Hands-On with The Sims 4

Previews Simulation PC News EB Expo 2013 EA

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The Sims 4 from Maxis and EA is by far one of next year’s most anticipated games, and we hardly know anything about it yet! The Sims franchise is lucrative to say the least, and has a die hard fanbase that are always eager for the next installment, the next improvement and the next lot of stuff they can make their Sim do. At this year’s EB Games Expo, I was able to sit down with a very early build of the new Create-A-Sim and see if the game looks like it will live up to the hype.

As I said, I was only playing around with the Create-A-Sim and it was a very early build, but I was quite impressed with what I saw. In the past, Sims games (especially Sims 3) relied on a series of sliders and switches to change the appearance of your avatar. It worked brilliantly, but would often take an incredibly long time to get your Sim looking perfect. Well gone are the days of sliders and switches, as The Sims has introduced an elegant new mechanic; just using your mouse.

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Now in The Sims 4, players can simply click on a feature that they want to change, and by moving their mouse around, will watch the body part morph in real time. Want a smaller, thinner nose? Just click and drag the nose upwards and slightly to the left, and presto – supermodel nose job in a fraction of a second. This method of input is not only incredibly satisfying, but also eliminates a lot of the frustration of previous Sim titles where you can’t figure out why your Sim doesn’t look the way you want it too. With over 18 different body parts for you to alter (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, cheeks, chin, jaw, eyebrows, neck, shoulders, chest/breasts, upper arms, forearms, stomach, hips, thighs, legs, and butt) you can make your Sim look EXACTLY how you want them to, in absolutely no time at all. I was able to create a teen heart throb, and a drop dead bombshell in under 5 minutes each, and I don’t even play Sims that often.

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The new design also allows for more realistic looking Sims (as well as the converse, ridiculous looking ones) including enhanced breast and butt visuals, which I am told is something the fans have been clamoring for since the first Sims game. Sadly, since I was playing on such an early build, I only had a few clothing options to choose from, so I wasn’t able to attire my Sim as well as I felt they deserved, but still character builder itself was awesome.

It will be interesting to see how the game continues to develop, and what other improvements Maxis will add to the premiere life-simulator. We still don’t know exactly when Sims 4 will launch, other than it is set for 2014, so for all that sweet Sims 4 news as it becomes available, you had better be sure to stay tuned to Capsule Computers.

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  • amb3r

    Nice review!! As a long time fan of Sims, I am very disappointed with Sims 4. It looks like a cheap game, I wouldn’t want anyone see me playin’ that game!! The Art style is very *for lack of appropriate term* u-g-l-y and no CAST, height sliders leaves nothing to be desired or expected in the new generation game! Also baring the game to bones (no weather, pets, university) is unfair. EA sees the fan base as nothing more than cash-cows!! The artificial intelligence (emotions) is certainly promising! But knowing EA/Maxis, it’s not beyond them to lie or exaggerate!! I hope some other company like Bethesda or Rockstar develop a life simulation.

    • Thanks for feedback greatly appreciated ~MA

    • tysandsnyc

      There are reasons for the styling ,dear. For one, they already said this game will be smooth on lesser powered pcs. Which is a good thing since many people always complain about error messages popping up whenever they try to play the game. Glad they fixed that.

      Two. The whole Create A Sim feature was made for “clay like features” which makes it much more easier for those of us that HATES creating our Sims with the bars and the buttons. Clay makes it easier to “mold” your Sim into the creation you might have in mind.

      IF EA is smart, they’ll release a demo version of this game months before it is released so that consumers can experience the improvements first-hand.

      • Andrew Day

        Conversations like this is why I love the passion of the Sims fans. Obviously you can’t please everyone, and a lot of players will miss the sliders and bars, but I think that once more people try out the new system, it will really catch on. Being able to make your sims in a fraction of the time is really an awesome feature.

        While the visuals aren’t going to be blowing people away, it still has the characteristic look and feel of a Sims game. You look at it and just go “yep, definitely the Sims.” It being able to run on lower powered PCs helps too. Oftentimes my Sims 3 game would just crash out unexpectedly because my old computer couldn’t handle it.

        Although I do wholeheartedly agree with amberindia’s distaste for the removal of content introduced in expansion packs that has become a mainstay like the pets, and I had the same thought when Sims 3 was released: “why do I need this? It has less stuff than my Sims 2,”

        • tysandsnyc

          My thing is, if you want realistic than use Second Life or IMVU if that is the case. Visually speaking, The Sims 4 has greatly improved from The Sims 3. There were these side by sides of each generation of Sims floating around on the internet, and you could see how 2 is differ from 1, 3 to 2, and 4 to 3.

    • I’m a long time Sims fan too but I’m actually still cautiously optimistic about The Sims 4. The art style isn’t what I hoped for but it’s not terrible either — with a few more polys to allow for more detail I think I’ll be pretty happy!

      I appreciate your post though, I know a lot of people are disappointed with what we’ve seen so far..

      • Andrew Day

        I fluctuate on how much of a Sims fan I am, it is a game that I can come back to a lot, but I don’t play it anywhere near the amount that others do. I can see the concerns with the art direction, but I personally think it fits the tone of the franchise. It has always been very light hearted and jovial and I think the visuals lead a lot to that overall feel of the game.

        It’s like I said though, the Sims fanbase is so varied and so passionate and it is great to get such a huge conversation about even how the game looks from fans. I just hope that when the game finally does launch, we can all say that it plays like the next iteration of the Sims should play

    • Solace

      Other people have already addressed your comments about graphics and the lack of sliders, so I won’t repeat what they’ve said. However, in terms of what they take out of the games every time, here’s the thing. They’ve *never* packaged *all* that content into just the base game before, so they’re not precisely removing content. I wouldn’t expect them to put out as much content as took them 5+ years to develop in just the base game release; it would simply take them too long (while not generating any revenue, too) to put it all in the base game. And as much as the overpriced Sims Store is ridiculous and they are definitely trying to make money off us—they’re a business. Expansion packs, at least, which expand the gameplay features with things that take a lot of time and manpower to develop, have always been a part of their business model. It’s been with the series since the start, so it seems odd to me to complain about it. That’s always been their business model, and like I said, given how much time and budget and manpower goes into all the gameplay additions that expansions bring—it makes sense that they don’t put it all in the base game.

      (Note: this is the perspective of somebody who works for a software company, even though it’s not gaming-related, so I know a little about development timescales.)

      • Andrew Day

        What a great insight, and all of those points you made are very true! There is one other thing that we haven’t mentioned, and that is that expansion packs keep us playing. If we had all of the content available to us from the begnning, many would get bored and find something else, but there is nothing like the feeling of putting in that new expansion disc and finding all the extra beds/chairs/tables/carpets/etc available.

  • lackofsleep

    The sims a game where you have little control over what you can make your sims do they need the toilet every 5 frikkin minutes.

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