The Sims 3 Hands-On Impressions - Creating a New Sim, and a Day in the Life

Get the details on this highly anticipated sequel from our hands-on report.

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The Sims series is all about controlling the lives of little computer people as they live, laugh, love, laugh, sleep, love, eat, take a bathroom break, work, love, and laugh. The series' combination of quirky artificial intelligence (that leads to quirkier behavior on the part of said little computer people) and open-ended building and design has enthralled many players for many years, and across many expansion packs. The series is now shaping up for round three, and we had a chance to give it a try.

Our first experience with the game was with the new create-a-sim character builder, which has been expanded to accommodate a much wider range of color tones for skin, eyes, and dyed hair, along with plenty of new options for preset faces, beauty marks, hairstyles, and clothing. The Sims 3 offers six different ages for your characters, from baby to toddler to college student to senior citizen, and you can start your individual character, or small family of characters, at any age and of any gender you care to.

The Sims 3 will have all kinds of wacky hijinks. Zany antics, too.

In addition to customizing each character's appearance, you can customize each one with traits from The Sims 3's revamped personality system. Previously, you'd spend points on different personality aspects to decide whether your sims tended to be messier or neater, or lazier or more active, and from that decision, you'd be assigned a specific horoscope that would partially determine how you interacted with other characters. This time around, you'll instead choose five traits, which range from being extremely useful if you plan to play the game with an aggressive and ambitious approach ("schmoozer," for instance, grants you extra dialogue options and gives you an inside edge into getting to know the rich and famous), to being less beneficial and presumably intended for comedy value (such as "crazy," which makes your character prone to unpredictable behavior, and "nevernude," which, if you're not a fan of the underappreciated TV series Arrested Development, is exactly what it sounds like). There are also traits that are apparently intended to help you put more of a focus on telling a specific story with your characters--for instance, the "evil" trait will give you less-savory dialogue choices, as well as less-honorable things to do, like stealing candy from a baby, which we actually did, ourselves, with our own evil character. And in case you were wondering, yes, we enjoyed it.

The "things to do" department has also been expanded in The Sims 3 with a new "lifetime goal" system that presents each newly created character with a choice of a single life goal, determined by your sim's traits. For instance, if you happen to choose evil as a trait, as we did, your life goal could be to become a criminal mastermind or maybe a corporate CEO. Once you've chosen your life goals, you'll then be presented with various wishes, which are short-term tasks you can perform to increase your characters' overall mood and get them a step closer to their life goals. You can choose to promise your sims that you'll work to accomplish a certain wish for them by selecting from a constantly cycling list--and if you care to, you can play the entire game as a successive series of wishes that pull you along a certain path to ultimate life fulfillment (or kind-of-funny failure). Each successfully performed wish gains you life goal points, which you can then spend, immediately, by selecting various powerful advantages for your character, such as "iron bladder," which frees you from ever having to use the potty again and frees up the sims who possess this mighty attribute to do other things with their day.

You'll be able to create very obnoxious characters.

In addition to choosing tasks, you'll be able to choose a profession for all of your sims, just like in previous games, though your characters can actually perform work in-game and also take on additional tasks that will present themselves as random opportunities--such as a career-related task you might get called about from out of the blue. Like in the previous Sims games, you'll also be able to build up your character's skills by repeatedly performing practice activities, such as working out to increase your sims' "body" statistic, which makes them healthier and more likely to succeed on an athletic career track. But the game will be less about doing the same repetitive things over and over, and it definitely won't be about being chained to your sims' personal "motive" needs of eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom--your characters will do that on their own if you don't care to command them to. Instead, the game will be more about managing your sims' moods, which can be enhanced by successfully performing wishes or random opportunities or by simply interacting with or being around things they like, such as eating their favorite food or listening to their favorite music. Moods can also be decreased by failing certain wishes or opportunities, or being around things they hate, like the sound of a crying baby whose candy was just stolen.

Our evil schmoozer sim began his life in his run-down home, receiving a visit from a next-door neighbor holding a crying (but candy-eating) baby, and because we were so single-minded in our approach to doing evil things, we quickly isolated the child the moment it was set down by its absentminded father so we could steal its candy, then promptly started a fistfight with the angry dad. Of course, our pudgy, out-of-shape sim lost the fight due to his total lack of body skill, but it was worth the effort of using our conversational skills to imply that our pugnacious guest was descended from a llama. As you may recall from our previous coverage of the game, The Sims 3's dialogue system has been revamped such that you can't curry favor with others by repeatedly choosing to "chat" or "tell jokes" until their relationship meter builds up to full--you need to vary up your approach and will get better feedback on whether you're successfully attracting (or alienating) people by their body language, such as the arms-crossed, standoffish stance our neighbor took before pounding our candy-smeared face in.

You won't have long to wait for this long-awaited sequel.

After taking a drubbing, we decided to leave the house by simply zooming out our view of the neighborhood to see all the nearby houses to visit, and then we decided to take a tour of the town by zooming out even farther and clicking on different points of interest ("lots"), such as the local library and the gym. Simply by clicking to move to them, we were whisked away by taxi (no need to manually pick up a telephone and call for car service anymore). All sims will be equipped with cellular phones in their inventories so that they can call for cab rides wherever they may be. Our quick trip to the library was less fruitful than our house visit, unfortunately, since the library staff was tied up with a birthday party being hosted on the front lawn for what was likely the child of some very frugal parents. We're told, however, that different houses and lots will change over time as other sims' lives are simulated and they, too, advance in their careers, grow old, and eventually die. Before they go to the grave, however, they can explore their town to find out-of-the-way spots, like an out-of-the-way fishing hole where they can go to decompress (and maybe add a few fish to their inventory collection of fish, rocks, and seeds).

The Sims 3 will clearly offer an enhanced version of everything that Sims fans have loved about the series, along with some brand-new stuff that should help make the series seem fresh and new. The game is scheduled for release later this year.

Discussion

167 comments
boredboreddurr
boredboreddurr

@curetheworld666 This is strange. I usually encounter close minded, idiots that insist on plastering their idiotic opinions on anything that can be commented on. But in this case I agree entirely. Nobana, i'm sorry to have to be the one to break this to you but, you're a f ag.

CureTheWorld666
CureTheWorld666

@Nobana you are a spineless coward who will not stand up to the big corporations for their invasions into our lives. it is not only the problems experienced by installers of DRM files, but the PRINCIPLE of DRM that is wrong IN ITS ENTIRETY. how DARE they interfere with our gaming. how DARE they create what are essentially VIRUSES to restrict us, when they have NO RIGHT to enforce restrictions OF ANY KIND. is this not a FREE country? THIS IS NOT A CORPORATE DICTATORSHIP, THIS IS A DEMOCRACY!, or at least it should be. sadly, with the massive amounts of bribe money at their disposal, our lawmakers and politicians are now nothing more than corporate puppets, facilitating the exploitation of the us, the consumer. and so, we must rise up. we must fight DRM, and all other obstacles to our Freedom! DOWN WITH DRM! UP WITH FREEDOM OF INFORMATION! FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ENABLES FREEDOM OF SELF! WITHOUT FREEDOM OF SELF THERE IS NO FREEDOM!

iluvgames32
iluvgames32

haz anyone else noticed gamespot ALWAYS (not that i'm really angry or anything) said sumthing about "little computer people" and going 2 the potty on all their sims pages? Oh, BTW, i'm hppy that all sims liv their lives in real time now. that means i'll have to actually work (ugh!) to get a girl b4 they're all takin! L8TR

BiGG_SMiGG
BiGG_SMiGG

This game seems good As a fan of the sims, i am lookin forward to this

balor8122
balor8122

@wargodgohan There are things called periods. You put them at the end of sentences. Random capitalization doesn't help.

Shanana77
Shanana77

I am a HUGE fan of the Sims and I absolutely CAN'T wait for this one to come out!! It's going to be awesome! Hate hate hate it got pushed back but i'll be waiting...

flowerpedal
flowerpedal

i love playing Sims. hope this one is going to be great. i was very impressed with sims 2 already =) 3 is just going to get better isnt it

macktruck101
macktruck101

F*&K NO, DAMN U FOR THE DELAY i was looking forward to it this month but NNOOOOOO

Dualmask
Dualmask

I love the Sims...can't wait until this comes out. Sounds like it's going to be fresh and new and fun.

vmfstorm1
vmfstorm1

Oh and they'll probably make a port to the 360 and ps3 where you have control of one person in an apartment and have to move them through a social life, work life, etc. while also blanacing a check book. Kind of like what they did with the sims 2 back on the ps2

vmfstorm1
vmfstorm1

Yeah, how can a game where a highly depressed clown appears from a vase placed on a pedestal to cheer you up EVER be serious?? I think the most serious the Sims has ever been is when it makes you get a job to pay the bills, or put in a cheat to gain exorbitant amounts of money

dark_death78
dark_death78

i disagree wargodgohan, i think that the "unrealistic" graphics in some games such as the Sims series and others, adds to the humour and feel of the game making it more enjoyable, the premise of the Sims series i found has never been a serious one, and that's why we all enjoy it so much :) looks interesting though!

Wargodgohan
Wargodgohan

I say they should make the video games, look like Real Humans, I mean Honstly Come on that would be ausom not Creepy... For Decades everyone has been waiting for the games to become Life like just like they promised years and years ago.. I say let it come out and Socity be the Judge.. Besides People Dont Judge games like GTA when you can kill cops and old people and kids on the streets.. So Do you Honstly think people are going to complain about it Looking like Real Life. And Besides Graphics will Never be Reduced Because People will Stop Buying games at that point Except the Really Stupid and Guallbule Ones.. Which our socity seems to be Filled with Today.. You could Sell People Dog S H I T if you Packaged it and Adervisted it the right way thats how stupid americans have become!

nspeedrace
nspeedrace

does anyone know if there gunna make this game for the xbox 360...if u know plz messsage me thanks game looks really good

bobbyb2003
bobbyb2003

@Wargodgohan: The games released today don't necessarily represent the graphics of today. In fact many companies, whether it be movie special effects or gaming companies have extremely advanced techniques in development that have not been displayed to the public yet. Also, there is still the problem with "when do games becaome too real?" specifically how HD output at a higher resolution than real life. At some point creating more detailed character models where you can see every pore on their skin will just become unrealistically creepy and if anything graphics may have to be reduced.

Wargodgohan
Wargodgohan

We'll Dilbert3k, I Love My Good Games, But It's Not just the Sims, It's Every Single Game that these Companys make, I could see if its just one or two games once in awhile that get pushed back But its Almost Every Single Game that gets pushed back months or years, and than when they come out There not even worth waiting that long for it to come out.. I mean Quite Honstly Its the year 2009 Dont you remember back when you were in school in Tech and they showed us Videos Back in the 90's That Everything would be super great with graphics and Yet you see half these games comming out with PS2 Graphics or even worse, I mean Quite honstly for what is out there in some of the games More than Majorty of them are Crappy. and not even worth People buying, the problem is kids and older People alike are Happy with Crappy graphics, Crappy story lines.. Even the New GTA wasent that great and was extreamly limmited compaired to the old ones.. So what as we Get more into the future the crap goes backwards? Because thats exactly what it seems like..

Nobana
Nobana

I had no problems with spore's DRM, I've only installed it once on one computer, and my computer has no problems with it.

Dilbert3k
Dilbert3k

Wargodgohan, They speak "Simlish" its not real. It is meant to allow you to apply your own story. If they spoke English it would limit the game a lot. As for the expansions... Don't buy them. Or only buy the ones you really want. I don't see the problem. If the core game does not have enough content for the $60 then don't buy the core game. As for the ship date. Let them push it back. The worst thing about games in general and PC games get it the worst, is shipping a half finished game because they could not finish by a ship date that was too aggressive. If they ship it early you get a buggy game, who wants that? I for one am happy to wait a couple of months and get a finished product, rather then get a bug fest a little sooner.

Wargodgohan
Wargodgohan

Ok See heres my problem with this dam game.. First off, Yes the graphics might be nicer. But I mean Come On, We Dont Speak a Foreign Launguge Lets have the sims Speak ENGLISH Not Spanish or whatever the Hell they speak.. Secound, there going to make another 30 Expansion packs for the next 2 years that cost us Another 5 thousand dollors in games and Not to mention about 100 Gigs of Hard drive space... I mean Come on already... Than the next thing you'll see is there Ship out Date like on all the other games they say one Month, than a week before it comes out they Move it back like 2 more months to F*** the Buyer's " US" INto waiting even longer... Seriously if you Post a Dam Ship out Date Ship it Out ON that Date Or Dont Post One At All!!!

Dilbert3k
Dilbert3k

Does anyone know what kind of DRM they are putting on this game? I would like to buy it when it comes out, but if they have not learned from the Spore mess... Then I guess I will keep my money.

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

who cares about graphics its gameplay thats important

JWRask
JWRask

If it uses their shoddy DRM they can keep it.

mrcookie44
mrcookie44

Im thinkin bout buying this game :D

salman06p0020
salman06p0020

Waiting for this game. You never know the time spent on this game when you are playing it.

iMAC21
iMAC21

This Sims seems to be really hotting up, when Sims 2 came out it was a huge step from The Sims, let's hope for the same this time round, Trouble is im using a Mac now, so i'll probably have to wait a little longer till i can play it.....

apolloooo
apolloooo

the sims2 is my game when i'm in high school and now they will make the third one! i must be grat and they must add a little story and endings too so the player don't get bored easily

forhekset
forhekset

@wardrobeguy Yeah fail like the highest selling franchise of all time usually does. Not.

wardrobeguy
wardrobeguy

looks awsome but will likley fail like spore

priit85
priit85

"The Sims 3 may be behind schedule. Originally, the third chapter in the series was scheduled for a mid-February release. However, according to EDGE, many European retailers have changed the release date to "first half 2009". While EA may be "evaluating the launch window" for the title, details are scarce." http://www.edge-online.com/news/ea-%E2%80%9Cevaluating-launch-window%E2%80%9D-the-sims-3 plain "great" this was smth i was really looking forward to playing in less than a month, now we might have to wait until summer bah, utterly dissapointing news.

craz1026
craz1026

I have all the main expantion packs for sims2 and a few of the stuff packs. That's pretty much the reason I'm not getting the third game.too much time and money invested. If you were able to transfer the files from the second to the third, than I would get it. But since I would not be possible I'm sticking with 2. The good thing for me is that price of the Sims 2 Stuff packs will go down

Tha_DRP
Tha_DRP

Hmmm... I didn't mind The Sims 2. Wonder if this one will be able to make me love The Sims once again. I pray to the good lord!

lawsond
lawsond

I played the original when it came out...but that was back in high school. These games eat up too much of my time to really get into.

Narcissa
Narcissa

"Can anyone tell me if this is coming out on XBox 360? Thanks" -360james Can your computer not match the minimum requirements? All of the console Sims have never been very good. However if you actually do find the console version entertaining then probably a year or so after the release of the PC version if they're doing a console version at all

tOrchie
tOrchie

I like how it looks like they're going to be removing or limiting the more repetitive, boring stuff, but I'm not sure I'll be buying this on the first day.

claykenobi
claykenobi

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

lucascastro
lucascastro

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

YEPEE00
YEPEE00

i'll take mine shaken not stirred.(i'm still playing the sims 2)

dragonps
dragonps

This is looking amazing:D It seems to improve on the second game in almost every way, can't wait

johncena12
johncena12

maan cant wait for this video game to be released hope it is not a disappointment. i have played on all the sims games and got all the expansion packs. also would this game have all the expansion packs in one or do you still have to buy them when its released?

clankwise
clankwise

seriously 360james. This is the sims so probably yes but months later and much worse. Console sims are never good

Deevvon
Deevvon

@ 360James That would actually be pretty shi**y, why would you want it on a console?

mrbass208
mrbass208

I'm withholding final judgment until I know more. That said, I think the developers are doing a very smart thing by focusing on expanding and refining gameplay and functionality without obsessing over game engines and graphics. I look forward to finding out more.

360James
360James

Can anyone tell me if this is coming out on XBox 360? Thanks, :)

Alyson-Stoner
Alyson-Stoner

This is so cool!! I'm very anxious to buy it cuz i've played the sims 2 for so long and at last got bored of doing the same things again, that reminds me of how i used to kill someone by making them very tired then swim in the pool so they drawn lol

Wolf-5
Wolf-5

I am really excited to see how this game turns out. I really enjoyed the first 2 games and the expensions.

Deevvon
Deevvon

Does anyone know if there's going to be a Mac version?

mehedee
mehedee

very good but don't disappoint.