The Sims Fail: Three Integral Features it Threw Away

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I’m a huge fan of The Sims franchise and I was honored when I got the chance to officially review the game. I was expecting only good things from The Sims 4 and that’s mostly because of my blind loyalty and the increasing hype surrounding the game.

I started the game with a huge grin on my face, but it started to fade as time passed. I liked the game but I wasn’t in love with it. They took out a lot of features fans loved from the past games to make room for new elements. Don’t get me wrong, the new additions are innovative but it’s not as strong without all the features they stripped out.

Let’s take a look at what The Sims 4 and what went wrong.

Toddlers

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I can forgive the absence of swimming pools in the video games, but I can’t seem to let go of toddlers. I mistakenly thought that it wasn’t going to be a big deal. The transition between a crying infant to a walking and talking child is just bizarre. It’s like seeing a distant cousin in a family reunion you’re forced to go to after nearly a decade of skipping out on it.

One of the things that got me attached to Sims is taking care of them as toddlers in The Sims 3. You taught them how to talk, walk, and use the potty. On top of that, you had to read to them to develop their skills. Did I mention that they are incredibly high maintenance too?

I once had to raise twins with a single father Sim who was still trying to make a name for himself in Politics. It was difficult as hell, but it was rewarding in the end when the boys had families of their own and their father eventually passed away. I changed their diapers, read them to sleep, and woke up in the wee hours of the morning to feed them. If that’s not love, then I don’t know what it is.

Story Progression

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I was quite surprised that Maxis took out story progression from The Sims 4. It’s one of the popular features in the franchise and a lot of fans have even made mods to improve and tweak its settings.

Story Progression ultimately breathes life to the world of The Sims 3. Neighbor Sims can get married based on compatible traits, pick a career, get promoted, get fired, have a baby, and even die while you’re controlling one household. They didn’t just exist in a time vacuum anymore. They went on with their lives.

It kept things interesting and it’s fun to play God even if you’re just spectating on your creations. I was intrigued by how some of my Sims became the most unluckiest couple and also that one of them died by a random meteor days after. It’s spontaneous, random, ridiculous, and yet it’s a lot like real life.

Unfortunately, this can’t happen anymore in The Sims 4. Uncontrolled households can still age, but they’re pretty much sitting there waiting until they grow old unless players intervene.

There are different ways to play God, this just limits the possibilities.

Open World

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Yes, The Sims 4 has gone back to loading screens a la The Sims 2. It’s not as bad as before considering that it takes less than five seconds, but it’s annoying that you’ll have to deal with one every single time. It doesn’t matter if the lot is just in front of yours, you’re still getting one.

I used to jog from one end of the map to the other without interruption. I feel like this breaks the cohesion and immersion of the game. The Sims 4’s new features might not handle a whole world at the same time, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for taking a step backwards.


  • Totally agree with all of this! I would also like to add the lack of customization of clothes. They made the create-a-sim extremely deep yet I can only choose from a predetermined number of designs and colors for my shirt?

    I’m a longtime fan of The Sims and the 4th game is a huge step back. It feels like playing an HD reboot of the first Sims game!

    • nima

      ” It feels like playing an HD reboot of the first Sims game!” I read that in a review somewhere… or maybe it was a video, but either way, it’s irritating to see people incapable of original thought.

      • Oh, sorry. Haven’t really read any reviews yet. So it was an original thought. I guess like minds think alike?

  • Well, drop another $20 for the swimming pool expansion, another $20 for the toddler expansion, another $20 for the story progression expansion, and then another $60 when the next game is open world and you’ll have nothing to complain left about. Except no money to buy food, but you only need to eat like once a week or so right?

  • Shawn

    Is anyone really surprised after the SimCity disaster? After that unmitigated rolling train wreck I’ll never buy another Maxis game again. They sold their soul to EA’s greed and avarice and there is no coming back from that.

  • nima

    Why not point out the new and interesting things that Sims 4 has brought to the whole experience??? I myself lament many things that I was fond of (neither of them is pools or toddlers), but at the same time I enjoy how the game has become more challenging, it’s not so easy anymore. With the other Sims games all you had to do was to carefully plan everything and you could successfully achieve anything in a relative short amount of time. I love how the progress towards the fulfillment of an aspiration is in stages and they seem rather logical, and the promotion requirements aren’t so easily attained. You don’t just sit a few hours and read a book, and bam! your skill has improved. And you unlock stuff by advancing in your career, and I find that pretty cool..

    As I said, there are many things that I miss, like some personality traits that I loved, some careers (I was really sad to see that my Sim couldn’t be a teacher…), but it’s a new game (and I love the new clothes, and the color and texture options are diverse enough for me), and although it feels awkward at times because I was used to Sims 3, somehow it made me want to see what happens next. I am halfway through my Sims careers, and I am working my way towards the 4th stage of my aspirations, and I find it really fun to juggle their needs, their careers, their social lives, and my own plans for their lives, like getting married and having kids and building a bigger house for them, etc.

    It’s easy to write reviews repeating the same thing that others have said, and to compare it with the previous Sims games, but why not take it as it is, a new game on its own, bringing something new to the whole experience?

    • Shawn

      You say you are half way through your sim’s careers, may I ask how long you have been playing? Like to get a feeling of the time spent difference between 3 and 4.

      • nima

        Hmm, not quite sure, because not all of my played hours have actually been spent playing (or even playing with that particular household). Plus, I haven’t played Sims 3 in half a year, so I couldn’t really compare. What I did like about Sims 3 regarding time was the customization of the life span. With Sims 4, the normal length of a life span seems too short when you start from scratch at the beginning of the young adult stage, while the long life span is so long that I am afraid I would get irritated with the children taking forever to age (I really don’t like kids, be it game of real life).