World Adventures is the first expansion for The Sims 3, offering an experience which was initially compared to the previous two vacation expansion packs. However, World Adventures has little in common with either of them and is more a puzzle adventure game embedded within the Sims 3.
In Adventures, the Sims have three destinations based on real world locations that they can visit. They can visit the Sims version of China, Egypt or France. In each of these locations are adventures for the Sims to engage in, gaining them rewards and new skills as they go along. Each of them has their own unique skill attached to the location that you can only learn there, as well as native plants and food types, such as frogs and snails.
In Shang Simla, Sims can enjoy a version of China. They can learn the Martial Arts skill here, as well as meet the locals. Al Simhara is the game's version of Egypt, with snake charming being the unique skill that Sims can learn here by purchasing a snake charmer's basket. Finally, Champs Les Sims is comparable to France, and has the Nectar Making skill as its trademark, as well as new food items and recipes such as frog legs and snails.
To get to a location, the sim has to call for a trip on the phone or arrange it on the computer. Each trip has a flat fee that is paid depending on where they are going and how long they're staying. Initially, you are restricted in the amount of days you can stay in a location. Once you've paid and arranged your trip, you are taken to the new neighborhood. Each of them has a base camp that the Sims stay in. The base camp has all of the basic objects you need and is included in the cost of the trip. It has multiple bedrooms, a kitchen and bathrooms for use.
Each of the locations also has adventures that the Sims can go on. There are tombs to explore, objects to find and locals to talk to and do favors for. Each of these successfully completed adventures can earn your sim Visa points, which are used to enhance their Visa level. The higher their Visa Level for a particular destination, the longer they can stay on trips there. The adventures can also earn the sim ancient coins which are used to purchase location specific items from a special merchant. Some of the items are restricted to higher Visa level holding Sims. For instance, a sim visiting Champs Les Sims will not be able to purchase particular grapes to make higher quality nectar until their visa level goes up to a higher level.
Each of the tombs that the Sims can go into are little puzzles. There are pressure plates, hidden doors and debris to clear. Some of the pedestals need to be pushed and pulled to allow the Sims to continue forward and some locations require sims to come back multiple times in order to fully unlock all of the secrets. For instance, you may find pieces of a push able statue as you travel. You need to find all the pieces to put it together in a puzzle area where a statue is needed but is not already present.
Sims can also interact with the locals, befriending them and even romancing and marrying them. Sims who have children with locals will have hidden traits that mark them as being a child from someone in that region; even making it so they have other behaviors not available to other sims, such as eating with chopsticks. There are new collectible insects, gems and metals, as well as new lifetime wishes that are related to travel.
While the new additions can be fun in the short term, in the long term I found many of them more tedious and annoying than fun. Many of the puzzles and even some of the opportunities require you to visit a location multiple times in order to complete it, because of the Visa level limitations on how long you can initially stay. That means multiple visits to the location in order to get your level up. And while there, there aren't really any things for the Sims to do for fun; this is not a vacation. It is entirely focused around exploring and completing the Adventures.
Often, it feels more like work than enjoyment when travelling through the tombs and trying to figure it out. What's telling is the fact that your sim can purchase portable tents, rations and 'showers in a can' to help get them through their ordeal. They will be down in those tombs for a long while trying to figure some of the out. And the fact that you have to spend a lot of money going to these locales each time in order to complete the puzzles is a turn off for wanting to deal with them. And to purchase some of the items, you are forced to visit multiple times and you are forced into completing adventures to get your Visa level up. And because the items are often restricted to locale, be prepared to spend a lot to start up a new skill. My nectar making sim had to not only save up the money to buy the nectar making objects, but had to save the money to make the trip because the objects could not be bought expect at a store in Champs Les Sims.
Also, I found some of the Opportunities associated with the expansion pack to be a turn off. For example, a sim may be asked to travel to Shang Simla to learn Martial Arts to teach at the Police Station for a boost in job performance. Or to go to Al Simhara to learn how to make falafel and bring the recipe to the Grocery Store. All in all, being asked to spend a lot of money for a trip in order to get a little boost in job performance or a relationship boost with the worker's at a location seems unnecessarily tedious to me.
World Adventures is a full adventure add on to the Sims games and the first of its kind. While it's interesting on its own merits in terms of exploration and learning new abilities, it doesn't feel like the most entertaining add on to the Sims 3 game itself. It seems to lack cohesiveness with the general vibe of the Sims games and left a lot to be desired in terms of enjoyment.