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The Sims 4 Review: What’s different from The Sims 3?

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Yes, it’s tactile! Yes, it’s emotional! Yes it’s weird & smart at the same time! But why is The Sims 4 different from The Sims 3 and why should you (or not) purchase it?

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We’re about 2 weeks away from the release of this game and a lot of people are on the fence should they get or not get the game. We’re not here to list you all the features, objects and interactions in the game since we couldn’t explore them all at The Sims 4 EU Preview Event and even if we did, it would be better to leave it for September. This review is here to help you out on getting off that fence of indecision.

Please note that all views mentioned on this post are our own!

First thing you’ll notice in the game are probably more loading screens! If you plan to move your Sim around the World much, there are plenty of them that you’ll encounter: Loading Screens for Neighborhoods, Lots inside those Neighborhoods (excluding Public Spaces) and Worlds.

At first, this idea might sound awful for The Sims 4, but is it really? On the PC we played The Sims 4 (couldn’t see the specs, all I know is that it’s a Win8 computer), it took 3, 5 and sometimes 10 seconds to load the destination my Sims were headed to. After loading screen disappeared, you could play the lot you selected instantly without any lags or stutters to get your Computer used to it.

Now, let’s go back and see how Loading Screens functioned in The Sims 3

I tested The Sims 3 yesterday with nothing but the Base Game and all updates installed. The main loading screen took 20 seconds and it took me 1 minute to load Sunset Valley.

Were the results same after I installed all the Expansion and Stuff Packs? Absolutely not! It took me 30 seconds just to load the Main Menu and 3-4 minutes to load Sunset Valley.

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I won’t be using the results for the all EPs and SPs installed since it won’t be fair to compare it to The Sims 4 Base Game.

It also takes some time to load Textures and different Create a Style settings on the Lot after it’s zoomed in. Until they’re all loaded, they sometimes appear as white objects. This is only for a short moment and the time of them loading depends on the Computer’s specs. Huge compliments to The Sims 3 Team for adding so many customization options to the game, but it would take a super computer to make all of that work smoothly and without crashes.

I want to go back to The Sims 4 Loading Screens once again before we close this chapter. Imagine if there were 2 people eating at 2 different buffet tables: one who could eat everything from the table (The Sims 3), and the other one who ate just the things he liked (The Sims 4). Who will get a stomach ache (or in this case, Crash). The answer is, The Sims 3! Why is that so?

When loading a World in The Sims 3, the game loads absolutely everything (Objects, Sims, Lots, Saves) that are included on that World. After playing for some time, you might have a chance for your game to freeze on various situations: Create a Style, switching from Live Mode to Buy Mode and similar or even sending your Sim to another lot. On that freeze, the game puts a lot of pressure on your Computer since it loaded a lot of stuff that’s included in the World you’re currently playing in, which mostly, will make your Game Crash or even make your Computer collapse (watch out for those Blue Screens of Death  😯 ).

The Sims 4 functions very simple in that case: you load a Lot and a Public Lot that’s included in your Neighborhood that you like and it probably won’t put a lot of pressure on your Computer – which will lead to much less Crashes. What’s also cool about loading The Sims 4 is that there are no more loading screens for the Main Menu! You just open the game, skip the intros and voilà – you’re in the Main Menu!

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For me, that’s a huge plus, but let’s see what’s this game is actually made of…

Create A Sim in The Sims 4 is really different from previous Sims Games. Not only that there are new techniques that you can use to create your Sim, but the interface of it is much more simple to use.

There aren’t really any steps that you must follow in order to create your Sim, although things like First Name, Last Name, 1 Trait out of 3 and a Lifetime Aspiration is mandatory.

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The push, pull & twist feature that you can use on your Sim’s face and body is really cool and a lot of manipulation options can be seen from different perspectives. For example: you can adjust your Sim’s posture rotating your Sim so the back can be visible. It really does allow you to create all types of Sims: Beautiful, Charming, Weird, Scary and so on.

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With Create A Sim in The Sims 3, there were lots of manipulation options as well. Still, all those sliders were a bit confusing and you could only edit your Sim’s face (you can also edit your Sim’s body, but there were only 2 sliders, making all the Sims somehow identical in their body looks).

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Here’s the sad part about The Sims 4 CAS (and somehow the whole game) – it lacks so many color and texture customization options! Hair color, Clothing, Shoes, Accessories, Tattoos – all limited to the presets The Sims Team provided in the game. I always loved how in The Sims 3 I can change the different aspects and areas of my Sim’s clothing.

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The Sims 4’s CAS is not making this ”battle” with The Sims 3 easy with it’s customization options. It’s limited and some clothing don’t even have that much presets. Hopefully they’ll add some presets to the existing clothes we have with Game Updates that they will release (I checked the game’s menu – it has ”Game Updates” feature that redirects to EA Help website).

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Once again, The Sims 4 still wins with the performance compared to The Sims 3. All clothing that there is (there’s much more clothing, hair and other CAS Accessories in The Sims 4 than in The Sims 3 – probably to make up for the loss of CASt) and all hairstyles load right up when you click on them. With The Sims 3 Base Game, you would have to wait 3-4 seconds for everything to load, and for some reason when you click on a hairstyle/clothing, it takes 2 seconds for it to apply on your Sim.

When it comes to Create A Sim, I think both of them have something it’s opponent doesn’t have; The Sims 3 has a wide variety of customization options, while The Sims 4 features much more fun and detail into sculpting your Sim.

Sims need a place to stay, right?

The Sims 4 offers 2 Worlds: Willow Creek (left) and Oasis Springs (right).

Thanks SimFans.de for providing these

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The Map View in The Sims 4 you just saw above couldn’t be more simple (probably because the Worlds are simple as well…maybe too simple…)

Map View in The Sims 3 is 3D and offers a flyover over each area that’s available to visit by Sims.

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Personally, I’m okay with the 2D Map in The Sims 4, but I still love the Map View in The Sims 3 which offers an overview of the whole World.

When moving in, you can choose a Household to merge with, move in an empty lot or move in a furnished/unfurnished house. It’s the same process in The Sims 3 as well, so there aren’t any differences (except User Interface changes).

The Sims 4’s Build Mode is a mixture of The Sims 3’s Buy Mode, Build Mode and brand new in The Sims 4: Room Catalogue. The Room Catalogue lets you place Pre-Built Rooms instantly.

The whole Build Mode is simply pushing, pulling, putting together different rooms and more. Of course, there is a traditional way where you can start down with just 1 wall and then connect multiple walks, making it a room. You can even take a whole building you created, rotate it and place it wherever you want.

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In The Sims 3, there are a lot of ways you can build your House or a Community Lot, but that would take for hours. The reason for that is, in case you want to change something onto a Lot you already build (such as center the house), you would have to destroy the whole thing and start again. This is why building in The Sims 4 is much more easy and fun.

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Furnishing a home is yet another meh moment for The Sims 4. The lack of Create A Style Tool doesn’t allow you to change the fabrics, for example, your sofa and change it’s colors however you want. It really wouldn’t be a big deal if they just provided more presets for objects.

Photo by Simply Ruthless

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The producers still found a way how to fill that gap though; the team confirmed that they made over 1000 Objects just for Buy Mode itself. Never before were there so many objects in The Sims Base Game

The outcome of some houses in The Sims 4 is still really amazing. The roofs have much more options now and you can also place Rounded Foundations and Fences. All of this can be done by just pushing and pulling!

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It’s still unknown will they ever add one of the most missed features from The Sims 1, The Sims 2 and The Sims 3..

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The most important Mode of any The Sims game is definitely Live Mode, and it looks like that’s been The Sims 4’s Team main focus. While playing the game, you’ll notice that Sims are now much more responsive and aware of their environment. Not only that you can Satisfy their Needs and Whims, but now you also have a job to control, and if you want, satisfy their Emotional needs. Sims can have over 15 Emotions, and it’s always fun seeing how they react to Sims with totally different Emotional state than theirs. Happy Sims have a power to cheer up Sad Sims, Angry Sims can ruin someone’s day, Uncomfortable Sims usually have low need bars such as Hungry, Bladder; Bored Sims have their Fun Need bar low and they’ll probably be on the lookout for something exciting.

Another great feature is multitasking! Your Sim can do so much more with it and their Needs and Skills can benefit at the same time thanks to it.

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The Sims 3? Yeah, your Sims may use buffs or moodlets as a replation to Emotions in The Sims 4, but still there will be some inappropriate times when, for example, your Sim gets in a fight and gets a negative moodlet for it. They’ll throw in some Angry Animations here and there, but no Sims or objects will be affected by their buff. The buffs are just there to tell you if your Sim was injured, hurt, sad, hungry and such, otherwise you wouldn’t know a thing.

Here is an example: I made my female Sim’s husband get divorced from her. She did cry out some tears randomly why standing, but you can’t see that while she’s doing an action on an object or interacting with another Sim. They don’t have feelings about what they experienced and went through, they only have moodlets that will fade away really quickly and it will be like her husband didn’t even ask for a divorce. Any action she made afterwards was just rainbow and happiness.

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I really love how The Sims 4 Sims are aware of what’s going on in their Environment. I had my Sim play the Computer and suddenly his roomates popped in and had a chat on the bed. He didn’t just ignore them, he started chatting with them as well all while playing his Video Game on the Computer.

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I tried to make a similar scenario in The Sims 3 but it didn’t work out quite well. I made his Mom and Sister gossip but he didn’t even try and look at them. That whole time he was just waiting there for his command – even though the Free Will was turned on.

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When you look at this way, it’s nothing much, he just refused to join the conversation, but when you look at The Sims 3 as a whole, you’ll notice that they’ll never make smart decisions and everything they do is just full of robotic movements and soulless expressions. They don’t care what’s happening around them, all Sims want in The Sims 3 is… success!

That’s right. What I noticed is that most of Expansion Pack we got for The Sims 3 aim for one thing and that’s make your Sim rich and top their Careers. After all, the idea of it just gets boring and there’s no much thing to do after you become one of the best paid Sims in the Town. There’s no point of that when basically no one will admire you and see how proud and confident you are after getting a promotion.

The Sims 4 does have that aspect of succeeding in your Sim’s life, but it’s not the main aspect.

The primary goal of The Sims 4 is just making your Sim Happy (or Sad if you want to) without doing so by making money. If your Sim likes money that is possible, but still not the main goal. This game is about socializing with other Sims, seeing how they react to your success or failure, encourage them, make them lose confidence about themselves and so much more! Each Emotion under certain conditions will unlock certain interactions, and it may be hard to get those interactions back since every moment in The Sims 4 is unique and Sims will know that! They remember all the things you did in the past (especially if they’re significant) and do not forget easily. Each Sim day, you’ll encounter at least 1 Sim moment which will trigger your emotions a little bit as well. I found so many funny moments in the game, only this time, everything they did was on purpose, unlike in The Sims 3 where we just laughed at glitches Sims caused.

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If you look at The Sims 3, it indeed has some creative features and options that The Sims 4 will never have, but after you create that Sim with unique pattern and color, build them a house with all the unique textures, you’ll have to push the play button once. That’s when you realize that everything you customized on them and the house you built for them, they just won’t care, and that’s when everything you did for them seems unappreciated .

Thanks for reading this Review and I hope you make a choice you find the best!

Let us know in the comment section below what do you think about this Review and make sure you check out our The Sims 4 Preview with more Screens and more info!

Written by Jovan Jovic

Founder of the Sims Community website. I do plenty of things around here including writing articles such as "Top 10 Disney Princesses in The Sims", social media management, video content creation, streaming and more!

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