Plus there are these little additions to the standard Sims life. You can now tinker around the household to upgrade the various machinery to become fire-proof or even self-cleaning. And if you have a computer, you can hack, which brings in cash, and even over clock it! Every sim now carries a cell phone, so no need for an extra phone. This phone comes equipped for checking real-estate, calling services and the likes. And oh, yeah you can take pictures with it and even set it’s ring tone!
Speaking of jobs, jobs are no longer the standard fare. While some jobs have a different path, like the law enforcement, all the jobs can be done in various ways. If you sim left with low energy, you can ask your sim to slack off. Want to build up relationship with co-workers, ask your sim to spend some time with their co-workers. You can even impress the boss by helping the boss or even plain work hard. Each of the way has different effect on your sim. So, you have to choose the one accordingly. This does make the job part of the game a lot less cosmetic and a little more interactive.
This then brings me to the already mentioned Opportunities. This one, very much like the moodlets, is another new mechanic. These will pop-up from time to time given by your co-workers, known contacts or even by checking the happenings through reading newspapers and using the internet. To simple put in simple words, these can be termed as side-quests. The reward varies as well the missions. Some will have certain variables to it, while others are plain simple. You have 3 kinds of Opportunities, which can be accessed through your Opportunities tab. The puck automatically tracks your Opportunities and informs you what you need to do, without opening the tab. A simple right-click also allows you to step-down from the Opportunity and thus makes room for another. I could go on and on about the list of improvements that this game has made. But that would be too long.
As for the graphics, TS3 has a slightly higher requirement than its predecessor. But considering the default hardware available in the market, any system can run this game pretty smooth. Also, the game does make use of the new extra resources more. The graphics are crisper, the environments are lively and looks lived in and little effects like trees swaying in the breeze and various other effects abound. Even the objects have higher quality textures. You can now make out small details on the food as well as other items in the game world. In addition to this, you can see pretty clearly the TV shows and the games being played on the computer. Not only that, the game has many nifty improvements too. Your sims shows some really cute animations and sometime even pleasantly surprises you. For example, you sims now sings songs while bathing, or hums a tune while gardening. And if you buy them a bath-tub, they’ll sometime take a dip in the water, while bathing, blowing bubbles and then coming up and start giggling. These little things form the basis of the Sims charms. Everything from the small animations of your sims jumping up and down in joy, to shaking their little fists at you, to the humorous quotes of loading screen like “Unloading Loading Screens” and even the witty descriptions of the objects, will bring a smile on your face. And before you know it, you’ll fall in love with the game.
But with all these things going on, the game does a pretty good job of keeping a steady frame-rate. The transition from the house-level to the map level, for example, is seamless and without a frame-rate hitch. Even following your sim around in through the city is smooth. And if for some reason, you still aren’t able to get decent frame-rates, you can turn off some of the details from the highly detailed options screen. From here you can even turn off things like Story progression, sim aging, placement grid etc. The story progression means that the other sim will also age like normal, get married, have children and eventually die off. The sim aging, which could be controlled in the earlier game only through a certain aspiration reward, is now directly controlled from the options. You can adjust the time it takes the sim to age, essentially determining your game’s length and difficulty, or you can simply turn off aging for a pseudo-sand-box feel. The grid placement allows the objects to snap to a grid, while on, and while off, gives you complete free-will to where you place them. In addition to this, you can now place any object diagonally by default while rotating too.
The sound of TS3, however, requires a special mention. Like always, yours Sims speaks in a gibberish known as Simlish and the voice actor does a pretty good job of delivering it with charm. Even your Sim now has a voice option, in which you can choose how your sim will sound and along with the pitch of the voice. The environment also sounds great, with there being different sounds present for all the environments, from the crashing waves at the beach to the birds chirping in the park, every sound detail are covered. Not only that, the music playing on the radio are pretty good. You might even recognize some of the songs as being the simlish version of real-world songs. Along with that you have the option to listening to your songs too. The general background tracks, like its predecessors, are very catchy. While you might recognize some of the tracks from the older games, you will definitely notice the new ones. The recycling of these tracks doesn’t make this game loose its charm in any way, rather adds to it. And before you know it, you’ll be humming the tunes yourself!
With all these improvements, one might ask the question: What about the expansions from the previous games? Are they included? The answer to that, is a no, and a small yes. While the most obvious expansions like Pets or Seasons are missing, there are some lingering shadows of the previous expansions. For example, you can try out your entrepreneur skills, but are only limited to real-estate. You can start off with a partnership and go onto buy the entire business. You can then upgrade it, collect rent every Monday morning and even fire employees. Similarly, other inclusions of mini-games are shadows of previous expansion packs. Like the cooking skill. It’s no-longer a wide variety of cooking options. You have to learn the recipes as well as buy some, to be able to make them. Also, you just cannot order your shopping over the phone anymore. You need to go down to grocery store and shop for the ingredients for the recipes. As you improve in cooking skill, as well as prepare a food more often, you get better at that. The result of which is that although you might have to stomach burnt food at first, you get better at it, so much so that the diner’s food start to taste bad. And if you can use good quality ingredients, the quality of the food automatically increase, just like in real life. And for the Farmville fans out there, here’s a good news, Gardening features more prominently, with the ability to grow produce of varying quality and even selling them off. It’s no longer a cosmetic feature of weeding plants, full-blown gardening from tending to fertilizing to even harvesting of plants. But with these additions, there are still some glaring holes that can be felt to have been left deliberately for future expansions.
In conclusion, we come back to the main question: Does the game succeed. To that, I would like to say this: This game is what the original game should’ve been. It’s not just a sequel; it’s essentially a reboot of the franchise. With a more accessible game play, a believable society, powerful editing and creation tools, the ability to create individually unique sims, and the additions of mini-games like gardening, cooking and real-estate, the possibilities seems to be endless. Add to that the games’ habit of pleasantly surprising you now and then, and you have one perfect Sims game. So, yeah, I would recommend any Sims fans out there to go grab a copy and play this game, as well as those unsure new-comers to go ahead. But, if you are looking for immediate gratification with this game, then The Sims are not for you.
Plus, for those who register the game, they not only get community access and tech support for free, but also $10 worth of SimPoints (the online Sims Store currency) for free, in addition to a whole new town. Not only that, but you can download user-created content as well as free stuff from the store, like the Renault Concept car. All this can be done from the launcher, and after updating the game, you get an in-game browser, which entitles you special free contents too, from the official Sims team.,
The SIMS 3 is avilable for Rs. 2,499 for the PS3 and Rs. 999 for the PC edition.
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