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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

OPINION: ‘The Sims 4’ continues to disappoint despite constant updates

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Cameryn Davis
(Illustration)

“The Sims,” a popular and well-known video game franchise, combines its life simulator qualities with (a lot of) chaos. With four installments in the franchise’s repertoire, it’s disappointing that the newest installment, “The Sims 4,” is one of the most lackluster.

“The Sims 4” came out on Sept. 2, 2014, with the base game originally costing $40. As of now, the game is free (even though players who paid the original cost received no compensation, but that is a different conversation). With “The Sims 4,” players all around were ecstatic for the new content, better graphics and a more immersive gaming experience, but were immediately let down.

Failures in customization and more

The new game had better graphics than its previous games, but the customization, from clothing and decor to creating the Sims themselves, paled in comparison to the previous game, “The Sims 3.” Many, including myself, argued that the base game clothes were dull and the color choices were often ugly, including hair customization. 

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Even now, I find a lot of the clothing in the game to come off as really repetitive or just plain boring, especially when it comes to colored hair. On top of this, I find that a lot of the clothing is not flattering on Sims, and if you try to put masculine clothes on a feminine body or the opposite, it looks ill-fitting. This is far from the biggest problem with the game, though. 

As well as clothing options, the Sims’ whims, which are things the characters like to do, as well as their “moodlets” (moods) are often the same no matter what personality traits you have given them. While in past games, these aspects were interesting and unique, now it can be easy to simply forget the traits you have given Sims because of how little they matter.

Personally, I was super excited about the open world aspect that was assumed to be in “The Sims 4,” due to the fact it was introduced in “The Sims 3.” But the open world concept was actually taken away with the new installment. This was confusing in many ways, considering the fact that the open world concept was well-received by players, including me.

I feel like “The Sims 4”  has the same issue with non-playable characters (NPCs) that “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” has, being that these NPCs have zero personality. In past “Sims” games, the NPC characters all felt alive and had lots of interesting lore and personality. “The Sims 4” severely lacked this, and many of the NPCs feel the exact same as one another. 

The gameplay was also disappointing for lots of players. I found that lots of mechanics simply did not work. If there was any sort of fire in your home (which was rare), oftentimes calling for a fireman did nothing, and your Sim would just burn if they were unable to put the fire out themselves. 

Many of the concepts in the game felt half-baked and unfinished, which can be extremely frustrating when trying to play the game using the base mechanics. A game from a company like EA should be capable of creating games that have finished experiences that should be able to run smoothly, especially with the popularity of their “Sims” franchise. This even includes Sims’ basic autonomy. Sims can often not take care of themselves at all and have to be constantly instructed. This can get tedious and annoying, and as someone who is prone to micromanaging the games I play, it can make the game kind of stressful. 

When toddlers were added — no, they were not originally in the base game; they weren’t added until 2017 — their highchairs did not work. Even now, they can be buggy and hard to deal with. These poor mechanics and late addition are made more disappointing when considering that both “The Sims 2” and “The Sims 3” started with toddlers in the base games.

Hellish expansion packs

Once again, though, these issues were not the main problem that set off most fans, as that award goes to the lackluster quality of the base game and the millions of expansion packs. Without the expansions, the game becomes very dull very quickly. Each pack is $20 or $40 and sometimes won’t have that much content in it or will just be extremely buggy. 

For example, when the “Wedding Stories” expansion pack dropped on Feb. 22, 2022, many bought it in hopes that it would make weddings better and more organized. Unsurprisingly, it did the opposite the majority of the time, completely bugging out or just not working altogether, which can be pretty frustrating after dropping $20 on it. 

I got the game for the first time in late middle school, so obviously, I did not have the money to buy a bunch of expansion packs and kits in order to make the game interesting. I found myself often forcing myself to play the game in order to hit new milestones and get to the more “interesting” parts, such as creating new Sims or moving houses, which is not the intent of the game. Now, as a college student, I still do not have a lot of money in order to spend on these sorts of things, and I find the game boring if I play for more than three hours, even with expansions. 

While “The Sims 3” had a plethora of interesting aspects — like interesting careers, vehicles, illnesses, and more — the base game for “The Sims 4” lacked all of these. To this day, the base game only has three worlds, one of which is completely empty and two others that have practically nothing. In addition to a lack unique weather and pets, “The Sims 4” has boring and lifeless careers that have no incentive for rising through the ranks. 

Greedy EA

For me, and much of the fanbase, “The Sims 4” just feels like a cash grab. This is truly disappointing when a game like this has so much potential. 

While past “Sims” games also had expansion packs, the game itself was fun to play on its own, and those packs could just come as an added aspect, such as the supernatural. This is what expansion packs should be — you should not have to spend almost $100 to have weather and a dog in your life simulator game. 

The fact that expansion packs are still being pumped out to this day from Electronic Arts just shows the company’s desperate attempt to keep people excited about the game despite all of its flaws with no fix in sight. 

EA can do better; it has shown us better, and yet here we all are with “The Sims 4.” Let’s just hope that if “The Sims 5” ever comes out, you won’t have to buy an expansion pack to breathe. 

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About the Contributors
Makenzie Miller
Makenzie Miller, Illustrator/Designer
Makenzie Miller is an animation major and a first-year illustrator on The Sunflower. She is from Eureka, Kansas, and enjoys not only art but also cartoons, video games, softball, and literally any type of animal. She hopes to one day be a storyboarder/concept artist for an animation company.
Cameryn Davis
Cameryn Davis, Illustrator/Designer
Cameryn Davis is a sophomore at WSU pursuing a graphic design degree. After graduating, Davis aims to work in design and illustration. Davis uses she/her pronouns.

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