“The Sims 4” released in Sept. 2014 to mixed reactions from fans of the series. While the newest iteration of the long-running franchise had some innovations, detractors felt the game was rushed through production and that features from past versions were not included in the current release.
For those who are uninitiated, “The Sims” franchise is billed as a life simulation game. The player controls simulated computer people, the Sims, for which the franchise is named. The Sims inhabit a world much like our own but filtered through the quirky humor of developer Maxis. Like most simulation titles, there is no set goal to the game. Players have a great deal of freedom which allows for a variety of play styles.
In anticipation of “The Sims 4’s” approaching second expansion pack, “Get Together,” this review attempts to take a fresh look at “The Sims 4” and to judge it on its own merits apart from the controversies surrounding its release.
Given a fair chance, the game is fun and will appeal to fans of the genre who may have initially given the game a pass due to mixed reviews. The game contains some innovations, but they are often incremental improvements from past games and won’t alter the gameplay enough to convert anyone who does not already enjoy the series.
While the scope of this review does not allow the space to address specific features, the developer has introduced many new features and bug fixes as free updates. A substantial amount of content has also been released as purchasable downloadable content. New to “The Sims 4” are game packs, which are similar to full sized expansions, but provide more tightly focused content. The lack of content that concerned gamers at release is being addressed.
“The Sims 4” is not an identical experience to the previous games, but it is familiar enough to capture the appeal of its predecessors. By the same token, there is not enough innovation to expand that appeal to new audiences. The product has improved substantially over its state at release and is worth a fresh look for fans who may have been dissuaded by the initial reviews.