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The Sims 4 City Living Review

After almost a year of waiting for a new Sims 4 Expansion Pack, The Sims Team has finally released City Living which is the third Expansion Pack for The Sims 4.  City Living mainly revolves around a new downtown world of San Myshuno that has some new activities for your sims. However, was this pack worth the 11-month wait? Let’s find out!

Create A Sim

There have been some very vibrant items added to Create-a-Style (CAS).  These new CAS items draw inspiration from various cultures such as; Japanese, Indian, and African. There are certainly a lot of items to pick from but one thing I’m not pleased about is that you can really see a difference between the amount of new CAS items for masculine and feminine Sims. Here’s just an example: adult Sims with a masculine fashion choice get 41 items total while adult sims with a feminine fashion choice get 71 items. That’s about 80% more clothing for feminine sims than for masculine sims! I know these tendencies towards feminine fashion were recognizable before in The Sims Franchise but City Living really makes it more obvious.

In addition to the new world and the CAS items, you get 2 new traits and an aspiration that you can pick straight from CAS. The new traits are Vegetarian and Unflirty which, let’s face it, should’ve been included in The Sims 4 base game. The City Native aspiration focuses on your Sim exploring the city and eventually learning all the skills and secrets it has to offer.

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Build Mode and Items

I’m really impressed with the new objects in build mode. For a long time we’ve witnessed The Sims 4 Packs focusing on luxurious, wealthy environments. City Living brings that too, but it also focuses on a grungy lifestyle with a new selection of used objects that you can get from the flea market or build mode.

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There are around 300 new objects for you to choose from and most of them make a lot of sense and fit into the environment of San Myshuno. When I say most of them I mean all except the talking toilet. Seriously though, why are talking toilets that you can become friends (or enemies) with a higher priority than usable elevators?

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One thing I’m really disappointed with regarding this pack is that it doesn’t focus enough on the builders. Sure, you get to build a penthouse which is basically a lot that’s really high. But, this pack really had a potential of bringing buildable apartments and instead it brought a few apartment shells that can only be played within San Myshuno. Get to Work (focusing on work) brought the ability to build your own workplace from scratch. Get Together (focusing on clubs) brought the ability to build your own club and customize it with your club’s signature. However, when it comes to building in City Living, you  only get 3 penthouses which basically act as regular lots and apartments which can be shared on the gallery room-by-room. You’d definitely expect more build options for apartments from a pack titled ”City Living” but oh well…

City Living brings the lot traits feature which; even though some have been patched into the base game, seem to have a better purpose with this pack installed. On top of the 8 base game lot traits, you get 18 lot traits.  You can add most of them to other lots but some are locked traits that cannot be removed from their lots or added to another lot.  Most of the lot traits are really fun and bring unexpected surprises to your game-play experience.

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Watch out – the gremlins will sometimes break all breakable objects on your lot after midnight!

San Myshuno and Festivals

San Myshuno offers 4 districts and a park neighborhood for you to live in and explore:

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The Spice Market area brings 2 new apartments, a karaoke bar and a regular residential lot. If you’re into storytelling, the Spice Market is perfect for a ”Rags-to-Riches” story; or in this case, Spice Market to Uptown.

What I really like in this neighborhood (and other neighborhoods too) is the ambience and how Sims easily adjust to the urban surroundings. You’ll often see Sims making phone calls around the corner and taking their daily dose of caffeine while traveling to a certain location.

Things get really interesting during the Spice Festival. Sure, some of the items and features that appear during the Spice Festival are recycled and used for the other 4 festivals but what’s really great is that each festival still remains unique with a new set of interactions, colors, background music and swag / food that you can purchase at various stands.

With the Spice Festival, the main thing you should try out is the Spicy Challenge. Sims will compete in eating a certain spicy dish in an attempt to win a unique t-shirt that you can later use in CAS.

You definitely don’t want to miss out on the Flea Market which opens up at 10AM. This is your perfect opportunity to sell collectibles, food, and paintings you’ve made. All you need to do is have these items in your inventory and you can stock the first empty stand you find. If you’re more into spending money there are objects to both furnish and decorate your home. Overall, it’s a really cute concept executed well.

The Arts Quarter brings 2 apartments, a penthouse and a gallery.

This district occasionally hosts the Humor & Hijinks Festival, letting your Sims prank or joke with each other. You join a team by drinking from a fountain entitled to a certain team. The more interactions you perform (like pranking other Sims) the more you put your team in the lead. You’ll occasionally receive notification messages in the top right corner letting you know how your team is doing. As each festival has its unique objects, this one lets you purchase a voodoo doll that lets you perform all sorts of crazy things on other sims thereby putting the pranksters team in the lead. The winning team will be announced an hour before the festival ends. The winner not only gets to see the fireworks of their winning team but he/she also receives 500 Simoleons, Fireworks and a VooDoo Doll in their inventory. It’s an interesting concept that definitely has room for more mischievous activities.

The Fashion District, inspired by modern day Tokyo brings 2 apartments, a penthouse and a karaoke bar.

Unlike other neighborhoods, the Fashion District is the home of 2 festivals: the Romance Festival and GeekCon.

The Romance Festival brings several new romantic interactions, the ability to throw rose petals and a romance guru which can tell you your romantic future and give advice about your current relationship.

What I like about this festival is how easy it makes for two Sims to fall in love. In less than six Sim hours, my couple became boyfriend and girlfriend, fiance and fiancee and finally husband and wife. If you have an unflirty Sim then his/her only hope is to find love during this festival.

GeekCon is really focused on entertaining your Sim with gaming mats and gaming consoles. You can also use the telescope to spy on other apartments and build a rocket. The highlight of this festival is the Hack-a-ton and Ultimate Gaming Test, which lets your Sim compete for grand prizes such as a computer, simoleons or signed posters. I really love the ability to take a selfie with cosplayers a.k.a sims who wear themed costumes.

The Uptown area is for Sims with class and money. This area brings 3 new apartments, a penthouse lounge, and a gym. Although it doesn’t bring any new festivals it has some nice visuals and objects such as the speech podium.

And last but not least, San Myshuno has one of the biggest parks in the game – Myshuno Meadows.  Myshuno Meadows is a 64×64 lot that is designated as a “Central Park” and that cannot be changed.  However, it is great for hosting weddings and other celebrations like a birthday party or a romantic private date all set for that perfect Sim proposal.  Also in the surrounding area is a playground, basketball court, fishing spots, food stalls, and even places to find collectibles such as frogs.

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Even though San Myshuno is small in some aspects considering that the inclusion of a new world is one of the main features, it brings enough details to make you forget about all of that. One thing I don’t really like about how things have been set is that there’s too much idle buildings present within active lots. Here’s an example: you’d think that the Fashion District has 5 apartment lots on it as they’re very close to each other. However, only 2 of them can be used while the ones marked in x are just decor. I know that buildings in the background are not supposed to be usable but I have no idea what stopped The Sims Team from making the marked lots inhabitable by Sims. Get Together had no problems delivering 9 lots in one neighborhood so why can’t the Fashion District have 7 lots?! When you look at it there’s just so much wasted potential.

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Same goes for the Spice Market area: you have this nice little row of apartments and only half of them are usable. Not to mention the huge, unusable warehouse building that’s just placed there with no purpose whatsoever.

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Although San Myshuno is laid out nicely, it feels like the developers could add a little more of the same, like make a few more apartment buildings inhabitable.

Apartments and Penthouses

Apartments in The Sims 4 City Living are a mixture of The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 apartments with a small twist. You get to move your Sims in a certain apartment but you don’t get to customize it the way you want to by adding more rooms or building an apartment from scratch like you could in The Sims 2 Apartment Life, which was released 8 years ago. Yes, 8 years ago we had more apartment building options than we have today. Not to mention that you didn’t have to wait for the loading screen when visiting your neighbor’s apartment – which you’ll encounter in The Sims 4 City Living.

San Myshuno brings 9 apartment buildings in total, with 24 inhabitable apartments. One apartment building offers 4 apartments, a few buildings have 3 and 2 apartments and one apartment building offers only one huge apartment in the Uptown area.

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Interface of an apartment building with 4 apartments.

Living in an apartment has its pros and cons. One of the great things about it is that there’s never a dull moment when you’re living in a building with more than 2 households. Loud noises from your neighbors will upset your Sims and that’s when emotions start to kick in. You can either react in a calm way or have a fight with your neighbor which is really interesting to watch.

It’s not an easy thing to live in a low-end apartment. The utility box will frequently break causing a power outage in your entire apartment. Yeah, you can call a landlord to fix it for you but you’ll need to be in good relations with him/her in order for the landlord to help you out. Not to mention those mice that pop out of the wall every now and then (there is some speculation that you can block the little critters in by placing a solid object such as a couch in from of their home; however, that has not been tested by this writer as of yet….)…

One of the great things about apartments is that; even though you cannot have roommates, you can always give the keys to your apartment to other Sims. Don’t be surprised when you come home and find a bunch of Sims being too comfortable in your apartment though.

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There’s something about having your Sims drink a glass of lemonade on the balcony of a grungy apartment that really makes you forget about all the limitations these apartments have…

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There are 7 locked lot traits in total which are very specific to certain apartments. Like for example, the grungy apartments we talked about usually have a ”Needs TLC” lot trait. Some apartments have very specific lot traits, like the ”Romantic Fireplace” one that comes with a unique, purple-flamed fireplace which will cause your sim to be in a flirty mood. Compared to the other 18 lot traits that come with City Living, these 7 locked traits give a soul and a story to each apartment.  However, it is unfortunate that these traits cannot be used elsewhere.  Windenburg Island just screams for the great view trait, doesn’t it?

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High-end apartments, especially the ones in the Uptown come with a gorgeous view. Speaking of which, some apartments in the Uptown area come with a Great View lot trait that cannot be changed. The Great View lot trait lets you look out the window and enjoy the view!

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It seems like a lot of apartment customization possibilities have been sacrificed in order to make the apartment surroundings visually striking. The new game-play that comes with apartments is fun and challenging but the one downside of this is that the only opportunity to create and download apartment buildings and creations has been wasted…

Penthouses are basically regular lots on a really high level. Unlike apartments, penthouses can be built from the scratch and shared on the gallery. San Myshuno offers 3 Penthouses that you can customize any way you want to.

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New Careers

The Sims 4 City Living brings 3 new careers: Social Media, Critic and Politician. These new careers are different to the ones you get with the base game and offer the ability for you to work from home. Choosing the work from home option on your phone will let you do certain assignments on the computer or through socialization with other Sims around the neighborhoods.

As an Internet Personality in the Social Media career, you get to build a fan-base through your computer by uploading viral videos, posting status updates and even recording let’s play videos! As you progress through this career branch you’ll unlock more interactions on the computer that will help you gain more followers and earn more money through advertising!

Working at public relations will give you a more serious approach as you represent other Sims and start PR campaigns to help with their careers. You also unlock the ability to persuade other Sims to do all sorts of crazy things!

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Art Critics have the ability to praise and study art, while food critics can give food reviews. What’s great about the Food Critic branch is that Sims can visit restaurants with The Sims 4 Dine Out and use the same interactions unlocked with the career for their Dine Out experience!

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The Politics career offers two branches as well: Charity Organizer and Politician. As a charity organizer you’ll spend most of your time asking for donations from other Sims and explaining the cause your Sim stands for. Meanwhile politicians are more about giving out the right speeches and ensuring they get the votes.

If there’s anything that’s been done 100% right in The Sims 4 City Living, it’s these careers. Compared to careers from the base game these offer a lot more variety and interactions that will keep you entertained for hours.

Integration with The Sims 4 Packs

The Sims 4 City Living mainly revolves around San Myshuno so most of the new features that City Living brings are sadly exclusive to this world. Apartments, Festivals and even careers require you to load up San Myshuno. However, there are some minor things that work well with other packs…

Plenty of new recipes for your Restaurant (Dine Out Required)

Want to open up a Sushi Restaurant? The Sims 4 City Living offers over 30 new recipes that you can implement into a restaurant.

You can download this lot HERE!

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Clubs

A club that’s obsessed with playing basketball or a club that likes to spend their nights at karaoke bars? If you have The Sims 4 Get Together you can do all of that!

Final Thoughts

The Sims 4 City Living Expansion Pack brings a ton of content but doesn’t go too deep into expanding the overall game-play of The Sims 4. If you’re familiar with The Sims 4 Outdoor Retreat Game Pack, well, City Living is just like that but only with a lot more objects and interactions. Like I wrote in September”Instead of actually expanding the game, The Sims 4 City Living seems like it’s only adding stuff to it.”

This Expansion Pack is still very fun but during my play sessions I found myself plenty of times saying ”Well they could’ve improved that” , ”Would it hurt if they added a few more apartments” , ”Look at that awesome view – too bad I can’t send my Sim there…”

If you play The Sims 4 for building purposes or just like to customize your living environment to your taste, The Sims 4 City Living may only be worth it for the amount and quality of objects you get. However, I’m not a very creative person when it comes to building and so I enjoyed playing with what I was given. Sure, a lot of things can be improved and added but from what I’ve played in City Living, I’d say it’s worth the $40 price.

About the author

Jovan Jovic

Founder of the Sims Community website. I've been a Sims player for over 10 years and counting! My free time is usually spent in writing articles, graphic design and activism.

6 Comments

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  • Thank you, I’ve been waiting for this review. Now let’s see, what i actually like on my gameplay is the basketball court, the karaoke and singing skill, the flea market and those 2 flea market objects, the politics career and its podium, street art, street guitar I guess, the new recipes, maybe around 5-8 CAS items, if those pests actually play well with Squeamish trait… hmmmn…. items that has their new animations would be nice to have as well. I am usually IN to building simulation, so I really have no problem expanding my imagination when it comes to gameplay. Bringing in some depth to the game would be a nuisance, though. Since I have other packs installed it could still work depending on how I decided to really play. Like, not everyone enjoyed GT but I love it. Now, with only CL and the basegame? it “could” be upsetting. I am still going to get this EP, as I am pretty dedicated to my collection and maybe find that depth myself which is lost somewhere due to first impression.

  • Like I always say, they have time to do it, EA give 6 months, they gonna have to delivery something in 6 months.
    It’s not enough time, We know, DEVS know, but EA, it’s EA the enterprise ho buy Sim Studio.

  • I more or less agree. The CAS and build/buy are beautifully done. San Myshuno is beautiful. And there’s a lot of new stuff to do, even if they aren’t really big features.

    That said, there are several things I would’ve done differently. I wish there were more apartments for one thing. I like having a lot of neighbors, which is why the apartment with 4 options is my favorite. Same with regular lots. I understand they focused on apartment living and moving up from low end to high end, but some ground lots for restaurants would have been nice. Also, I really wish they didn’t make Myshuno Meadows a special lot that can’t be changed. I would loved to have made it a 64×64 residential lot.

    One thing though, I don’t think that scrapping talking toilets would’ve freed up enough resources for elevators. At the end of the day, the toilet is just some effects, a couple interactions, and a relationship bar slapped on it. It doesn’t have the animations, routing, and other programming that an elevator would require. I wish they had more time/budget to make it happen. Maybe they’ll have another opportunity to add them later?

  • I’m afraid I can’t agree about it still being worth the price. It’s not a bad pack, but speaking for myself, I couldn’t justify spending $40 on it. I spent $20 and a small part of me still feels I should’ve saved an extra $5. But half-price is better than full price, of course.

    Very thorough and informative review!