Far From Sim-ple:
‘The Sims 4‘ has made the unexpected but welcome jump to consoles, allowing a whole new set of players to get to grips with this fascinating series. Unlike previous home console attempts, The Sims 4 looks to adapt the entire experience instead of a pared down version and comes away with something unique and admirable, if a little cumbersome at times.
The Sims 4 is tailor-made to create organic stories with characters you’ve crafted yourself. That makes the entire experience an intimately personal one, and it’s this unique nature to narratives that kept me coming back time and time again to check in with my favourite families.
My primary household this time round was a goofy, geeky bachelorette who continually burned down her kitchen. From character creation to her first moments as career bitch (as a pro gamer) my girlfriend complained about my terrible fashion sense when dressing her, and my appalling Feng Shui when designed her first humble house. Luckily the Sims 4 doesn’t judge you, and neither do the swarms of friendly neighbours you can invite around and get to know.
The social interactions present in the Sims 4 is one of my favourite new aspects of this latest iteration – there’s a myriad of fun, flirty or mischievous interactions you can sling at potential friends or future woo-hoo partners, but flinging a fun batch of insults at a neighbour you just don’t like the look of is equally as satisfying. It’s telling that developing rivalries and enemies is just as fun a social interaction as curating your friend list in the Sims 4, and it’s key to why dramatic social explosions are so fun to watch and be a part of as you heartlessly play God.
The Sims 4 on console is a tricky beast. This is a PC game through and through, and the lack of a mouse and keyboard hurts the experience in nearly every moment playing this port. If you’ve never enjoyed the alternative, you’ll likely overlook this shortcoming, but as someone who has played the Sims on a desktop computer since the first iteration, wrangling the game with a pad felt cumbersome and difficult.
That’s not to say the Sims 4 doesn’t do a good job with the limited options; indeed, it makes an admirable effort in adapting its control scheme to the controller and with enough time I got used to it – but even at its best moments it can’t help but hurt when compared to the home computer version. Thankfully the Sims 4 is an intuitive delight, with the same simple character creation and build suites present in the PC. I skipped every tutorial and still got to grips with the control scheme fairly quickly, which is a massive accomplishment considering just how dense the game can get.
The strangely missing elements of the Sims 4 initial PC release are luckily all present here – meaning that swimming pools and toddlers are good to go straight away without waiting for content patches. I was hopeful that some of the additional content packs would also be bundled in with the base game on consoles but no dice – though the game offers a few as initial purchases as soon as you boot it up, before you’ve even loaded the game proper. This aggressive content shilling put a dampener on my first moments with the game, knowing that I was going in with an incomplete suite even on day one, but I expected it. The Sims lives and dies by its myriad expansion packs, and it looks like the console version will be no different in that regard.
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