Product Type: Electronic Arts PC games
Newest Review: ... so many features. In previous Sims games, we only had to roam about in our house...but in Sims 3 you can go to public places such as par... more
The Sims 3? A step backwards for me
The Sims 3 (PC)
Member Name: kiss_me_now9
The Sims 3 (PC)
Disadvantages: High price, lots of changes, not many of them good...
The Sims franchise has been a staple in my computer gaming library since I got hooked via a friend who had The Sims 'Makin' Magic' way back in the days when a laptop was something that I couldn't even dream of owning... Now, many years later and a few jobs on, I eagerly awaited the day that The Sims 3 hit my doormat.
I had to first make sure that I had a computer or laptop that could run this game; as the three - yes, three - laptops in my household at the time didn't have anywhere near the power needed to play even the opening sequence, despite the fact that they were up to date machines. The specs needed to run this game are fairly high and extensive so make sure that you check you can indeed run it either manually or by going to www.canyourunit.com before you buy the game. This was a massive disappointment for me as I was kept waiting by the fact that I didn't have a system capable of managing the graphics. It feels like you've fallen at the first hurdle!
When I eventually saved enough to buy my new laptop, I made sure that I'd be able to run The Sims 3 (ok, bad reason for buying a new laptop, I know, but there we go). Game bought off of Amazon Marketplace, and away we go! Installation was quick and easy and I was playing within the hour. Initially, I was very impressed - the graphics are lovely and the feel of the game is still in keeping with the earlier franchises. However, it had that slightly suspect undercurrent of change, almost sinister in it's tone... Playing through the tutorial I struggled with the aspects of the new camera and the totally 3D look; it felt out of place and artificial to me. And I still have no idea how to build a house, as I couldn't figure out how to get a vacant lot - not that it really matters now as I've sold my game copy on now.
The positives of the game were hard to find for me, which is why I sold it on so quickly. I kept my copy for a week and it was a chore to keep playing it by the end so it went before I could lose too much money on it. The graphics, as I've already said, were quite nice initially although not being able to go into buildings was a little disappointing, and I experienced no technical problems at all. No lag, no dodgy floating heads, nothing! Now obviously that's down to my system but it was very impressive considering that The Sims 2 struggles every now and again. For a game that's heavily based on the visuals, it was a pleasant surprise. You now have the chance to use a fourth speed setting - where the game goes into triple speed until the initial task is completed. Very similar to The Sims 2 when all the sims in a household were sleeping and the game automatically fast forwarded until the first sim awoke. A very useful addition!
However, nice graphics and a new speed setting don't make a game great. A lot of the controls have changed from the original and even second games, which in my opinion was a massive mistake on EAs part. The game play is now clunky and hard to keep track of, as your Sims are now tasked to complete 'mission' style mini games that give them monetary or skill perks. These often include going to a building in the town at a certain time, however it's very hard to keep track of these in a multi-sim household. There's very little variety and it seems that the difficulty level has been ramped up a little, making promotions harder to achieve and even simple tasks hard to complete. My enjoyment level dropped as I had to think about every little thing I was doing and it was no longer a simple game that I could lose myself in for hours.
I don't feel qualified to comment on the building or furnishing houses side of things, as I never got to that part due to not being able to figure it out! That was a real disappointment for me, as I love building the lavish houses and furnishing them to my heart's content the most in the older games. The new Sim creator is fun though, as you can now almost completely customise your sims. I must admit, however, this was the only part of the game where I experienced a few 'errr, hang on a moment' bits from my laptop, as it had a bit of a paddy at the range of options you could change. You can now change the colour of all the items from the set pieces to anything you want using a colour dial - gone are the days when all your sims had only 5 hair colours to choose from! This means your neighbourhood is much more varied in look.
Unfortunately, this game was really far from the mark for me, and I quickly resold my copy. I'm going back to my Sims 2 and sticking with that - where I'm comfortable!
Summary: If it aint broke EA, don't fix it...