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(at least for now)

Truth be told, in honor of The Sims 4 coming out I was planning on writing a large post comparing the game play and advancements of the two previous entries to the franchise, The Sims 3 and The Sims 2, as well as give a brief summary of my thoughts on some of their other major spin-offs and console projects (primarily The Urbz and The Sims Medieval). Unfortunately WordPress does not like my current internet service, and the constant thunderstorms in my neck of the woods really haven’t helped matters. So instead, allow me to offer this post instead.

I have already written about my love of the series in other posts, particularly the wonder that was the original series, but this is the first time I have chosen NOT to pre-order the newest generation base game. Why? Because in the U.S., a base game, non-special edition PC port of The Sims 4 runs at $59.99, about the same as a new console game. Not the worst price ever, for a FULL game. Unfortunately, The Sims 4 appears to have less features than The Sims 1 base game, that came out FOURTEEN years ago (it also included pools, by the way). The gameplay also looks severely lacking.

Sure, by outer appearance there are some nice additions and improvements. The new emotions feature looks nice (though it doesn’t really excite me), I love the new look of the Sims (the cartoony aspect harkens back to the fun whimsy that Will Wright had originally intended for the series). There appears to be improvement on the build mode and customization aspects of the game, which are features I use quite a bit (I would spend HOURS creating gorgeous mansions for my characters). And I think the starter neighborhood is lovely.

Of course, having a fun character placed in a pretty (tiny!) world having NOTHING TO DO kind of spoils it. They are basically stuck on Tranquility Lane. I could really care less about loading screens (we had them in the first two gens) but the open world aspect that I loved is all gone. There’s nothing for them to do and no where for them to go. So what’s the point of giving them advanced AI if they are practically stuck at home? Sure, that’s what happened in The Sims 1 base game, but The Sims 1 was the first of its kind. It was fun and fascinating. But at this stage there should be more, much more. At least for SIXTY BUCKS!

Here, from TS4News.com, comparisons of items missing from previous gens:

“Everything below has been 100% confirmed, excluding the final category.

This is a list of features that were COMPLETELY CUT or REDUCED from previous iterations of The Sims. It DOES NOT include missing expansion pack content that should be base by now (i.e. Weather) or new features promised for Sims 4 that were later cut (i.e. Woohoo Skill).

Lastly, it is important to understand that much of this content will NEVER be in The Sims 4. Things like Create a Style are not compatible with the game engine, and thus cannot be added in future updates or expansions.

MAJOR MISSING FEATURES THAT WERE IN TS3:

  • No create a style (CAST) – NOT possible in future expansions (x)
  • No modifications to world/public spaces – The park in the demo is a mix of a community lot and public space (x1) (x2)
  • No “normal” careers – Law enforcementMedicalBusiness, etc. were removed (x)
  • No open world – You must incur a loading screen between each active lot; each neighborhood has 1-5 lots total (x1) (x2)
  • No pools (x)
  • No terrain tools other than paint; everything is perfectly flat (x)
  • No story progression – Sims in the neighborhood age, but do not have children, get jobs, move, get married…etc. without player intervention (x)
  • No toddlers (x)
  • No way to create/place new lots – And you only have 2 empty ones at the start of the game!
  • No Mac version of the game at release

MAJOR CRIPPLED/LIMITED FEATURES THAT WERE IN TS3:

  • All buildings on a lot must have the same foundation. No mixing for sheds, garages, etc. (x)
  • Babies are mere objects – All interactions are through basinet. There are no baby objects. Babies can only be lifted directly above basinet. (x)
  • Backgrounds are illusions – The buildings in the background are not playable in the game. (x)
  • Completely FLAT lots – The entire build-able world is completely flat (x)
  • Fewer floors/levels, limited to three (x1) (x2)
  • SIGNIFICANTLY smaller “worlds” of <25 lots compared to 125+ lots in TS3 (x)
  • Smaller lots – Lots are limited to 50×50 instead of 64×64. (x)
  • Loading screens for individual lots (x)
  • The map is a one-dimensional picture (x)
  • Teens are same height as adults and they, along with elders, all look nearly identical(x)

OTHER MISSING GAMEPLAY ELEMENTS FROM TS1-TS3:

MISSING OBJECTS FROM TS1, TS2 OR TS3 BASE GAMES:

MISC CRIPPLED GAME FEATURES:

  • 32-bit executable – TS4 is not 64-bit, and cannot access more than 4GB of RAM. If you have more than 4GB then you are crippled.
  • Fewer traits in CAS (more traits must be unlocked/earned in-game)
  • Incompatible Simpoint currency – Sims 3 Store Simpoints do not work with TS4

LIKELY TRUE YET STILL UNCONFIRMED: 

  • No cashiers
  • No Create a World
  • No exterminator
  • No swings
  • Premium Membership is REQUIRED to get certain sets on release day or at all
  • No inheritance
  • No interests
  • No magazines
  • No pinball machines
  • No way to water flower beds/bushes
  • No family trees  “

Obviously, fan reaction has been very bad. EA’s response?

” ‘The fact is, we owe you a clearer explanation for why pools and toddlers will not be in The Sims 4 at launch,” executive producer Rachel Franklin wrote in a new blog post.

“It begins with new technology and systems that we built for this new base game for The Sims – a new AI system, new animation system, new audio positioning tools, new locomotion logic, new routing intelligence and much more are all entirely new in this game.

“So the bottom line is that when we sat down and looked at everything we wanted to do for this game, all the new tech we wanted to build into it, the fact was that there would be trade-offs, and these would disappoint some of our fans. Hard pill to swallow, believe me, but delivering on the vision set out for The Sims 4 required focus.’ “

*cough, cough* expensive DLC packs *cough cough*

Look, I can’t understand why all of a sudden not having toddlers or pools is due to tech reasons. It’s been done before. But I could even forgive that if there was a ton of new features or stuff for your Sims to do. But there isn’t! Your Sims can barely work or manipulate the environment around them. Sure, your Sims can interact with each other “better” I guess. But that doesn’t make up for the large lack of features. Their world is hollow. It might as well be a console game. Although I bet a console game would feature a FREAKING POOL!

And get this, EA won’t allow reviews of their game before release.

BIG. RED. FLAG. 

Look, I own all the gens for The Sims series, and most of the expansions. When The Sims 3 came out, the base game gameplay was fairly bland. BUT the had a great deal of stuff that I thought made up for it. Full customization of your Sims, your furniture, clothes, home, most of the world, etc. And a truly open world (no loading screens). Sunset Valley was beautiful and felt alive. There was plenty of spaces for building opportunities. True, the game was buggy and often crashed. But it was fun. Of course later EA shafted us with the DLC’s and expansion packs (but that’s another post for another time). However, it felt like a more even effort. This version? Feels incomplete throughout. And there is no excuse. They should have listened to the fans and learned from their mistakes with the last gen.

Bottom line, it’s just doesn’t seem worth the price and to say I’m disappointed with EA is putting it very mildly. I miss Will Wright.

IF the reviews are good, I’ll wait for the duel starter pack. I will give EA some credit though for providing The Sims 2 Ultimate Edition pack for free download to tide me over.

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