Live & Buy Mode
After you’re done creating your sims, you now need to choose a house, or a lot, if you want to build a custom one. Buying a house will give you 2 options, furnished, costing a bit more and unfurnished, costing less, but coming with only the basics, in the form of the bathroom plumbing and the kitchen. But according to the manual, an unfurnished house might contain special surprises.
Going into Buy mode, will reveal a significant change, which has become one of my favourite. Although the older buy by category is present, going into Room-wise sorting will result into the puck being changed into a mini-display of a room, with a pictorial representation of the entire related thing that room might have arranged in an aesthetic way. This way it not only makes it easier to figure the required object, but also gives an idea of what should be where and helps with the aesthetics. After figuring out the basic amenities, it is off to Live Mode.
At first glance, the Live Mode interface doesn’t seem to have changed much. There is still the similar control puck, with the household sims displayed in a skewer along the left side. But inspect closely and you’ll see how much the game has changed. The first and foremost, is the complete absence of Aspirations. Aspirations in this game have been replaced by Wishes. And unlike fears or the negative aspirations, there are no negative wishes. You can click the wishes to promise them to your sims, that is move them into one of the four slots, and thus freeze it till you accomplish it, unlike the locking of Aspirations which allowed for just one constant Aspirations. It doesn’t really affect the mood meter, but does spawn a positive moodlet, that has an effect on the mood meter. Completing promises or wishes, grants you Lifetime Happiness points, which can be used to purchase various rewards like a never having to pee, or discovering sims’ traits or even a teleporter, from the tab of the same name. Unlike the aspirations, these doesn't always ramp up in difficulty, but it's simple wishes like baking some cookies or even going fishing! So, fulfilling these wishes doesn't take up much away from enjoying the game, and thus makes the game a little more easier.
As mentioned above, there is now a new game mechanic, which has been dubbed as moodlets. Every action as well as surroundings spawns a positive, neutral or negative moodlet that affects the mood meter. In plain RPG speak, these are modifiers of the mood meter. So, your mood meter doesn't bottoms out if one or more of your need variables fall low. Instead, that spawns a neutral moodlet that has a time limit. If you can solve it within that time, your mood meter goes back to normal. This new mechanic not only makes the game play a tad more easier, but also rewards you for doing small things like brushing your teeth and even going out on your holidays, thus in a way this mechanic simultaneously allows and motivates you to explore the world of Sims more.
The next thing you’ll notice is the weeding out of unnecessary details. For example, when you start off with your sim, you don’t have access to all the skills. They are revealed as and when required. That is if you are planning on a scientific career, and never play any musical instrument, then you won’t have the related skill showing up. Also, the ones that do show up have a skill journal associated with it. This journal, details the various nitty-gritty that you’ve gone through to acquire that level. Plus, it also includes the pointers for the mastery levels of its own Opportunity.
This brings me to a major upgrade of the game. Everything in TS3 is so detailed, and I’m not talking about the graphics. For example, in The Sims 2, when you searched for a job, a pop-up would come, and if you didn’t like it, you’d need to search again, till you get the one you want. But in TS3, you just get a single dialog box, with conveniently placed arrow keys, that lets you choose whichever job you want, from that single dialog box. And it spreads to all over the game. Then there’s the social interaction. Every time you enter into an interaction, an icon shows up with a bar that starts off in the middle and increases to the right if the other sim approves your action or left if your actions are disapproving. This, quite literally, takes out the guess work out of the game. Switching to the career tab, it also details what is needed the most for your job performance and your next promotion. It’s no longer only white boxes around the skill levels and the number of friends and the mood in which you reach your job. It’s about your performance. Max it out and you get a promotion, a slack and your meter drops and when it bottoms out, you are demoted or even fired. Wherever you look there’s this helpful upgrade in-built. From time until which you’ll sleep to even the time until which you’re going to complete a task, all are represented by a progress bar in the icon.
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Updated 21 May, 2013, 6:52 pm IST
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