I am a Sims fan. There is no denying it, no sugarcoating it, no way to beat around the bush and claim anything otherwise. My love affair with the Sims started way back when the first game came out. I actually didn't own the original game at first; a friend did. It was installed on a friend's computer and we turned it on to play it and check it out. We started the game around six or seven in the evening. I know we had food or something to eat at some point, because there's no way I could have gone that long without eating but it was likely pizza; something you can eat while sitting on the computer. It was such a fun game that we kept playing with the features, having a good time. Eventually someone called my name and said it was time to go home. It was about one in the morning. I wasn't aware of the passage of time.
Personally, I own all of the original Sims expansion packs with one exception because I didn't want it. For the Sims 2 I have all the stuff packs with one or two exceptions and with Sims 3 it's the exact same story. My last three purchases in the Sims 3 store were for 20, 20 and 40 dollars respectively. I've got over ten transactions in that store; I won't admit to the actual number. It's embarrassing. For many Sims 'fans' it's a similar story. EA has a pretty hardcore base of people who purchase the Sims games and who eagerly await each next expansion or stuff pack. There's also an active community of modders who make content to supplement the items that EA has put into the game. I've even made content to put into the game myself. It's an amazing game with a large community of players who have spent a lot of money supporting it.
As a player, there are certain things I expect when a new game comes out in a series that I follow. The basic thing that I expect is that the game is going to be 'better' than the last. And by better, I mean that it's going to take the old game and improve upon it. It's going to have new features, upgrades and improvements that will make it worth my while to switch from playing the old game and make me want to play the new game more.
The improvements from Sims 1 to 2 were many and diverse. The improvements in the aging system and graphics are significant and vast. From Sims 2 to 3 is a harder sell for some players and was a change in playing style that some might have had a problem with, but it had some improvements in gameplay that made it an interesting switch if nothing else. Once gotten used to, the integrated neighborhood that could grow around your family was an actual legitimate upgrade from one game to the next. The graphics improved and the Create-a-Style tool was one of the biggest improvements that the Sims games had seen. Finally, all the interior decorators at heart could match their curtains to their couches in any home they wanted. Their Sims could wear the same pattern as their carpet with a few clicks of the mouse.
Then we move to Sims 4 and things have changed but not for the better. The game has some improvements, yes, but strangely enough it seems to have gone backwards in many ways. Basic features that have been around since the very first game are missing. And yes, it may seem petty to complain about things like pools being missing, but they HAVE been around since the first game and supposedly are too complex to be included in the most recent game. Toddlers, which have been included since the second game are now out. So the life cycles, which were a massive improvement, have been truncated and neutered. Other features have been taken out like cars. When foundations are applied, they are applied to every part of your home so that you can't have multi level homes anymore. Yes, you can move entire rooms around and the build features have been expanded in some amazing ways, but they seem to have forgotten how to make the game engine handle things that were basic elements in earlier versions of the game.
The Create-a-Style tool, one of the most amazing features in Sims 3, is completely gone. Missing. What you see is what you get. Do you like that couch, but hate the upholstery on it? Too bad, you're stuck with it or you need to get a different couch. It's insane that the leaps and bounds that were made just one game ago have vanished into thin air with this game's version. Some of the job choices seem a little strange too. Some really basic jobs are missing and replaced with really over the top jobs. It seems strange to take away elements of the game while adding in things like Secret Agent. I mean really, where did all the doctors go?
All of this is without taking into account the fact that EA still refuses to add in any expansion pack content to a base game version of the Sims. It is, frankly, disgusting, that they plan to continue their strategy of releasing the entire content of their expansion packs over and over again and milking their customers for money time and time again. I think it's sad that customer loyalty is ignored and isn't rewarded. It's high time that Pets are included in a base game version of the Sims. Or weather effects. Or all the Supernatural creatures that they're planning on releasing in their supernatural pack. Or something. I think it's disgusting that they plan on milking the consumer for money time and again and refuse to improve the game by including any of those features as base game features. There is already talk about the dozens of expansion or stuff packs that will be included for the game and I'm appalled at the idea of what's happening here. I've handed over money hand over fist for this game series for the exact same content more than once and I'm not doing it again.
First off, it's sad to think that the exact same content is likely to be released because there's not enough creative force to come up with anything new or exciting for the players. We're going to get another pets expansion, something that deals with pools and swimming, a university type expansion, a supernatural themed one and a dating or late night type one. We're also going to probably get another rehash of Vacation / World Adventures. We may get some variations on those themes, but that's about it. And it's ridiculous that we're going to have to continue to pay over and over for the same content if we want it and that none of it is included in a base game as it should be. There is no growth here. There is no progress here. It's the exact same formula being repeated time and again except this time, they've watered down the base game even more and have taken out even more. And I'm out.
I refuse to be part of the money making scheme. I refuse to be part of the poorly constructed series. I may continue to play Sims 3, but I refuse to continue forward with the series. I'm done. Until Sims 5 comes out and I see how that does, as far as I'm concerned, the most recent version of the game is the one that I have installed on my computer right now. And yes, this is my opinion. This is, without a doubt, my rant on the state of the Sims series, but I believe it's valid. It's not fair to the players who have been supporting this series for the past 14 years to be presented with a game that has watered down features with a few new extras to appease them. It's not fair to have an obvious strategy to continue to release the same content that's been released over the past decade in pretty new packages and call it new content. And it's not fair to refuse to significantly improve upon the series for your fan base. And with all of the ways that they have failed in their execution of Sims 4, I'm calling it a failure to improve and a failure to reward loyalty. So for the Simmers who are playing and enjoying Sims 4, good luck and I'll see you in 4 - 6 years along with all the rest of us who are sticking with 3.