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Barnacle Bay Review | Sims 3 World Download
Barnacle Bay is the first of the new downloadable worlds for The Sims 3 that costs real world money. Because I'm a sucker for new worlds and expansion packs, I bought it. This review will hopefully help you decide if you should follow suit in purchasing this game expanding world.
For starters, let's talk about price. Barnacle Bay is 1,650 Sim Points, or about $16, which is a fairly reasonable price.
Installing Barnacle Bay
The very first thing you need to know about Barnacle Bay is that your game must be updated to the latest version to even install it. So if you're having trouble installing Barnacle Bay, make sure that your game is updated to the latest version. The Sims 3 updates quite regularly to allow for new features, fix bugs, and confound pirates - though not the sort of pirates you'll find at Barnacle Bay.
Barnacle Bay comes with 18 pieces of new content for you to use in your game, which is a very good thing indeed. Included in your 18 pieces of content are two buccaneering outfits for male and female sims, boots and hats. You'll also receive a few construction pieces for building your private pirate hideaway, including porthole windows, shanty shack door, steering wheel letterbox and stone wall. I'm already thinking that the truly fun part of the Barnacle Bay set is going to be using it in 'vanilla' places where it clearly doesn't belong - like Sunset Valley.
Of course, EA has also released an additional set of stuff in the Sims 3 store called the 'Buccaneer's Bounty'. There you'll find outfits for bar wenches, a bright blue bar and matching bar stools and a few items of decor. I'm quite proud of EA for releasing the decent content with the actual world.
Playing Barnacle Bay
Now we're getting to the nitty gritty - is Barnacle Bay any fun to play? Is it worth the outlay? It really depends on just how bored you were getting of looking at Sunset Valley, Riverview and Twinbrook, if you have the Ambitions expansion pack. There is one thing that Barnacle Bay does very well indeed - and that is making the player wish that there was some way to sail the seas. There is an island that lies off the coast of Barnacle Bay proper and there appears to be no way to visit it, which is both tantalizing and annoying.
Those with a fishing obsession are going to love Barnacle Bay, there are a whole lot of fishing spots to explore, but some parts of Barnacle Bay are a bit of a disappointment. For example, one of the features touted in the sales pitch was the fact that you can 'eat in a pirate ship'. That's not technically true. What you can do is watch your sim go into a rabbit hole shaped like a pirate ship.
There is allegedly some lore to be discovered about the place, but having had a cursory look for it, I didn't find anything of any real note. The gallery, which is supposed to contain, and I quote, 'mysterious Barnacle Bay lore' contains a bunch of display cases with things like stacks of magazines, dining chairs and flamingos on them. A less inspiring gallery, I could not imagine. It seems that EA has rather overstated some of the features of Barnacle Bay, which is simply silly really. It would seem that we're supposed to imagine discovering the lore, and if this is supposed to be all about imagination, then we may as well play an imaginary game of Sims 3 and pay EA in imaginary money for the privilege.
There are some Sims with cute names (like Lewis Charlie-Darwin), but all in all, I'm not entirely certain that Barnacle Bay really does add all that much to the Sims experience, especially given that the free World Builder tool allows you to build your own additional worlds anyway.
Would I recommend buying Barnacle Bay? Well, if you're a completionist about this sort of thing, then sure. It's not awful in any way, and there is a very pleasant pirate-y ambiance about the place that lends itself rather well to those who like to create sim legacies and sim stories. One has to remember that this is only another sim world, it's not an expansion and it doesn't really add a whole lot to the gaming experience aside from a pleasant change of venue. If one manages one's expectations and takes into account the 18 pieces of additional content that comes with the world, one must admit that at $16, it's priced about right.