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The Sims 3 Pets has been a very welcome addition to my Sims collection! I think that the creators have definitely upped their standards with this game as I would already, after only a few weeks of playing it, consider it my favourite Sims 3 expansion pack.
The fact that Pets are now playable, which was not really an option with the Sims 1 and 2 versions, adds a whole new aspect to the game, making it far more enjoyable than the previous two versions as there are a lot more gameplay options and interactions with, not only the animal's owners, but also other animals - both wild and within the household.
Your Sim can adopt a wide range of cats, dogs and horses (and also Unicorns if you manage to befriend one). There are also various small animals such as snakes and lizards which can either be bought or found around the neighbourhood. You can control not only how long your Sim's life stages are but also your pets too so they can live for as long or as short a time as you prefer.
When your Sim owns a horse you can then make them train and compete in competitions for trophies and simoleons (Sim money), adding a whole new career path of becoming a professional jockey. You can also teach cats and dogs to hunt for gems and smaller animals. Dogs even have the ability, after gaining a certain skill level, to fetch dates for your sims!
There is a brand new neighbourhood called Appaloosa Plains, which has a very countryish feel to it and provides dog and cat parks as well as the Equestrian centre and training grounds plus the usual buildings such as the spa and restaurant.
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: The Sims Studio
The Sims 3 Pets is the 5th expansion pack for the popular life simulation game 'The Sims 3'. And whilst the previous expansion pack (Generations) focussed on enriching everyday life and legacy play, The Sims 3 Pets finally sees the return of four legged friends to The Sims franchise.
Were not covering any new territory here. The Sims 1 had the Unleashed expansion pack and The Sims 2 also had a Pets expansion. However, The Sims 3 Pets finally delivers the most longed for creature of all - horses! Yes now your sims can adopt a horse of their very own and ride them to glory as a champion Jockey. But if horses aren't your thing there are plenty of other furry (and scaly) critters to discover. Perhaps you'll train your cat to sniff out valuable objects hidden around the neighbourhood. Or train your loyal dog to deliver the newspaper to your bedside every morning.
- Adopt a cat, dog or horse.
- New wildlife to find and collect throughout the neighbourhood - from Falcons to Parrots, Komodo Dragons to Turtles, snakes and hedgehogs.
- Look out for the Unicorns. If you find one you might be able to convince them to join your household....
- New Horseman/woman career, allows your sim to make a living by entering Equestrian competitions.
- Perfect the Racing and Show Jumping skills and enter your sim into competitions at the Equestrian centre.
- New traits - cat person, dog person and animal lover.
- New objects including wild west themed objects and a show jumping course to test the skills of your sim jockeys.
- Appaloosa Plains: a new neighbourhood based around horses and wildlife.
- Teach your pet tricks including sit and hunt.
- Pets who hunt may be able to dig out valuable collectables, including rare gems and rocks.
- Pets (cats, dogs and horses) are fully controllable and have traits, just like normal sims!
- New hair styles and clothes - including cowboy boots, Jockey leggings and riding hats.
- Huge variety of cat, dog and horse breeds to chose from or create your own.
Appaloosa Plains is the new neighbourhood introduced in this expansion and unsurprisingly, it's centred around pets and pet-related activities. Most of the pre-made households within the town own at least one pet, or several pets. It's also the home of several celebrity Jockeys.
The countryside theme of the neighbourhood is enhanced with a variety of ranch-style houses. There's also a deserted barn and bizarrely, a giant Dinosaur statue! Apparently Pets can dig up dinosaur bones dotted around the neighbourhood which can than be used to construct a Dinosaur skeleton.
It's actually one of my favourite EA towns. The countryside vistas are stunning, making it very satisfying to ride your horse around the town.
There's even a pet graveyard where ghost dogs can apparently be spotted, though I haven't seen one myself yet.
Anyone who has read any of my previous Sim reviews will know that I've been a fan of the sims ever since its original release way back in 2000. During that time, cats, dogs and even Werewolves and Dragons were introduced to the game but still the fans demanded horses. Well now that wish has been granted. And I have to admit, EA has done a good job with them!
There's a wide variety of breeds to choose from, including Friesian's, Thoroughbred's, Salernos, and Palominos. Alternatively, you can create your own breeds. Everything from coat colour and fur length, to the shape of your head, snout, and body can be customised. To finish the look there's also a small selection of saddles and bridles to chose from.
Horses are cute to keep as pets. They whiny, graze and gallop around. They also require their coat to be brushed, hooves to be cleaned and stables to be mucked out, just like a real horse would. However, undoubtedly the most fun to have out of horses is to pursue a career as a jockey. Horse can run the show jumping course up at the Equestrian centre to improve their jumping skills. Their riding skills can be improved simply by galloping around the neighbourhood. Once their racing and jumping skill is high enough, horses and their riders can be entered into Equestrian competitions from which you can win prize money and trophies. Although Rather annoyingly, EA hadn't thought to include a display cabinet to display your various accolades.
The bad thing about horses is that they are often too big to manoeuvre properly, meaning you get lots of annoying 'route fail' situations ('route fail' is that annoying stampy feet tantrum that your sims have when they cant go somewhere they want to go). As a result, it means that keeping a horse is only an option if your sims have a huge lot or garden.
Cats and dogs
Some of the included dog breeds: Chihuahua, English sheepdog, Pug, Dalmatian, Mastiff, Boxer, Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, German Shepard, Bloodhound.
Some of the included cat breeds: Siamese, Persian, Ragdoll, British Shorthair, Tabby, Manx, Turkish Angora.
Cats and Dogs are very cute. They're a great way for sims who live alone to get their social needs up. Also, as cats, dogs (and horses) are fully controllable, it's fun to play with them as a way to pass the time whilst you wait for your sims to return from work/school.
They can learn tricks and skills based on a scold/praise system so it's fairly easy to train your pets to stop chewing on the furniture or weeing in the house. By far the most valuable skill is 'hunting'. Pets who hunt can unearth collectables such as gems and rocks and sometimes useless things like crisp packets.
It's all very cute but in truth, cats and dogs are actually quite pointless. You can't enter them into competitions and shows like you can with horses. It's not even fun to walk your pets since they walk unbelievably slowly and so it literally takes hours for your sims to walk anywhere with them.
- Pets are controllable, just like real sims. This gives the player something to do whilst their sims are doing something boring like working or sleeping.
- Horses are amazing! The Jockey career is really fun (if not a bit repetitive) and challenging.
- Horses are really fast too. It's much easier and quicker to get around the neighbourhood on a horse than in a car.
- Appaloosa Plains is a really fun neighbourhood to play. The scenery is beautiful and the Equestrian themed community lots are fun to visit.
- You can breed pets for money.
- There's a huge variety of animals to find and collect and the wild deer are adorable.
- Dogs can swim. They have a bone shaped swimming pool at the park especially for dogs which I thought was very cute and cool.
- Unicorns are absolutely beautiful. They can bless your sim and make them lucky.
- Pets age spans are customisable, just like the customisable human sim age spans introduced with generations.
- Very large and diverse list of breeds, particularly dogs. Also every part of the fur, colour, ears, nose, body, tail etc of the pet is fully customisable, allowing you to create your own breeds.
- The western/cowboy themed clothes and objects are actually really nice and surprisingly fashionable compared to EA's usual standard.
- There is no display cabinet to display your horse racing and show jumping trophies. As a result, any sim pursuing the jockey career will have an inventory littered with trophies.
- 'International' equestrian competitions are almost impossible to win.
- Whilst the unicorns are beautiful, they are also really hard to find. It took over 30 sim days for one to show up in my game. It's even harder to persuade them to come and live with you once you've finally tracked one down....
- You can't put more than one animal in one cage or tank at a time. For example, if you have a pet bird living on one of the 'bird trees', you cannot then add another bird to that tree. Instead you have to buy a separate tree to house that bird. This is expensive and takes up a lot of room in your sim's house.
- Walking a dog takes forever because they walk so slowly.
- For some reason, racing, show jumping and cross country competitions will only take place on weekdays after 5pm. This means having to wait most of the day just to enter a competition.
- I feel the game has less shelf life than previous games. Once you've seen one cat/dog then you've seen them all. They are cute but also quite pointless.
- I feel like cats and dogs have been ignored because so much time has been spend on developing the horses.
Where to buy
Do not pay full price for this. I've seen it listed at £29.99 in some places but it's not worth that much in my opinion. I personally ordered my game for £19.99(with free delivery) from Gameplay.co.uk. This is still the best price I can find on the web.
The problem with Sims 3 Pets is that it offers little in terms of game-play. The title suggests you're getting pets and animals and that's exactly what it delivers. However, outside of the pets element there are few new game-play features and options. It seems silly to criticise an expansion pack for delivering exactly what it advertises. However, if you're not an animal lover (and possibly even if you are) this expansion certainly isn't essential and will get boring very quickly.
In my opinion it's worth it purely for the horses, which are beautiful and fun to play. The cats and dogs though, feel a little underdeveloped and neglected.