The Sims 4 | game review
A simple life.
Game summary: Create unique characters, build dream homes, and let chaos unfold. (EA.com)
Does a Sims game really need a review at this point? Surely anyone remotely familiar with games has heard of this series and knows what it's about, right? Whether that's the main Sims series, the mobile versions, spin-offs like The Sims Medieval or the apparently endless expansion packs for every version of the game, I'm sure almost everyone knows The Sims 4 isn't anywhere close to being just the fourth entry in the series.
It is very much the same as previous games here, acting as a digital dollhouse for your chosen avatars and whatever kind of life you see fit to act out for them. You can guide, their relationships, hobbies, fitness diet and more, which does seem like quite a lot to manage at first, but you can easily settle into a rhythm much like I imagine most people do in real life.
The thing is, The Sims 4 is very much like the other games in the series and made it's money through paid expansion packs and you'll bump up against barriers about what you can do pretty quickly. It might not be that much of a hindrance to someone for whom this game is their first try of the series as they get to grips with things, but I imagine even someone like that might start to get a little frustrated after a while.
One good thing about these games though is the sheer volume of mods out there that you can install to liven things up, most of which don't cost a thing although even some of them require certain expansions to work. I'm not really counting that as a plus point for the game as it should be judged on its own merits, but simply making people aware that the option is available if you don't want to pay a lot more for extra content.
I'll freely admit that I added mods enabling nudity and greater sexual content, because those things are just a part of life - unless you have magic blurring over your body anytime you take a bath/shower or are getting physical. A lot of those kinds of mods are pretty explicit and go far beyond what I wanted, but the option is there for you to act out pretty much any fantasies you might have.
For me, it was just a case of making The Sims 4 feel more like an adult (as in a grown-up person) experience compared to the sanitised life that is the base game. I get that EA were never going to allow sexual content in a title intended for all audiences, so I'm not really criticising the game for its absence, but I am thankful that these mods do exist to make the little computer people feel a bit more real.
The thing is, I don't think I would ever play The Sims 4 without those mods now as there is simply too much missing otherwise to stick with it for very long. It's a well-made game that looks and sounds fine, while being pretty simple to control without too much issue thanks to being able to pause at any time too, but there's just a little too much of the human experience for me to really enjoy it.
The Sims 4 is enjoyable enough as a base game, but you can very easily tell what's been left out to allow for paid expansions or for the sake of being family-friendly that it does become quite unsatisfying after a while, never mind once you take over control of a new generation in your digital family or choose to start anew. Still, it is free to play now, so there's no harm in trying it out.