its age. If you are looking to get into the Sims franchise, you may do better with getting 3 then 4 (if your PC supports it both with stats and operating system). There are some issues with Sims 3—mainly with the game engine—but overall, it is a solid addition to the franchise that adds a lot to the typical, mundane game play of the previous Sims games.

By Jessica Brister On 29 Jun, 2016 At 09:54 PM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, Games You Slept On, PC Games | With 0 Comments

No GravatarTo this day, I still absolutely adore Sims 3.  Even though I want nothing to do with the 4th installment, I still love to play the third, especially while utilizing all of the expansions that have come out for it.  Here is my list of the best expansions to date:

11.) Generations  The_Sims_3_Generations

Though this expansion isn’t “hit you over the head” with new stuff, it does have some subtle changes to the game play that are interesting.  Teens and children have a lot more interactions than before.  There is a new profession: day care.  Adults can even send their kids off to boarding school.  However, with only some slight changes and no new town, this is probably my least favorite expansion.

10.) Seasons  Sims_3_Seasons

This is another expansion that isn’t as good as the rest.  It gives Sims 3 weather, which sounds like it would be cool, but it gets a bit old after awhile.  Sims can go to festivals that change depending on the season.  There are also some outdoor activities that are added, including snowboarding and soccer.  Sims get to swim in the ocean (though correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that was a complete game update…maybe I’m wrong on that one) and aliens are another life form added to the game.  Overall, it’s a little weak for an expansion.

9.) Showtime The_Sims_3_Showtime

This is definitely the expansion for people who love the “L.A./Hollywood” lifestyle.  There is a new town, Starlight Shores, that has a Hollywood vibe to it.  There are new careers that are more performances based: singer, acrobat, magician.  A new life form was created for this expansion as well: genies.  I could take them or leave them, though.  Simport was also introduced with this one.  However, I have never used it (and am VERY glad that EA is not forcing social play in Sims 4).  Some new venues were introduced in this one as well, including coffeehouses, live show venues, and private show venues, though these are not my favorite.  I’ve found that this town is a bit glitchy to play in as well.

8.) Supernatural  The_Sims_3_Supernatural

This expansion allows for a variety of different types of Sims, including vampires, witches, zombies, werewolves, ghosts, fairies, and genies.  Although I never really cared for the supernatural types, the town of Moonlight Falls is one of the more stable towns to play in and some of the architecture features and styles of furniture are really cool.  There is a new skill, alchemy, that goes well with the supernatural theme.

7.) Into the Future  The_Sims_3_Into_The_Future

As the last expansion of Sims 3, this was unfortunately not the best.  It’s an interesting concept: you can take your Sims back and forth to the future and back to the present as much as you’d like.  In the future, there are a lot of high tech gadgets, including jetpacks, hover boards, and other futuristic things.  There are a couple new careers: astronomy and bot arena.  Actions in the present can change the future.  Oasis Landing, the new town, is pretty cool, though I found myself wanting to stay in the present more than the future (the bot people can be really annoying).  Overall, I thought it was okay, but it is not my favorite.

6.) World Adventures  The_Sims_3_World_Adventures

This was the first expansion for Sims 3, and it allowed some really cool travel options.  Players could choose to travel to three different places: China, Egypt, and France.  Besides seeing the sights, tomb raiding is an option for the adventurous Sim.  The more activities a player did with their Sim, the longer the visa level for the particular place.  World Adventures also opens out three new skill possibilities: martial arts, photography, and nectar-making.  Overall, this expansion was a great because it allowed the player to get out of town for a bit.

5.) Ambitions  The_Sims_3_Ambitions

Along with the new town of Twinbrook, Ambitions allowed the player to expand into many different professions, including being a firefighter, stylist, ghost hunter, architect, or private investigator.  These professions are different from regular Sim careers because you go out on “jobs” instead of working normal hours.  Also, this expansion allows for becoming “self-employed” in most skills.  Two new skills were added: sculpting and inventing.

4.) University Life  Sims_3_University_Life

Finally!  Sims 3 got the ability to send Sims off to college.  One of the last expansions done for the game, University Life allows Sims to go off to college and pursue a degree.  A lot like World Adventures, where a Sim travels to Sims University but does not permanently life there, this expansion has plenty going on.  Sims can pursue degrees, join cliques, and drink from “juice kegs.”  There are a few new careers, depending on a Sims degree and clique association.  There are apparently Plant Sims that players can get to, though I’ve never tried this.  New skills include: Science, street art, and social networking.  Overall, this is a very good addition.

3.) Island Paradise  he_Sims_3_Island_Paradise

This is a very good expansion, and it contains that town that I am currently using (Isla Paradiso).  The town is a really cool set of islands and has a really interesting feel to it.  There is a new life form: mermaids.  Also, boating and scuba diving have been added, which I have really enjoyed.  Being a resort manager is the new profession, though it’s not like a normal profession for the Sims (you can still hold down another job, if you want).  With lots of water sports, a cool new town (that is pretty stable for the most part), and an interesting feel to the town this is one of my favorite expansions.

2.) Pets  Sims_3_Pets

One of the better expansions to date, Pets allows players to own different types of animals, including cats, dogs, horses, and smaller rodents, birds, and snakes.  A new town, Appaloosa Plains, is given.  It’s a very western-themed town, but I’ve found it a bit glitchy to play in.  Sims can train their horses and the new riding skill is offered.  However, for people who don’t like pets, this expansion could be a miss.  But I love pets, so this expansion is more of my favorites.

1.) Late Night  Sims-3-late-night

This is definitely my favorite out of all of the expansions.  Besides giving the player the new city of Bridgeport, which has a cool “big city” feel to it, the expansion also introduces a lot of cool social aspects.  Clubs, bars, and a new celebrity system add a new dimension to playing.  Sims can also live in high-rise buildings with elevators and join the acting career.  This was also the first expansion to add a different type of Sim other than “human.”  Vampires came with this particular expansion and made things interesting to the game play.  Overall, it’s a very slick expansion.  And the city is very stable to play in, which is definitely a plus.

 

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 14 Jun, 2012 At 07:48 AM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments
Romantic Sing-A-Gram

No GravatarThe Sims games have a big legacy behind them. With the Sims and the Sims 2 being the best selling PC games of all time, they define fun simple game play at its best and I consider myself a fan of the series.

The Showtime Expansion pack gets you in a new town called Starlight Shore based off southern California towns, like Venice beach, where people go in hopes of making it big. The town has lovely locations and many places both you and your Sims can visit (you can’t get an inside view of some locations) such as karaoke bars and museums. However the game’s biggest features are the three new careers available for your Sims. They can be an acrobat, a magician, or a singer. These professions come with their own noble lifetime wishes, Master Acrobat, Master Magician, and Vocal Legend, which all require you to reach level 10 in your career. To try all the new careers, I made one household with an acrobat, a singer, and a magician.

House party

It isn't always like this…

All three of them can perform in any location for tips, but the best location that can be chosen is after a SimFest when there are many people still lingering about. The more people around you the more tips you get. Even if no one is present when you perform you still gain job experience.

What all three performers can do is perform for tips and also venues, and as you become more proficient at your job you come closer to becoming famous. To get a gig you must audition in front of the proprietor. This doesn’t guarantee you’ll do well however, as there are many times when you begin you will mess up, even if it’s somewhere as embarrassing as SimFest.

Magician throws wand

It's a park, not a 10,000 seat stadium.

The singer has a special service she does to further her career called Sing-A-Grams that are preset but not a requirement. There are several types of grams Sims can get, like Romantic Grams and You’re Special Grams. In addition to that, your Sim can sing specific songs of your choosing.

Romantic Sing-A-GramMeiko outfit on singing singer

The magician can be made to perform trademark magic tricks such as flowers from wand or instant cards. However, he can become extremely repetitive and mess up a lot, but he’s still in his first level so maybe he learns some new tricks later on.

Flower in wand trick

Socializing with booker

The only thing he's good at is socializing and cleaning.

The acrobat can be made to juggle various things including swords and mime. Whether it’s running against the wind or the invisible box it’s always amusing to see. Although you’re pretending to run against the wind, an actual wind forms and blows you away, which is fine because logic doesn’t apply to Sims games.

Miming with windjuggling with swords

I’ve been keeping my Sims living poor because it seems time is against me and I can never get enough money as a performer, even as a group of three! Maybe it’s just that controlling three Sims at once can be a challenge, but the energy bar is my worst enemy.

sleeping in public place

Also, everything in my house constantly breaks and needs cleaning. I would buy new fixtures but everything can be

Broken sink, wet floor, and hungry Sim.

Pictured above: Normal state of the house

fixed for free and my Sims don’t make much money. I gave the magician the neat trait and later on the speedy cleaner trait with his Lifetime Rewards points. I then made him the unofficial household maid and repairman, which hasn’t given me much time to develop his magic skills. Even so, the other Sims constantly need to be kept energized, fed, entertained, socializing, and all that good stuff. Also he complains about staying in the house, I thought because he’s family oriented that wouldn’t be a problem but apparently stay at home Sims need a life too.

My Sims experience overall has been pretty fun, the graphics are decent and the houses are very customizable. One of the best things about the game are the smooth controls where you can use either your keyboard or mouse to adjust your view, which is an integral part of the game. If you use Origin to play the game you can download new content, some of which is free. SimPort is a feature that I have not yet tried. This option allows you to travel to the town of another friend or transport him or her to yours. I’ll be playing some more and see if I can make my Sims’ Lifetime Wishes come true and showcase some more of the game. I hope you look forward to the second part of my review, because I know I am.

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Thank you, thank you!