Seasonal fun for The Sims.
On a cold and wintery day, GGUK made their way over to the EA offices for some hands on time with the latest expansion pack for The Sims 3, Seasons, which is due to hit the stores later this week.
Before we got our Sim-lovin’ hands on the game, the EA rep showed us a brief demo of The Maple family, who had been set up in their own home with the roof missing so we could catch a glimpse of what was going on inside. It was the Winter Gift Giving season, during which the family can come together and celebrate the festive time of the year. The Gift Giving season allows you to interact with a pile of presents and exchange gifts with loved ones. Watching the Sims closely you can see what they actually wished for as they tear open wrapping paper and witness a delightful smile appearing across their faces. Everyone was huddled around, with Grandma Maple poking at the open fire while Dennis and Suzie, a husband and wife who haven’t seen each other for a while, found themselves kissing under the mistletoe as they were captured in the moment. It’s a heartfelt occasion and you can feel the warmth and family togetherness as they laugh, smile and open gifts. In fact, the only thing missing was a jolly fat man with a beard and a resounding laugh.
But it is not all about that special time of year as The Sims 3 Seasons enables you to control the different seasons within your Sims town and adjust the length of the different seasons, or remove seasons all together if they are not to your liking. During the course of each season, the temperatures will change and your Sims will inevitably have to adjust to the different weather conditions outside. The weather can change rapidly from one day to the next and you will find your Sim going from being freezing and making snow angels on the ground, to soaking up the sunshine. To deal with these changes of weather, there is a new range of outdoor clothing that will keep your Sim snuggly warm through the colder seasons and dry when the rain comes down.
Sims who are exposed to the hazards of a harsh winter can become frozen and, if this is remedied in a timely manner, the can even freeze to death. However, if there are friends or neighbours close by, they can help with thawing-out your poor Sim. Being outside in any of the environments for too long has its own set of consequences, from becoming frozen to frying in the sunshine. If you decide to bask in the sunshine, be warned that your fair skinned sim may turn a rosy red, burn or even spontaneously combust. For the first time ever in The Sims, your Sim can take a swim in any body of water, be that the calm ocean of the summer season or the stormy winter sea.
Within Seasons, the player can length of summer, fall, winter and spring, and enable the various weather conditions such as hail, snow or fog within these seasons. The player has complete control and can choose whether to have these options selected one at a time, or throw the all in for a good mixture of weather and a more unpredictable Sim experience. You will always be aware of the temperatures in Seasons, and a visual indicator allows you to see when the seasons will change. Temperatures can be displayed in Celsius and Fahrenheit so your Sim can prepare for the glorious sunshine or get ready to snuggle up with a cosy jumper in front of an open fireplace.
During the early winter period, everything can become covered with a dusting of snow and your Sim will become aware of the weather conditions to come. It is a good opportunity to explore what fun winter can be as you skate on frozen ponds and swimming pools with your friends, maybe experimenting with skating backwards regardless of where you may end up. Even with the frozen conditions turning every drop of water into ice, it’s a good idea to check out all the fun activities available to your Sim. Snowboarding on the half-pipe was a new experience for my Sim, and she climbed the steps in search of fun-filled entertainment. Unfortunately, Snowboarding takes some practice. She plummeted off the side and slid back and forth until falling in a slump in the middle of the half-pipe. With a bit more practice, she might be able to improve her snowboarding skill and perform some impressive spins or even catch some air.
Experiencing the winter weather conditions in the Sims 3 Seasons is an extraordinary experience. It’s a winter wonderland, where heaps of snow gather on vehicles and the Sims footprints are deeply implanted in the crisp white snow. Taxis struggle in the snow as the harsh conditions plague the environment and snow piles up on the bonnets and ground. The ground becomes completely frozen and sends a winter chill through your Sim.
With each of the seasons, the delight of a new festival comes to your town. Verde Park Summer Festival is brimming with lots of activities for your Sim to enjoy, from watching or participating in an eating contest, to setting off your very own selection of fireworks. Festival cuisine will have your Sim waiting in line at the hot-dog counter or making your very own snow cone ,choosing from a selection of different flavours such as cherry, lemon or rainbow. The festivals are about joining your friends for some enjoyable entertainment. Huddle up together in one of the photo booths for a silly or normal pose, or have snowball fights across the park. Sims can construct their own little igloo to relax or take a nap in, by themselves or with friends. If you don’t fancy any of those activities, you can always build your own snowman.
Sims can keep a lookout for changing weather conditions through the weather channel on their TV’s or by powering up their PC and looking online, so they can be constantly aware of what the weather has in store. During each festival your Sim can take pictures within the photo cabins with up to seven other sims. Once the photo is taken, each of the Sims will receive a greeting card in their inventory. These can then be placed on a counter or wall, but can also be shared through the memory feature, Twitter or Facebook.
My time at the EA offices may have been spent mostly enjoying the winter season in The Sims 3 Seasons, but there is so much more to the expansion than snowmen and gifts. During the summer period, Sims can grab some rollerskates and head through the park, or engage in water balloon fights. If your Sim is feeling energetic, there is a football pitch where you can challenge another Sim to a shoot out. During the fall season, trees will lose their leaves and you’ll find yourself running for shelter from the rain under your umbrella, or splashing in the puddles. Spring will bring the leaves back to the trees, rainbows and wild flowers to collect. And don’t even get me started on the aliens…
Looking after your Sims health in the seasons is essential as the different conditions will leave your Sim one moment feeling upbeat in the summer, causing her mood to be constantly positive, and the next feeling down in the dumps as she catches a cold and starts sneezing everywhere. Catching the Flu is not nice for a Sim, but they can always go to the clinic and get immunize.
Each season brings with it a new festival and brand new elements for your Sim to experience. Just make sure you have an extra jumper in the winter months and suntan lotion for the heatwaves.