Capsule Computers was recently invited to get a sneaky hands-on preview of The Sims 3 Pets – the latest expansion and 2nd console spin off of the very popular and very successful: The Sims 3. We were lucky enough to check out the game in full on both console and PC, both of which are swiftly approaching their release date in October.
The event took place down at Studio 301 in Sydney, a fully functioning recording studio which fitted the extra special surprise that was to come later in the day in the form of an exclusive live performance by up and coming singer/songwriter Kimbra. Her performance was phenomenal to say the least and she even sung her song “Good Intent” part in Simlish, which will feature in The Sims 3 Pets, adding to the already fine looking soundtrack featuring the likes of Plan B, Slipknot and Asher Roth.
“That’s all well and good, but how does The Sims 3 Pets play?” Glad you asked. First we were treated to a walkthrough of the game by The Sims 3 producer Graham Nardone, who took us through the new features and details of the game. And yes I can tell you right now, that being a Sims fans I was excited to see pets finally in this game. The Sims 3 Pets follows in the footsteps of The Sims Unleased and The Sims 2 Pets expansion pack in bringing what Sims fans have wanted the most – Pets of cause. And in this regard, The Sims 3 Pets delivers as it does exactly what it says on the box. But with this said, it also gives players a few of the unexpected.
A major draw card in The Sims 3 Pets for PC is the inclusion of horses and for the first time pets in the game will be fully controllable, yes that’s right players will be able to have full control over their pets, and this works well. Now this is something that fans have been wanting for a long time. Dogs, cats and horses can be created in ‘Create a Pet’ and can be fully customisable with traits, exactly how you would do with your normal Sim.
Once in-game, your pet can taken on a number of quests, learn skills and have their own interactions with the Sim word. I personally like how EA games have incorporated pets and especially horses in to the overall open world nature of The Sims 3. Unlike The Sims 2 Pets where players were limited to their households or community lots to interact with their pets, The Sims 3’s open world means that for the first time you can take your dog for a walk on a leash and even ride your horse downtown.
The inclusion of horse into the game also means that The Sims 3 Pets takes on more of Western theme. This is something that EA Games has been aiming towards with the new town Appaloosa Plains which has a very cowboy feel to it, with its Midwestern American ranches and stables. Whilst pets in a Sims game isn’t really anything new, it’s the way that EA games have approached pets in this new game that makes it feel like it’s not just another expansion pack but a significant addition to The Sims 3 series.
So that was my hands on preview of The Sims 3 Pets for the PC, I then moved over to get my hands of the console version of The Sims 3 pets for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Whilst this is the second time The Sims 3 has made its way on the console, I am still a little shocked on how EA games were able to take a traditionally keyboard and mouse PC game and port it over to consoles and I mean this in a sort of good way.
The port over to the console has been faithful to its PC counterpart as I slowly began to get uses to the controls scheme. And I have to say that EA games should take credit for port such a great game over to the consoles. Once you get the hang of the controls, you’ll find that Sims 3 on consoles is really no different to that on PC but with a few tweaks to the overall design and the control scheme. The Xbox 360 version also has the bonus feature of full voice control thanks to its Kinect integration. Anyone with a Kinect can literally talk to their pets or Sims to fully interact with them. While full voice controlled gameplay might be a bit tiring after a while, playing in conjunction with an actual control and your own voice would definitely seem like a good combination.
Overall I was quite impressed with The Sims 3 Pets on both PC and console. And I left wondering where would we be without our pets? The Sims 3 Pets is set to be released on October 20 in Australia for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Mac/PC and Nintendo 3DS.