As I previously wrote, I’m going back to play the Sims 3 expansion by expansion as vanilla as possible. The idea behind this is that I don’t feel like I spent enough time with these expansions back when they first released.
This week, I put about 7 hours into messing around with the Sims 3 base game with only the first expansion, World Adventures, installed and minimum mods. I was quickly stricken by how barebones Sims 3 was, even with one expansion. Folks who complained about the lack of content of base Sims 4 really didn’t remember how few options we had at Sims 3 launch. Man, the hair selection really needed help.
I also realized that…
I’ve Been Spoiled by Sims 4
It’s been so long since I’ve played any Sims game aside from Sims 4 that coming back to Sims 3 was an adjustment. I’m not just talking about the UI (which I actually find easy to use) or graphics.
The Sims 4 has really simplified (I’m tempted to say dumbed down) gameplay for the series. I did miss the cool Sims 4 features, such as being able to just drag rooms to make them larger. But I completely forgot that in order to fill my Sims’ needs in Sims 3, I had to manually interact with them.
Yeah, I’m kinda laughing about that. I actually have to… you know… play the game in Sims 3.
In Sims 4, if your Sim is hungry, you can click on the fridge and pick a meal for them manually. But you can also just open up the needs panel and click on the Hunger stat, instructing that Sim to go to the fridge and automatically take care of themself. And they do.
There were other things that were somewhat easier in Sims 3, though… like moving up the career track. I hardly had to work at getting my Sim to the highest level of the business track. Now he’s making big money.
So, to start with, I just grabbed one of the random Maxis-made families, the Lum family.
Don’t they look just thrilled to be the chosen ones?
I didn’t want to get distracted by Create-A-Sim, and I probably would have been frustrated with the lack of hair options anyhow, so I just snagged the first family that looked easy enough to play. I didn’t want to deal with kids or babies, but a teen like Lawrence gave me some time and leeway to somewhat develop a younger Sim as I wanted.
I moved them into the cheapest lot with the most extra room to build, Shotgun Style.
I put Theodore straight into the business career, which he very quickly progressed in. I guess his schmoozer trait was a good fit.
His wife, Lily, has a bit more trouble progressing because not only is she a snob, but she’s also mean spirited. She ends up turning people off more than anything else. But I did get her to slowly progress in the scientist career.
While the parents are out making money, my real focus is on their son, Lawrence.
Since I want to play with the features within the World Adventures expansion, as soon as Theodore got a challenge to travel abroad, I sent Lawrence along with him. Their first stop was France.
Exploring Cultures and Ruins
One neat feature of this expansion is that visiting other countries allows your Sims to learn and bring back pieces of cultures, such as songs. They can also teach other Sims these things. I made sure to teach Lawrence as many songs and gestures as possible. I love how he now sings these songs when taking showers and such.
The major addition brought by World Adventures is, obviously, the adventure system. This is a series of quests you can launch from the adventure board next to the home base. These quests sends you out to complete objectives from other Sims, often sending you into crypts and ruins.
Making your way through ruins is mostly about clicking stuff and working through minor puzzles and traps. The most dangerous part of crypt exploration is running into a mummy. If attacked by a mummy, your Sim can be stricken with a curse that will eventually cause death if not cured.
Interestingly, if your Sim has enough athletic and martial arts skill points, they can actually fight and beat up the mummy. After seeing his first mummy, Lawrence got it into his head that he wanted to beat one up. So I had to send him to China to get him started on his martial arts skills, also another feature added to this expansion.
If I were a mummy, I’d be scared of that.
You can also become a mummy, though it sounds really annoying…
Mummies move incredibly slowly, and thus will limp from location to location.
So I don’t really have any desire to have Lawrence become one. Besides, he just got engaged to another pre-made Sim, River McIrish, and there’s no Lum kids yet. That would kinda be a bad move to end the family legacy so soon.
There are a few other neat systems that come along with exploration. One is the visa system. Your Sim’s visa begins to level up as you complete adventures and tasks in a country. This allows them to stay abroad longer and purchase items from the Special Merchant (yes really) using Ancient Coins. Most of these items help make adventuring easier.
I also know you can buy a vacation home in another country once you get a high enough visa. I gave Lawrence the Adventurous trait once he aged up to help speed up this process.
So, honestly, this expansion does give a good bit of content to play through and earn. It’s kinda a bummer that the visa only pertains to one Sim in your family (though ancient coins are shared by the household). It also seems like each Sim has to progress through the same quests and ruins every time. These aren’t randomly generated, so if you’ve done them once, you’ve done them.
Right now, my goal is to work up Lawrence’s visa as much as I can, progress through the quests, experience the ruins, and see if I can’t earn a holiday home for the family. Meanwhile, I’m taking advantage of the fact that his parents are at the top of their career ladders, and that he has a fiance waiting in the wings.
Seven hours in, and there’s still a lot left for me to see. So I’d say this is a pretty good sized expansion despite the lack of replay-ability.