The Sims Medieval

There's one thing the Sims franchise has always done well, and that is making the mundane seem real in a digital world. In my opinion, the Sims was the first game to really capture the nature of existential crises and package it in a way that made creating digital entities to toil their whole lives only to end up an inappropriately placed gravestone next to the grand-kids' swimming pool seem like an entertaining way to spend a rainy afternoon.

But there was always something missing... a sense of adventure, a sense of purpose. Sure, the World Adventures expansion pack attempted to address that issue by creating exotic locations and having sims explore their way through tombs and whatnot, but the game quickly came to be about grinding with the mindless fervor of a mole whilst being deported back to one's own country every three, five or seven days.

The Sims Medieval promises to blow the franchise out of the water by going in a truly new but simultaneously synergistic direction with the Sims. One thing I've always admired about The Sims is the depth of game play in terms of interaction between various Sims. With the Sims Medieval, Sims won't just be spending their days acting out stylist fantasies or painting the walls of their neighbors homes a delicate shade of puce, they'll be going on quests, conquering new territory and arranging royal weddings.

The official press release for The Sims Medieval stated:

"The Middle Ages is a time of intrigue, legend, and excitement. It offers a perfect backdrop for a brand new series from The Sims studio due to the limitless stories that can be told. The Sims Medieval offers a new way for players to experience The Sims which we hope fans will enjoy, and it features game play that fans of strategy and role-playing games will find appealing such as controlling an entire kingdom and quest-based game play mechanics."

I'm excited. I'm really quite excited. The only pall over this potential piece of excellence is the fact that EA might (or rather, probably will) try to crowbar an external store with microtransactions into The Sims Medieval as it has done with The Sims 3, which has the potential to be a bit of a game breaker, though one supposes it depends how it is implemented. RPGs traditionally rely on lengthy play time in order to build a character up for challenges, if buying items from a store can speed that process up, or provide in game advantages, that could be a positive or a negative depending on how much of a gaming purist one is. That's all speculation of course, however EA's microtransaction model has been so lucrative for them that it is hard to imagine them not trying to financially capitalize on customers again and again and again.

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