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The Sims 4, My First Impressions

Hi guys! Many of you know me as Degera, a lot builder and member of the staff, in charge of Social Media as well as lot submissions. I've been playing the Sims since 2001, and submitting my creations to TSR since 2002. So when a new Sims game comes out, I'm usually the first one in line. But I was reluctant this time. I wanted to keep an open mind, but I was hearing so many negatives about the game that it was affecting my ability to remain unbiased. That whole 'No Toddlers/No Pools' debate was only part of it. There was also to be no CASt, which as a lot builder is something I felt was integral. Plus they were bringing back loading screens between lots, which was something I did not miss from the first two Sims games.

But I put all of that aside, I pre-ordered and held my breath, with a hopeful 'wait and see' attitude. I wanted to make my own opinion. I downloaded the files last week on Origin so when midnight on September 2 hit, I was ready. I fired up the game and dove in. And... I don't hate it. I know that's not a ringing endorsement, but it's honestly better than what I expected.

The first time you start the game, you will be taken to Create-A-Sim where you will go through a tutorial section on making your very first Sims 4 sim. And if you're not careful, you can get stuck in CAS - it's like a spider's web. You find yourself pushing and pulling to get that nose exactly the way you want it and when that doesn't work, you sort through the available pre-made noses to find something, anything... The next time you look up, two hours have passed, and you still haven't picked out your Sim's hair!

There is a fair amount of clothing options, and of course any gaps will be taken care of by our CC creators. What I like most about this new CAS, however, is the Styled Looks option. For each clothing section (everyday, formal, sleepwear, etc) there is a set of pre-made outfits that include shoes, accessories and makeup. That's right, you can change your entire outfit, plus shoes, all accessories and your makeup with the push of one button! Making your sim look good has never been easier.


Got your Sim sorted? Then let's move him/her in and get started. The tutorial you followed in CAS will stay with you, walking you through all aspects of the game as you go along. This is handy if you have never played The Sims before, but for me, I was completely annoyed by it within minutes. And you can't shut it off. You have to let it run the full course at least once for it not to appear again. If I could get in touch with any of the developers, this would be one of the first things I bring up - please give us an option to turn off the tutorial and never have to see it again!

Now your Sim is moved in and ready to explore the world. Press the M button at any time to see the map view. Wait... is that the map? Yes. It really is that small. The map of each world is divided into neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has approximately five lots inside it (some less), and either they will all be venues, or they will all be residential, with one section in the middle set aside for a huge park. But don't be too discouraged, because you can swap between the two base game worlds at any time, for any reason, which effectively doubles the number of venues and homes. It's still only a fraction of what we had in The Sims 3, but I'm reminding myself that this is just the base game and there will be more to come.  

But Degera, you're asking, how's the gameplay? Overall it's incredibly smooth. I have not experienced any severe bugs or glitches. Yes, there are loading screens everywhere. You can walk around in your neighborhood without loading, but if you go into another world, neighborhood, or even into another venue, you will have load time. The time varies depending on whether or not you've been to that location before - first time loads are longer.  

A couple of minor bugs that I have noticed include:
1. After playing the same family for a few days, I could no longer see the names of other Sims when I hovered my mouse over them.
2. Sims will walk through the front door of my lots and stand on the inside to knock to be invited inside - which, when invited, they end up going outside.
3. Curtains and paintings will not always drop when the walls go down, but putting the walls back up and removing them again takes care of it.
4. Some of the cheats that were listed as shipping with the base game don't seem to work - for example, the hide headline effects toggle won't get rid of the plumbob as it should.


Other issues, not bugs:
1. Not having CASt makes it nearly impossible to match any furnishings. I complained about this earlier on our Twitter feed. Everything that is supposed to be black, for instance, is a different shade. In this image of my new dining room, I thought the table was black until I got the lights in place and I realized it's just a very dark brown.
2. Having the Tutorial (or Tips) always appear and not being able to get rid of it is massively annoying.
3. Having to be on the lot itself, or in the process of moving in a new family, in order to bulldoze the lot is frustrating.
4. If you want to move a lot, or turn it, after you've built it, be prepared to re-do all of your landscaping.
5. Those of you that use Edge Scrolling will be frustrated because it won't scroll if your mouse pointer is over a menu or a part of the UI (especially on the bottom of the screen). It does work, you just have to make sure your pointer is directly above the white bar at the bottom.
6. Notifications can't be recalled once they close, so if you miss what it's saying for some reason then you've missed it completely.
7. Maid service is spotty. This might be a bug, or the maid might be lazy, it's too soon to tell.
8. If you're playing a single sim and they leave the lot to go to work, you have absolutely nothing to do until they get home again.
9. You can't send a sim to a venue for a night out while you stay at home with another sim. You will go to the venue and the sim left at home will be unplayable/in limbo until you return.

If you've already discovered a workaround for some of these issues, if you found some that I missed or if you haven't experienced these problems at all, feel free to let me know in the comments.

When it's all said and done, those of you looking for a quirky, fun game to play will find it here. Our artists will bring the CC that we need soon enough, so go ahead and play to form your own opinion!

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#9SimfulpixelSep 4, 2014

It would be amazing if we could build while our sim was as work...or at least move furniture around without having to pause, I would get so much done while they slept, bathed, ate, worked on the computer....etc. I have noticed that the sleep and at work speeds are very fast. Much faster, for me , than in Sims3. I too agree that the loading screens are a tad tedious and I have a good computer. I can imagine for someone with iffy specs, that would create a nightmare. I do like the things to find around town, much better than just finding rocks and seed. I think we all just need to remember that this is the base game. Like all Sims, the expansions complete the game. If you have played sims before, you know this and shouldn't be surprised. Our artists will have CC for us soon! My question is, like a lot of people, does anyone know if they will be putting back in a form of CAS(style)? Like Degara, I am about ready to bash my head in trying to match stuff up. Some doors don't have colors that windows have so most of my doors and windows are white... blah. Then with curtains and wallpaper. Not to mention clothing! I really miss it! Ok, ive blabbered on long enough.

#10DegeraSep 4, 2014

Selarono, from what I've heard from the Gurus, they will not be implementing a CASt system in Sims 4. It will be up to us to recolor our furnishings like we had to do for The Sims 2.

#11ws2006Sep 4, 2014

Degera, I first want to thank you for writing this review about The Sims 4! I have been extremely reluctant to purchase The Sims 4, especially after hearing that toddlers and pools would not be included in the base game (even hearing that they might later be PREMIUM ADDONS? You can't be serious right?)

One rule of thumb when I get new games is I always wait a few months for the developer to fix all the bugs that come with the initial rollout. I then made a note to evaluate everything at a later time to see if purchasing The Sims 4 is worth it.

I did try out the CAS demo and I do like how that is structured, although the dragging of the nose, etc. does require some getting used to. Your comparison to CAS being a "spider's web" is well said if you really don't know what you're doing.

I like the neighborhood layout overall, though the screen shot tells me things are a bit too cheesy. I had a feeling some elements from the recent SimCity was going to wind up being implemented in The Sims 4, so the overall neighborhood layout doesn't surprise me. What I am wondering is if EA will allow for SC terrains to be imported into The Sims 4, just like we saw with SC4 and The Sims 2.

Although The Sims 4 looks to be promising in some ways, the lack of functions (I.e. There is no Create-A-Style) and loading screens here and there have convinced me NOT to purchase this game. I strongly believe EA has once again failed to amaze us, just as they did with the newer SimCity when modding wasn't allowed and online connectivity was required. In respect to Create-A-Style, I have a bad feeling that it is gone for good in this game. \:\(

#12darkjade92Sep 4, 2014

Im sorry but I don't like The Sims 4 nearly as much as I would like to. Ive been playing The Sims since day one, and I have to say that even with all the glitches of 3 its still my favorite. I will say though that the game play of 4 is like butter, its so smooth and isn't a resource hog on your computer even running it on ultra settings. I just don't like that its gone backward, its supposed to be better then The Sims before it. if they would have just remade 3 without all the bugs on a better platform it would be amazing, but they made it with the same programming as The Sims Free Play and its almost identical with better graphics, The Sims Free Play just has more stuff and challenges. Its like they redid 1 for the 21st century and I'm very disappointed, for as much as I paid for this I was hoping for customization, cars, huge metropolis to play in, apartments, toddlers, pools, mail, a thorough upgrade to 3.
Now Im not putting it down completely because I know there's years of improvements to be had, but as it is I would rather just play 3.

#13PuddinPopSep 4, 2014

There is a way to turn the tutorial off. In Origin if you right click on the Sims 4 game and the click properties it will open a command box. Type the command --no_tutorial and apply. Passing on the info so others don't have to sit through it ♥

#14elizabethbunchVIPSep 4, 2014

Unpopular opinion time. I am completely aware of the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I respect that, but frankly, of all the things I've read from other people about this game, I am tired of hearing the complaints about the loading screens. Perhaps everyone is jaded from the ridiculous amount of time that the loading screens took in Sims 3. Honestly EA, if you have to include a seek and find game in your loading screen, it takes too damn long. But, I digress. Two points about the loading screens in Sims 4. First of all, the loading screens in Sims 4 DO NOT last that long. The longest I've had to wait for any of them is about thirty seconds. And that was because my computer desperately needed to have it's fan cleaned and was running slower. Now that I've cleaned the fan, loading screens are taking maybe 10-15 seconds for me. Loading screens are a part of gaming, people, and the short amount of time that I have to wait for the loading screens in Sims 4 is like a blink of an eye compared to some of the loading screens I've encountered in other games that I play. My second point is that I really feel like some people need to take into account that not everyone can afford high end computers. Or even middle of the road computers. The whole open world thing in Sims 3 made that game such a memory hog that it was unbelievable. Then you start to throw in all the EPs and SPs that came out for Sims 3, it could eventually reach the point of being unplayable for some people, which happened to me when seasons came out. There was a 4 month period when I was completely unable to play Sims 3 until I got a new computer. It was quite ridiculous that there were newer games that came out that required higher specs than Sims 3 that I could play on my old PC, but I couldn't play Sims 3. The huge open worlds was just too much. Putting the loading screens back in Sims 4 is a way to alleviate that issue that so many people had with Sims 3. As a matter of fact, I have a friend who was no longer able to play Sims 3 on her ancient laptop but has had NO problems playing Sims 4 on it so far. So please, PLEASE, when you complain about the loading screens, take those things into consideration. Especially my second point. Putting the loading screens back in the game has made it possible for more people to play the game. Had they kept the open world concept, there would undoubtedly be a lot of people who would be unable to play entirely. And personally, I would rather deal with the loading screens (that, again, don't last long) and know that people like my friend, who couldn't play Sims 3 at all, can enjoy the game as well.

#15mcharleneVIPSep 4, 2014

Some other things:
1.Hard to rotate the camera (sometimes holding down right mouse button) but still frustrating.
2. Not many venues for your Sim to visit. No town (City Hall, Police, etc ) no place to go to learn skills. And where do your Sims go when "at work" or "at school"?
3. I miss my butler!
4. I might play this sometimes, but think I'll go back to SIMS 3.

#16DegeraSep 4, 2014

@ ws2006 - I had a thought about importing from Simcity when I saw how small the towns are overall, compared to the size of the cities in the new SimCity. I wonder if they'll have it like The Sims 2 where you could design a town in SimCity and import it? Now that would be something!

@ darkjade92 - There's definitely more to do in The Sims 3 right now, but I suspect that new content for The Sims 4 will come faster and more often than it did before. I don't think they plan on doing the conventional expansion packs that took months to prepare and will instead stick to the format they had later on at the Sims 3 store, where they would release a world with some premium gameplay.

@ PuddinPop - thanks for the tip! Very handy!

@ elizabethbunch - You are absolutely right. There is a lot of whining going on about many things that are either missing or have been added and people feel they should not have been. And the loading screens aren't terrible, especially if your Sim is a homebody and doesn't travel often! But I loved the open world concept from Sims 3 and miss it.

@ mcharlene - You can change the camera settings to be more like The Sims 3 in the game options (I did it because I just couldn't play without my tilt!) At this point in time, there are six venue types available - bar, lounge, nightclub, gym, museum and park. And there's not a huge amount to do once you get there. But as I said in my comment to DarkJade above, I don't think we'll have to wait too long for new content. As for Skills, there are objects you can buy for each skill you wish to learn, AND you can purchase skill books on the computer which will instantly be in your Sim's inventory.

#17zalethVIPSep 5, 2014

To get the camera to work like sims 3 utilize the tab button with your mouse it will give you more options for views and you can be on the same eye level as your sims. I found this out while using my keyboard. I love to do stories and now I can the pictures I need.

I miss the toddlers and the Color options of Sims 3... Now if only the pixels were gone when they shower and use the bathroom ;p

#18austindp@comcast.netVIPSep 6, 2014

I agree with everything you have stated and more. I love the fact the ojects, furniture, clothing are more modern and updated. I know the upcoming CC will improve this more, but it's nice to have some modern features in the base game. I hate not being able to control my other sims when one is at a venue. There should also be away to switch between active and inactive households when your active sims is visting another sims home or venue. Especially if it's alsow one your playable householes. While I love that my sims can interact more it's weired when it is kind of one sided. You can't really control how the other sims react. It would be nice to switch between sims. I do not like the maid either. Should be able to choose which maid you want. Hope to see more venues for the game. Although it took a little while to get use to, I love the complete room's as well as the individual rooms objects. Miss the tilt function when building the house. Took awhile to address this. Also miss the function of being able to set the rooms function by clicking on doors. My sims keep sleeping in the wrong rooms and using other's bathrooms. All and All I love what I have seen so far and can't wait for the new expansions and creations to start. Would like more info on how to use CC in the game because what I had loaded from the demo seems to crash the game.

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