Welcome back to Wooly Plays! I wanted to write about something a little bit different this time, and recently I’ve gotten back into playing The Sims 4, so I decided to talk a little bit about it. But first, a history.
I’ve been playing The Sims series for years. The original Sims game came out in 2000 (that’s right, seventeen years ago), and I remember playing it with my childhood best friend and falling in love. I played countless hours of The Sims, The Sims 2, and The Sims 3. I spent many nights building houses and families and stories and just generally enjoying the series.
Then came The Sims 4.
I was absolutely stoked for this game to come out. When I got it I was a little… disappointed, to say the least. While the game was very beautiful and was optimized well, it had taken away a lot of the things that made its predecessors (specifically TS3) so great.
I still love the game and pick it up sometimes to build a house or two (You can check out my creations on the Sims 4 gallery! My name is WoolyCentaur15), and don’t get me wrong—I still have fun playing! I understand that the developers wanted to make things different, but bringing The Sims 4 closer to its roots may not have been the best call.
What was it missing at launch?
I think the biggest things that TS4 was were 1) Pools, 2) Toddlers, and 3) Terrain Tools, all three of which had been in the base game of at least TS2 and TS3.
What do you mean pools weren’t released in the base game?! Well, the developers decided to cut pools out of the base game content to focus on other things like room division and all that, which was a completely new feature to the Sims series.
Personally I love the room division function, which allows rooms to be saved as stand-alone items on the gallery and also moved from place to place without ruining the room itself.
Do I think that focusing on that kind of function should have been enough to cut pools from the base game? Absolutely not. Pools were in the base game since TS1, and I feel that spending more time on the room division stuff is sort of a flimsy excuse for leaving them out.
Fortunately, pools were added in a free update to TS4 on November 4, 2014, and I couldn’t be happier.
While they weren’t in TS1, toddlers have been a large part of the series since TS2. Teaching toddlers to walk, talk, and go to the bathroom by themselves was a little bit annoying, in my opinion, but a lot of other people really enjoyed it and I appreciated it as part of my sims’ lives.
A Maxis employee named Rachel Franklin explained why they decided to give toddlers the boot:
“So, rather than include toddlers, we chose to go deeper on the features that make Sims come alive: meaningful and often amusing emotions; more believable motion and interactions; more tools in Create A Sim, and more realistic Sim behavior.”
Basically what she says there is that they were working on the CAS features, which are absolutely phenomenal, and working on the AI for the sims’ emotions.
I wasn’t very upset by the lack of toddlers when that was first announced; however, when my sims first had a baby and when that baby went straight to the child stage, I definitely felt something lacking, or that we had gone back to the stone ages of TS1.
Fortunately, toddlers were added in a free update to TS4 on January 12, 2017.
That’s right! While terrain tools have been in building games since the first Zoo Tycoon (or maybe even before that), The Sims 4 decided to get rid of that and simply have completely flat lots. In every world.
Honestly I didn’t play with the terrain tools too much in TS3; the only thing I used them for was to create natural looking ponds and rivers. Unfortunately, players are unable to do anything with the terrain, and that has definitely become a problem for me as I’ve gotten more confident in my building skills.
As far as I’m aware, no terrain tools are in the works. RIP my hopes and dreams.
What was missing that wasn’t necessarily a staple of the series?
Color Wheel / Create-A-Style
Although the swatches for each object/hair/etc. may make it much easier to mix and match items in TS4, the color wheel and Create-A-Style options from TS3 were mind-blowingly awesome, and I missed them (and still miss them) very much in the new game.
When I got TS3, it was like a breath of fresh air. I could see everything in the entire town! I could literally walk down the street and spy on my neighbors! I could watch my sim drive to work! It was absolutely amazing!
When I got TS4, I was very disappointed. I made myself and my best friend as sims, moved us into houses right next to each other and was shocked to find that I had to wait through a loading screen until I could get to her house, then had to wait again before I could get back home! It was infuriating! While the loading screens are relatively fast, I miss the open-world aspect very much. I’m sure they won’t do it for The Sims 4, but it is something to reconsider for the next evolution of the series (although who knows when that will be available).
Do I like anything about The Sims 4?
Of course I do! The game itself is gorgeous. Most of the animations are very smooth and each object looks like it belongs in the world. The sims themselves feel very intelligent and the emotion AI is very fun to play with. The worlds are quite beautiful, even if they lack openness, and each one has interesting secrets and collectibles to find.
The building is also much more fun for me, personally. I didn’t really get into building houses until TS4, since I found the build mode to be much more accessible than TS1 or TS2 (specifically roofs; I could never figure out how to do those right).
What do I want to see?
I’d like to see two things come to The Sims 4: Pets and Seasons.
While the worlds are nice, they feel almost empty to me without pets. I am 100% biased; I have lived on a farm surrounded by pets my entire life, but I want my sims to experience that joy as well! Pets would add another layer to the game, and would definitely bring my sims experience to life.
… As would seasons! Right now, the worlds (as beautiful as they are) feel like they’re in an eternal, unchanging summer. There is no rain, no clouds, no weather at all! I feel like the game would feel much more alive if there were seasons similar to the seasons in The Sims 3.
What do you think?
If you played any Sims games, which was your favorite and why? Do you agree with what I’ve said? If so or if not, comment below!