[Review] The Sims 3

So every two years or so, I write about things I love to hate. And this time around, Electronic Arts made its way to the top of the list of companies I lost faith in. So lets start…

I am a big fan of the original The Sims back in 2000. With The Sims 3 (sorry guys, I missed out on The Sims 2), I expected it to be a better version of the game, with same but improved experience. Hey, look it’s in full 3D now and the cameras can rotate and zoom to my liking! Beautiful, right? 

The Sims 3 logo, image courtesy of EA
As for the gameplay, I like the new features. The aging and story progression was something I didn't welcome at first. But then I thought, hey, it's a challenge! And even if my teenage sim got a couch potato for a fiance without my consent, I accepted him with my whole heart and didn't evict him from my household. And I like how the program automatically make friends for my sim. I made one charismatic sim and everytime I log in to check, he gets a lot of friends that I don’t even know how it got there. I'm not the type to make my sim go to neighbor's houses and chat when they need to read a book to get a better performance at work. 

Okay, so let’s get to the real thing… The Sims 3 was an overall disappointing experience.

Why? The Sims 3 has a lot of glitches! In the Create-A-Sim mode, despite choosing specific clothes and hair for my character, it was not reflected in the game itself. Only the Everyday Wear loaded properly. I got him a nice short hair. But with his sleep and formal wear, his hair becomes long. Eh? And the clothes he wore weren’t the ones I chose for him. Hey, it’s a minor glitch and I didn’t mind it, just as long as the game works, it’s fine with me. 

However, there are major glitches: corrupted data. My first saved game was corrupted and it got stuck in the loading screen. And what? I have to start all over again? Does EA ever think that some people get emotionally attached to their characters. I even named my sim after me.And losing all of that without any form or recourse broke my heart.

But there are unforgivable major glitches: overwritten data. So my first saved game was gone and I started anew. Then came the Island Paradise expansion. Oh I was so excited to explore that world! The description said that my sim can go on vacation to a beach! Oh joy! But then came the question? How to go there? I can’t find the “Go to Vacation” option on the computer or on the phone. There was “Move to New Town” though, so I tried it so that my sim can go to Isla Paradiso. When I got there, a dialog box popped up saying that it is ‘required’ to save the game as a new data. There was even a space there to type in your file name. So I did just that. 

Boom! The blow hit me so hard I didn’t even notice! I was just exploring the ingame features and I thought, ‘what would happen if I go back to Sunset Valley’. So moved my sims back. And oh no! All my played households were wiped clean! The town was back to the state wherein you have started playing the game for the first time: it was fresh. And when I went to the Main Menu to just load my previous game, I found out that it was overwritten by the Island Paradise saved game! Ugh, I remember quite clearly that I entered a new file name for that. Grrr... Okay that is the worst thing EA did to me!

Island Paradise! Enchanting but in reality enraged me! (image courtesy: EA)
Whatever came into EA’s mind that they expected me to only operate on one household? I like the first The Sims because it's not only ingame interaction but with my real life family as well. In Sims 1, there is only one town and different neighborhoods. And in each neighborhood, you can choose to play a lot of households. I played together with my sisters. We create sims and make them friends with each other. But so as not to interfere with our gameplay, we played on different households. 

So back to the topic… EA said that Island Paradise or whatever new town you added as an expansion is like a chance for the sim to start anew and have a clean slate. So friends and other relationship status in the old town is gone forever? Huh? So in real life if you moved from country to country, you can't chat with your old friend anymore? Why put computers and cellphones in the sims houses if you can't use it to contact old friends? Huh? Oh, I remember, it wasn’t only the relationship status and the house that is gone… but my data in other households as well. 

Dearest EA, 
How could you expect me to play only on one household and with that operate only on one sim? Where are your brains? PLEASE DO NOT EVER THINK THAT I ONLY PLAY ON ONE HOUSEHOLD WITH ONE AVATAR. PERIOD!

I expected that it would be like the sims 1 where I can go to Old Town, Down Town, Magic Town, etc.  in the main menu and play the households there without losing any data from the other neighborhoods. The relationship status and friends don't disappear too. Gosh, my Melissa Roomies in Magic Town can even make a phone call to Bob Newbie in Old Town. Her job was kept intact as well. The car pool even arrives on time in Magic Town. Oh gosh, why can't EA replicate that?

Awww come on! The Seasons expansion pack can go with the base game. You just added winter, spring, summer, and fall as seasons. Duh, what else could it be huh? Adding weather doesn't bring in something fresh to the gameplay. Other expansion packs were only focused on the addition of items which I think can go with the base game as well. 

If you think that's the end of my criticisms with the game, think again...

I’m not really happy with the houses. Sure, all of the in game houses look so good on the exterior. Since my household was growing (2 young adults and 3 teens), I got the very expensive Miramontes house because it boasts of three storeys, six bedrooms, and 4 bathrooms. I was very excited when I purchased it! Finally a big house! But then, it came with cheap floorings, cheap wallpapers, cheap furniture! Huh? The price was so high yet it came with the cheapest furniture? Good job EA! I never knew I have better taste in interior design than them. 

The exterior-lovely Miramontes house. Image source
The in game grocery store, cafe, and other public places lack sim interaction. It is the thrill of exploring a new place that makes the game worthwhile. Not some loophole or black hole or whatever gaming term EA said. Shopping is about exploring displays and paying them at the counter, not having a dialog appear on screen and you choose what to buy. Where's the real life simulation experience that the first sims promised? 

Okay, I understand why opportunities would be gone once I change the active household. It's because they have a certain time frame and the story progression needs to be followed. But why wishes too? In real life, wishes don't disappear that fast. 

So what's the difference between a teen and an adult? In terms of skill and wishes? Nothing. Teens go to high school. Adults go to work. And my teen got her lifetime wish way ahead. So what's her future now? What is there to aspire? Nah... So when she reaches adulthood, everyday she gets promoted at work because she completed her skill bars already? Where's the challenge in that huh? 

With the in game items, I remember how my siblings and I read each description of furniture because they're funny and witty at the same time. With Sims 3, every description sound like it’s a rushed paragraph which tries hard to make me laugh.

Fact is, the game is buggy and laggy. At first I thought it was my computer system that lacks performance. But when I researched online, everybody has the freezing problem and some even had worse bugs than me. Does EA even think about the feelings of the player? It feels like a total rushed job. Good thing there are dedicated third party mods who fix these issues. BUT IT IS EA’S JOB TO FIX! 

Honestly, my verdict with the game is this: the aesthetics and the concept of what the Sims 3 should be is good. The 3D graphics, the story progression, the aging gameplay is all good. But the idea was not made into full and not perfected to fruition. The game is half baked and released unfinished. 

My heart breaks that our dear Electronic Arts destroyed my most favorite game of all time. I am still for the original The Sims, those created by Will Wright and the geniuses at Maxis back in 2000. The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 may have beautiful 3D visuals and graphics, but it really lacks  in gameplay experience.

And now, EA has announced that The Sims 4 coming! So would you still buy it? 

If ever you would, DON’T buy it on the day it was released. Wait, like, six months later. Give time for the very dedicated mods to troubleshoot and fix the glitches… for that smooth experience and gameplay. And please do read reviews, if the majority gives negative ratings, save your money for a much better game. Do not trust what you see in trailers and posters. Trust what the reviews say. 

Honestly, I am not excited with the latest The Sims franchise. In fact, I'm broken hearted. All I look forward to are the glitches and problems that might occur. The emotion-added concept for the sims is nice though, and the 3D features have improved. But this is EA, it may look beautiful but the gameplay… ugh…. no comment.

Sigh. What happened to The Sims? 


Lhen OrdoƱa said…
I'm a self-confessed sim addict ever since. My sister and I used to play this all day! And yeah, like you, we experienced lots of bugs and corrupted datas. You're right, that the player get too attached to the sim and all of a sudden poof! its gone. kainis lang yung ganun. I'm not aware of sim's 4 but i do hope okay siya :)
Angel Mariel said…
hi Lhen! long time no see... hehehe... do you still play video games other than the sims? :)
Chic and Alluring said…
Wow, I had no idea it was this bad!

Your review has really changed my mind on getting Sims 3. By the way, speaking of Sims, you know what game was an utter disappointment? Sims Medieval. Ugh. I could rant about that one all day, but if I start, I'll go on forever.
Angel Mariel said…
Right on, sis! I didn't get Sims Medieval... I actually thought it was an expansion to Sims 3. Hehehe... I'm totally disappointed with the sims franchise now.
julianne sx said…
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