The Sims 4: Initial Impressions

The Sims 4 came out this past September 2nd. How many of you didn’t know that, right? Let’s move on.

I’m not going to bother touching on Create-a-Sim or house building, because these two things seem to be the most raved/ranted about topics thus far in the introductory reviews of the game, especially since CaS was a demoed preview. No point in reinventing the wheel, really. However, if you’d like to read some posts about some of these things, I’ll be happy to provide links in the footer of this post. I am also not going to rate the game right now since really these are very basic first impressions from a long-time Sims fan who has pretty much purchased and played every Sims game and expansion pack since conception. For those of you wanting a to-the-point list of what exactly is missing from The Sims 4 versus the other Sims games, I urge you to check this article out. I’m going to TRY to not touch on many of the points it covers either – it is out there, it’s been read, no need to rehash it.

It would seem, as several of my friends have suggested to me, that EA has basically gone “back to their roots” and created an entirely new game in their own vision. Personally, for right now, it seems much more like a modern day revision of the original Sims game with a few elements from each other sequel thrown in. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means we’ll likely be waiting a while for richer content, experiences and expansions to add to the game play, much as we’ve had to for the past sequels.

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One thing that instantly struck me about the game is how much smoother it runs. My gaming rig is no hunk of junk  – keep in mind, I’ve spent years rendering 3d models and textures, so my machine needs some significant power to handle that – but it IS five years old. When taking into account thatThe Sims 3, with all expansions and some custom content loaded in, ran like a three-legged dog in a pool of molasses most days, I’m quite impressed with how much faster The Sims 4 runs. That alone is worth the game play to me. Certainly not the $60 price tag, but definitely the experience of playing the game. No lag? No waiting five minutes for a Save-and-Exit, praying that it doesn’t crash mid-save? Sign me up!

I’ve also decided that rather than write this as a full-on game review (because it’s not really, not yet) I’m going to write this initial first impressions post based upon my own, personal standards that I’ve grown to have with the prior Sims games and what I look for when I hope to enjoy the game. In short, the things I enjoyed doing most in past Sims games are what I looked at first.

Let me start with the cons.

First off, the babies have flat out reverted straight back to what they were in Sims 1. Just a bassinet with some interactions. That’s that. And that sucks. Also, toddlers have gone away entirely – which I guess is okay if you’re not super into playing generation by generation. I was, but I won’t begrudge anyone else who wasn’t, it’s a personal preference really. In addition, teenagers, adults and elders look almost exactly the same – save for a barely noticeable “thickening of the waistline” through the three phases of life. There is also no family tree – something I REALLY loved watching grow, and who didn’t?! Extremely disappointing. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it’s something to be rectified in future expansions, but I won’t hold my breath.

Secondly, gardening boxes. There are boxes now. What the hell? Boxes that can only have one seed planted in them (it would seem), no less. Call me crazy, but I really, really enjoyed the ability to create a vast and varied garden within my own little gated part of the lot (you know… to keep the zombies out). Now, what we’ve got is what I can only describe as a Sims Free Play version of gardening. Again – this sucks. I don’t like boxes. I demand freedom! Screw you and your rules, gardening!

My third and final con for now is the cheat window. Sure, when you open the cheat pane now, the entire frame no longer freezes (+1 EA!). However, assuming you’ve turned on “testingcheats true”, it appears you need to re-active it each time you leave and re-enter your lot (-1 EA). As an aside, you also cannot control any other sims in your household while on another lot, unless they are with you on said lot. That’s pretty self explanatory, I think. And that’s pretty annoying. Another trick of testingcheats from The Sims 3 was the ability to drag both relationships and needs bars to maximum or minimum to your heart’s content. This also seems to be no longer possible – unless this function is now hidden in a different cheat code somewhere (I’ll admit, I’ve not yet done much research on Sims 4 cheat codes). I currently miss the ability to make my sims spontaneously release their bladders, or fall in love at first sight. Such drama my sims are missing!

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Now let’s move on to pros, shall we?

I’ve already mentioned how much better the game runs on my rig in comparison to the Sims 3. Like, holy shnickies, Batman, better. There is another addition to The Sims 4 that I absolutely love, and that, my friends, is multitasking. I love that I can make my sim sit on the toilet and play video games at the same time. That is just pure entertainment to me. I mean, let’s be honest – how many of you have gone to the bathroom and squeezed in a few games of Angry Birds in the mean time? I won’t tell.

Another cool addition is the ability to eat (and drink!) somewhere other than a chair. And by eat and drink, I do in fact mean at the same time. At some point, one of my sims went into the bedroom just to eat mac and cheese on the comforter. I couldn’t help but give that a little chuckle since it’s something I’ve never seen in one of the Sims games before, ever. Typically eating is reserved for either a table or a desk or a chair of some sort, never the BED. And certainly not with a beverage to go along with it. That just never happened. I found it very amusing to watch. I wonder if sims can also woohoo on their house floor now. Hmm. Doubtful! But that would be so different that I’d love it.

Emotions are hilarious sometimes. Are you angry? Take an angry poop. Feeling playful? Go play in the bathtub like the big kid you are, sister! Inspired? It’s a good time to work on your creativity. Emotions really do lend a huge part of influence to the game, probably more than many people realize yet. Even I don’t realize their full potential yet, but I am really looking forward to finding out the array of emotions able to be expressed, and the impact they will have on my sims abilities to grow and interact with their environments. Can we angry woohoo?! *evil grin – ahem*

Again, this is just a short initial and personal impression of The Sims 4, from my own game play perspective. I will, of course, write a much more comprehensive review, and probably several more smaller reviews until then, about the game once I’ve explored it more extensively. I will not rate it officially until the final review. For now, it has its ups and downs. For me, more downs than ups thus far. But my curiosity is at least a little piqued, so I’ll continue to explore and see what wonders I might be missing. Surprise me, EA. I dare you.

PC Gamer Girl

Owner and primary blogger at PC Gamer Girl. A total games enthusiast and addict, with a pension and love of all things horror, story-rich, atmospheric, with a killer soundtrack. Want a game reviewed? Let me know about it on my contact page!

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