The Sims 4: An Examination on Uniqueness
In the article The Sims 3: It is Actually Still Awesome I talked about how The Sims 3 was still a neat game to play. At a time when the sequel, The Sims 4 was still out. Recently, I got around to actually playing The Sims 4, and honestly, the game was fun in its own right. While some of the more interesting aspects of The Sims 3 were removed, the new mechanics introduced in The Sims 4 was able to make the game a fairly refreshing reinvention of the franchise as a whole. And since it was published by Electronic Arts in 2014, The Sims 4 had to come up with innovating mechanics that would help it stand-out with the video games that were out during that time. And despite the initial arguments about some of the content that was removed in The Sims 4, some of the newly introduced mechanics still provided a lot of fun for players. In regards to having a Sim character live their lives in their day-to-day lives, the newly introduced skills gave players the choice to do some surreal things like have a character explore space, improve their ability to do tricks while cooking or making drinks, or gain the ability to grow man-eating plants. As to the objects that the player could put in their homes to improve on a Sim's life, the newly implemented mechanic of gaining new objects once a Sim got promoted while working in a job presented and opportunity to make a Sim's life more comfortable. And with the expansion packs, even more interesting choices became available for the player. Which was awesome.
Most obvious in The Sims 4 was the change to make the characters far more expressive. Because The Sims 4 was advertised as a game that put more emphasis on the actions that all Sims could do when interacting with objects or other Sims, The Sims 4 removed the open-world aspect that The Sims 3 had as one of its selling points. Fortunately, the vastly improved graphics of The Sims 4 meant that whatever present environment the player was currently playing and the characters were rendered in a way that was far more realistic compared to the past entries in The Sims series. In addition to the improved graphics, The Sims 4 improved the animations that were involved with skill building. Like previous entries in the The Sims series, the player has the choice to increase certain abilities like cooking, painting, writing, and other assorted skills. The Sims 4 adds to this concept by having Sims do certain animations while doing certain actions. For example, when the player improves on the Cooking skill, not only can the player learn to make new types of food, the Sim will unlock new animation that he or she can do while preparing something to eat. Some of these new animations usually involve the Sim doing a neat trick like doing tricks with the knife, throwing knives into the air while cutting vegetables, and spinning the bowl while making something to eat. In addition, there are also new skills that were introduced to The Sims 4. One example would be the Rocket Science skill. Improving the skill adds the option to build a more durable rocket that can be used to make the space traveling events a lot more entertaining and ensure a safe return home for a Sim. Which makes the game a lot less stressful for players.
Jobs and Objects
Another aspect about The Sims series as a whole was the option of having a Sim get a job. Jobs in this and previous games were meant to provide a steady income for a Sim so that the Sim could be better and more expensive items for their homes. And with promotions, Sims had the opportunity to have day-offs more frequently. The Sims 4 does something slightly different for its game. While the requirements to get a promotion for a job still require the Sim to improve on certain skills, now the player has to have a Sim perform certain actions that were meant to help increase their chances for a promotion. For instance, one job that Sims can choose is the Astronaut career. For the early stages of this career, the Sim is required to workout for a certain amount of time, even if the Fitness skill has been increased to maximum. Eventually, the Sim has to make a rocket and go on space missions as a requirement for later levels of the Astronaut career. In addition to new job requirements, Sims are also forced to choose which branch of the Astronaut career. In this case the choices are either a law-abiding officer of intergalactic law or a space smuggler. Both choices offer unique rewards to a Sim upon completion.
Speaking of rewards, another new aspect to The Sims 4 was the incentive a rewarding players with new items every time a promotion occurred. These items not only helped make a home look a lot more visually appealing, some items even helped Sims meet their requirements to get a promotion faster. In some jobs one of the rewards was even new clothes the a Sim could wear anytime. And with The Sims 4: Get to Work expansion pack, some of the job rewards could get fairly surreal.
One aspect about The Sims franchise as a whole was its reputation of including various expansion packs for its main game. Being a part of Electronic Arts, expansion packs were pretty much a give, even if it might get people to think that the franchise was too expensive to get invested in fully. The Sims 4 still made a numerous amount of expansion packs, but at least there are new, distinct features that make the purchase worthwhile. One of the first expansion packs The Sims 4: Outdoor Retreat introduced the idea of the Sims experiencing the great outdoors. Sims now could take a break and take a vacation at a new destination call Granite Falls, acquire new objects that are associated with camping, scare other Sims with a bear costume, and even learn to make potions through the new Herbalism skill. And while this expansion pack provided some entertainment by giving the player some new interactions within the game, some expansion packs allowed a Sim to get some unique choices of clothes. In The Sims 4: Spooky Stuff new clothing options based on Halloween were introduced. Other features included a new pumpkin carving table, new objects that provided some scary surprises, and the ability for ghosts to put on a carved pumpkin on their heads to scare Sims. For the most hype for an expansion pack, The Sims 4: Get Together not only introduced a new area for Sims to live in and interact, new skills and features were included as well. Introducing the European-based Windenburg, Sims now had more options when it came to socializing or having a good time. New features included the introduction of clubs for social gatherings, clothing that reflected a more trendy aesthetic, and new Dancing and DJ skills that can unlock new clothes upon completion. So while the expansion packs seem like a huge amount, at the very least the content is entertaining for the player.
The Sims 4 may have been a huge departure from The Sims 3, but the new features and improved graphics more than make up for the changes that occurred between games.