The Sims 3 World Adventures Exclusive Hands-On - I See China, I See France

We get our hands on this soon-to-be-released expansion and spread our wings into Europe and the Far East.

The Sims series has let players control the tiny little lives of little computer people for years, and this year's The Sims 3 took the series to a whole new level. It introduced revamped goal systems, new personality and socializing systems, and a revised career system, among other things. And with the first expansion pack, World Adventures, your sims can branch out into a very different profession--that of globetrotting adventurer. Sure, the expansion adds various new additions to the base game that are quite helpful and useful, such as an expanded in-game tutorial system and the ability to build basements in your house. But, the real attraction is flying out to one of three international locations (Egypt, France, and China) and becoming a tiny, gibberish-speaking Indiana Jones.

We've already extensively catalogued our time in Egypt in our previous coverage, so this time around, we'll focus on China and France. Unlike Egypt, where the geography is built around a few major dig sites, the China adventure area is laid out in a mostly even split between unspoiled wilderness and community lots (including peaceful parks for meditation, ancient tombs to explore, martial arts academies, and merchants). The France area, however, is laid out like a country villa--there are small clusters of community lots separated by long country roads. Fortunately, in all lots, your sims can quickly travel from place to place by way of bicycle or scooter (which they'll use automatically), and at these different locations, they'll be able to not only seek out new adventures in ancient tombs but also partake in local color.

The expansion offers new cultural options that start all the way back with character creation--your sims can choose Egyptian, French, or Chinese music as their personal favorites, as well as new cuisines, such as crepes and dim sum. There are even new traits, such as "adventurous" (a sim recovers well from jet lag to travel more often and improves visa level more quickly) and new life goals, such as fully exploring all major tombs or reaching physical perfection as a martial arts master.

However, the culture really starts to come into play once you begin your travels abroad and meet new sims that look very different from the ones that live in Sunset Valley. These include the kung-fu monks in China's monasteries and the beret-wearing "nectar" tasters in the French vineyards. You can also soak up local culture by exploring new social options that are unique to those regions, such as challenging another martial artist to a sparring session or learning a French country song from the local vintner.

Well, time to make the nectar.

Our own outing began with a trip to China to start training in the ways of the warrior and maybe get some really good egg rolls. Landing at any foreign location will start your sims out in front of the adventure board--a bulletin board where tomb-raiding missions are posted. We quickly found our first mission: a notice to recover an artifact from a local tomb. Once we accepted the quest, the new adventure journal appeared onscreen and let us simply click on the name of the quest giver to automatically route our sim there by bicycle. In no time, we were being briefed on the mission by the crabby old man who posted the notice (and also automatically added him to our sim's contact list to develop as a potential friend--or enemy--later).

Then, we headed out to the ancient tomb itself to loot it. Fortunately, because this was a beginner tomb that wasn't terribly involved, we didn't have much trouble defusing the few traps, pushing sliding statues onto pressure plates, and eventually looting the place of its ancient coins. These coins are World Adventure's new currency, which lets you purchase special adventure-specific items. The first tomb areas in each foreign country will necessarily be shorter and easier because your sims will start out with a "visa level" of zero. This means that they'll be able to stay for only three in-game days, though after completing various exploration quests, they'll be able to extend their visas further to take longer vacations and even purchase vacation homes on foreign soil.

To be honest, we were less interested in exploring tombs this time out and more interested in soaking up some local color. To this end, we sent our sim directly to the local martial arts academy in China to pound away at a wooden training dummy until he increased his skill in martial arts. This is one of the new career-related skills that will not only let your character perform cool moves and animations, as well as spar with other martial artists, but it will also let you rack up any number of statistics (such as the strongest board you've ever broken or level of martial arts belt achieved). It will also let you hold martial arts tournaments--with various achievements to unlock along the way.

For a Shaolin monk, your kung fu is pretty lousy!

As it happens, the athletics skill from the original Sims 3 plays into your martial arts skill, and thankfully, the monasteries in China are stocked with the latest in exercise equipment to help your Chuck Norris wannabes strengthen their bodies and skills all at once. Then again, China is also home to other attractions, such as the peaceful Scholar's Garden (which grants all sims an enhanced mood thanks to its meditative silence), a fortune-cookie maker, and even a fireworks display your characters can use.

Once we'd increased our martial arts skills and conquered our first Chinese tomb, we headed back to Sunset Valley on our expired visa but were soon hopping aboard a plane again. This time, we headed off to the French adventure area. France seems like a more laid-back, residential area where instead of kicking, people use their feet to stomp grapes. We decided to try our hand--and feet--at the art of making bottled "nectar" by visiting the local vintner shop, which has dozens of bottles of the stuff on racks for you to peruse, taste, and purchase. You can also achieve a minor mood boost from the "nectar" because it is so "sugary" (wink, wink). There's a merchant who will happily sell you a portable nectar-making still to bring home with you, as well as different bottles of vintages, and various types of grapes. We also decided to use the picturesque French countryside to launch our sim's new photography hobby by purchasing a store-bought camera and snapping a few shots from the new first-person interface. Each location will actually have a number of set pieces that you can capture to rack up special achievements and unlock awards. The easiest include snapping photos of people and landmarks, but there will be some very challenging hidden photo opportunities scattered throughout the world.

Once you stock up on grapes, you can then dump 10 bunches of various combinations into the tub of a still and get stomping, though if your nectar-making skill is low, your sims will probably end up falling flat on their rears in the process. However, once you increase your skill enough, the nectar you can create will fetch a nice asking price. In fact, the new expansion's skills offer a viable new way to make a living without having to report into the office each day.

The life of an adventurer means fun and profit in the form of pricey relics you can sell off.

From what we've seen, World Adventures will have a lot to offer--new areas to explore, new people to meet, new socializing systems to learn, and lots of brand-new ways to play The Sims 3 offers plenty of opportunities to grow and expand your sims, as well as their skills, along familiar-but-different paths. The expansion will ship later this month.

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Discussion

35 comments
Muddyoioi
Muddyoioi

I really don't get why people like the sims. It's hidiously boring, telling them to clean this up or that up just to raise there mood. If i could be bothered to clean stuff up in real life i would be donig something productive intead of watching someone do it on a game.

red1isdabest
red1isdabest

im just so inspired by the diversity of ea! sims never fails to enlighten my day!

KizzyCHU
KizzyCHU

This game does look really good, but then, when you think about the sims 2, eventhough the graphics are not as good as this, this game will have that sims 2 feeling, one of the exspansion packs, like free time, or season's or bon-voyage. But i would still buy this game.

pookysimlover
pookysimlover

I agree with some of you guys, $40 bucks is allot for a EP. I may wait myself this time. I wish I had with the whole game, sense I have had so much trouble with all the bugs, and the Patches messing my game up, and it crashing, or not wanting to load, or the graphics going wonky on me. And the worst thing is I got the special edition one, for $75 with tax US, and it had nothing special about it ether. EA is got to be one of the greedyess companies around, they have no respect for the consumers. And they have already made hundred Million dollars off The Sims 3 alone this year, so they are not hurting for cash, their just greedy. I don't think I will even bother with buying this EP, its not worth it. The Sims games are the only games I have ever had that I had any bugs in, so I am not giving them any more of my money.

killerdude99
killerdude99

i cant wait for the Sim-Fu i wonder if there is a costume that looks like indiana jones

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

sounds interesting, but i would like to have seen a 4th nation visited... besides that, sounds good to me...

diamond2206
diamond2206

The more I read about this game the more I can't wait to play it.

Dualmask
Dualmask

In no time at all there will be some sort of special edition that combines the game and a bunch of expansions, so I'll wait. That's what I did with Sims 1 and Sims 2.

reneetruss
reneetruss

I won't be buying this at launch either. might be years and a few price cuts before I buy this title. there's just nothing new here.

lilkimy
lilkimy

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

DarkShadow1425
DarkShadow1425

Isn't the music from the C&C: Generals soundtrack ? Seems that EA couldn't even be bothered to come up with a new track .__.

wesam987
wesam987

thats so cool, i want it eric wants it too (sims 3 world Adventures)

blakeney
blakeney

its going to be same price as a full game!?!!? woooa EA, the torrent site world isnt dead yet, you cant seriously get away with that kinda thing, yet!:p but we know they will. or atleast now we do.

lizlyly
lizlyly

i agree $40 is a bit too much for an EP, $30 will be reasonable.

Karrotjuce
Karrotjuce

Looks like a great expansion though.

Karrotjuce
Karrotjuce

@Blargsman When the sims 3 came out, it costed 49.99 on amazon, but I agree 39.99 is a bit much.

Blargsman
Blargsman

Definitely does not seem to be worth $39.99. The stand-alone Sims 3 costs the same, if not cheaper. There doesn't seem to be any revolutionary features to warrant a purchase, just added content. Content that I am willing to wait until the price is at a reasonable $20.

Banjo2E
Banjo2E

well it looks pretty good but for 40 bucks i'm not sure

EA_LOVER
EA_LOVER

yes my best game i wite for your expansion

Kcirdor1227
Kcirdor1227

40 bucks? to hell with that... Sims will collect some dust while I play other games waiting for this price to be reasonable.

lonewolf1044
lonewolf1044

The EP looks good and appears to be way better than Bon Voyage ever was. Even if EA is going to the well a third time, it is to show off the tech that the previous two did not have. The only negative comment I can make and it is not the game itself, but the pricing of the game. Those $10 coupons are not free as one may think when EA is charging $39.95 for an EP when previous Eps was $29.95. However, I will still buy this EP. But as the saying goes different strokes for different folks.

Blue_Guardian
Blue_Guardian

i agree with kingroyw... will get it when its cheap...

Vasot
Vasot

Meh... I am not so thrilled about this expansion

KingRoyW
KingRoyW

I might get it when its 10$. We really need a good expansion for TS3, like how open for business was extremely awesome for TS2.

RedWave247
RedWave247

@tjwebley I guess my point is this: they already have the core programming behind a lot of these aspects. Again, for this "vacation" expansion, there's a lot more behind it than the previous ones. But the differences between Pets in 1 & 2 were relatively small. Admittedly, SOME things made it from other expansions, such as Hot Date's cars, but those carry-overs seem to be few and far between. As Yahtzee pointed out, what happened to the mainstay items like the hottub or pool table? Would weather be all that different to program than it was in Seasons? The Sims is such an open game that you honestly could do all sorts of different and exciting expansions. Yet, they've returned to the well twice and now a third time.

MKID232
MKID232

@Gelugon_baat Well, that's probably because people are spending money on expansions instead of saving for a vacation.

tjwebley
tjwebley

@RedWave247 I'm in total agreement. But think of it from EA's perspective. If they made all the features available without expansions, how much money would they lose?

RedWave247
RedWave247

It sounds neat, but it's once again another redundant expansion. The first two Sims games had a vacation or getaway themed expansion, as well. Not to say that this isn't the same, as it's an entire community, now and some great bonuses. But it bothers me that we've seen redundancy in expansions twice, now. Pets was released twice and likely a third. Ditto for "hot dates". Coming from a company that throws on a fresh coating of paint on the same sports games year after year, this shouldn't be all that surprising. It doesn't make it any less frustrating, though. Of course, I'll still be buying Sims games because I fully admit to being a SimAddict. Personally, I'd be more than happy to see another University expansion, because that was by far my favourite of Sims 2.

Bedizen
Bedizen

It looks interesting, but won't get this at launch

Makhdoom82
Makhdoom82

Yes sounds delicious now please gimme :)