Sims 3 Review

sims3_1

One thing I’ve found with respect to The Sims over the years is that it’s really, really hard to explain why the game is fun to someone who doesn’t get it. “Right, and then you make them shower! And you send them to work! And don’t forget that they have to clean the toilet!” So why would you want a miniature version of some guy doing the stuff that you don’t even want to do? The Sims might cater to the control freak, the god complex, the sadist, the desire for vicarious achievement… but what about everyone else? After all, there must be some kind of “x factor” that’s made it the most successful video game franchise of all time. In truth, I don’t really think this third installment makes the explanation any easier, which brings me to my overall assessment: If you’re already a Sims fan, you’ll love the game, but if you don’t get it, you probably still won’t get it.

sims3-1

The first thing you need to know about Sims 3 is that there’s a fundamental difference that makes it a new beast as opposed to an extension of Sims 2 (that’s what the slew of pricey expansion packs over the past five years have been for!) – your sim is no longer just the king of his castle, he’s the king of his whole kingdom. Remember how amazing it was when Sims 2 expansions allowed you to actually step out of your house for the first time and go to community lots? If so, you probably remember those long loading screens as well. That’s because each location was really just another version of being confined in your castle; either you’re playing your house or you’re playing the coffee shop, but not both. In Sims 3 there’s no loading screen because the entire town is seamless; when you step out of your house and go across the street to your neighbor’s house, your house is still there. This is a pretty integral difference in the overall game engine; basically, the entire town is now your house.

What this means for gameplay is that suddenly it makes a whole lot more sense. In fact, it fixes the major logical frustration with Sims 2, which was that the world simply didn’t go on when you weren’t in it. For example, when one sim went to that coffee house, the sims left behind at home just stopped; so when the sim came home, it was the exact same time as when he left. Also, no one outside the home would age. So when your sim is a child, the friend that he brings home from elementary school would still be a child once your sim has grown into adulthood. And if your sim has kids that move out of the house, they won’t age, so generations later, you might find that a sim’s great great grandkids are older than him…

What Sims 3 provides is a persistent world; everyone in the town lives on while you’re not looking. They get jobs, get married, have children, die… However, while many players will see this as a perk, others might find it inconvenient. Players with a more “control freak” style prefer to orchestrate every detail of their sims’ lives; so in the previous versions of the Sims, they could switch from house to house, playing each family for similar periods of time so that everyone would grow up at the same rate. And whereas in Sims 3 you can switch to play different households, the other ones will go on in your absence. So if you switch from your main family to play with the kids that just grew up and moved out, you might find that their parents died in your absence. There is a “story progression” toggle that is supposed to turn off the persistent world, but it doesn’t work correctly (EA has said that they will fix it in a patch coming out soon) so I’m not entirely sure how that could affect gameplay.

And of course there are a ton of smaller changes. One of the most noticeable is the body types of the sims. In the previous versions, sims came in three shapes: skinny, average, or fat. Now there’s an entire spectrum, and your sim can gain or lose weight based on food or exercise (though miraculously it seems like one jog around the block can drop you down several sizes – if only!). The phases of life are the same, including “young adult” which was previously only available for sims while in college; you can also change the life spans of sims – go for the normal 90 days or an “epic” 1000.

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Another change that has gotten some media attention is that gay marriage is now legal in the sims’ world. Whereas in Sims 2 a same-sex couple could only have been “joined,” they are now afforded the exact same marriage scenario as an heterosexual couple – which includes being referred to as “husbands” and “wives” in the family tree. And of course, same-sex couples can still adopt children.

sims3_3

One thing that the men in a same-sex couple can not do now is have children of their own – which was accomplished in Sims 2 via alien abduction (spend too much time at your telescope and you might get sucked into space and come back pregnant, only to give birth to a tiny, green-skinned baby). There are no aliens in Sims 3, nor werewolves, zombies, or vampires. There are, however, ghosts – which are considerably more interactive than in Sims 2.  In fact, if a sim gets a little too friendly with a ghost, there may be a ghostly surprise nine months later.

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The biggest change with respect to the sims themselves is that now instead of having one-note personalities based on aspirations (where “knowledge” sims just wanted to read all the time and “romance” sims wanted to jump in the sack), sims can have well-rounded personalities based on choosing up to five different traits. So you can have a family-oriented, bookworm, clumsy, computer wiz, frugal sim, or an evil, flirty, workaholic, inappropriate, kleptomaniac sim (there are 63 in all). And they get “lifetime wishes” based on their combination of traits, ranging from things like “chess legend” to “heart breaker” to “presenting the perfect private aquarium.” What this all adds up to is some pretty impressive AI with respect to autonomy. With Sims 2 you had to babysit your sims pretty closely because though they could usually refrain from soiling themselves, they would never get jobs or do anything particularly creative on their own. But in Sims 3, your bookworm, green thumb sim will wander over to the library on her own to read a book about gardening, and your flirty, workaholic sim might just bring her boss home from work for a nightcap.

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Also, the graphics are absolutely gorgeous. What Sims 2 offered over Sims 1 in terms of character design, Sims 3 has done over Sims 2 for landscape. Especially considering that you can now look out your sim’s window and see a perfect view of the ocean – including that crazy neighbor who likes to sunbathe in her evening gown.  And so far I haven’t seen too many complaints about systems not being able to handle it; my PC is almost five years old and the game runs just fine.

All in all, my guess is that if you’re already a Sims fan you’ll love this game… and if you’re not, you may want to consider playing around with it anyway.  Just be aware that if you do finally “get it,” it can be a bit of a time sink!
 






80 Responses to Sims 3 Review

  1. Looks to be an awesome new installment in an already stellar game series. My future wife was in love with Sims 2, to the point she HAD to uninstall it from the computer or risk being too tempted to play when she should be focusing on study time. But, being the nice guy I am (and a gamer of a few genres she's not a fan of), I may just purchase this for her as a gift. Then, 2 weeks later, I'll see if she's made any see-thru ghost babies yet :-)

    • I last played Sims 2 – kinda got bogged down in the grind of it and a little overwhelmed by the scope. Looks like they edged out on Sims 3 really rounding out the corners.

      I have to try it sometime.

      • Yeah, to be honest they do look better in Sims 2 cos in 3 their eyes look too big and cartoony.

      • i think the way you make them makes a bigger effect…i mean yes there are some ugly ass people in the sims 3, and its really hard to make one that's attractive, but you have more possibilities and creative styles, and i think most of them look japanese to me, but hey, they're pretty kewl to me!

  2. Looks to be an awesome new installment in an already stellar game series. My future wife was in love with Sims 2, to the point she HAD to uninstall it from the computer or risk being too tempted to play when she should be focusing on study time. But, being the nice guy I am (and a gamer of a few genres she’s not a fan of), I may just purchase this for her as a gift. Then, 2 weeks later, I’ll see if she’s made any see-thru ghost babies yet :-)

    • I last played Sims 2 – kinda got bogged down in the grind of it and a little overwhelmed by the scope. Looks like they edged out on Sims 3 really rounding out the corners.

      I have to try it sometime.

      • i think the way you make them makes a bigger effect…i mean yes there are some ugly ass people in the sims 3, and its really hard to make one that’s attractive, but you have more possibilities and creative styles, and i think most of them look japanese to me, but hey, they’re pretty kewl to me!

  3. >generations later, you might find that a sim’s great great grandkids are younger than him…

    This isn't as rare as you seem to think. ;)

  4. >generations later, you might find that a sim’s great great grandkids are younger than him…

    This isn’t as rare as you seem to think. ;)

  5. i LOVE sims!

    can't wait to get sims 3 this week.

    im havent heard any reports about it not working, whereas i heard loads about sims 2.

    great review.

  6. i LOVE sims!
    can’t wait to get sims 3 this week.
    im havent heard any reports about it not working, whereas i heard loads about sims 2.
    great review.

  7. i have a macbook pro (about 1.5 years old and i've upgraded the ram) and i'm having a crash approximately every 2 hours. i've made a habit to save every time my sim sleeps. wish it had an autosave feature.

  8. i have a macbook pro (about 1.5 years old and i’ve upgraded the ram) and i’m having a crash approximately every 2 hours. i’ve made a habit to save every time my sim sleeps. wish it had an autosave feature.

  9. One thing I am a little disappointed about is the fact that the super fast forward button doesn't work, how do you miss that in testing? I know a patch will fix it but watching my Sims sleep for 5 minutes is a little boring.

    • Don't wprry , mine used to do that too.

      Just go to the Sims 3 website and downloads the newest patch.

  10. One thing I am a little disappointed about is the fact that the super fast forward button doesn’t work, how do you miss that in testing? I know a patch will fix it but watching my Sims sleep for 5 minutes is a little boring.

    • Don’t wprry , mine used to do that too.

      Just go to the Sims 3 website and downloads the newest patch.

  11. Hi, the names Mike, bought the sims 3 recently, as a die hard fan of the sims, this game is beyond my expectations, but I'm having alot of trouble with family tree glitches, families disappearing and still being alive in family trees, I' getting fed up, EA needs to make a patch and soon people are getting angry and so am I.

    • i had that for awhile, when my teen would dissappear in the police cruiser, and so i kept her in when it was curfeww, and i deleted some custom content…maybe you have to much custom content otherwise else i have no idea…

  12. Hi, the names Mike, bought the sims 3 recently, as a die hard fan of the sims, this game is beyond my expectations, but I’m having alot of trouble with family tree glitches, families disappearing and still being alive in family trees, I’ getting fed up, EA needs to make a patch and soon people are getting angry and so am I.

    • i had that for awhile, when my teen would dissappear in the police cruiser, and so i kept her in when it was curfeww, and i deleted some custom content…maybe you have to much custom content otherwise else i have no idea…

  13. Hi! Great review.. I only have one problem with the game.. Is the fast forward button in the game working? Skipping boring events takes SO long!!!

    Plus, I think the developpers could have waited a bit longer before releasing Sims 3. Some people can't see the roof of their house, others have problems with their family tree, and many, many people get the famous Disc Authorization Error message.

  14. Hi! Great review.. I only have one problem with the game.. Is the fast forward button in the game working? Skipping boring events takes SO long!!!

    Plus, I think the developpers could have waited a bit longer before releasing Sims 3. Some people can’t see the roof of their house, others have problems with their family tree, and many, many people get the famous Disc Authorization Error message.

  15. My computer can't run it and I bought my computer at the end of 2006. It's a laptop and apparently I don't have a real video/graphics card so I have to wait to get the game :-(

  16. My computer can’t run it and I bought my computer at the end of 2006. It’s a laptop and apparently I don’t have a real video/graphics card so I have to wait to get the game :-(

    • no, it's not like animal crossing…The sims 3 goes on when your on, and waits for you without time passing…

    • no, it’s not like animal crossing…The sims 3 goes on when your on, and waits for you without time passing…

  17. Actually, due to some bug I guess, I made a gay couple who just had a baby. It must be a bug because my pregnant guy was partially invisible for a few days then went back to normal after the baby came.

        • this happened for me too, and now one of my gay couples wants to have a baby with their husband. I'm trying to get the same glitch to happen for them, but I can't figure it out. The way it happened the first time was that I left and then came back to the house after going to other houses and bang, pregnant guy. But I can't seem to be able to do it anymore, which sucks. I really want my sims to have their baby!

  18. Actually, due to some bug I guess, I made a gay couple who just had a baby. It must be a bug because my pregnant guy was partially invisible for a few days then went back to normal after the baby came.

  19. I did not find the sims 3 all that fun. The sims 2 is better! In the sims 3 the graphics on the sims suck and u can only make 1 family per neghborhood! I cant figure out how to make 2 families per nehboorhood. But i really did not see the fun in it. :(

    • heyy you can make 2.. or even more families.. in a neighborhood. go to edit town and click on the icon wid two little houses on it. it's the switch active household button… hope that helps =)

    • to make more than one family per neighbourhood you go onto edit town by pressing the options button on the bottom left hand corner. Press 'Yes, Save' and wait a bit. Now press the Change Active Household button on the little dial thingy at the bottom left. It looks like two little houses. It will ask you if you want to change your active household. Press yes. Only problem is all their wishes dissapear, but thats not such a great loss. You then press the Create a Family option or move in some premade sims. hope this was helpful :)

  20. I did not find the sims 3 all that fun. The sims 2 is better! In the sims 3 the graphics on the sims suck and u can only make 1 family per neghborhood! I cant figure out how to make 2 families per nehboorhood. But i really did not see the fun in it. :(

    • heyy you can make 2.. or even more families.. in a neighborhood. go to edit town and click on the icon wid two little houses on it. it’s the switch active household button… hope that helps =)

    • to make more than one family per neighbourhood you go onto edit town by pressing the options button on the bottom left hand corner. Press ‘Yes, Save’ and wait a bit. Now press the Change Active Household button on the little dial thingy at the bottom left. It looks like two little houses. It will ask you if you want to change your active household. Press yes. Only problem is all their wishes dissapear, but thats not such a great loss. You then press the Create a Family option or move in some premade sims. hope this was helpful :)

    • I would say that depends on how mature the 9 year old is. The game is rated "T for Teen" mostly because of sex, I assume – in that that's how babies are made. Obviously it doesn't show anything (just a couple jumping under blankets when you "try for baby") but I'd only let a kid play it who already knows about the birds and the bees.

    • I would say that depends on how mature the 9 year old is. The game is rated “T for Teen” mostly because of sex, I assume – in that that’s how babies are made. Obviously it doesn’t show anything (just a couple jumping under blankets when you “try for baby”) but I’d only let a kid play it who already knows about the birds and the bees.

  21. I'm having the same issues with the fast forward button, which is it only speeds up a tiny increment so i'm also waiting and waiting while they sleep. I keep reading about 'patches' coming out, but what are 'patches' and how do you buy/download one? I'd appreciate some help =)

  22. I’m having the same issues with the fast forward button, which is it only speeds up a tiny increment so i’m also waiting and waiting while they sleep. I keep reading about ‘patches’ coming out, but what are ‘patches’ and how do you buy/download one? I’d appreciate some help =)

  23. by the way, does anyone know how to make the CD player actually play music. My speakers work fine and the Music option isnt on mute. And help'd be appreciated thanks!

  24. by the way, does anyone know how to make the CD player actually play music. My speakers work fine and the Music option isnt on mute. And help’d be appreciated thanks!

  25. Hey, I'm excited with the new expanion pack becasuse I have played Sims 3 none stop since it came out. For future Sims 3 things….I would love to see more REAL LIFE stuff…a TATTOO PARLOR building downtown, bring SEASONS, UNIVERSITY, and PETS back, better CARS, newer TOWNS, towns that represent the major cities in the U.S.A. (ex: CHICAGO, LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK CITY, ATLANTA, etc)….better JOBS (ex: ACTOR, PRODUCER, etc)

  26. Hey, I’m excited with the new expanion pack becasuse I have played Sims 3 none stop since it came out. For future Sims 3 things….I would love to see more REAL LIFE stuff…a TATTOO PARLOR building downtown, bring SEASONS, UNIVERSITY, and PETS back, better CARS, newer TOWNS, towns that represent the major cities in the U.S.A. (ex: CHICAGO, LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK CITY, ATLANTA, etc)….better JOBS (ex: ACTOR, PRODUCER, etc)

  27. I have had the game now since it came out. At first I largely agreed with many of the gripes expressed by reviewers on Amazon.com who also purchased the game in its first week. A couple of those concerns are expressed here – like the slow fast forward button.

    After playing it for several weeks now, however, I am becoming as addicted to it as I was The Sims 2. It REALLY helps to be able to download mods from sites like Mod The Sims 2 as they bring a great deal of playability that is missing from the base game.

    I also agree a lot with suggestions from Barshea Lowery about what the game could use. What I would love to see is EA bring back many of the things I really liked about The Sims 2 and delete a few things I really find annoying about The Sims 3.

    What I would like to have from TS2:

    - A slow dance interaction (nicely romantic)

    - A wedding arch with TS2 wedding animations

    - Fireplaces and hot tubs

    - Toddlers can be bathed in tubs

    - A wider variety of jobs

    - The ability to earn greater money via businesses

    - An easy and intuitive way to create families in the

    game. I have lost entire neighborhoods in TS3 just

    trying to create a new family for the town

    What I would like to see dropped from TS3:

    - No 1 is this absolutely annoying habit of deliberately

    standing in front of other Sims with their backs

    turned JUST to get in their way. I see Sims all the

    time just stand there blocking another Sim's movement

    for absolutely no reason whatsoever. It's irritating

    and time consuming.

    - Ignoring critical needs and heading for the fun stuff

    (like going to play a computer game while you are

    starving)

    - Constantly coughing while eating

    - Not having the ability to learn while watching TV

    Other Things I'd like to See added (You Listening EA?)

    - The ability to transfer money to family members without

    requiring that they be household members

    - The ability to invest in the Stock Market or Funds

    and the ability to purchase IRAs or 401Ks for old age

    - A greater return on investment from business deeds

    - Have announcements about family members' major life

    events like they do with announcing old folks'

    impending death. There's nothing more ridiculous

    than having to look at a family tree to discover

    that your kids are married and you have 2nd generation

    grand kids.

    These things I think would be a MAJOR improvement to the

    game.

    You Listening EA!? :-)

  28. I have had the game now since it came out. At first I largely agreed with many of the gripes expressed by reviewers on Amazon.com who also purchased the game in its first week. A couple of those concerns are expressed here – like the slow fast forward button.

    After playing it for several weeks now, however, I am becoming as addicted to it as I was The Sims 2. It REALLY helps to be able to download mods from sites like Mod The Sims 2 as they bring a great deal of playability that is missing from the base game.

    I also agree a lot with suggestions from Barshea Lowery about what the game could use. What I would love to see is EA bring back many of the things I really liked about The Sims 2 and delete a few things I really find annoying about The Sims 3.

    What I would like to have from TS2:

    - A slow dance interaction (nicely romantic)
    - A wedding arch with TS2 wedding animations
    - Fireplaces and hot tubs
    - Toddlers can be bathed in tubs
    - A wider variety of jobs
    - The ability to earn greater money via businesses
    - An easy and intuitive way to create families in the
    game. I have lost entire neighborhoods in TS3 just
    trying to create a new family for the town

    What I would like to see dropped from TS3:

    - No 1 is this absolutely annoying habit of deliberately
    standing in front of other Sims with their backs
    turned JUST to get in their way. I see Sims all the
    time just stand there blocking another Sim’s movement
    for absolutely no reason whatsoever. It’s irritating
    and time consuming.

    - Ignoring critical needs and heading for the fun stuff
    (like going to play a computer game while you are
    starving)

    - Constantly coughing while eating

    - Not having the ability to learn while watching TV

    Other Things I’d like to See added (You Listening EA?)

    - The ability to transfer money to family members without
    requiring that they be household members

    - The ability to invest in the Stock Market or Funds
    and the ability to purchase IRAs or 401Ks for old age

    - A greater return on investment from business deeds

    - Have announcements about family members’ major life
    events like they do with announcing old folks’
    impending death. There’s nothing more ridiculous
    than having to look at a family tree to discover
    that your kids are married and you have 2nd generation
    grand kids.

    These things I think would be a MAJOR improvement to the
    game.

    You Listening EA!? :-)

  29. I bought windows 7 and I install back my sims 3 game but since that I can’t make any download because it makes my games crash ! I try to uninstall it and then install it back but it didnt work :( so i was wondering if somebody know what to do :) thanks !

  30. I bought windows 7 and I install back my sims 3 game but since that I can't make any download because it makes my games crash ! I try to uninstall it and then install it back but it didnt work :( so i was wondering if somebody know what to do :) thanks !

  31. UGHH. Well I would LOVE Sims 3~but the catch is I simply cannot play the game on my computer. I have downloaded this game several times (on different computers even) to have the disc not be readable on my older computer(understandable, as that computer is around 10 years old, but still irritating!) and also having a message in which it states there is something wrong with my video card. I am completely fed up with this game and I havent even played it yet!!!!! :’( I am starting to wish that my mom didnt waste her money on this game. :( ~sorry for sounding like a spoiled, whiney bratt, but I just cant figure out why this game is giving me so many problems. If anyone has any suggestions, they would be GREATLY appreciated!! :D~

  32. UGHH. Well I would LOVE Sims 3~but the catch is I simply cannot play the game on my computer. I have downloaded this game several times (on different computers even) to have the disc not be readable on my older computer(understandable, as that computer is around 10 years old, but still irritating!) and also having a message in which it states there is something wrong with my video card. I am completely fed up with this game and I havent even played it yet!!!!! :'( I am starting to wish that my mom didnt waste her money on this game. :( ~sorry for sounding like a spoiled, whiney bratt, but I just cant figure out why this game is giving me so many problems. If anyone has any suggestions, they would be GREATLY appreciated!! :D~

  33. Ok, I am slightly frustrated with Sims 3 at the moment. I’m playing a family and the teenager just grew up into a young adult. She then moved out, and into her own house. But now I am confuesed. Am I not able to play her house? I can visit it, but can I never control her actions again?! I’m so confuesed… :(

  34. Ok, I am slightly frustrated with Sims 3 at the moment. I'm playing a family and the teenager just grew up into a young adult. She then moved out, and into her own house. But now I am confuesed. Am I not able to play her house? I can visit it, but can I never control her actions again?! I'm so confuesed… :(

  35. tht happens to me too. its just happened and I am really annoyed because it is a family that I have been playing on for ages, the teen grew up, got married and had a baby and moved out;. the next day I went back on and I could only play on the house that she moved out of ( the mum, dad and her brothers). but then it got worse and it wouldn’t let me visit her so instead i invited her over. i wanted to play on her so i clicked edit town;switch household. it wouldn’t let me click on her. it said the house was empty. then i restarted and it had got rid of her house and the other families house! i am annoyed!

  36. tht happens to me too. its just happened and I am really annoyed because it is a family that I have been playing on for ages, the teen grew up, got married and had a baby and moved out;. the next day I went back on and I could only play on the house that she moved out of ( the mum, dad and her brothers). but then it got worse and it wouldn't let me visit her so instead i invited her over. i wanted to play on her so i clicked edit town;switch household. it wouldn't let me click on her. it said the house was empty. then i restarted and it had got rid of her house and the other families house! i am annoyed!

  37. I'm super excited to finally get sims3 because I'm a bit bored of Sims 2 (Finally). But just a few days ago my friend bought the game and her PC couldn't read Sims 3. It makes me worried that it wont work on my PC either. Does this happen usually?

  38. I’m super excited to finally get sims3 because I’m a bit bored of Sims 2 (Finally). But just a few days ago my friend bought the game and her PC couldn’t read Sims 3. It makes me worried that it wont work on my PC either. Does this happen usually?

  39. this happened for me too, and now one of my gay couples wants to have a baby with their husband. I’m trying to get the same glitch to happen for them, but I can’t figure it out. The way it happened the first time was that I left and then came back to the house after going to other houses and bang, pregnant guy. But I can’t seem to be able to do it anymore, which sucks. I really want my sims to have their baby!

  40. First time reader, i just noticed in the posts that i read your writing is exactly the way my teacher always told me. And that is really great. From just scanning your posts i can tell youve probably done this a long time. (just saying! BTW i know this is off topic from the post)

  41. First time reader, i just noticed in the posts that i read your writing is exactly the way my teacher always told me. And that is really great. From just scanning your posts i can tell youve probably done this a long time. (just saying! BTW i know this is off topic from the post)

  42. I have a problem…

    I have a gay couple in sims 3..

    first they both want a child but now they want a child WITH the other..

    someone knows how to make them pregnant?

  43. I have a problem…
    I have a gay couple in sims 3..
    first they both want a child but now they want a child WITH the other..
    someone knows how to make them pregnant?