The Sims 4 Review – Close, But No Cigar


It’s been five years since the last The Sims game released. In Maxis development language that means it’s time for a new model, one that holds up to today’s standards. But this year’s iteration, The Sims 4, isn’t necessarily aiming to build upon previous games as we’ve seen in the past. Instead, it looks to refine the formula, tweaking fundamental game mechanics and working from the ground up.

The Sims 4 is the boldest venture by Maxis yet. Unlike SimCity 2013, does it succeed on its promises?

The Sims 4‘s structure is similar to previous games, and that means the first thing you do is create a household using Create-A-Sim. Create-A-Sim is more powerful than ever before, allowing you to sculpt the body of your Sim instead of using sliders. Because of this, many players have already created virtual versions of real people (i.e. Justin Bieber and President Obama), who in many cases closely resemble their real-world counterparts. Basically, you can make a Sim you’re very happy with.

Although improved body design options and the ability to define the walking style of Sims has added a lot of personality to the mix, this isn’t the significant upgrade you might be expecting. Hidden underneath the heavily advertised character molding feature are fewer clothing options than in the previous release, and far fewer traits to choose from. This backward step in option quantity is a theme you’ll encounter throughout your stay in The Sims 4.

The Best User Created Sims

There are also issues with pathing, which results in Sims behaving in completely unrealistic ways when moving around. You may even experience problems with entering buildings.

The new career system is definitely a downgrade from what the series has done before. The Sims 3‘s rabbit holes were never a long-term solution, but completely taking the interaction away has left it feeling like an afterthought. There is no clear difference between the jobs other than their schedule, pay, and promotion tasks. Something similar to what the Ambitions expansion brought would have been nice, probably not all that difficult given how few career options are in the game.

Ultimately, The Sims 4  is well thought out in terms of its foundation; it’s intuitive, fun to play, and has an immaculate presentation. Unfortunately, it’s missing the content that makes it something you can revisit in the long term. It’s safe to say that plenty of expansions are in the pipeline.

Sadly, The Sims 4 has made a misstep akin to that of SimCity 2013. It improves the franchise’s formula in important ways, but leaves a lot of what made previous games so rich and satisfying behind. As such, this is clearly an intermediary step toward Maxis’ long-term goal of updating the franchise to meet modern demands.


Jonathan Leack is the Gaming Editor for CraveOnline. You can follow him on Twitter @jleack.

Copy provided by publisher. The Sims 4 is exclusive to PC.