The Sims 3 World Adventures Impressions

The first expansion pack for The Sims 3 was announced at GamesCom, and EA gave us the full tour behind closed doors.

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Part of the reason for The Sims' phenomenal success is its expansion packs, so it was no surprise to see the first one announced for The Sims 3 in Cologne this week. The Sims 3 World Adventures will include three new locations--France, China, and Egypt--and it's the latter that we got to see at EA's behind-closed-doors area.

An EA representative acted as our tour guide on this trip around the pyramids, and the focus was on seeing the missions from the game. EA was keen to emphasise that the game's missions are completely opt-in, so you don't have to play them to enjoy the game. That said, they certainly look fun enough and offer plenty of rewards. The quest structure apparently takes some cues from World of Warcraft, as the story will be told through the series of quests that you choose.

The first quest we saw was to enter a pyramid and go hunting for treasures. You have to hit floor-switch triggers, put your hand into disgusting-looking holes, and raid sarcophagi to find such items, and even though EA admits it has had some reservations about desecrating ancient relics, it's all done in a lighthearted manner.

As anyone who has played The Sims 3 will know, the animation is beautifully presented, and half the fun of the game is seeing how the characters respond to what you do. When our character was set on fire by a trap, he jumped into the water to put out the flames, finding a secret tunnel in the process. When he put his hand into a mysterious hole looking for treasure, he became covered in bugs and jumped around trying to shake them off. And when he opened up a sarcophagus and revealed a mummy, it chased him around and put a curse on him.

The Sims 3 World Adventures will keep an adventure journal for you, which tracks of all your accomplishments in the game. You'll be able to see which items you've discovered, what collections you've seen, and what achievements, such as historical horder, you've won. One of our favourite design features was that you start with a level-0 visa, which allows you to visit these places for only two days at a time. Once you've worked up to level 3, though, you can stay there for a lot longer and will be allowed to buy a holiday home.

The Sims 3 World Adventures launches on the PC on November 16.

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