“Goblins stole my eyebrows” was the pitiful claim of a peasant that had been set upon by the marauding Goblins that had entered my Kingdom. Others had been vomited upon and had Goblin feet rubbed in their faces. Taking care of this Goblin menace was just one of the tasks that lay ahead for my Knight, along with paying his taxes, talking with foreign officials and dueling with mysterious visiting knights. All of this and fitting in a couple of bowls of Gruel and some much needed shut-eye, in the space of one day. Seems like Medieval times are not so easy on The Sims.
As a long time fan of The Sims, I was looking forward to getting my Medieval Sim on. But nothing could have prepared me for the hard work that lay ahead. I think I need a vacation.
The Sims games are, in my opinion at least, games that I think everyone wants to play. The problem has been that the open-endedness and lack or forced direction seems to put off a lot of gamers. Well, The Sims Medieval aims to address that by offering forth what is a stand alone game that, whilst using the mechanics that Sims lovers will all recognise and be comfortable with, has more in common with a role-playing game than the life simulator that is The Sims 3.
Players begin by creating a Monarch for their Kingdom. They must then choose an ambition, an overall campaign if you like. The Monarch is their first hero, which in this context means a playable Sim, and as a hero must take on quests. The quests range from the very simple to the surprisingly complex and will see the player using different heroes that they have unlocked and created, to approach the quests from different angles. In fact, further in the game, players will actually need to control more than one hero and have them collaborate to complete quests.. Completion of quests reward the player with points that can be spent on various buildings which both expand the Kingdom and also unlock the new hero types.
As the player works through their quest, the hero in use at the time will gain experience and level up. When the quest is completed, that characters story comes, at least temporarily, to an abrupt halt. But the experience, levels, skills and equipment that the character has gained will all be there once they are chosen for a new quest.
Each of the heroes that become available, such as the Monarch, Knight, Priest or Blacksmith, play slightly differently and approach quests in different ways, giving the game a great sense of variety as the player changes heroes between quests. Something else that changes the way a hero plays are the traits that can be assigned at creation. Although perhaps not as complex as those found in The Sims 3, these character flaws and strengths are much more fun in Medieval and allow for some really interesting interactions (like the Monarch who has to tell everyone who will listen that his parents were both eaten by a whale)
Although the quest is the most important aspect of the game, the player must still cater for the daily grind. Each hero class has duties that they must fulfill on a daily basis and the player must always be mindful of the energy and hunger of their Sim. Time appears to flow much slower in Medieval times, reducing the urgency of getting hungry and tired. But with the large number of things that the player must do, and having to travel all across the Kingdom and beyond to do them, these are easy things to overlook. Becoming hungry or tired, or failing to complete ones daily duties, will result in a drop in focus which is directly linked to how successful the player is within their quest.
Another thing that can affect focus is surroundings. As with other Sim games, the player is able to redecorate and furnish their living areas for the benefit of their Sim, such as providing a much more comfy bed or some nice rugs. But, unlike the other Sim games, this time around the player is stuck with the overall structure in which their Sim lives.
Perhaps the most desirable aspect of the Sims Medieval to Sims fans is the fact that, at last, the player is recognised as the deity they imagine themselves to be. Taking on the role of the creator of all has been present in all of the Sims games, but it is not until now that this creator is given a name, The Watcher, and, with the right use of Priests and threats, all of the Sims in the Kingdom will learn to praise you, to the point that they look right at you when they prey. It may only be a bit of ego stroking, but I am not complaining.
Although The Sims Medieval has a much more linear feel than previous Sims games and concentrates far more on the creating of a story, there is still time to wander around the Kingdom and meet interesting people. The Kingdom itself is reasonably large and has a fair few places to visit, such as the town square and the village shop. I personally found the shop to be quite irritating, as you cannot actually visit it, just visit the path that leads to it which, as the view zooms out automatically, is rather awkward when it comes to interactions. Another annoyance was the Watchers viewpoint, which is used to overlook the entire Kingdom. This central, overhead view was a bit finicky on my Laptop, although on a proper PC with a mouse the experience may well be different.
With all of the quests, different heroes to create and evolve and a Kingdom to build, The Sims Medieval comes packed with a lot of content. The quests can get a bit repetitive, constantly finding this and talking to them, but the overall humour and desire to create these medieval stories will keep the player going throughout. There are a lot of similarities to The Sims 3, but there are so many differences that Sims fans and Sims haters should all give this game a go, it may be just what the doctor ordered, and it’s better than Leeches.