The Sims 3 PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.8
Graphics 8.0
Sound 8.2
Value 8.7
Developer: EA
Review Date:
July 2009
Reviewer:
Brooke Robinson
Classification: PG

8.7


The Sims 3

Without question, The Sims is probably one of the most popular “non-gamer” and “non-casual” games in the world which once again returns to the world of the PC which first birthed this very popular concept, thanks to developers MAXIS.

The idea behind The Sims is easy, it’s basically a life simulation, however this current instalment increases the sandbox experience, making this one of the largest and most engaging Sims to date.

Although the core gameplay of the previous games remains intact, the main drawcard of the mechanics is the improved way that your Sim or avatar interacts with the world and in laymen’s term, more interaction with just about everything and best of all, you’re not just limited to a house or particular destination because now you can explore the world where your Sim lives.

Phew! Another impressive aspect of The Sims 3 is that you can turn off ageing which in essence means you’ll be immortal or you can even lengthen your lifespan. Needless to say, it's the tweaks and customizations that makes this version supersede everything before it.

Features:
  • New Seamless, Open Neighborhood—Explore the neighborhood freely. Your Sims can roam throughout their neighborhood, visit neighbors’ homes, and explore the surroundings. They can stroll downtown to hang out with friends, meet someone new at the park, or run into colleagues on the street. If your Sims are in the right place at the right time, who knows what might happen?!
  • New Create A Sim—Create any Sim you can imagine. New easy-to-use design tools allow for unlimited customization to make truly individual Sims. Determine your Sims’ shape and size, from thin to full-figured to muscular—and everything in between! Choose your Sims’ facial features, their exact skin tone, hair, eye shape and color and select their clothing and accessories.
  • New Realistic Personalities—Every Sim is a unique person, with a distinct personality. Create realistic Sims with distinctive personalities. Select from dozens of personality traits and combine them in fun ways. The combination of traits you choose—brave, artistic, loner, perfectionist, klepto, romantic, clumsy, paranoid, and much, much more—help shape the behavior of your Sims and how they interact with other Sims. Your Sims can now rise above their basic set of every day needs. They are complex individuals with unique personalities.
  • New Unlimited Customization—Everyone can customize everything! Build your dream house or design the ultimate home. Customize everything from floors to flowers, shirts to sofas, wallpaper to window shades. It’s fun and easy to change colors and patterns giving you endless personalization options. Or you can populate your Sims’ neighborhood with pre-designed buildings and furnishings. Which of your Sims will live in high-end mansions, cool bachelor pads, ultimate dream homes or low-cost cottage?

The most bizarre aspect of The Sims is… who would have thought that a game about life could be so popular? This means you need to ensure that your Sim eats, goes to the toilet, has hobbies, works, makes friends and even gets involved in relationships and the like.

Thankfully the mundane micromanagement of eating and toileting has been streamlined to ensure that you don’t waste too much time and you can jump straight into the fun. Yes my dear readers, The Sims is back... and bigger than ever that now makes you feel like you are part of something bigger and not just your neighborhood but almost a fully interactive city of where your Sim lives.

This means that you can now visit a plethora of new destinations or even go on a virtual date with another Sim. The places that you visit are quite realistic such as the Beach or the park and for those Goth gamers, the game allows you to visit cemeteries for a truly surreal and almost ghostly experience. Of course each Sim has their own personality traits and yes, you can be a villain if you choose so.

Before beginning your experience in The Sims, you need to create your avatar which includes their physical appearance from body shapes to hair styles and of course their personalities. As opposed to previous versions, the avatars that you create are almost endless which does add some uniqueness in the game and needless to say, you can create your self if you choose to.

You also need to choose a long-term goal for your Sim which will be the basis of your existence in this virtual world. Whether sporting superstar or a James Bond-esq spy, The Sims 3 also offers more realistically endeavors like families and “normal” jobs. Of course, it’s all about the journey getting there and this is entirely up to the gamer as your Sim trains, studies, works and meets the right people to progress in their world.

Once in the world of The Sims, you need to make money and friends in order to progress in this life simulation which is where the fun begins. Of course as per all previous games, the main theme of title are the relationships that your Sims have from friends to enemies and of course the romantic ones. Pop out a few babies with your partner or have an affair at the gym, the choices are limitless.

Communicating with Sims still allows you to choose how you wish to engage in those you meet and thankfully the AI in the game does a good job of keeping things fresh and original with that wonderful Sim babble which sounds like Mr. Bean on speed.

The skills that your Sim picks up will assist in certain processes and paths in the game which in term helps your goals, whether it’s through money or knowledge which may be the difference between your mediocre job and your dream job.

Thankfully like the “real-world”, your Sim can change careers midway through their life or earlier or later if need be which adds to the replay value of the game and a “What If” scenario. The new reward system in the game “rewards” the players for certain parts of their life such as delivering a speech or reaching a milestone at work, ensuring that carrots are throughout the game.

Of course, apart from interacting with the world from characters to places, your character must also deck out their homes and upgrade their houses, buy new homes or the latest digital home entertainment equipment. It’s quite fun but it’s a shame that you don’t own it in real life :), however seeing your modern Tamagotchi happen is cute.


 

Graphically, the game is quite reminiscent of the previous games, however with a slicker look which boasts some great animation, a very colourful palette and a variety of special effects. In terms of computer specifications, the Sims requires

Desktop
CPU: Pentium IV 2.0 GHz, Athlon XP 2000+ (XP) // Pentium IV 2.4 GHz, Athlon XP 2400+ (Vista)
RAM: 1.0 GB (XP) // 1.5 GB (Vista)
Graphics: GeForce FX 5900, Radeon 9500 (XP and Vista)
Video RAM: 128 MB (XP and Vista)

Laptop:
CPU: Pentium IV 2.0 GHz, Athlon XP 2000+ (XP) // Pentium IV 2.4 GHz, Athlon XP 2400+ (Vista)
RAM: 1.5 GB (XP) // 2.0 GB (Vista)
Graphics: GoForce Go 6200, Radeon mobile 9600 (XP and Vista)
Video RAM: 128 MB (XP and Vista)

Thankfully the specs are quite low realistically, ensuring that the game can be run on a variety of different PC's.

The gaming environment is quite visually impressive and is reminiscent of those old board games such as The Game of Life as the city is quite neat looking and at times is like Sim City. The soundtrack of the Sims is quite pleasant to listen to and even though it only provides background ambience, at certain times in the game, the music will come to the forefront. As mentioned earlier, the Simtalk or babble makes a welcome return and suits the franchise perfectly as do some of the quirky sound effects.

At the end of the day, The Sims 3 may seem like more of the same old, however it does offer the gamer a uniquely almost fully interactive and virtual experience. Imagine walking through the streets of GTA IV, however with a Sims interface… close. The reward system of the game only spurs on the player and makes you more ambitious but the real shining gem of this game is the interactive city which truly transcends this genre to the next level. Curse you MAXIS… this game is as addictive as ever from gameplay to graphics! However... I think it's time that Sims made the move to online play!






 
 



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