Weâ€™ve played the various life simulation games on the PC and consoles over a number of years, but now EA has introduced their latest version, The Sims 3, onto the consoles. Will playing The Sims 3 on the big screen win us around or have us running back to the computer?
I personally have played all of The Sims games over the years, including The Sims 3 and the various expansions, so I had a fair idea of what was in store. The game on the Xbox 360 version starts your journey by welcoming you into the lively town of Moonlight Bay and this is where you will create your awesome and interesting life as a sim. To begin with youâ€™re introduced to creating your unique sim, where you will customize your sims appearance along with selecting 5 personality traits from 4 sections of Mental, Physical, Social and Lifestyle. In mental you can be anything from neurotic to a computer whiz. I choose to be a computer whiz, because I had a plan in mind. In physical you can choose from being super athletic to a bog standard couch potato. Being more of an exercise freak, I opted for super fit. In social you can choose anything from charismatic to hopeless romantic and finally in lifestyle you can be ambitious or someone who hates outdoors. There are around 10 to 20 traits to choose from, but choose wisely because they will all have an effect on your Sim, either in a positive or negative sense.
Creating the Sims appearance is just like the PC version. You can change everything from the colour of your eyes to the shade of your hair. The Sims 3 have personalized the appearance details very well, such as including makeup and some of your very own plastic surgery so players can readjust the shape of their face or changing the shape of your torso from very big to super slim. Players can choose Sims voices from a deep and serious tone to the highest pitched Minnie Mouse style tone. I went for Minnie Mouse, as it seemed like a good idea at the time. The game has a wide selection of clothing and accessories to choose from with the added bonus of choosing patterns and material. Youâ€™ve got no excuse to say you havenâ€™t got anything to wear.
Once youâ€™ve successfully chosen how you wish your Sim to look and adjusted their personality, players then have the task of choosing their first home in Moonlight Bay from the town map. Moonlight bay is a neighbourhood filled with both fine furnished homes and rundown shacks. Depending on how much money you wish to invest in your new property, you can select furnished or unfurnished just like the original sims games. Once settled into your local neighbourhood and new home, itâ€™s time to venture out and find some employment within the area. Players can choose to work part time or full time in various job roles throughout the town and there are 11 career paths that your sim can follow. Each of them have different skill requirements in order to fill the specialities and promotions. Being an ambitious sim that I was, I decided to embark on a career with the local law enforcement and try to work my way up the career ladder. Hindsightâ€™s a funny thing really, because if I had taken a part time job, I could have done a lot more in the early days and visited the town more. But I chose a cop career which in itself had me working from 9am to 3pm, and I would come home totally exhausted with no energy to pick up a book. Iâ€™ve been promoted a few times, so Iâ€™ve been hot on the trails on some black market gnomes who are part of a gnome smuggling ring and brought them to justice. I quickly made it to desk jockey, which has mountains of paperwork, and finally to sergeant. My career will hopefully lead to becoming a super international spy, if I work hard enough. You can adjust how well you work in your location of employment, but the game doesnâ€™t allow you to see inside the buildings.
Just like the PC version, youâ€™ve got to take care of your sim with the normal requirements to fill such as hunger, social, bladder, hygiene, energy and fun. Your sim needs to function at a good level in order to get on with their job or other people. Sims have their very own personal inventory and everything you buy or bring home from work is listed in here. The buy mode allows you to explore everything you need for your first home and also allows you to become the architect and create your home from scratch.
EA have introduced a new feature to The Sims 3 on console by adding Karma powers. Sims receive a daily allowance of free karma each night at midnight and your karma pool fills a little bit on itâ€™s own, if the universe is willing. Karma powers can be a negative or positive effect on your sim. You can be really good and kind or just a little bit evil and ruthless. Each and every karma power has an effect, so bear that in mind when choosing. Some can be detrimental, while others can be damaging. Negative powers include unleashing on your sim a rain of fire and gemstones from the sky, to earthquakes shaking the very ground upon which they stand. If you do the damage, be prepared to do the time by having to repair everything, which can prove to be positive as that increases the sims repairing skills. Or you could be a kind person and allow your sim to be super beautiful or fill up their needs so they donâ€™t have to worry about anything like running to the toilet or finding the time to wash dishes, as these powers can be introduced automatically. Your karma meter is full when starting the game and you gain one karma point for fulfilling each wish that is shown to you. I loved this idea because there were times when there were dishes piling up in the sink and my home needed a thorough clean and with a karma power, it solved it instantly. Sims still encounter the same problems as before, such as having the time to build good relationships, keeping on top of the bills, making a good amount of simleons and generally having fun. For some reason unknown to me, my sim constantly had troubles with her bathroom. Everything seemed to leak. I would call up the repair man for fifty simoleons, only for him to come and chat me up while standing in the vast puddles that were growing steadily on my bathroom floor. A week later my PC died on me from writing and hacking, and smoke was pouring out the back of the monitor. How the Sims 3 does replicate life so well.
The game throughout has many challenges, wishes and rewards which allows players to advance. Such challenges include everything from hacking a computer 10 times to taking a bubblebath by placing a bottle on the shower before using it. There are so many challenges and rewards to list that I would be here forever. Most of the tasks are simple, such as reading every book available from the book store or taking a tour of the theatre. In the challenge shop you can purchase items to add to teh games already impressive inventory, such as lawn decor including a lawn penguin. I purchased this item because I thought it would be nice for my sim to look at while it sat outside on the lawn, but the only option available was â€˜kickâ€™. It was a facepalm moment.
During game play, be sure to check out â€˜The Exchangeâ€™. This is an area where players can upload their own items theyâ€™ve created or download objects that other players have made into their own game. During browsing around the exchange, there was quite a lot of items to download if you wanted to. These can be anything from clothing to housing. Some of the houses are quite spectacular and impressive, but bear in mind you still have to purchase them through the game with your own simleons.
The mechanics of the game are very different from the PC. Using the Xbox 360 controller, players can zoom in, pause time, rotate items, speed or slow down time and move objects. It took me a little while to get used to as the interaction was slightly slower and clunky. It took time to do various interactions within the map and everything just took a little longer to complete. Generally The Sims 3 on console is very much like the PC version with a few added features thrown in such as karma powers ,challenge and rewards, but lacking the sheer amount of content and a certain degree of freedom. While I believe that The Sims 3 will do well on the console, I felt let down by the whole mechanics. While I would happy click on the town, go to work and explore the local shops on the PC version, it just took extraÂ effort to make that happen with the console. Having said that though, this game is ideal if you don’t have a PC and only own a console.
The Sims series has always been the ultimate life simulation title in the video game world and while I still love it with a passion, play endless hours working my way up the career ladder and try to build good relationships with my neighbours, I feel that itâ€™s far better on the PCÂ than the console. If youâ€™re a Sims fan, youâ€™ll stick with it, ignore the mechanics and have a great deal of fun. It still has that addictiveness to it that makes it a truly awesome game and it will eat away hours of your life that youâ€™ll never get back, but thatâ€™s what makes this game so great. From the comfort of the sofa, watch as your Sims go about their daily life on the big screen. Just don’t forget to let them have some fun.