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June 2009
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The Sims 3: First Impressions

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything.  Yes, World of Warcraft is a big contributor.  But I have my DPS to almost 3k, my achievements over 3300, and something like 12 different titles.

But this is a post about newest entry in a very lucrative franchise, The Sims 3.  I got the game yesterday, as a belated holiday gift from my good friends Jamie and Adam.  To their credit, they didn’t mean it to be belated.  The game was supposed to be released in Feburary, and that release was postpwned for financial reasons.

The good news is that they took those five months to polish the game.  And it is polished.  The bad news is that I have failed to find a bug in the first 24 hours, which means that this is just a dream, it’s still May, and the game isn’t out yet.  It never takes me 24 hours to find a bug in a new game tadacip cipla.

The game is a very smooth transition from its predecessor, The Sims 2.  Honestly, smoother than I expected.  Sequels usually fix something that wasn’t broken, and it’s usually bad.  This one keeps so much of the interface useable, despite so many changes.  I’m impressed.

I’m getting used to not having all the content (What?  Only 15 hairstyles??), which is excused because you can set 4 different colors for the hair, and can interchange and tweak all manner of textures on anything cloth, wood or metal.  I want a plush paisley fridge.

Here are the two things that bother me so far.  It wouldn’t be an honest review if I left them out, because these are examples of “fixing something that wasn’t broken”.

1. The number keys.  In The Sims 2, the ` key is pause, and 1-3 are speeds.  4-9 return you to a camera position you have assigned those keys.  The Sims 3 has added a fourth “speed”, which is “fast forward until the current action is done”.  It’s on the number 4.  I have to get used to 4 not being a camera binding.  It’s otherwise probably a handy addition – not for me, mind you, because I micro-manage the game right down to toggling speed constantly based on what I’m doing.

2. Speed 3 has changed.  Before, it was fast enough that you could get through the night in less than a minute.  This lets you cut the downtime.  But in The Sims 3, it’s not that fast.  Sure, it’s faster than normal.  But not by much.  My sims sleep for at least 3 full real minutes.  What am I supposed to do during this time?  On the plus side, Jamie thinks this may actually be a bug.  If so, maybe this isn’t all just some shiny dream after all.

The game is well-done.  They’re trying to make The Sims seem more like a modern game, and I believe they’ve done it.  I have more control (again, I like to micro-manage) and more options.  This article is based on what I’ve managed to do with the game since yesterday, so expect more.

Let me end with my favorite new features, in no particular order:

  • All sims come with cell phones, which have their own inventory slot.  I don’t have to send Ma Sim to the store to buy a box of them to hand out to all her offspring.
  • Swapping between the house view and neighborhood (map) view is surprisingly fast and easy.  No more long load screens.  No more never-leave-the-house.
  • It asks you for permission for more things, Windows-style.  Like, “Nicky wants to go home with Malcolm after school: allow/deny”.
  • When a sim is doing something at home, school or work, you can choose what level of effort to put in, or what to focus on.  And they even give a tooltip to tell you the side-effects.  Working harder at school leads to increased stress.  I didn’t notice this at first, and my teen sim is ready to commit simicide.
  • You can rearrange actions in the queue.  At least, I think so.  This is how it looked to me, but I had to go to work and didn’t try it out.  But you no longer have to cancel all your actions and re-queue them.*
  • Status is no longer strictly empty-bar/full-bar.  You get buffs and debuffs, World of Warcraft-style.  This is extremely well-done.

The best thing I can say is that this is a better sequel to The Sims 2, than #2 was to the original.

*Edit: No, sorry, I was wrong.  I saw a drag bar and a drag cursor, but wrote that without trying it.  It turns out the drag bar lets you “extend” the action so that it cancels at a specific time.  For example, if your sim is playing chess, he will do so until you tell him to stop.  But if you drag open that extendy-bar, the sim only plays chess until he’s gained a point of logic.  This applies to a lot of actions, and is cool on its own.  But you must still cancel/requeue actions.



Comment from 1633Hz
Time June 6, 2009 at 9:29 am

Well, I can’t say that I’m all that much of a devout reader of your site, but I liked your writings on Sims 2 money, so I thought I would give a quick note on what we should see for money handling in the 3rd Sims, both code and behaviour wise. I only have one real thing to comment on relating to your previous writings, which is that max money is finally capped, at 99,999,999. Obviously, no one, even someone who has been playing since a certain pre-release leak came out, has this much money yet, but it will cap you at this if you get this much money. Or at least, it did when I was testing, this cap might only trigger for certain cases, as it did in Sims 2 for console cheats and certain scenarios, but I don’t think this is likely.

It’s also much easier to reach this cap for a few reasons. One, with traits such as kleptomaniac, you gain an additional source of income, most notably with cars and the art building (Interestingly enough, this sort of action can trigger a guard to be present the following day, though art pieces are regenerated eventually). Two, with the ability to partner with and buy out buildings in-town, each week you can gain what approximates to a level 10 week’s paycheck without raises. And on note of raises, you continually get raises after you’ve gotten a highest level job at level nine or ten of your career, by filling up the job meter the same way you used to get promotions. This can continue indefinitely, up to the point where my highest paid Sim is making 1808 an hour in the Athletic Career, which pays around 500 in the base of.

I didn’t find anything quite as creative and “cash flow-y” as your Sims 2 solution here, but time will tell.


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