Sul sul! “The Sims 4” is a life simulation game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts (EA). “The Sims” series began in 1989, but the first Sims life simulation game came out in 2000. After the success of its previous games, EA released “The Sims 4” in 2014.
Maxis and EA released 4 “The Sims” games as well as additional downloadable content (DLCs) for each game that “simmers,” people who play the Sims, can buy and install. DLCs allow for specialized gameplay, build options and character customization opportunities.
“The Sims 4” has a plethora of DLCs. There are expansion packs, game packs and “stuff” packs. In March 2021, The Sims team released a new DLC category: kits. Out of the many, there are a few I recommend that new simmers buy and download.
“The Sims 4 Base game” costs $19.99 and must be purchased to use the DLCs. The expansion packs are $39.99, the game packs are $19.99, the stuff packs are $9.99 and kits are $4.99. EA and Origin Software hold sales for the packs at discounted prices throughout the year, excluding kits.
The first and most important expansion pack that all simmers should have is “The Sims 4: Seasons” pack. Seasons give simmers the opportunity to have all four seasons in the game that provide new activities for Sims to do like roller-skating, ice-skating, snowball fights, building snowmen and throwing water balloons. The Seasons pack also includes cold and hot weather outfits in the Create-a-Sim menu, and rustic items to both build and buy. The Seasons pack generally makes “The Sims 4” environment look more lifelike instead of simply having one stagnant weather type.
I also highly recommend the “Cats & Dogs” expansion pack, that allows your Sims to have furry friends and also opens a world called Brindleton Bay. This pack also introduces strays and veterinary clinics, which allows for your Sims to open a vet clinic of their own.
The next expansion pack I recommend is “Eco Lifestyle”. This pack introduces renewable and nonrenewable energy, sustainable living, crafting and community projects into “The Sims 4.” The expansion pack focuses heavily on the world’s eco-footprint and three different pollution levels can be achieved: green, neutral and industrial. Eco Lifestyle brings awareness to the ever-daunting issue of climate change and increases the Sims relatability even more.
I also recommend “The Sims 4: Parenthood” game pack. "Parenthood" introduces character values for teenage, child and toddler-aged Sims. Parent Sims can encourage or discipline their children for behaviors accordingly and can affect their character values such as manners, responsibility, empathy, conflict resolution and emotional control. The character value mechanic adds more depth to teen, child and toddler Sims and gameplay activities for Sims families to do together.
In addition to "Parenthood," I recommend that simmers buy and download “The Sims 4: Laundry Day” stuff. Laundry day adds laundry to “The Sims 4.” There are hampers, washers, dryers, a wash bucket and a clothing line for your Sims to do their laundry. I enjoy when my Sims have chores to do because it adds a lifelike quality that the Sims also have to do their laundry. Plus, it adds a level of realism that every family needs.
While Parenthood might not be your thing, the “Tiny Living” stuff pack is definitely a fun edition for everyone. This pack adds a new lot type, Tiny Home Residential, and has three tiers that are dependent on how many floor tiles the home has. When building, you can only place walls on a preset grid. The amount of floor tiles equates to where walls are built and rooms close off. Tier one is a micro-home at 32 tiles, tier two is a tiny home at 64 tiles, and tier three is a small home at 100 tiles. Each tier has different benefits that impact gameplay, Sim skill-building, and even reduced bills.
In my opinion, all the packs listed above are essential for life-like gameplay and enjoyment. These are the packs I use and adore the most for my build and buy, Create-a-Sim and gameplay needs.
I have only purchased one kit, and I am not really “wowed” with its additions to my gameplay. “The Sims 4: Country Kitchen” kit includes a country-style kitchen to build and buy. The kit includes kitchen counters, kitchen appliances and cute clutter items like tin boxes and canisters for the counters. I am saddened to say that, for the price point, kits are not worth the $4.99 plus tax. This is just my opinion, but it is a steal of a price to add content to the game if simmers would like something extra. The kits are mini packs that have three different categories of content: build and buy, Create-a-Sim and gameplay.
There are other DLCs available like the “Island Living,” “Cottage Living” and “Discover University” expansion packs that add extra elements like beaches, oceans, mermaids, farming, livestock and two rival colleges, respectively, to the game. “Vampires” and “Realm of Magic” game packs add occult Sims that are fun to play around with, but those packs are more for individual players enjoyment rather than essential for gameplay.
Even without the addition of DLCs, “The Sims 4” is a massive game with collections, an interactive environment and many worlds for your Sims to live in, but at times it feels incomplete. I enjoy playing The Sims 4, but it has its flaws.
For example, babies are “objects” in “The Sims 4.” They are permanently stuck in the bassinet that autoloads randomly onto lots after a Sim gives birth. This is annoying because simmers must have a manhunt for their Sim’s baby and move the baby into the parent’s room or the designated nursery.
The neighborhoods and worlds are closed off, which means to travel to your Sim’s next-door neighbor’s house, simmers must sit through a loading screen first. In “The Sims 3,” there was an open world which arguably caused a lot of lag problems for many simmers, so in this case having a closed world is a good thing. But still, I wish the neighborhoods had been coded to be open so there would be fewer loading screens.
A rabbit hole is an animation sequence that occurs within the Sims environment when your Sim interacts with specific objects. To name a few rabbit holes, simmers can click on storefronts, buoys in Island Living, rocket ships and environmental objects placed around the world that take your Sims on journeys. However, simmers wait at the initial location for their Sim to return. The good thing about rabbit holes is that they reduce lag and usually have pop-up messages for simmers to select a decision for their Sims to make.
With this in mind, “The Sims 4” had the opportunity to add cars as a rabbit hole into “Parenthood,” so teen Sims could learn to drive with their parent Sims. However, “The Sims 4” has no cars, because there is no open world, eliminating this potential gameplay addition.
All the same, “The Sims 4” is a fabulous life simulation game even with its flaws. The Maxis and EA teams introduced the Sims Delivery, which adds free content to the game periodically. They also patch and update the game often to fix reported bugs within the base game and DLCs. The Sims team has also been working on refreshing previously released packs to introduce new content to simmers who already bought them. “The Sims 4” still has a lot of potential to be completely fleshed out, even with rumors of “The Sims 5” being in the works within the simmer community.
The “Sims 4” released a cryptic roadmap for May and June 2022, recently introducing hints for two new kits and a game pack. One of the kits will be based around “Cozy Nights In,” and the other is “Chic Nights Out.” The game pack hint is “Go Wild,” and simmers within the community speculate that The Sims 4 might be introducing a new occult: werewolves.
I highly recommend “The Sims 4,” if a life simulation game is what you are looking for. Dag dag!
Editor's Note: An update was released for download May 24, 2022. "The Sims 4" Create-a-Sim now allows simmers to choose pronouns for the Sims they create. The long-awaited feature is currently available in English. More languages will be included in future updates.