The Sims 4 Console
After a three-year wait, the Sims 4 finally arrives on consoles just in time for this holiday season. Sim fans will be able to escape the misery and suffering of their real world holiday get-togethers by creating, guiding and abusing a Sim family on their very own home console! While the series has always been considered to be PC based, console gamers have received watered down and/or altered versions of the previous titles with various degrees of success. Even as far back as when Sims 2 was released on consoles, the community cried out for a version that was closer to its PC counterpart. Finally, with the release of Sims 4, we can say that we now have a nearly direct port of the PC version on console. So direct, in fact, that players are going to learn really quickly why mouse pointers and thumbsticks do not mix.
Yeah, that’s right… little-to-no effort was made to make the transition to consoles a smooth one. The version of the Sims 4 you will be playing is exactly like its PC counterpart, with all of the mouse/keyboard controls left pretty much as-is. You will have to use the left thumbstick to guide a mouse pointer over the screen to click on menu objects that you can barely see. That is, of course, when the mouse pointer decides to appear and not hide off-screen, stuck in a menu item you closed minutes ago. Let’s get this out of the way now… the controls are dreadful and the interface is buggy. This is the worst aspect of what can be considered an otherwise great title and it will make the game feel like a chore.
Speaking of chores, prepare to double up on yours to earn some extra money as the base game comes with no expansions whatsoever. In order to keep things fascinating and fresh, you’re going to want to invest in an expansion pack or two and, at the time of this writing, they are vastly overpriced. Your mileage may vary, but most consider “City Living” a must as well as a couple of “stuff” packs. The “Dogs and Cats” expansion is not yet available, much to the disappointment of the fan base and this reviewer as well. Either way, if you’re going to take the Sims 4 plunge, you should expect to pay a bit more than you usually would on a game.
As for the gameplay itself, it is exactly what one would expect from a Sims title. Players start off by creating a Sim or a family of Sims, designing their personality traits and moving them into their first home (or building them a home from scratch). Although players start off with a meager amount of cash, once you help them seek out gainful employment and start earning, things get easier and more fun with each passing moment.
The Sims themselves are an emotional lot, handling things in their lives in completely different ways based on the mood they are in at the time. Catering to the whims and social lives and manipulating the emotional state of your little doll house inhabitants is both fun and rewarding, especially when they start to succeed. It is only through player’s guidance will your Sims thrive (or fail, depending on your intentions) and be able to achieve greatness.
The game shipped with far too many bugs for a title of this caliber. Although the most major one involving save games not functioning has been patched, there are still many interface hangs, save data time stamp issues, trapped Sims and infinite loading screens. It is to be hoped that some of these annoying issues that remain will be patched with updates shortly.
In short, The Sims 4 on consoles is designed to appeal to fans of the series that may not already have a copy on their PC or don’t have a new enough PC to run it. That leaves a limited audience for this game to those who are not hardcore enough to own it on PC, but interested enough to buy on consoles. Add in the fact that EA made very little effort toward making the execution of the game cater to the console audience (and left a considerable amount of bugs un-patched), one begins to wonder how many copies they actually plan on selling. If you can run this game on your PC, save yourself the headache and enjoy it there. If the console version is your only option and you can overlook the multitude of technical issues, the rest of the game does deliver the Sims goodness for which you laid out your precious simoleons.
Reviewed By: Russell Garbutt
Publisher: Electronic Arts
This review is based on a digital copy of The Sims 4 for the Xbox One provided by Electronic Arts.