The Sims 4 is just a few days from being released (September 2nd for USA and September 4th for Australia) and a few days ago I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview event in Sydney Australia to try out the game so I could explore some of the new features. I was also given a chance to interview Graham Nardone who worked on The Sims 4 and you can read that interview in full right here.
Having played the game now I have to say one the things that most impressed me with my time with The Sims 4 was probably my first impression of the game once I actually sat down with it and tried it out. The animation style and overall look of the game does look quite good once you get into it. Also when playing the game, everything inside The Sims 4 is super smooth and super quick. Nothing in my playthrough experience was lagging or even took time to load which I think was something that was annoying about The Sims 3. If you’ve played The CAS demo and noticed how quick everything is in the demo, it’s also the same for The Sims 4 in the Live mode part of the game.
In speaking of the CAS demo, many would likely be familiar with the amount of clothes available in that demo for your Sim to wear. In the actual game there is more of a variety of clothes to choose from for your Sim so definitely there is more content in the game than what’s in the demo. I didn’t actually spend so much time in the create a Sim area though as I wanted to use my time with the game with the actual game, as I do have the demo at home and I’ve already spent and seen quite a lot of videos on the create a Sim part of the game. All I noticed that was different was the extra clothes. I quickly made a Sim and went into the game as fast as I could.
I also have this video I recorded from when I first arrived at my chosen home. If you are wanting to know how these are recorded and taken from the game. There is actually an in game recorder which captures gameplay, you press “V” to start recording and “V” again to stop recording. You take screenshots if you press “C” on your keyboard in The Sims 4.
Arriving At Your New Home In The Sims 4
There is a part before you choose your home where you see the neighborhoods and areas where you can pick your house with the money you start off with. I just chose one of the houses that I could afford and moved into it. I couldn’t take any screenshots and videos in this area, it didn’t work to do so when I tried.
Once I moved in I started walking around a bit and watched TV for the first time. I quite liked the way things are animated on the TV screens in the game. I also liked how things looked in the distance such as the cars driving past and people walking around. I think that when you are in your house things do look good in the environment around you, it’s not static, there’s always something moving about, even the curtains!
Watching TV In The Sims 4
One of the things that I mainly like to do in the Sims since I started playing The Sims 1 many years ago was to start a career and earn money, this let’s me buy more things to put in my home and even make my house bigger. There are a few careers to choose from in the game for you Sim, some of which include the Chef, Astronaut, Comedian and the Spy career which was the one I chose for my playthrough.
There is a big difference in The Sims 4 with going to work in that there is no car that you get into when you leave. Depending whether this bothers you or not is up to you. For me it’s sort of a detail that I thought should be there because your Sim just walks onto the pavement and disappears for a few hours while they are at work and reappears on the pavement when they return. This was pretty much all I didn’t like about the game because everything else that is added into The Sims 4 was great fun and had so much detail in it! You also can’t really do much while your Sim is at work, for example you can’t look at the tab that shows if your Sim is tired/needs to go to the bathroom or is hungry, that type of thing. I just wasn’t able to click there if the Sim was at work. I tried to think of anything else that I saw that I didn’t like that much, but it was really only this feature. Everything else was wonderful and really was great and very well made though so against that, it’s really just a minor thing.
One of the new things that is added into the game with regards to the careers is these tasks you need to complete so you can get promoted. I only tried one of the tasks because I only tried out one career which was the spy career. But in order to get promoted I needed to do some intelligence research on the computer. You need to get your Sim into a mood that they feel like doing the task and then once you complete it a box is ticked off so that you have done it and like in previous games if you go to work with the task completed in a happy mood you can likely get promoted.
Like in previous Sims games, after a certain point there will be extra things for you to do to move forward in your career. At the level I got up to I needed to secure 2 friends before I could progress in addition to doing something with the computer, but I wasn’t able to complete that with my time with the game, so I don’t know what it’s like beyond the third level and also don’t really want to spoil it. I liked that there were extra things to do and they are interesting to watch. Looking for things on the computer is a small sort of task and easy to do and I’m also curious about what tasks there are in other careers and if they get more difficult as you progress.
One of the things that I did notice in The Sims 4 buy mode is that certain items are locked and you can’t purchase them even if you have the money to do so. For example in the computers section there are several computers you can choose to buy. However you can’t just buy all of them. Most of them will be locked at the start. To unlock them a player will need to progress to a certain level in a career. So for the computers to be unlocked you had to climb up a certain level in the Spy career, some computers you could buy only if you were level 5 or level 7 in the spy career. I suppose they have different functions and different tasks they can complete. I never got to any level high enough with my time with the game to unlock anything so I’m not sure what extra activities they do. I do however like this component of the game, it makes it worth it to actually do certain things now and makes the careers more meaningful. It also makes me as a player feel more accomplished, since I had to work to unlock some parts of the game. Instead of just using the money cheat and buying everything that looked fancy, I now have to work for it. I don’t know if there is a cheat to unlock it everything though.
In talking about the computers you can actually do quite a lot with them in The Sims 4. While you can of course use them for the spy career for your tasks you can also use them for chatting to Sims, playing games, hacking, surfing the web and a whole variety of things. Actually I did try out the hacking at one point and got $27 for hacking some store somewhere, so there are little fun things you can do. I also really liked the gaming aspects of The Sims 4. I found that the screen was quite detailed on what was going on in the game and there’s actually a game in there that’s similar to The Sims. So you play the Sims 4 and you Sim’s playing the Sims haha.
Playing The Sims In The Sims 4
Playing A Video Game In The Sims 4
In The Sims 4 you also unlock things over time by increasing your skill. I kept playing games all the time and actually leveled up my video game skill. In my interview with Graham earlier this week he spoke about this and you can actually unlock quite a lot more games as you progress and get better.
There are accomplishments in the game as well. I got an accomplishment in my time with the game for not talking to another Sim for 24 hours, which gave me the introvert accomplishment. Graham Nardone told me there are many of these types of accomplishments and one of them is playing the game for 1,000 hours which is a lot!
One of the big parts of The Sims 4 is the new emotions that are added in that your Sim feels at different points of the game. You can always see these emotions changing from flirty to happy to inspired or uncomfortable to name just a few. If you take a look at any of my pictures or videos in this preview you can see these emotions in the bottom left corner and you can watch them change as you do different things. This was a feature that I liked quite a lot because it gave me ideas for things to do which I felt my Sim would be more effective at doing. For example when my Sim was inspired I sent her painting because I thought she would gain skills quicker there and maybe make a better portrait. Sims can also feel not in the mood as well for tasks. When I was trying to get promoted and wanted my Sim to do the intelligence research because they needed it, they arrived home from work tired/stressed, I looked at this and sent them to have a rest instead and watch TV for a bit. Once they were relaxed I sent the Sim to do the intelligence research once their mood changed. You can actually still send them to do the research anyway, but their mood might impact on their performance there. I feel that these emotions are probably the best addition to The Sims 4. They make some great sounds when they change emotions which sort of alerts you to pay attention to your Sim and how they are feeling.
Painting In The Sims 4
The Sims 4 also has gardening activities that your Sim can do in their own backyard or in the community garden which was near my Sims house. I didn’t have time to explore this aspect of the game that well so beyond picking things by harvesting the plant I’m not sure what is new here. But I felt like gardening had a larger aspect to it than I saw, I just didn’t have time to look into it. I did harvest this one plant though.
Most of the time for my playthrough I spent it socialising with other Sims. I purposefully did this because I wanted to see how Sims interact with each other in the game and how they speak and chat and do all those things. There was one situation which I did capture in the video below where I ventured over to the public garden area to chat to one of the Sims there and it seemed like when I walked over I ended up in a group conversation and that’s where I met Mortimer Goth. While this can happen in other Sims games, with Sims standing around in a group talking I sort of felt when I was doing it in The Sims 4 that it was a bit of a group conversation and it felt good to play like that and socialise in this way to me.
Socialising With Sims In The Sims 4 Public Garden
In the next video I spent my time just having a look where you can walk around in the neighbourhood. As most would know there are loading screens in the game. So say you want to go visit your neighbor, the game will go will go to a loading screen and take your neighbour’s house. This is what I did at the start and then I just walked around a bit before coming back to visit my neighbour. You can walk up and down the footpath and around houses but will need to load to go into one, it’s like that. Loading times are very quick so actually in the game I didn’t find them to be an interruption like I thought I would.
In the video below you can see that when I go to visit my neighbour and I can try and socialise with her and make her my friend, that the emotions of my Sim, showed me that it wasn’t really a good time for them at all. My poor Sim got angry very quickly and you can notice that once they were angry, that different interactions were available with objects. Such as the “angry poop” or the “cold shower”. I think the emotions is probably the biggest change there is in The Sims 4 and for me they were the most fun part of the game. They were also funny as well!
The Sims 4 Exploring The Neighbourhood and Visiting Neighbours
In The Sims 4 there are of course things you will find familiar if you’ve played some of the past games. Such as the cooking of your food, but in the Sims 4 it’s been improved on. For example if your Sim cooks food and it’s yucky, it can have an effect on their mood because they didn’t really have a good meal, so for a short time they might feel different. Little things like this are added into the game which make you as a player feel interested in your Sim. I felt like I wanted to improve my Sims cooking skills so my Sim had a more enjoyable time. If you notice, in a lot of my videos and pictures my Sim was feeling uncomfortable so I was doing something wrong for them, but I’ll have to have more time with the game to figure out why exactly that was. But that’s what I mean, the new emotions impact everything and for me that’s what made my time with The Sims 4 so fun!
Baking A Cake In the Sims 4
There’s also things like repairing your shower and other items as well. I have a video below of when I needed to fix my shower in the game. If you look closely, you can also see that the computer in the background is broken and has the dreaded blue screen, which is a really cool detail for the game. It’s the little things in the game that you notice like the blue screen in the computer that make it so fun!
Repairing Your Shower In The Sims 4
That’s just about all I did with my time with the game, in my final moments I went with Mortimer to the gym, but I had no more time left to play in there during my day so I don’t know anything really about those locations and what it’s like visiting them. I did take a picture though of when I got there.
While I did type up a lot of what I saw, there is honestly just so much content in The Sims 4 base game. I barely mentioned anything about the new build mode (it does have a search bar which is cool) and I didn’t go in depth with the locations or the gardening or anything like that. But I felt like just from playing it that day that the game is just packed full of content. I felt like there are still a lot of things I don’t even know are in the game. Books for example I didn’t have time to look at at all or how they’ve changed.
The base game is just super packed full of so many things to do in the game that I think for anyone who’s preordered the game, they can sleep easy knowing that they’ll have a good game to play next week. The Sims 4 had an instantly strong impression on me as soon as I sat down with it and the gameplay is so smooth in the game now that it’s jut a joy to play. I can’t wait to play the full game when it comes out next week and I believe the team and creators of the game have done something good here with the final product and I think it’s something that fans will certainly enjoy.
As a fan of The Sims franchise myself, I certainly did enjoy The Sims 4 and I’m confident that many of you will to.
If you’ve got any questions about the game feel free to ask me in the comments below, happy to answer them if I can for you.