Saturday, 02 December 2017 17:31

REVIEW: The Sims 4 (Xbox One)

Written by StacefaceMayhem
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Story time again! Cue the audience eye roll, but truly this is why we love video games, the memories attached. The original Sims was the first ever game I played on PC, and holy hell did I play the crap out of it. It was a game we could spend hours on, then look at the clock and be like 4 hours... really.. I haven’t even done much. And we all cheated, don’t lie to yourself, the money cheat was like the ‘Holy Grail’. I even remember typing in the infamous ’rosebud’ cheat code, and leaving objects on the ctrl+V keys, then going to a friend’s house, as it pasted over and over again. I was a freaking billionaire when I got home, and never again did I need that cash; I was the Queen of the Sims.

Now truthfully EA’s ‘The Sims 4’ has been out on PC since 2014, so you’d think the developers Maxis and Blind Squirrel Games would have plenty of time to iron out bugs in porting it over to console. Sadly, if you are anything like me, you thought wrong. Anyone new to ‘The Sims’ series in general should know it is one of the most famous sandbox, simulation games on the market. You make your character, and essentially live a virtual life. A life you negate yourself, whether you find a job and love or live the hobo bachelor life, adopt a pet or raise a family, the journey to create a perfect life is yours. You even need to work on a budget to design that dream house too...that job is looking real realistic and essential now, especially as bills and accidents start appearing and rack them expenses up pretty fast.

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Right off the bat, it looks amazing, just like the PC version. I spent a whole hour creating my character to look as much like me as I could. I appreciated so much of the fine details, the freckles on her face, the tailoring of make up, colour stylings of wallpaper and fittings, even the glint in her eye, a glint which I could ruin in as fast as removing the ladder from the pool (old school Sims reference). Despite having off the chain customisation of everything, I felt when you entered the different styles of clothing, there could have been a few more options in the base package. Fortunately, like the online version there are many DLC packs with alternative costumes.

This lead to my first frustration of the game. While it took me so long to make my character, and I had put so much effort into my overall look, it took one accidental push of a button and it was all gone and I had no idea how to get it back. I had activated one of the set looks which wiped my own design, and because it was the start of the game, the instructions of how to change it back were minimal and unclear.

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Then it was a roller coaster of emotions. The first thing you notice is how awkward and clumsy the controls are. The Sims 4 tries to have controls similar to a keyboard and mouse, and it really just doesn’t work. The cursor is hard to control on the Xbox and you can’t change the sensitivity so it darts around making it hard to accurately click on the often small and finicky buttons. It becomes even more complicated when one analogue stick controls the cursor and the other the camera. The mode where you do use buttons and the triggers to tab through menus (which this game has a lot of), though better, had some delay in processing meaning you would actually tab past stuff because you thought you didn’t hit the function proper.

The true awkwardness comes in build mode, tabbing through the multiple menus, while trying to remember how to place and turn things, then accidently using the wrong stick can be a frustrating affair. It even took quite a long time and trial and error before I could find the erase button, which isn’t an obvious icon and is actually out of the main menu. I did like that their was a function to have a room installed already designed and established, but that cost moolah and at the beginning moolah is not what you have.

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Once you are accustomed to the clunky controls, the nostalgia was thick and fast, and I was grinning out how easily I got back into it like my twelve year old self. Being the control freak that I am, I quickly established a routine, and before too long I have spent hours upon hours doing the same mundane crap that fills our real lives anyway. Once again you can easily make a list of tasks for them to do while you tinker around with other stuff.

Emotions are such an important aspect of the game that are utilised so well in this one. Say your Sim is embarrassed, it will shun itself from conversation, feel to tense and it will often make mistakes such as cutting themselves in the kitchen while making dinner. Aspirations, ambitions and your career choices can be added into conversations is a cool feature, even the longings for complex relationships to form between people is so realistic it is depressing, but much of this is no different to the PC version.

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Once I was done with tinkering around with my house and character and had a steady stream of cash flowing, I ventured out onto the streets and into my neighbourhood, and to be honest I was disappointed. Although the environment itself is thriving with colour and cool design aesthetics, the streets seemed small and life-less. I’m a little gob smacked that even after all these years, in a simulation none the less, that cars aren’t bustling down the roads.

Overall, despite being just a more patched version of the PC version, The Sims 4 doesn’t have any noticeable differences. The controls have been feebly designed for console users, lacking any real initiative into making them more functional and user friendly. This seems like a desperate grab at the console market but unfortunately it is not ready and if I had a choice I would only buy it on PC. After all aren’t they the master race anyway.....?

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 3.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, Mac, PS4, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Maxis, The Sims Studio
  • Genre: Simulation