Is this a glimpse of hope that, maybe we can change the world.
“Eco; adjective — not harming the environment; eco-friendly.”
Evergreen Harbor (Harbour) is the new world in “The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle” Expansion Pack. This is the sims world where we can “make a difference” or — not. The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle brings new elements to The Sims 4 game that has only been touched on previously. A run down, industrial town with smog, graffiti, litter and people with bags on their heads. Eco Lifestyle gives the Sims player a choice to change the area into a lush, thriving, Utopian wonderland — or generate power, continue trends and pollute the surroundings further.
Prepare for stink lines, we’re going diving…
The first time I opened Create A Sim in Eco Lifestyle, I wasn’t impressed. To describe the clothing in one word — “ugly”. We’ve got a mismatched selection of patches, pockets, rips and tears, jumpers, outer wear and some knitted options. Many of the clothes are made to look “worn” or “up-cycled”, and did I mention pockets?
There are so many pockets.
I wish there was more “grime”. For a pack that is all about getting your hands dirty, these clothes look too clean. Give me a grungy, derelict shirt to match with my Freegan sim. Have you ever met a Freegan? Have you… smelt them?
Actually, I wish they had gone for two extremes. One with the trashy look and the other a really polished sort of… “eco” warrior wanna-be. That would make more sense than… pockets. While I understand that the idea behind the Create-A-Sim “theme” is that it’s to look “reused” and “recycle” (because that’s the name of the game isn’t it?) most swatches only come with the distressed, frayed and worn options. It would have been nice to see some of the clothing without the rips or tears — like the way it was before it was used.
Eco Lifestyle does come with some gold (found at the bottom of the dumpster). There are a few items that I really do love. I like to use, “staples” in my sims outfits — basic, no patterns, colours, etc. This pack has a few of these. It’s also very important to mention how amazing the new hairs are. Including the new facial hair, it’s a great unkempt beard, and I love it. Another big yay is for the kids and toddler clothes.
If you love good quality sims hair and kids clothes, or have a thing for rips or pockets, then Create-A-Sim content wins this round.
Build Mode and Buy Mode Overview
I mentioned above how the clothing could implement a “dividing line” between trash and eco. The Build Mode and Buy Mode content achieves this! When you build a house with The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle, you need to consciously consider your decisions in the materials that make up your house. Some of the new walls are aimed towards the industrial footprint and some are natural and more eco-friendly. This can affect your in game experience. This pack is very focused on game play this time around but that doesn’t mean they skimped on the options for content. There is quite a collection of new wall paints, flooring and building items — the windows in this pack are nothing like I’ve seen before. The best part; there is a bunch of items to dig out of the trash and more to create from the Fabricator.
Buy mode celebrates Eco-Lifestyle with new options for creating a breathe easy, green living space. There is quite a generous amount of plant life to transform your house into the domestic jungle that you aspire it to be. We are also presented with “trashy” options such as the Burlap Sack Couch to add a touch of “Recycled and Rustic” to your abode. The furnishing and decoration items in this pack would go well with University Expansion Pack and the Tiny Living Stuff Pack. All three of these packs seem to draw a similar line and can relate to the items in each pack. A student bedroom would be complete with a couch saved from a dumpster, and a tiny house needs more plants — obviously.
There are some big items in this game which create core game-play for Eco Lifestyle. That being “making” and “recycling”. Items such as the Candle Maker, the Fizzy Drink Station, the Fabricator will help those sims who want to make and create. There are also “eco” friendly power and water generation items like the Wind Turbine, Solar Panels and Dew Collector. By adding these items to your sims house, you will be able to create a sustainable lot and therefor your bills will be cheaper.
I cant forget to mention the weirdest parts of this game; the Dumpster — yes, you can jump in and find food, nap, find broken furnishings and even “woo-hoo” with a sim. We have the Bug Farm for keeping bugs to get bio-fuel and also *gulp* ingredients for the new recipes for dinner! And last but not least – The Vertical Garden. Apparently, after upgrading this, you can get cruelty free food by growing a “meat wall”. I haven’t done that part yet, so I’ll leave it up to you to tell me how it tastes.
In recent packs there has been a great influence towards game play for The Sims 4. If there’s one part I enjoy about playing The Sims, is the weird ways to play the game. The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle didn’t grab me at first — I thought, “Whats the point of being “green” in The Sims 4? I recycle in real life… why do I need to look after the environment in my game too?” I decided to play this weekend to get “the feel” of the theme of Eco Lifestyle and really find out what this pack is all about.
I started playing with my Self Sim (as voted by my community) in the Industrial area of Port Promise, Evergreen Harbour. There is a pre-built, shipping container house. So, that’s where I’ve had my sim for a few sim weeks. The main goal was to fill her house with items that she’s salvaged, stolen, repaired, fabricated, etc.
Aside from new Traits, Aspirations and Lot Traits to keep the game fresh — there is some expansion of game play in this pack. The new items provide ways of crafting new furnishings, unlocking things you can’t get from buy mode, adding more options to existing items — working with what already exists and expanding the game. (Wow, what a concept!)
Neighbourhood Action Plans (N.A.P.)
Once a week an autonomous vote will start. Sims in the neighbourhood will vote to select a N.A.P. to change the rules and influence specific behaviour on the sims who live there. During the previews, I didn’t quite grasp how this would work in game — I thought it was only relative to the Eco Footprint and I wasn’t interested. But, doing my play through made me realise — this feature has power! You can personalise each neighbourhood different by applying these N.A.Ps.
Here are just some descriptions for the N.A.Ps that are available in Eco Lifestyle.
–Free Love: It’s exactly what you think… no guilt or consequences for loving all neighbours.
–Sharing is Caring: Everyone in the neighbourhood shares everything, which means they can take your things and use them freely.
–Rock Your Body (and Mind): The whole neighbourhood just signed up to the local gym! Prepare to be judged for being scrawny.
I touched briefly on this above. In Build Mode, the developers have added a new “score” to each material you use to build your house. When you build a house, you might want to keep an eye on what materials you use, or else it could mean the neighbourhood reflects on your decisions. What’s more is that the “footprint” game-play carries on to the existing neighbourhoods too. So your sims can have the “Eco Lifestyle” in any world they live in.
A new icon in the User Interface will show your “footprint” progress. When your town is in the Industrial Footprint sims will cough from pollution, there will be darker days due to smog and trees look dull and boring. The next extreme is the Green or Eco Footprint. By rebuilding homes with natural materials, using solar energy, recycling, and all the nice things we should know and practise in the real world — ahem — then the footprint will change to green. The smog will clear, trees will bloom and there might be a chance you can see the Aurora in the sky.
But… and this comes with a BIG BUT. The trash in the streets of Evergreen Harbour remains, regardless of the Eco Footprint! After working so hard, the smallest thing they could do is pick up their rubbish.
The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle has already provided many hours of solid game play this last week, not even including building and creating sims. In recent months, I haven’t felt motivated to play The Sims 4 without doing a challenge of sorts. Perhaps I was too quick to assume this expansion pack would be… pardon the pun, trash. I don’t know how many hours Eco Lifestyle has kept me playing this weekend and I know there will be plenty more to come.
This review is presented by EA Game Changers. Thanks to EA for providing me with Early Access to this game.
EDIT: I just got the achievement for playing the game for 24 hours. So that’s how much of my life I dedicated to this expansion pack since Thursday.