Posted in Gaming, Sims 4

Sims 4: A First Look at Cats & Dogs

Though I haven’t written a lot about Sims 4 lately, I’ve spent a good bit of time getting ready for the newest expansion pack that released last week, Cats & Dogs (C&D). In fact, I even gave the landing page of my Custom Content Blog a facelift.

I’ve also been sorting through all my downloads, discarding things that are outdated or that I’m not interested in keeping, putting what I keep into better categories on my blog, and updating links where I can. I spent an evening last week just confirming the state of the mods I use, updating them and the links in my blog, and discarding the ones that don’t work anymore.

I’m making a lot of headway on reorganizing that blog, but I’m not quite done yet. There’s still a lot of content left for me to prune and update. And all of this was to get a cleaner base game in anticipation of C&D.

The Features

So, C&D is pretty self explanatory. It’s a full game expansion that adds… cats and dogs. Note that it’s not named “Pets” like previous iterations in the Sims series. This is because, true to name, we only got cats and dogs. I still mourn the loss of small pets, birds and especially horses.

You also have the ability to become a vet and run your own clinic. I haven’t done this yet, so I’ll have to follow up with a post about that feature when I get there.

While the pets you can bring into your Sims’ households are super cute and expressive, some folks feel as if the expansion is priced too steep, or would have been better suited for a game pack. I’m really not sure where I stand on this —  I haven’t been disappointed in it (aside from lack of pet type variety), but I can certainly see how some people feel this way.

 

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The story of my life: two cats fighting and in a place they shouldn’t be while I’m trying to relax and enjoy my time after work.

I know from keeping up with information and interviews that a lot of things are going on under the hood that may have bumped the development up into making it a full pack. Things that are small to us, but take up technical time — such as making surfaces, like tables and counters, things cats can jump up on (all the time!). Or maybe the completely free-form Create-A-Sim for pets, much like the system we used to have for everything in Sims 3 (they’re opening a can of worms with that). Add to that the 170+ breeds already programed into the CAS – that’s pretty impressive!

For those who just want to play around with pets and genetics, there’s a lot of fun to be had right there. And it answers your burning questions such as… What if The Fox & The Hound had puppies?

Yeah, you know you want to know!

The Bugs

On the down side, this expansion pack is super sensitive, and there are a LOT of bugs.

Due to adding a whole new type of Sim to the game, the patch everyone got before it’s release (Nov 7)  broke a bunch of mods. So, be sure to research which mods might be pitching a fit for your game even if you haven’t picked up this expansion. I wasn’t joking when I said I sorted through and did a major clean-out of my own mods.

But even aside of mods, a number of players have reported all sorts of bugs. I’ve personally had issues trying to adopt strays I’ve befriended on the street — they simply never adopt. I had to resort to inviting them over to my house (which you do by calling them on your cell like a regular Sim — WHAT?) and CHEAT: Shift-Right-Click “Add to Household.” But I shouldn’t have to do that.

I’ve also seen wonkiness in trying to take a sick pet to the vet.

The Pets

On the up side, the pets themselves are a mixture of wonderful and frustrating. The big controversy with pets is that Maxis decided to make them “mysterious” by removing your ability to control them. This is fine, except it also hides important information about your pet — how old they are, when they’re going to age up, what their skills are, what their relationships are.

I don’t mind not being in control of my pet (it feels like I’m never in control of my pets IRL), but at least let me see their age!

Not to worry, though. There’s already a mod that makes pets playable. I’ve installed it but haven’t sat down to play a session with the mod enabled. I’ll see how I like it.

So far, I’ve only taken one of my old custom-made Sims, Amie, changed her traits to make her an uber animal lover, and dropped her in a house next to the beach in the new neighborhood, Brindleton Bay. I’ve put her in the same save as my beloved family of City Living (I also have a family of vampires in this world that I’ve never blogged about, so I’ve become pretty attached to that save).

I then sent Amie out to befriend all manner of stray cats and dogs just to see the variety of pets and personalities. So far, I’ve only brought home cats, but it looks like dogs might be a bit more interesting since you can actually train them. With cats, you just keep scolding them not to do things like jump on counters and knock over trash cans — true to life.

Meet Mayor Whiskers, my first stray adopt. Who can resist this charm?

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Yes, he comes with the top hat and collar.

I was a little disappointed to see that he wasn’t just a randomized stray, but one other people encounter in their game, too. So, essentially, he’s a Townie Cat.

Well, they sucked me in with this stray. He was too friendly and charming. I had to take him home. Then, after I got used to life with one cat, I went about adopting another stray, a female this time, to see what having kittens was like.

Actually getting the cats to mate wasn’t too hard — though you have to wait for the female to go into heat. But of the 4 or so times I tried, only one was actually successful. I guess they don’t want the city flooded with kittens and puppies… but I’ve heard some players who have no luck at all getting offspring.

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Mother cat and kitten

My cats had two male kittens. They both looked very similar to their father, just with a few different traits. I kept one of the kittens with the better personality and adopted off the second (this was so sad!).

I wish I’d seen a little more variety in their kittens. I know from playing around in the CAS that they actually do have a genetic chance at chocolate point kittens, more like their mother. I’ll keep trying and see what happens.

Actually cleaning up and taking care of pets can be really time consuming. Not only do they shed (you can buy a Roomba to help with that!), but they require feeding and brushing and litter box cleaning/bathroom breaks very often. I learned quickly that the automatic feeder and the laser powered litter box (I need one IRL) are my new best friends — having two cats and two kittens was waaaay too much work without a little automaton.

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Once I had that in place, though, cats were pretty self-sufficient. I suppose they’re an option for Sims who are on the go and still want a pet, while dogs may be more for Sims that can dedicate the time for training.

So, this is my first impression of Sims 4 Cats & Dogs. I’ll probably have more to write about as I dive deeper into this pack.

If you’re on the fence about picking it up, you might want to wait until some of the bugs are ironed out or a holiday sale comes around. Pet lovers will find a lot to enjoy in this, so only you know if this is something you need in your Sims life. 🙂

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Author:

I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects! https://aywren.com/fantasy-fiction-webcomics/

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