The Sims 3: Late Night Updated Hands-On - Star Power, Building the Band, Going Full Vampire
We get our hands all over the next expansion pack for The Sims 3 and dig into the exhausting work of becoming a vampire celebrity rock star. Damn you, paparazzo!
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Late Night will be the next expansion for The Sims 3, and while this new addition adds tons of minor features, there are a handful of major ones that we'll focus on in this update: the ability to become a vampire, the ability to form a hip rock-and-roll combo, and the ability to become a celebrity. We did our best to achieve all three of these lofty new goals, and we have to tell you…it was really hard, you guys. It's almost like you're not meant to become a brilliantly skilled musician who has a popular music group and is also a high-profile celebrity who rubs elbows with showbiz elite and is also a powerful vampire with a close-knit network of bloodsucking buddies in just five minutes flat. Becoming America's next top bloodsucking rock band talent takes time in The Sims 3: Late Night, just like it does in real life. (Wait…what?)
In any case, we'll chronicle the rise of our ambitious young starlet/rock group leader/would-be-vampire. In order to increase our chances of success, we picked the lucky, artistic, and virtuoso traits to increase our chances of having runs of good luck in our endeavors, as well as to improve our skill as a musician (in a purely artistic sense and to gain the ability to play any instrument well). Late Night has three new instruments--the piano, the bass violin, and the drums (to go with the guitar, which has been in the game since the beginning)--and faster than you can enter the "motherlode" cheat code (which still works) to get 50,000 simoleans, we had purchased a keyboard for ourselves. Soon, we had embarked on the laborious and lonely process of grinding away at the piano to become a better musician, all by our lonesome.
Although we'd also given our sim the "excitable" trait (so that she'd find even the simple act of tickling the ivories to be enjoyable enough to fill her "motive" need for fun), it was a lonely job and we had a band to form and a name to make for ourselves--as well as a social interaction motive to fill up. So, we hit the happening new town of Bridgeport in search of some bandmates and a low-ranking celebrity or two who'd be willing to rub off a little star power on us. Fortunately, finding prospective musicians is pretty easy in Late Night. One of the first "socials" (dialogue interactions) you can choose when meeting someone is to ask them to join your band. Within moments, we had a few eager beavers in our band, and we were all set to play a gig…which doesn't happen until you get that happy phone call (and it can be a matter of in-game days before that phone rings, let us tell you).
Fortunately, while cruising for bandmates, we also ran into our fair share of low-ranking and high-ranking celebrities--indicated by the five-star meter that hovers above their heads. Here's a tip: In Late Night, celebrity performers often put on shows in the park and play for tips. While you can choose to join in on a jam session with celebrity musicians, you won't really break the ice until you formally introduce yourself, either by taking the commoner's route of asking for an autograph and just being an adoring fan, or by boldly attempting to impress them with a whole new series of dialogue options, such as name-dropping any celebrities you may have met previously. Once you get over that initial threshold, you can interact with the celebrity as you would a normal friend, and with enough brownnosing and maybe a lucky shoot with one of those pesky photographers, your sims can increase their own star levels until they, too, become headliners and can ignore bouncers at the trendiest nightclubs and go right on in.
As it turns out, you can also gain fame (and earn extra cash) by performing successful gigs at various clubs throughout town by way of The Sims 3's opportunities system, which still pops up opt-in jobs that you can take or leave. If you do get a gig, you must make sure you arrive within the appointed time window at the appointed club, call in your bandmates, and get cracking. If your band consists of talented musicians with high musical skills, you'll put on dynamite performances that wow the crowds and lead to higher payoffs. If your band isn't that great, you'll get uninterested sims that might bother to briefly express their disgust as they pass by the bandstand. Fortunately, while it was a heartache, our studious young musician's frequent (and lonely) days and nights helped lead her otherwise inept band to a few decent paydays. But because of all those studious days and evenings spent at home honing her craft on the ivory keys, every now and then she got a little bit lonely--and she definitely had trouble making friends of the undead kind.
Late Night's vampires, as we've discussed in previous coverage, aren't your average bloodthirsty monstrosities, nor are they the clean-cut, dreamy, sparkly kind that all the young people seem to like these days. In many cases, they're extremely hip, hard-body sims who hang out at the best clubs and set every non-vampire in the room aquiver (seriously, if you're in the same room with an unfriendly vampire, you get a negative "moodlet" because of how terrified you are). However, becoming a bloodsucker isn't simply a matter of being the right prey at the right time. You need to find actual vampires who hang out at exclusive clubs (meaning you somehow have to get in to said clubs, whether that be through your own star power or a well-placed bribe to the doorman) and get to know them well enough, whether that be through dancing with them at a club, watching some stories on the TV, or giving them a call on your cell phone to chat.
Once you do succeed in making a new vampire friend, you can choose the "ask to turn" social option, which will, after a brief embrace with your vampire buddy, turn you into one of the living dead. Being a vampire has its perks, since you can travel quickly and are far, far less beholden to your personal needs (such as the need to rest). But it does mean that you have to feed regularly, and to do so, you need to acquire the consent of friendly sims who know you well enough, and like you well enough, to allow you to sink your teeth into them. In other words, leading a prosperous unlife in Late Night will definitely require your sims to be extremely popular--or to at least have a few very close friends. It also means you can't really go out during the day, so if you do plan to join the ranks of the Nosferatu, you'll probably want to make a career choice that will let you work 'til the end of the night (while you're holdin' out for a hero).
Late Night's new features seem really interesting and seem to add a lot of variety in the form of new goal-oriented gameplay (new rock-star career paths, achieving fame, starting a band, and becoming a vampire) as well as plenty of new social situations for weird, open-ended events to happen. The expansion will be released later this month.