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The Sims 3DS Review (Australian Exclusive) - -

Gameplay 6.0
Graphics 7.0
Sound 7.5
Value 5.5
Distributor: UbiSoft
James Wright


The Sims 3

From PC's to consoles and even mobile phones, The Sims has become one of the most popular gaming franchises of all time. Although The Sims was not the first "sim" game, it did become the definitive version and its competitors spawned a variety of clones that never seemed to work. By many people, The Sims is considered a life simulator but in actual fact, there's quite a bit of gaming goodness in its content and whether it's battling dragons (The Sims Medieval) or exploring the world (The Sims World Adventures), the game definitely branched out from its humble roots of the basics such as cooking, working, making friends and of course good personal hygiene.

So here we are again on a brand new console as EA Games launches The Sims 3, however as opposed to other versions of this game, this current instalment supports the 3D abilities of the Nintendo 3DS console. Given that I'm fan of the series, I was unfortunately let down by this game on the 3DS. It seemed like the Sims 3 was missing something on this console and from its blurry text to Spartan environments, what was EA thinking when they released this game? For me, The Sims 3 feels a little unfinished and like a BETA version due to some buggy graphics. This was not The Sims that I was use to.

Thankfully the core gaming mechanics are still there as you need to create your own virtual avatar for the world of The Sims. One nifty feature is that you can take a photo of yourself in order for it to be used for creating your Sim, it's an interesting feature but doesn't work that well. However, before starting the game, you need to choose your Sims gender, appearance, personality and lifetime goals that could include something strange as world domination as an evil mastermind to something more realistic like starting a family. The choice is yours and depending on your Sims personality and what their lifetime goals may be, there is a considerable amount of replay value to be had in this game, provided you move pass the rushed feeling of the game. If you do achieve your lifetime goals in the game, the title gives you a little something in return where you can perform something good or bad on the world of the Sims. I don't want to spoil this feature because it makes great use of the 3DS capabilities and is definitely a surprise.

Apart from going to work and making money for you Sim in order for them to fulfil their wishes, the game relies heavy on relationships from enemies to best friends and romances. Without these, generally, depending on your Sims personality can be quite disastrous for your Sim, so you need to juggle quite a bit in the game from eating to sleeping, having a shower and even going to the toilet. Thankfully the game does alert you if your Sim is not feeling very happy and assists in pointing you to the right direction such as your Sim wanting to have fun and to dance or some other activity.

If you have never played The Sims before, the game does contain a rather in-depth tutorial process that will help get your Sim started in this virtual world. As a regular Sim player, I did find this a little annoying because I could not skip this process but I'm sure I did learn a few things or two. Apart from buying new houses or purchasing items to make your Sim happy like Plasma TV's or entertainment systems, you can visit friends, go to the Gym, shopping and even a nightclub if you want to get your dance on. Although you are limited to the places that you can explore, it does create a miniature city for your Sim to explore that does break up the monotony of staying in one place only. Although no multiplayer perse, the game does support the StreetPass system which allows you to invite Sims to visit your world or visa versa. Unfortunately even the core mechanics are here, something just feels off which is a shame, considering the excellent release of The Sims Medieval.

Graphically, The Sims 3 on the 3DS is a bit of a mixed bag. The 3D effects in the top screen look great, especially when your character is engaging in some activity like dancing or just having a regular chat to their friend. Even though the world is all polygon based and quite simplistic, it does look good an pays homage to the original games of the series. The top screen is generally used as filler, whereas the bottom screen on the 3DS is used to navigate your character and interact them with the world. It does take a little time getting use to the process of the stylus and interacting with the world but overall it does work well, except some of the little icons you need to press. This does become a little frustrating because the developers attempted to cram so much into the screen at once. The highlight for me was the decent audio quality of the game from that classic Sim language to music and sound effects that sounded amazing on this new console. However as mentioned earlier on this review, there are a few graphical glitches from blurry text to a sometimes frustrating frame rate issues that makes things shudder a little, especially when you're trying to move your sim from point A to B, when too much is happening on the screen.

In the end, EA did try to do good with this game but for me, there were too many inconsistencies of the interface to the graphical problems. To compound the problem, The Sims 3 was actually far sturdier and dare I say, more fun on the DS as it was a strong game overall, not so on the 3DS version. From the crystal clear screen at the top of your DS to the convoluted mess at the bottom, I honestly don't know what happened to this game. It does have a few moments like StreetPass and the inclusion of 3D that is sparingly used but I was hoping for more, especially on the Nintendo 3DS!


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