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The Sims 3 Review

Only I Can Create A Tree

The first step in any game of The Sims 3, other than booting it up and dismissing the Sim-Store portal, is to actually create some Sims for you to interact with. This I set out to do. Last time I played The Sims 3 I played it pretty straight and created a fairly normal couple of devilishly handsome people based on me and my girlfriend – but you can read all about the adventures of the Threepwood family in our earlier Sims 3 preview.

This time I wanted to do something a bit different and not as egocentric, so I randomised the create-a-sim process and extrapolated. Luckily, the first sim I rolled came out as a twenty-something blonde in pigtails, so I dived into the massive selection of make-ups and physical tweaks to customise her a bit. A dash of freckles and a selection of preferred outfits later I had realised the physical form of Clara Dennis. The process makes you feet like a god.

With the physical form assembled I turned my attention to the emotional and dove in to the new trait-system of The Sims 3. You can select up to five different personality traits for adult sims, with the number being reduced for children and infants, and these will go towards customising the personality of your manufactured persona. Clara looked perky and chipper, so in our minds we cast her as a bit of a seductress and gave her traits like ‘Hopeless Romantic’, ‘Flirty’, ‘Great Kisser’ and ‘Good Sense of Humour’.

The Sims 3 Review The Sims 3 - Making a Sim
You can roll out new sims quickly if you want, or spend hours tweaking if you prefer

Selecting which traits to bestow upon your sim is one of the most important things you can do in the game, along with choosing their favourite food, music and colour. Not only does it directly affect their behaviour and interactions with other sims, but it also alters what their Life Goal might be – which is essentially the end-game scenario and something that sim is dedicated to.

As they go about their regular lives, the sims are constantly having private wishes and goals pop up, and you can dismiss or promise them as you please, getting certain bonuses for achieving the things that your sim desires. It helps give the free-form nature of The Sims 3 a better focus and sense of direction, so if you actually feel like you’re actively pursuing something and not just messing around. The Life Goal system is a definite boon.

With Clara finished, I moved to the next member of the Dennis family and this time rolled out almost the exact opposite – an old man with a huge nose. Adding glasses, cardigans and liver spots I quickly remoulded what would become Gerald Dennis into a monster with a hugely exaggerated appearance. Fat, hunched and with a variety of grumpy and frugal traits, Gerald’s Life Goal was to become a grand master in chess – a far cry from Clara’s aim to have 20 long-term friends.

The Sims 3 Review The Sims 3 - Making a Sim
Editing terrain is still as easy as ever, despite a slightly cluttered interface

The Dennis family was almost complete, but I decided to take the plunge and give the unhappy family a baby too. I was deeply involved in a self-created fiction that cast Clara as a gold-digger (though I didn’t give her that Life Goal) who had managed to successfully ensnare Gerald by falling pregnant. Thus, I needed a baby.

Falling into these fantasies as you create new sims is almost impossible in our experiences, and it’s also one of the greatest things about The Sims as a series; the ability to create and enact your own elaborate fictions. They very rarely actually manifest in the gameplay admittedly, but creating them and furthering them yourself is a huge amount of fun if you can stay consistent.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t realise our own gold-digger idea as, for some reason, the game frowned at the idea of having a young-adult sim married to an elderly sim. We had to settle with linking them as housemates instead which, though a shame, did provoke us to start a romance with Clara and her next door neighbour.