#5: The Sims 4: Get To Work (Expansion Pack)
The Sims 4 Get To Work was the first expansion pack available for The Sims 4 and, much like the base game, it feels hollow and void of anything remotely intriguing or immersive. Simmers have been begging for years to be able to travel to work with their Sims and that has always been interesting to me. I could never understand the appeal in seeing virtual people work, as work is a rather mundane thing to do in real life let alone in a video game. Alas, people asked and The Sims Team delivered (apparently they cared enough to give the fans what they wanted back then). The new careers are fun and unlike anything we’ve had before which I commend. I love when The Sims Team includes new gameplay that allow new experiences to be made. However what I don’t like is how boring and repetitive the game gets about four hours into it.
Go to work, watch your Sim perform some animations, go home and repeat. It’s dull and a feature that I don’t care for when I delve into The Sims. I’d rather have my Sim disappear for a few hours and continue to do things around my own lot than have to travel with them and force myself to complete a work day. Unlike Ambitions, Get To Work doesn’t make you feel like you’re working towards something big. In Ambitions there was potential to truly alter the world around you and have larger-than-life characters. In this case, you feel like you’re a very tiny part of a bigger picture. It feels like a virtual rat race which is hauntingly reminiscent of the reality we live in. In that respect, it successfully accomplishes The Sims’ goal which is to simulate life. However it’s still a game and games are supposed to be fun and in that regard this pack falls short.
#4: The Sims 3: Town Life Stuff (Stuff Pack)
A huge problem with The Sims 3 is that, while the then newly implemented open world style of gameplay was revolutionary, it couldn’t fully live up to its potential because of rabbit holes. For those who may not be familiar with this term it simply refers to a lot in which a Sim can enter but you as the player can’t see inside. The selling point of this pack claims is the supposed new gameplay for your towns but that isn’t entirely the case. The pack comes with 7 lots but the catch is three of them are rabbit holes. The fact that these rabbit holes are so brilliantly designed feels like a tease since we can’t see the insides of them, leaving us disappointingly imaging what cool things are going on inside. The other 4 lots are lot types we already have (library, gym, a facility to do your laundry and a park). In essence, it’s the same stuff we’ve had but with a fresh coat of paint. It doesn’t offer any real gameplay, just an alternative aesthetic for those who are interested.
The fact that The Sims Team gave this pack away years ago speaks volumes about the desirability of this pack…
#3: The Sims 3: World Adventures (Expansion Pack)
World Adventures takes a beloved concept that many fans appreciated from The Sims 1 & 2 (travelling/vacationing) and turns it into an RPG. Exploring one of the three locations is fun until you realize that there aren’t any locations reminiscent of vacation getaways to visit, there isn’t a new world to live in (although you can move to one of the three locations later on) and the sole purpose of travelling is to complete lame, boring puzzles in hopes of finding and gathering rare objects. There really isn’t an incentive to get away other than to unlock some new objects. While I applaud EA for taking a risk, this is certainly one that didn’t pay off. The simplistic nature of The Sims is not a good mix with roleplaying game elements. The Sims 3 was simply too restrictive. A video game should never feel like a chore to complete.
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is a saying that’s more than applicable in this case. Plus context is important when ranking these packs. Keep in mind this was the first expansion pack released for The Sims 3 – talk about a lame way to kick off your new era.
#2: The Sims 3: Katy Perry Sweet Treats (Stuff Pack)
Yes, Katy Perry Sweet Treats did make an appearance on this list and – to the surprise of many – it’s actually not at the #1 spot (more on that later). The number one issue with this pack is that unless you’re someone who collects all available content for The Sims or a KatyCat, this pack is very difficult to see the appeal in. The objects are tacky and verging on unusable and the CAS items are useless unless you intend to pair them with Showtime. At its core, the number one issue with this pack is that none of the items work in any context unless you intend to become a Katy Perry tribute act in your gameplay (which is something I assume many people would abstain from) or simply admire quirky content.
#1: The Sims 4: Backyard Stuff (Stuff Pack)
In the history of The Sims Series, perhaps nothing feels as uninspired, cheap and desperate as The Sims 4 Backyard Stuff. Not only is this pack the third effort by The Sims Team to feature content related to outdoor activities (talk about repetitive), but the lack of weather or interesting objects make it feel like a slap across the face to consumers and Simmers alike. Oh – it’s summer? Here, have a couple of tacky summer-inspired items, some waterslides and some (although, admittedly they are quite charming) wind chimes. The lack of weather, an addition Simmers have been begging for since the launch of The Sims 4, only further exposes the barebones nature of The Sims 4 when installing this pack. After all, it’s quite difficult to enjoy the summer weather when weather is entirely absent from the game.
Much of the Sims Community took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction which prompted several users to create spin-off content. One user even went as far as to create a tropical-themed mod to satisfy the craving for summer-related content that is actually fun. When a stuff pack inspires people to create content of their own because of the inadequacies on The Sims Team’s account, you know this pack is bad.
Stay tuned next week for a Top 10 of the best Sims Packs in the franchise!