Sims 3: Ambitions Review + Pics

The new expansion pack for The Sims 3, Ambitions, was recently released. I’ve had a chance to play with it a bit, and here are my impressions, a breakdown of what it adds to the game, and some nifty screenshots.

The main addition of the last expansion, World Adventures, was the ability of sims to take vacations to other countries – as well as some fundamental changes to the game with quest-like activities. The major change that Ambitions makes to gameplay is by delving much deeper into career activities – instead of just sending your sims off to work and assuming they’ll do a good job, you have the opportunity to control them through the 9-5 grind. Here’s a breakdown of the biggest things that Ambitions adds to Sims 3:

  • A new town: Twinbrook, which is modeled after backwoods bayou towns in Louisiana
  • Two new skills: sculpting and inventing
  • Tattoos, which can be added in sim creation or later by visiting a tattoo parlor
  • Professions, which unlike traditional careers, include total control over sims while they’re on the job. There are six: architectural designer, doctor, firefighter, ghosthunter, investigator, and stylist.
  • New traits, like eccentric and eco-friendly
  • Washing machines and laundrymats (and the requirement to wash your clothes – if you don’t, they end up in piles on the floor like trash)
  • Self employment by selling your wares (gardening, artists, etc.), and a consignment shop to facilitate it
  • Junkyards where you can dig through the trash for spare parts for inventing
  • Earthquakes! Death by meteor!

I tried out a few of the different professions – firefighter, ghost hunter, and architectural designer. The last is somewhat unique in that it actually takes some serious work on your part – adding and furnishing parts of houses. The others are more click-and-destroy sorts of things. Your sims will in theory still go through the tasks on their own if you’re not controlling them, but I found that they tended to not do such a great job. (My negligent firefighter kept letting people’s houses burn because he’d forget to take care of the upkeep on the truck.)

Though I’m not sure why the ghosts that ghost hunters destroy are shapeless blobs as opposed to the actual sims-shaped ghosts that have been roaming around since the original Sims 3.

You can also see inside the workplace of professions – the firehouse, the hair salon, etc. Though this doesn’t apply to other careers – you still can’t get inside City Hall or the school, as fascinating as that would be.

It’s great to get a new town, and this one is pretty different than the others. A big chunk of it is swampland, and there are families living in shacks with pickup trucks and camo-patterned furniture. It doesn’t have the history of Pleasantview with lots of Sims families popping up, but you will see the ancestors of the Curious family from Strangetown in Sims 2.

The addition of tattoos is nice, and the process is fairly customizable.  Woohoo!

The junkyards are kind of neat in that you can actually get in there and dig around. Apparently junk sparkles.

Also: trampolines!

All in all, I’d say that this is a nice expansion in terms of functionality, but that it will really only significantly impact gameplay for those who want it to. I’ve never been one to micro-manage my sims too much, and I also tend to play large households – if you want to play every moment of your sim’s day, including their job, then that means that you can really only focus on a single sim. But at the very least, the new town is awesome and there are some nice bells and whistles. I should note that this expansion has made my loading time much longer, but I’m not sure if that’s a widespread problem.

My first story goal when I actually have some time to sit down and play: a ghost hunter who has a ghost baby. How dramatic!

All of the screenshots in this post are from my personal gameplay rather than promotional shots from EA; feel free to use them if you like, but please link back to this post!

Has anyone else played? Want to share your opinions?

[Sims 3: Ambitions – $36.99 on]

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