Interactive careers, running a shop, and aliens – the first Sims 4 expansion brings it all.
The launch of The Sims 4 was a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst Sims fans were overjoyed that the next installment of The Sims franchise had arrived, and no doubt had plenty of fun with all of the new features, moving from a game with such a massive amount of content to a vanilla game with limited things to do and places to go left a lot of players, myself included, twiddling their thumbs. This lack of content was inevitable, but the fans could at least rest assured that more was coming in the form of expansions and game packs.
We didn’t have to wait long for the first game pack, which allowed Sims become one with nature. It was nice and fun, but still didn’t add a lot to do. But now, with the launch of the first of what will likely be many expansions, Sims players will be able to indulge their fantasies using little simulated people, as long as those fantasies involve working in one of three different interactive careers, running a shop or meeting aliens.
The main addition to The Sims 4 with the Get To Work expansion is the three interactive careers. Set your Sim to be a doctor, detective or scientist and follow them to work each day, if you want to, giving access to three new locations filled with all manner of interesting interactions. The other big addition which will please all of the long time Sims players is the option to buy or build a retail outlet, stock it with items to sell and hire staff to keep the store running. Beyond this, there are multiple little additions, including the appearance of aliens and the chance to visit their homeworld of Sixam, new photography and baking skills, and an abundance of new items and outfits that begins to build up the already decent selection in the basic Sims 4 game.
The chance to follow your Sim to work really does extend the gameplay substantially, giving the player direction during a period of time which is usually simply fast forwarded through. Going to work with your Sim, which is still a choice, is no leisurely fun time though. Sims will have to work hard, or their career may suffer.
With the promise of almost magical potions and wacky inventions, one of my established Sims quickly quit here job as a business tycoon and jumped into the lowest level of the scientist career ladder. During some time tending the garden, even before her first day, she had a breakthrough and noted down an idea for an invention in the notes section of her smartphone. There are certain actions that inspire these breakthroughs, and the Sim will require two for each promotion, along with the standard good job performance.
Arriving at the lab early on the next morning, my Sim was given things to do, such as creating this new invention she had imagined, or interacting with fellow scientists. Completing these actions will gradually fill a bar at the top of the screen, which relates to how well the Sim does at work on that day. The Sim will only be at work for a limited time, although this time can be extended by two hours if the player chooses to stay late, so completely filling the bar can be difficult, especially if the tasks prove to be difficult or time consuming.
However, the pay off for all of this hard work goes beyond just simple cash rewards. As a scientist, the player will create all manner of interesting doodads that can be great fun to use. These include serums that can make a Sim flirty, angry or even fulfill their hunger need for a while. Then there are the inventions – wormhole generator, anyone? Of course, they start simple with things such as hovering lamps or freeze rays, which can later be tweaked into mind-control rays with comic effect. The creations of serums or inventions will require a healthy collection of crystals and metals, which can be found randomly deposited around the world, or they can snagged from fellow scientists if your Sim is friendly enough.
Beyond the scientist career, and who wouldn’t want to be a scientist, players can also join their Sims at work with the doctor or detective careers. The doctor career will see the player diagnosing various ailments at the hospital, or making house calls, as they climb the ladder to become chief of staff. the detective career will see the Sim working their way up to being chief of police as they head to crime scenes, collect evidence and analyze clues, and arrest suspects.
A lot of players will be jumping at the idea of running their own retail business, which can be a full time job in itself if they hope to make money. Here, the player can buy an already established business, which is quite a pricey option, or simply select an empty lot and build their own. Once the building is set and the displays are ready to be filled, players are able to set pretty much anything for sale, from baked goods using the new baking skill, to computers from the Sim catalog. Players set how much mark up they want to earn from the items on sale, and items can be restocked for their original price. Obviously, if the player is making the items for sale themselves, it is cheaper to create more than to restock.
Players will need a counter and a cash register in order to open their store, but once they have these items they can open for as long as they want each day. Staff can be hired to help out, and they have to be managed by the Sim, giving them specific jobs such as ringing up customers or restocking sold items. These hired Sims improve at their job over time, and as such will require promotions of their own. They also only work for a set amount of time before checking out and going home.
Making a sale is directly related to how much mark up the player is asking for on their stock. The more mark up, the more work the player and their Sim will have to do to get that sale. A bar above the customers head will indicate how interested in buying an item they are, and the players Sim, or the hired staff, will have to interact with the customer, answering their questions and generally schmoozing, to fill the bar and make a sale.
Strange lights in the sky, abductions where your Sim will disappear for hours, and aliens walking amongst the Sims are all very real in the Get To Work expansion. Visiting the alien homeworld of Sixam is even a possibility if the Sim has access to a rocket or an upgraded wormhole generator. On the alien world, players will be able to find various rare collectibles, such as metals, crystals and even strange plants to grow in their own garden.
The Sims 4: Get To Work expansion really does add a massive amount of content and gameplay to the relatively tame Sims 4 base game. It still has a long way to got before reaching the content-filled heights of The Sims 3, but it is a welcome step in the right direction. What is not welcome however, are the loading times. Going to and from work, or visiting different areas, will welcome the player with a loading screen that simply takes too long to go away. Maxis and EA really need to address these loading times if they want to hold players’ interest.
As the first expansion for The Sims 4, Get To Work sets the bar high. There is a massive amount of content here, which is handy as the game desperately needs more content. Following your Sim to work gives a much more focused Sim experience, with clear tasks and objectives, whilst the retail business option really allows the player’s creativity to shine. Aliens, baking and photography all round out this new expansion, along with new items and clothing, to provide plenty more tales for your Sims to tell. An essential purchase for any Sims 4 player.