itlandm_sims (itlandm_sims) wrote,

Sims 4: Realm of Magic

The latest mini-expansion for The Sims 4 was out a week ago, and I bought it on the first day. (Admittedly, that was the day I heard about it too. I am not watching Sims 4 news closely.) The quick reviews from professional testers who received an early copy said that magic made the game trivially easy. And I was like "YES PLEASE! Let it be so!"

I played The Sims 4 a while in the beginning to get to know it. It was technically superior, designed not only to run on a wide range of home computers but also to be almost infinitely expandable. I noticed those design choices right away, having designed software myself in my younger years. So I was fairly optimistic at first, but sadly I found the game to feel more like unpaid work than fun. At the time I blamed it on the rigid, formulaic system for progress in anything from career to life aspirations to even dating: You literally check off items one by one rather than choosing what seems appropriate from an array of different actions that move you toward the goal. This really ticked me off, and I still dislike it. But there was another factor I did not notice so much at the time: The game was way too hung up in the basic needs of the sims.

The Sims games should, in my opinion, proceed from the novelty of the original game where you mostly made sure the sims did not starve or pee themselves, toward a higher and higher degree of abstract goals, or aspiration. Certainly basic needs should be present, at least some of them, but they should not dominate the game, much as they don't dominate the mind of healthy adult humans. In the Sims 4, the needs depleted too fast and took too long to replenish, compared to the grand scope of the game. The aspiration did not match the foundation. You had a game that could take you to the stars, but you were tethered to the toilet.

I bought the Get Together expansion when it was fairly new, but stopped playing again quickly. In Real Life, a young adult going to a dance party may dance till the morning (although he may regret it when he has to go to work) but in Sims 4, half the time was spent buying food, sleeping on a bench, and finding a bush to pee in. OK, the bush part may be somewhat realistic. But with a suitable potion, my sims can finally dance till morning. Or spend the evening reading a book without needing to spend an hour making a meal, another hour eating it, 40 minutes drinking a glass of water, and another half hour or two in the bathroom. I would not mind the animation time for basic life functions if the clock ran at half the current speed, but at its 4th iteration, the game really needs to fix the balance by changing the clock speed or make the needs drain more slowly.

Until then, I intend to use magic with the best of conscience to get time to explore the actual interesting part of the game. After all, that's what I originally bought it for.
(I'll probably still quit soon because of the rigid checkbox system, but that's another story.)
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