Sims 4 Review

I'm not sure this can be called a "review", because I don't pretend giving here an objective review on the Sims 4. It's only my very personal point of view, from what I've experimented! You have no obligation to agree with me! ;)

I'm a huge fan of the Sims 3, with which I've been spending five years at building my town. I slowly replaced every lot of Sunset Valley, the original base game town; I slowly frenchized it, I tweaked it in Create-a-World. I've been playing with most of the citizens of the town. As I'm a slow player, the toddlers born five years ago are now or teens or still kids.
If you're ever curious about my Sims 3 gameplay style, you can have a look at Around my Sims, where I share what's happening in my towns.

I was pretty curious about the Sims 4. I had no special expectation, because I knew I wouldn't quit the Sims 3 anyway. I just wanted another Sims game that I would play differently than the way I play the Sims 3. Without specific expectations, I thought it would be hard to get disappointed, and yet, I managed to feel sorry when I heard we wouldn't have toddlers, and worse, no Create-a-Style!
Moreover, I didn't like the look of the town. It was looking too fake and plastic for me, and I hated the blur in the background.
The fake look of the town reminded me TV soaps, and it finally gave me an idea about the Sims I'd play: I wanted to create a self-confident and material snobbish woman, a kinda of Desperate Housewife, who would aspire to get friends with everyone in town (at least, with the riches and snobs! ;))
So, it's very sceptical that I launched the game (I skipped the tutorial, because I was way too impatient to PLAY! I wish it could have been skipped directly from game, instead of Origin!)

(Disclaimer: Please excuse my frenglish!)


I must say the new Create-a-Sim is really cool. I need some practice, but it's somehow more intuive to create your little pixel creatures. You're really modelling your Sim like clay, and it's quite fun. Plus, there's many more clothes choice than in the demo we got in August. I still really miss all the patterns and infinite styles we had with Create-a-Style, in the Sims 3, but the clothes are MUCH better than in the Sims 3 base. Many more wearable clothes. Actually, there's only a couple of clothes that I know I will probably never use.

The filters are also a very cool feature. You can select hair by lenght, you can select clothes by type (skirt, pants...), by style... It's really a feature I've been dreaming to see forever! Since the Sims 1, I'm actually sorting my archived downloads that way, in folders. So, I really appreciate it!!

The filters are an awesome feature!

Teens are now the same height as adults. It results they look a bit elongated, and I'm not fan of that at all. Teens and adults are hard to distinct now. But it also means ALL the adult clothes are also available for teens AND elders, which is a huge improvement, because I've been complaining forever about the lack of clothes for these age categories!
I hope we'll get soon some height sliders, and I'll be the happiest player! Before I go on, a word about mods.

Modding the game

To me, one of the most important feature of the Sims series is that its ability to be modded. I know some people are afraid to download mods, or think the game should be exactly like they want it to be straight out of the box, but the way you want it to be might not be my way, my way won't be my neighbor's one, etc... The Sims games are so rich of possible ways of playing that I don't think something can please everyone. That's what mods are for: to make your game like YOU want it to be.
For example, straight from the box, I would have hated the Sims 3. I didn't want a Story Progression. But I downloaded mods and made my game fully enjoyable for me.
Can mods damage your game? They can, if they're badly scripted. But they can also rescue your game! It's famous that Nraas Error Trap and Overwatch have helped many players with their Sims 3 games.

What makes me rather confident in the future modding of the game is that Maxis shared some documentation with the community! It's rare enough to be bolded. So, I'm pretty sure we'll get tons of mods that will make the game more enjoyable.
Remember I was grumbling about the blur in the background? Well, there's already a mod against that, the No Blur in Distance mod, and it made a huge difference for me! I was mocking the landscapes, saying the town was as if seen through a shorted-sight My Little Poney, and bam, after I installed the mod, I found them lovely!

View of Willow Creek, with the No Blur in Distance mod


The gameplay isn't different that what it has always been in the Sims series. You have to take care of your Simmies, though they're getting smarter and can find the fridge alone when needed! They can work on skills, have friends... well, Sims' life, you know! :)
One of the new aspects is the multi-tasking. It sounds minor, but it's more enjoyable than I thought! It's nice to see your Sim cooking and still talking with a friend! I was amazed to find a Sim going down stairs, holding a cup of coffee AND chatting with another Sim going down the stairs near her. It's a tiny detail, but much appreciated!

Multi-tasking: chatting, going down the stairs and holding a cup of coffee

The other "big new" thing is emotions. Here, I wasn't convinced before playing, and I'm still not. I've never found Sims were lacking of emotions before actually. At the inverse, the new emotions system removes your freedom to interprete your Sims faces. It says: Sim is happy, Sim is tensed, Sim is sad... I must say it's very fun at first, there's a lot of new reactions I had never seen in a Sim game before. For example, a sad Sim can run into his bed to cry. Wishes can also depend on the mood: a Sim feeling confident might wish to have a drink in a bar, a playful Sim will have new jokes to tell to his friends. I enjoyed the emotions system so far, but I'm afraid it gets old fast. I hope we'll get some mods to temperate this in the future.

Same goes for walk styles. They're fun for a while, but might get boring. It's not a new reproach: in every Sims 3 expansion packs, we had some features that were fun happening once or twice, but that were getting really bothering when constantly repeated, like the Sim falling in the elevator. I had laughed the two first times, I got bored after, and at the 10th fall, I downloaded a mod to prevent them!

I'm a too slow player to have anything to say about the missing toddlers for now. I promised myself to not let my Sims 4 having babies untill toddlers are back. Huh... I hope it won't be for the last expansion pack because the kids are incredibly cute! The genetics are really highly improved. Kids look like kids, and they don't look all alike like in the Sims 3. If EA puts the same care at doing toddlers, it might be worth the wait!

Kids are absolutely adorable!

Sims can also collect things, including postcards, but I haven't played with that yet (when I tell you I'm a slow player! I still haven't explored completely the Sims 3, so you bet I haven't completed the Sims 4 in my four intensive days of playing! :D)

Careers are seriously lacking of choice. No medical, no education (well, education has never been a base game career in the whole Sims history, but still... ), no Business... But it seems funnier to work for promotion as it requires to have accomplished some tasks. For example, in the first level of the Culinary career, you need to have done the washing-up at least three times. In the Tech Guru career, you need to have played a video game for four hours. Maybe this gets boring with time; honestly, I often cheated in the Sims 3 to have the career level I wanted for my Sims, so I'm probably not the best person to talk about it! ;)

Also, I found something that I miss more than toddlers, though I don't even own one in real life: dishwasher. I would have never thought I'd say that, but, come on, no dishwashers!!!! Do you picture my materialist snob washing the dishes with her hands?!! Certainly not! Thanks God, she's married! ;)

You can choose to let all the Sims aging (Sims 3-like), or to let aging only your active household (Sims 2-like), or to not age anyone (Sims 1-like).

From what I've seen on Tumblr but not experimented, pregnancies are more realistic, your Sim will gain weight after having given birth; you can breastfeed the babies.

There's no Story Progression, ie your Sims won't have kids without you, just like in the Sims 2. There might be things your Sims can do, but I'm not sure what (wandering in towns apart!).
I didn't want it in the Sims 3 (and I use mods to not have Story Progression in the Sims 3), but I felt ready to give it a try in the Sims 4, so it was a disappointement. I would have liked if it was optional, to turn it off if I really dislikes it

Other than that, nothing really different from the previous games, except the care given in some details. The animations are smoother and they look more natural (even when they're cartoony, as paradoxal as it can sound! :D)
Another little detail I enjoy are the new drinks and food. They look much better than in any other Sims games. The cocktails are all super lovely! The gardening has also been improved.

Towns / Neighborhoods

The game starts with two small towns, Oasis Spring and Willow Creek. The very nice thing is that you and your Sims can easily travel from a town to another. Your best friend can live in Oasis Creek, she'll keep visiting you in Willow Creek. You're fed up of the bar of the town? Get in the bar in the other town! This is a great feature and it's exciting to imagine all the possibilities we will get with expansion packs and future new towns.
Right now, the towns are rather small, as they include six districts of five lots maximum. It's possible to edit the community lots (and very easily, even while you're playing on it!), but it's not possible to edit between lots. You can't neither create a town from scratch. Maybe we will never be able to, maybe EA will cave and give us a tool to release worlds, like Create-a-World or the Edit-a-World mode.
This could be a downer. As far as I'm concerned, I've spent so much time at tweaking my towns in the Sims 3 that I had decided to take it easy on the Sims 4, so it's OK for me, at least for now. I'm pleased enough to be able to edit or rebuild the community lots.

Willow Creek at dusk

Oasis Spring at dawn


Another of my concerns was the absence of open neighborhood, my favorite Sims 3 feature. I still have mixed feelings on this one.
In a way, it's not that bad as it sounds, because you can move your camera all around the town, you have all the lots rendered at their best (above all if you use the No Blur in Distance mod! ;)), at the inverse of the Sims 3 where the number of lots perfectly rendered was limited, so you can have beautiful street views. Your Sim can go jogging in the streets, or walk on the community lot sidewalks (so beautiful sidewalks, if I can add, because elevated!), so it still gives you a feeling of open neighborhood...

Untill you run in a loading screen. On a district with various community lots, you'll get a loading screen each time you get or get out a lot. So far, they don't last too long (though they're longer than I expected. Mine last a bit less than 20 seconds), but I'm afraid they get longer with time (and custom content, and expansion packs...). What gives me mixed feelings here is that I don't like loading screens. I love the open neighborhood of the Sims 3, where I can follow my Sims freely. But does it mean I can follow a Sim in real time in my Sims 3 town? Actually not. My lots are so huge that I pause my game to let the buidlings being rendered. It can last several minutes, depending on the lots. Did it happen with the base game too? Well, I had an old computer, at the Sims 3 base game time, and yep. It took once 10 minutes to render.
So, all in all, it goes faster with loading screens. But they're too many. It would have been perfec to me if we had loading screens by district, and not by lot.

Jogging in town gives an almost-open neighborhood feeling

There's a feature I already adore: the Manage Households. From the map view, you can easily edit your households in Create-a-Sim, merge, split, move. You can manage households from the two towns, and the homeless Sims that you'll see walking by in every towns (but you'll see everyone walking everywhere. I mean, Sims from Oasis Spring often wander in Willow Creek and vice versa. In all the previous Sims games, you needed or a third-party tool or a mod to do that, though it's something essential to me. I need to tweak everyone in town to make them "mine", so I'm happy of this!

You can also give a makeover to a townie at anytime in game, with a cheat code: type "testingcheats on" in the cheat console (Ctrl-Shift-C), then shift-click on the Sim you want to edit and voilà. This allows you to change the clothing, hairdo, make-up... If you want to make more important changes, like body shape, skin color, then after "testingcheats on", type "CAS.fulleditmode". But warning, this make the Sim you're editing your active Sim and can mess with relationships. Bugs have been reported, so use with caution (or don't use it before it's fixed). I used it without knowing it could be "dangerous" and didn't get any bug but I might just have been lucky!

Buy Mode

That's probably my biggest peeve for now: I don't like the plastic doll furniture style of the objects we have now, and without Create-a-Style, it gets hard to decorate a room. But hey, that gave me even more motivation to convert all my Sims 3 objects for the Sims 4 (when it will be possible). I'm biaised on that matter! ;)
There's still few improvements that are worth being mentionned: the new counters and islands system! Ooooh, all the wonderful things you can do with counters and islands now!! It's terrific! See a video by the Sims Supply about it.
You can also move paintings up and down, but also right and left, on the walls. The coffee machines are to die for. There's some really nice pieces of clutter!
A cool new feature for the CC addicts you might be (and I hope you are if you're on my site right now! ;)), is the Search feature. Woot. Finally!!!!

The awesome island system (but the plastic look of the objects)
Build Mode

At the inverse of the Buy mode, the Build mode is one of the nicest surprises. I hadn't watched the videos about it during summer, so I didn't know what to expect, and I love it! It's so easy to make a room a bit bigger or smaller, to adjust roofs on your rooms. Windows can be put at different heights, walls have different heights, you can put easily friezes; the base game windows are adorable!
A minor thing is bothering me though: I don't see how many tiles a wall is long, while I drag it. It's annoying, but it might be me who haven't found yet how to get this information! :D

My first Sims 4 house
Bugs & Performance

*knock on wood* I've been lucky, so far, and I haven't experimented any bug, not even a stuck fork or whatever. Well, I have seen Sims being teleported in the park while my Sim was there, but I'm afraid it's not a bug... Just a new way of locomotion. :p
Also there's a problem with indoor lighting. Some lights don't light enough, and all the pre-made buildings are way too dark. It can be solved with the Brighter Lights mod. Then, you can still adjust the intensity and the color of the lights (the setting works for the selected lamp or all the lamps of the lot, but there's no more an option for the room).

The game loads super fast, saves super fast so it's really a change for me (my Sims 3 game takes 15 minutes to load, and around 10-12 to save. See why I only play it if I have two hours of freetime in a row!)

The indoors lights are too dark without the Brighter Lights mod.


I'm the first surprised to say that, as I was far to be convinced by the game, but I find it fully enjoyable. There's a lot of things that bother me, but none have prevented me from having fun. There's something magic and fresh in that game. When a friend asked me what I was thinking about it, after the first hours of play, my answer was a bit "I don't like that feature, this one is a pain, that one will run on my nerves... but I'm having a blast!". And that's it. I have played and built for four days non-stop (my boyfriend was away for the week-end, so it was only the Sims 4 and me! ;)). I first thought I would take advantage of all this freetime to share it with the Sims 3, but I was too caught by the Sims 4 to switch. It doesn't mean I won't play the Sims 3 anymore! I'll keep playing it, for sure. For me, they're two different games, at least the way I'm playing them, and I enjoy them both differently.

This said, it's only about my own experience. As I mentioned earlier, I'm a very slow player, so I might haven't played enough to notice things that will bother me, or at the inverse, that I'll love. All I can say is that the more I play, the more I love the game, though I was pretty sure to dislike it at first. It might not add anything revolutionary, unlike the Sims 2 and its aging system or the Sims 3 and its open neighborhood, but it still gets the fun Sims vibe I like. I'm also happy that it's not an online game. That's a "revolution" I wouldn't have bought.

Would I recommand it to a Sims lover? Certainly! Maybe I'd recommand to wait for the price to drop (60 euros is too expensive for my budget, but it was at 41 euros on Amazon France, which is a "normal" price, I think), or wait for CC or an expansion pack if you think there's not enough to do, but I find it's a much more enjoyable game than I thought it'd be.

Addendum: my Sims 4 game

In case you wonder what I've done with my game to have so much fun with it, here's few words about my Sims 4 game!

First, I played as explained in my introduction, with my snobbish materialist housewife, Babette, and her husband, a gloomy loner, Bernard. I visited Willow Creek with Babette, and made her making some friends: Nancy Landgraab and the Caliente sisters, with whom she's playing cards or having drinks in bars, in Willow Creek or Oasis Spring.
Babette: self-confident, snob and materialist housewife. Also first Sim 4!

I had so much fun at seeing the Caliente sisters again (I used to play them when I was playing the Sims 2), that I couldn't resist to the temptation of recreating my favorite families from Pleasantview: the Pleasant, the Dreamer and the Broke. I moved Brandi and her sons in a tiny trailer in Oasis Spring.
I first thought I would only play with Babette, for a change (I'm used to play with ALL the Sims I have in my games...), but it seems it won't happen here now neither, because I enjoy too much seeing Angela and Lilith Pleasant fighting! For now, I play with aging off, so it lets me time to meet everyone, to turn the towns as I want them to (I won't try to frenchize them, unlike what I did in the Sims 3. The Sims 4 will be my american soap! ;))

Brandi Broke, with her sons, Dustin and Beau


That's all!
Thanks for your reading, and happy Simming, whatever Sims game you enjoy playing! ;)