The console version of the PC megahit lacks fluidity, though it's still fun in its own right.
- Maintaining the everyday lives of your sims is fun and addictive
- Charming animations and sound effects
- Some nice console-specific additions.
- Loading times and jittery performance constantly intrude on the fun.
The Sims 3 doesn't mark the first time the PC-centric life simulation series has come to consoles, but it's the first time that the basic gameplay has remained relatively intact. In the console versions of The Sims and The Sims 2, the sandbox gameplay that made the PC games so successful took a backseat to achieving specific goals. The Sims 3 still rewards you for reaching specific milestones, but it gives you room to direct your digital playmates as you see fit. The franchise may celebrate the routines of everyday life, but as series fans know, directing a sim household can be great fun and causes the hours of your own mundane life to whiz past before you know it. The Sims 3 provides the same kind of addictive appeal, though a few elements that made the game so special on the PC were lost in transition. Long loading times, frequent pauses, and other flaws regularly interrupt the flow of gameplay, making this virtual town more like a bunch of small, low-population areas bolted together, rather than a thriving community. The resulting awkwardness makes this version inferior to its PC counterpart, but if you can exercise some patience, you'll find there's a lot to like about The Sims 3.
If you're new to the series, here's a quick primer. The Sims 3 is a virtual life simulator. In it, you take control of a character called a sim, or an entire household of them. Sims have needs; they need to empty their bladders, to eat, to sleep, to bathe, to have fun, and to socialize. It's real life boiled down to simple mechanics, but within these mechanics lies an entire universe of possibilities. Your sims can have babies who may cry in the middle of the night, needing their diapers changed. You can manage their personal development by sending them to the gym to work out, or by telling them to fix a broken television, or by having them play chess, or by sending them to the park to play the guitar. Sims go to work to earn simoleans (money, of course) so they can buy better things for their homes and redecorate--or just buy a brand-new home. They make friends and enemies, they go swimming, and they clog up the toilet. In other words, they act a whole lot like real people, except that they yammer in a delightful gibberish called Simlish and communicate via speech bubbles that appear over their heads. This might sound terribly mundane, but balancing the needs of your sims can keep you happily glued to your monitor for hours at a time.
Many of the signature Sims charms that make the PC game and its expansions such a delight made it to consoles intact. Zooming in close to see these little computer people interact is always a fun treat, especially when your sims are engaging in a particularly spirited exchange. Watching the expressive animations and listening to the dramatic vocal inflections is always a delight, whether it's your toddler sim chewing on her xylophone mallets or the man of the house throwing a tantrum because there are rotting leftovers in the fridge. Take your weakling sim to the gym and watch what happens on the treadmill; kiss another sim in front of your husband and watch the slaps ensue. Or generate your own masochistic amusement by denying your sims the use of a toilet or by putting them in a room without doors. Simply watching the inhabitants of this digital world is a hoot, and the colorful visuals and jaunty soundtrack tunes enhance the slightly surreal appeal.
As you play, your sims communicate their wishes to you. Some of these are relatively simple: play a game with your spouse. Others are a little more involved: see your kid graduate. With the points you earn, you can then purchase permanent goodies, such as complimentary entertainment (go to the theater for free), or never getting hungry, or increasing your chances of conceiving a child. The Sims 3 on consoles further enhances the focus on specific tasks with the notion of karma. By fulfilling these wishes, you accumulate a currency known as karma, which you then use to make your sims a little happier--or to wreak havoc on their lives. (You also get a karma allowance at midnight automatically.) Beneficial powers include bringing a dead family member back to life (creepy!) or instantly satisfying a sim's basic needs. If you're the sadistic type, you can summon poltergeists to haunt the household of your choice, or trigger a flaming meteor shower. The glittering sound effects and the easing of everyday hassles make the advantageous powers satisfying to activate. Delivering cruelty to your unsuspecting family can be even more fun, however. Watch a crowd freak out during the earthquake you generate; giggle as your normally staid sim pees on the floor and sobs after you drop his needs to rock bottom.
- Player Reviews: 23
- Game Universe:
- The Sims (PC, PS2, MAC, GC, XBOX),
- The Sims Bustin' Out (PS2, XBOX, GC, GBA, NGE),
- The Urbz: Sims in the City (GC, PS2, XBOX, GBA, DS),
- The Sims: Hot Date (MAC, PC),
- The Sims: Superstar (PC, MAC),
- SimSafari (PC, MAC),
- The Sims 2 (PC, PS2, GBA, PSP, XBOX, GC, DS, MAC, WINM),
- The Sims 2: Pets (GBA, PC, DS, PSP, PS2, GC, WII),
- The Sims 3 (PC, IP, MAC, WINM, BB, PS3, X360, WII, DS, 3DS),
- MySims (WII, DS, PC)