It’s been a while since I’ve written about Sims 4. But it’s also been a while since I was excited about the theme of a pack or expansion for the game.
While I don’t think the recent packs/expansions/whatever they’re called are bad, persay, nothing has prompted me to want to preorder or buy day 1 lately. I’ll read up on the forum reviews and usually wait for a sale if nothing in the reviews really wows me.
So when they teased the idea of living in the country, my mind went to one thing only: Horses.
Naturally, as a horse lover, the horses in Sims 3 were one of my favorite features. However, horses were were cut in the Pets expansion for Sims 4. So surely, an expansion about the country life would include the missing horses, right?
I was excited at the possibility! It was the first time I’ve been excited for an announcement in a while.
That was, until, the announcement came and again, horses got cut. For llamas, I guess. (Actually, no. It’s been confirmed the animals are tied to objects and aren’t part of the household, so they don’t act as “pets.” So, double bummer.)
Okay, I don’t want to be that person, but allow me to grieve the loss of my horses yet again. Everything else in this pack looks right up my gameplay alley. I love the idea of cottage living. The cute critters, the almost-farm theme, and the world looks lovely. I’m sure I’ll have fun with it whenever I decide to pick it up.
But I can’t help feel a little disappointed about horses being overlooked again. Had this pack included horses, I would have rushed right out to preorder it instantly. And that says a lot for my non-preorder mentality the past few years.
I’m going to hold out hope for horses in a side pack, maybe? With lots of neat features like stables and gear and racing? But I really kinda doubt it. I have a sinking feeling Sims 4 isn’t going to see horses in the end.
I’m really tempted to reinstall Sims 3 to get my horse fix right now. 🐴
I wanted to get a post about Sims 4 Seasons done before this, but ended up completely distracted by computer issues. Thankfully, I’ve gotten those squared away, and the PC is running great again. I still haven’t sat down with Sims again after being so rudely pulled away… but I think the few days I spent with it is enough to spin up a reaction post.
Namely… this expansion changes just about every aspect of the game in such a way that it completely enhances the experience for me. There’s just so much going on here, I know I will never remember all of it to write about.
Weather and Seasons
Of course, Seasons brings seasons… which means changes in weather patterns. But, just like in real life, weather doesn’t always make sense. I saw snow in the middle of spring, for example, which can actually happen IRL. It was a cool little touch (no pun intended).
There’s also changes in temperature that effect your Sims (and can even kill them). This is something you can toggle on and off, but is also easily handled with the right clothing. Below is my Sim on the right, toasty in her warm clothes… while the Sim next to her is turning blue from cold.
There’s a lot of customization to the seasons — you choose how long they last and set up a full calendar. After running through a full “year” of seasons at the default length of 7 days per season, I quickly doubled that to 14 days. 7 days per season just feels too quick. There’s not enough time for transition and events. 14 days feels like a good middle ground.
For all the fan grumbling about the look of the snow before launch, I actually think that Winter is my favorite season in Sims 4. There’s something really serene about the snow falling and the little blanket of snow that covers all the objects outside. The little touches, like windows frosting up, are very nice.
There’s all sorts of thoughtful touches like this that really impressed me about this expansion. Sometimes it’s the little things that raise immersion.
I really liked the calendar and event features, too. On days with set holidays, you get small goals to achieve that make your Sim happy once completed. These can be things like decorating the house, opening presents, shooting fireworks, etc. Each Sim has different traditions they enjoy and really wish to fulfill… while other Sims might hate those same things and want to avoid them.
I had a really sweet moment when Santa… I mean Father Winter… came to give my Sim a gift on Wintersfest. He gave her an awesome digital camera.
But, she was a broke, single, gardener who was just scraping by on the merits of the plants she harvested. Since the gifts you can give are limited to what you have in your pockets, my Sim rummaged around and could only give him a flower in return.
Not only did Father Winter sound absolutely delighted with the gift, but he lifted the flower to his nose to smell it! His Sim identified the gift as a flower and interacted with it realistically, rather that just putting it away after accepting it. I was really tickled by that.
Speaking of events… There seem to be three kinds of events. The big normal holidays, like Wintersfest, the custom holidays you create, and holidays that pop up unannounced. I really like that unannounced holidays because they add a quirky twist to the day.
For example, one random event day said that a brand new TV show was premiering that night… and your Sim just HAD to watch it to prevent being spoiled by co-workers and friends the next day (it happens!). Again, just something little and silly, but a really nice touch.
Gardening got a pretty big overhaul and is a totally viable way to make a living now. Though it has its own career track, I decided to start a fresh Sim and see if she could survive on just the little garden she tended.
The free patch before the expansion brought glass roofs to everyone with the game, which really makes some neat skylights and greenhouse builds open up. I built my own little greenhouse for my Sim, which you can see below.
There’s some really nice new selling, watering and weeding options for crops, and the profit you make from selling produce was increased significantly. You can also buy seed packs straight from the buy menu now.
Plants are assigned a specific season to flourish. If left outside, they will go dormant in the off seasons. But they will always produce just fine all year as long as they’re sheltered, such as in a greenhouse.
It took a little investment in building the greenhouse and getting the seeds, but once the produce started improving, my Sim was able to live quite comfortably in her little cottage on what she made.
Again, there’s no possible way for me to cover everything this expansion pack does. I know I’ve not seen everything it has to offer yet. I feel like this one’s done something right, though, because every time I turn around, I’m being delighted by something unexpected.
I think that the random nature of the weather and seasons really spices up the normal day-to-day Sims play… which can fall into a rut once you get your Sims to a comfortable space. Weather doesn’t change things so drastically that it distracts from the base game, but rather adds another layer of immersion on top of what was already there.
Events and holidays add nice little social touches and days off that encourage your Sims to enjoy their lives outside of the norm… kinda like what holidays should do IRL as well. When I left off, my little single gardener girl had married the guy of her dreams… and come to find out, he lives in a huge villa in the middle of the Oasis town.
It’s a big upgrade for a small-cottage girl. But hey, that just means she can plant a bigger garden now! She seems pretty happy about that. 🙂
The newest expansion for Sims 4 — Seasons, is gearing up to drop at midnight EST on this Friday. I’m trying to temper my feelings for the pack, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t pretty excited by what I’ve seen.
In fact, I decided to officially take a vacation day so I could immerse myself in all the expansion has to offer. I’ve learned in the past that Sims expansions require at least a full day of my time for me to feel like I’ve got a grasp on what all they have to offer. Since this releases on a Friday, that lines me up for a long weekend (of Sims).
Traditionally, Seasons has been one of the most popular and requested of the Sims expansions, right up there with Pets. With this version of Seasons, we’re not just getting weather, but a focus on an in-game calendar and holidays.
In the past, Seasons had holidays, but they were usually something quickly done with. This time around, you can make a calendar, create your own holidays and traditions and deck out the house with decorations (other houses in the neighborhood will also auto decorate I heard).
I think this is something you have to set up in advance, but the house seems to automatically remember what your decoration preferences for holidays are. Or, that’s the impression I get.
Not to mention how the world transitions from one season to the next — winter doesn’t just pop into spring, it slowly changes. Also, there’s a huge overhaul in the gardening system that has to take into consideration seasons. That should be fun to learn.
Not to mention, certain places actually have climates — the jungle and desert shouldn’t get snow, for example. And they have their own specialized seasons, too.
Of course, despite all the good things, some folks had to find things to grumble about, like the lack of snow depth . Sims 4 has always been under fire for one thing or another by disgruntled community members. I can’t completely blame them, though, when we’re seeing more stuff packs pop up now than ever.
As for this expansion, I feel the team put a ton of work and love into it. I just hope that the expansion plays well and lives up to the hopes of the players.
I’m probably a lot easier to please than most, but I’m just here to have some fun.
I promised in my last post about Sims 4 that I’d spend a little more time with the new Jungle Adventure game pack, especially exploring a temple. I also said that I’d go back and find the name of the random Sim I chose to inflict this upon adventure with.
Turns out, his name is Javier.
He’d visited the jungle once already, but ran out of vacation time (still a rookie at work, hasn’t built up much time off), so I had to send him home before he got a proper look at the temple. I learned when I brought him back a second time that all the areas you explored before are once again overgrown… so you have to cut your way back through all the vines to re-activate the gates.
This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for those darn random chance events you get opening each gate. These things are trouble… and dangerous. They really do expect you to have a Sim with fairly high skills in order to participate without penalty.
Twice, poor Javier was poisoned by scorpion bites due to these things.
I wasn’t sure what to do about that — I read that if you had high enough cultural knowledge to unlock the secret vendor in town, you could trade for an antidote. I didn’t have any cultural knowledge yet at all, so Javier was stuck having to fend for himself.
If he was going to be a gonner anyhow, I figured he may as well die exploring the temple. Stepping in harm’s way was something he was very good at doing…
The major issue I had was that Javier entered the jungle with a low Social meter. I tried to have him talk to the locals to raise it, but my time in the jungle was too limited for me to have him sit around town all day chatting.
That’s when I discovered… he wasn’t alone in the temple…
This bony guy is called a Temple Guardian. I was worried that it might attack Javier, but apparently Javier’s social need was so great, he didn’t care about who he befriended at the moment.
The skeleton was actually a pretty nice guy. When their conversation got interrupted as Javier was attacked randomly by fire flies… who literally set Javier on fire… the Guardian looked pretty concerned about the situation.
I mean, check out that expression. I was actually kinda impressed they were able to convey so much worry with just a skull.
Okay… moving on from the disturbing skull imagery.
So, progressing through the temple requires your Sim to respond to several traps and checkpoints. Basically, you click on something in the temple, and it gives you a multiple choice selection on how to try and disarm the trapped doors. Compared to the Sims 3 Adventure expansion, which required you to search for switches and traps and that sort of thing, these mechanics were fairly watered down.
The only up side is that the multiple choice element means that returning to the temple will require a different answer each time. So… there’s a little bit of RNG in there. But not like a whole randomly created temple layout or anything (as far as I know).
Selecting the wrong thing can have several different effects including bodily harm (set on fire), or emotional/need manipulation. I didn’t know at the time that you could examine things to get hints as to what the right answer was. Because I just progressed with trial and error, poor Javier was so bottomed out in his needs and emotions it wasn’t funny.
The only reason he finished the temple at all, despite his crippling emotional state, was due to the berries I’d picked from the Tree of Emotion outside the temple. Eating a happy berry (whatever it was called) was enough to override Javier’s misery just long enough to make it to the final treasure and back to town.
Oh, and as you can see from the picture above, somewhere in there, Javier was able to fight off the poison. So he didn’t die a horrible, writhing death after all.
The final chamber was surprisingly trap-free and included three different chests to loot from. One of them gave me a couple of special artifacts that apparently can be fused with pieces off other artifacts. Seems like there’s a “top” piece and a “bottom” piece. Don’t know what these do yet because I only got the top pieces.
I also got a nice artifact that was worth 8K Simoleons. Seeing that Javier is still scrounging to make a living in his apartment, this was a pretty nice find.
Javier was still in pretty bad shape, so I took him back to his rental. You can warp out of the temple automatically using the map feature, just like any other place in town… I’m not sure how I feel about that. But for the moment, I was glad of it.
I got the poor guy fed and rested… then I spent the remaining time letting him socialize around the market to help his bottomed-out social meter. This actually leveled him a point in the local culture. And he met a cute local girl.
Maybe I’ll send him back again to pursue that friendship. There are still lots of other paths I haven’t uncovered in the jungle yet, and other temples to explore!
I haven’t been keeping up with Sims 4 releases like I should, so the Jungle Adventure Game Pack snuck past me. When I saw the announcement on a Sim blog I follow yesterday, I jumped over to the forums and Reddit to see what the thoughts were about this game pack.
I really enjoyed the Sims 3 World Adventures expansion pack, and even wrote a series of posts about it a while back. So, it was nice to see a new game pack that was themed towards this sort of thing.
I only got to mess around with it for a few hours, but here’s my experiences so far.
Jungle Adventure adds a new vacation location to explore in your Sim world. This builds on to the system they introduced with the Outdoors Retreat game pack a few years back, but doesn’t require that pack to play the new one.
I started by picking a random single Sim from my neighborhood. I’ve become really fond of this particular neighborhood, which houses several of my favorite Sim families. I have the Amanda/Akira family, a family of vampires that I played quite a bit (but never blogged about for some reason), and the family I played around with for the Cats and Dogs release.
I don’t even recall this Sim’s name (poor guy, I’ll have to look it up later), but I selected him, gave him better hair and clothing, and put him on the path to adventure. He started out living in a low-grade apartment in San Myshuno… but I had to move him to a different apartment because the Gremlin trait breaking all his appliances every other day was too much for me.
Anyhow. About Jungle Adventures.
So you set up a vacation using your phone. You arrive in Selvadorada, a place inspired by South American jungles, sporting a Latino vibe. You can unlock and level the culture there through interactions, and explore the jungles… if you can figure out how.
When your Sim first arrives, you’re dropped into a map that’s filled with question mark places to explore. The game tells you that you need to pick up some supplies before you head out to the jungle. That makes sense, but it wasn’t very intuitive to figure out.
There’s a little outdoor market next to the bar with three tables and a food vendor. Here’s where the wonkiness comes in.
There are objects you can click on the table to buy — things like a machete (always carry more than one), bug spray and other such objects. But these are only active if there’s someone standing behind the table selling stuff.
Then, there’s a whole different second shop. You can click a shopkeeper Sim and choose to buy adventuring supplies. This opens up things like tents, fire pits, beds, pet supplies (if you brought your pet) and the new archaeology table.
My poor sim was kinda up the creek because he used up his only spider repellent spray the very first morning, and no one ever came to stand behind the table selling sprays while I was in the market. So, I couldn’t replenish it.
Yes, there are spider attacks. And bat attacks… and probably other attacks I don’t even know about yet.
So, once I finally got my supplies, I had to figure out how to actually enter the jungle. This is also not intuitive. I ended up having to go to the forum for hints.
So, what you have to do is take your Sim to the National Park lot. There, you will find overgrown archways that you can click on. This allows you to clear the brush with a machete or by hand.
When you finish this, you get a random chance event. Having higher skills seem to help succeed and get a positive outcome on the event. So far, nothing that’s happened during one of these has been too terrible.
Going deeper into the jungle just requires you to continue clearing these passages. They warp you from one area to another in a rabbit-hole type progression.
Along the path, I began to find these little dig spots. Here, you can discover artifacts, which have various quality and rarity associated to them.
Digging up artifacts and authenticating them on the archaeology table increases the archaeology skill, which I was most interested in exploring. You can choose to display the artifacts or sell them once you determine what they really are.
At the end of your vacation, you can choose to extend the vacation or head back home. My poor little Sim was on the lowest rung of his career ladder, so he didn’t have a lot of vacation time to use.
I gave him a few days out in the jungle, and even discovered the first temple. I haven’t been able to start exploring it yet, so there’s still a whole lot more for me to find.
So far, I give this game pack a pretty positive-average rating. I like that they’ve expanded on the vacation system and are opening up an exploratory area. I’m interested to see what secrets I can find in the temple, and I want to work up the new skill and culture.
However, getting supplies and finding a way into the jungle should have been a little more intuitive from the start. Now that I know how to do these things, it’s fine.
There’s nothing that’s jumped out at me as wow-amazing! so far. Again, though, I haven’t been inside the temple yet. I’m going to assume the meat and potatoes of the game will be there.
I also wonder if clearing treasures and things out with one Sim will leave it like that for others. I believe I read that once you open the path to the temple, all Sims in the neighborhood can go through. But does that mean if you loot stuff, they don’t respawn?
That would be a bummer for replayability. Something I’ll have to check on.
I’ve mostly been playing FFXIV lately, alternating with a few other MMOs on the side, and a healthy dose of Stardew Valley when I can. Though I have nothing really earthshaking to write about for these games, on the eve of the release of the newest Mario game, I decided to talk about a few of the games I’m really looking forward to.
It’s all kinda hard to beat the hype of Stardew Valley, but I’m excited about the following games, each in their own special way.
I was a huge Nintendo kid growing up, and the Mario series was one of my favorites. I watched all the funky cartoons, collected everything I could on my meager allowance, and played through the games sooooo times. Well, up until Super Mario 64.
I think I beat Mario 64. But I don’t remember beating a Mario game since. While I’m still fond of Mario, in the way someone is fond of a favorite childhood character, RPGs, MMOs and computer games took my attention away from Nintendo for a solid chunk of time.
However, Mario Odyssey might just be the game to rekindle that fun. I’ve heard people say that the game took them back to Mario 64 immediately. It looks like a game that fosters exploration — if Breath of the Wild is any indication of how Odyssey might evolve the Mario series, then I’m completely on board.
I preordered the game months ago, and it’s already in the mail on its way from Amazon. Hopefully I’ll get it tomorrow, in time to explore it some this weekend.
Animal Crossing Pocket Camp
Even though the announcement for this came out just yesterday, and it’s a mobile game, I’m still pretty excited for this. One of the major reasons I’m hyped is because hopefully, this game will allow me to connect with friends, family and blogger friends in an Animal Crossing environment.
While Animal Crossing has always allowed you to invite friends in, I’ve never been big on throwing my Nintendo friend code out to the wild. So while it would have been fun inviting folks to my little town, aside from Syn and my sister (who totally just wanted to steal new types of fruit for her town), I didn’t multi-play a whole lot.
Doing it on an app basis seems safer, kinda like Miitomo. So, we’ll see what kind of mischief this game brings. This comes out late November.
Sims 4: Cats and Dogs
The next Sims expansion is all about cats and dogs… so you know I had to have this one pre-ordered pretty much since I first started seeing information about it. Not only do we get pets in Sims 4, but we also get to open our own Vet clinic! And for a girl who once wanted to be a veterinarian when she was much younger, I know this is going to be good Sims fun.
My one disappointment with this expansion is they cut horses completely. Sims 3 Pets did horses so well! In fact, I rarely played with any of the other pets because the horses were the main highlight for me. I have a sinking feeling we’ll probably never see horses in this game… unless they shockingly decide to make a whole horse-themed game pack. I find that hard to imagine, though.
Despite all of that, I’m still excited for what Cats & Dogs will bring to Sims 4. It’s releasing November 10, so I don’t have too much longer to wait!
Do you have some games you’re waiting for right now? What’s got you hyped?
I spent some time cleaning out old, outdated mods for my Sims 4 game last night, and updating the ones that needed updating. A few of them were completely retired, and in the midst of looking for replacements, I discovered the MC Command Center mod.
Now, I use a number of mods, and while I keep track of them on my Sims blog, I don’t usually write a post about them. But this is different due to the sheer scope of functionality.
It brings story progression to Sims 4.
Story progression was a bit of a controversy when it was first released in Sims 3. The idea was that the world around your current household was a living thing, and those sims would go out, get married, have kids, change jobs, move houses all on their own.
This was a shock to Sims players who, up until then, always had complete control over what every sim in their neighborhood could do. The fact that these sims were going off and making their own choices often mucked up the player’s overall plans for certain families.
I think the biggest problem wasn’t so much that story progression existed, but that in the beginning, there was no way to turn it off. I guess that the designers though story progression was so awesome that no one would ever want the option to disable it.
Once that option was available, players were a lot happier. I remembered there were some neighborhoods I’d turn it off, and some I’d let the sims run rampant.
There’s an amazing set of Sims 3 mods known as Master Controller that became essential for me to keep track of everything that was going on, especially in a larger neighborhood. Those were good times.
MC Command Center
So when Sims 4 came along, the first thing I immediately missed was the option to have story progression. My neighborhood had lots of houses… but no one was moving into them. I had lots of neighbors… but they would just grow old and die without children unless I manually created family for them.
I thought that this was going to just be the way it was… until this brilliant mod crossed my monitor last night. Why didn’t I know about this before? Not only does it return a semblance of story progression, but just about every part offers options to the player.
Suddenly, in my City Living game, homeless sims were moving into houses, getting married, and having families! This is so, so much better than them all sitting in a bin while all the houses in my neighborhoods sat empty.
The best thing is that you can set the options to only effect households you’ve not manually played. This means that even if you leave a family for a little while, they’re not going to have a couple of unexpected kids when you get back to playing them.
Everything is controlled directly from the in-game computer. I found it easy to use, and the options well-documented, so I always had a good idea what my options were going to effect.
Huge props to the modder for his work! This has made my game so much better.
It’s hard to believe that 2016 is slowly coming to a close. But before we jump feet-first into December, I wanted to take a look back at what I accomplished over November. My goals for this month were pretty loose — mostly focusing on playing other new games that just came out.
So how did I do?
Games to Explore
Civ 6 ✓
Pokemon Sun ✓
Sims 4 City Life Expansion ✓
On the new games front, I did pretty good! Steam says that I put 17.6 hours into Civ 6 and 9.3 hours into Skyrim. I really need to pick up Skyrim again because it’s been weeks since I’ve played, and this is pretty close to the point I left off with the game before. I don’t want it to be a replay.
I know that I got at least 20 hours into the new Sims 4 Expansion, and I still want to continue with the family I started. But Pokemon Sun really won the month considering it came out so late, and I’ve put in over 40 hours on the game already. Granted, most of that has been breeding and training Pokemon, but I’ve certainly had a fun time.
Level Scholar to 60 ✓
Gear up Dragoon ✓
Get PotD Kinna Bard Bow or Scholar Book
Work on Relic Weapon ✓
Do job quests ✓
Gain reputation with Sahagin
FFXIV has really been a case of autopilot for me right now. I log in mostly to do an Expert run and some Beast Tribe quests in hopes to cap Scripture Tomes for the week. I should have stored enough up to purchase the Dragoon pants for Zuri today, which is the last large-ticket item. From there, just the head, belt and feet are left. So, I’ve made good progress on gearing her up.
I have been working on Relic, but no where as much as I really should be. I’m just more annoyed with the Umbrite step than anything else.
I did finish leveling my Scholar/Summoner to 60. I went back and completed the Scholar job quests, but have not started to catch up on Summoner stuff. I’m concerned that my Summoner gear is so sub-par that it’ll be hard to do. So, I’ve been scrounging drops from Expert Roulette to try and make that a little better.
Sadly, I still haven’t seen Floor 100 of PotD, nor have I earned my upgrade for the first Kinna weapon. I also didn’t work on the rep gain with Sahagin at all. I know I could have had both done by now, but meh. Trading in Pokemon is more fun for me. 🙂