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The Sims is one of the most wildly successful franchises of all time, with the first entry holding on to the title of the most bought game for several years. While the franchise isn't quite as successful as it has been in the past, it does still have an incredibly dedicated fan base that is always on the lookout for the next entry. The Sims 4 was released in 2014 and has been receiving consistent upgrades since then, becoming more of a platform for Sims play than a unique title. Whether or not that's a good thing is up to the individual player.
The concept of The Sims 4 is exactly the same as that of every other game in the series. You create at least one artificial person (a Sim), build a home, and help that character live out his or her life. Your goal is to fulfill the Sim's aspirations before he or she dies, moving through successive generations and managing families as they grow and change. While this is the fourth iteration of the series, there's no just nothing new in the base game - there are features that have been removed. This is The Sims at the simplest it has been since its initial release.
If there's a word to describe the graphics of this game, it's probably 'fine'. The graphics of the Sims games have never been anything to write home about, stylized cartoons that are simple enough not to tax the average machine. The game received a facelift between Sims 3 and 4, but there's not an awful lot to write home about here. There are a handful of improved textures and some nice new animations, but you're looking at something that's just an update of what you've seen before.
The audio is much the same, by the way. The Sims has always had a pretty good soundscape, and that hasn't changed here. There is still plenty of great ambient noise, some fun music, and the usual Simlish. If you're in the base game, you're going to get enough sounds that you won't get annoyed. The theme music is still fun and bouncy, but it feels like there could be more here.
If you haven't played a Sims game before, it's a fairly simple game divided into two parts. The first part is building and decorating a home, which does feel easier than ever here. There are some nice grouped decor options and it's very easy to place full rooms now, though it often feels like the ease of use came at the expense of some options. Still, it's a funhouse building simulator.
The other half of the game still involves running the lives of your Sims. The actions are a little more streamlined and controllable, though they are still imperfect. Sims seem a little moodier now, and it's hard not to miss all the fun stuff that came with the various Sims 3 expansion packs.
This iteration of the Sims is definitely a good starting point for new fans, but old fans are going to be unhappy with all they've lost. It's not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, but it still feels like EA is holding back the good stuff for the expansion packs. If you've never played before, though, this is a great place to start.
The Sims 4 is the latest entry in the long-running life sim game, with scaled-back features and some shiny new additions.
What follows is the official description of The Sims 4, from the developers.
The Sims 4 is the fourth major title in the life simulation video game series The Sims developed by the Redwood Shores studio of Maxis and published by Electronic Arts.
The Sims 4 is a life simulation game, similar to its predecessors. Players create a Sim character and control their life to explore different personalities which change the way the game plays out. Sims can multitask such as talk while doing a task. Sims' moodlets also change the gameplay. For example, a Sim can do a task while being either angry or totally excited.
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