My sister got the Sims 3 a couple of days ago, but I only got to play it a couple of minutes ago and decided i'm going to write up my first impressions.
Essentially, this game is very similar to Sims 2, but it adds enough to justify a purchase from both Sims fans and newcomers to the series alike. The body of this first impressions is what is new to the Sims 3.
The most noticeable difference is that you are now able to zoom out from your house to see the whole neighbourhood, without any loading screens. At first when I heard this I thought the loading times must be agonizing, but that is not the case. It loads your house and when you zoom out it shows other peoples houses and the different businesses, but they only fully load when your character arrives at them.
This means that, unlike in previous games where you could only invite people over, now you can go to anyones house or business at any time or they could come to your house. This makes your Sim neighbourhood alot more alive and realistic.
There are many small differences like now at your job you get paid per hour rather than paid one sum for all the time. This means you can leave work halfway through if your character is in need of something at home or in a very bad mood. This can avoid time at work in a bad mood, which puts down your progress bar to a promotion, but leave work often and you'll find yourself being fired.
They did change some really small things which confuse me, like now when you go under the skills tab, skills only appear once you progress in them, otherwise it's empty.
They have changed the whole interface, which may alienate most expierenced players, but all the hot keys remain the same and it doesn't take too long to familiarize yourself with the new way of play.
Wants come back from Sims 2, but it seems as though fears are gone. This time, there is one main want window where you can see your Sim's different wants by scrolling through, and there are 4 empty spaces below it so you can "Promise" your Sim to fulfill this want.
Succeeding wants will net you "Lifetime Happiness", which are points you can use to choose from about 50 rewards, ranging from your Sim being extra clean to the ability of teleportation. These rewards cost varying amounts of happiness, so it's necessary you choose your rewards carefully. Also, after fulfilling wants, you get a temporary 4 or 5 in-game hour boost to your mood.
This brings me to another addition to the interface. There are many things that can affect your Sims mood in this game. These different mood changers vary in the amount of time they are there for, and to what degree this will affect your Sims mood. For example, eating a nice meal will subtly improve your Sims mood for 5 or 6 in game hours, and if your Sim feel it's his/her lucky day, it will improve her mood for 24 in game hours.
All of these, however, are not positive. If your Sim see's something that disgusts him/her, or if your Sim has been working too long and is strained, these will decrease their mood, severly so in the case of the latter. This creates a balancing act where you can choose to eat that plate of pancakes now, or wait until you're ready to go to work to get that mood boost to increase your chances of promotion.
When creating a Sim, all the things from Sims 2 make a return, except this time you can choose what your Sims lifetime want is, what his/her favourite colour, food and music is and, a new feature, a combination of 5 traits that make your Sim unique. There are about 60 or 70 to choose from, ranging from Good to Evil to Technophobe to Computer Whizz.
These different traits play a big part in how your Sim will react to different situations and what they will do in their spare time. For example, my Sim had a good sense of humour, so he could make people laugh and make friends with less effort, and he was a Genius, so he could hack other Sims computers through his own to make money.
Overall, the Sims 3 should be a big hit for any fan of the series, and also people who think the sound of a simulation of real life sounds appealing. Once I expeirence a bit more of it, I will probably write up a review on this. Thanks for reading.
Oh, and on a personal note, here's a tip; never forget to take chewing gum out of your mouth before sleeping. I regretted it this morning.