It's been a long engagement for EA but after no small amount of controversy and a short delay, The Sims 4: My Wedding Story's big day is nearly here. The newest addition to grace The Sims 4's ever-expanding library of game packs, My Wedding Stories offers players the chance to celebrate their love and culture with lavish wedding ceremonies, lively receptions, and several other new additions. Earlier this month, GameSpot got the chance to attend The Sims 4 My Wedding Stories preview event and spend a bit of time with the upcoming game pack. Overall, the pack adds a lot of love and a greater sense of inclusion to the eight-year-old game, but a lack of quality-of-life changes and push for greater immersion might keep players away from their happily ever after.
According to The Sims team, the game pack was designed to primarily help players accomplish four things: find their marital bliss, prepare to party, bring their vision to life, and create moments that last a lifetime. To help achieve these goals, the team first created the ultimate romantic getaway: Tartosa. Inspired by the charming towns that line the Mediterranean coast, Tartosa is a new location filled with jaw-dropping vistas, hot wedding destinations, nine lots your Sims can move onto, and a few small shops. The Sims team says Tartosa is the most intricate town they've ever rolled out, and even comes with in-game lore regarding its establishment.
However, Tartosa is only a small part of the heightened wedding experience My Wedding Stories offers. While the pack, unfortunately, doesn't add any new ways for sims to pop the question, it does enhance the events that follow. Rather than your sim's engagement period being a short lull until the big day, there are now a number of events you sims can host to celebrate their upcoming union. These events include an engagement dinner, wedding rehearsal, "bach" party (a gender-neutral take on bachelor/bachelorette parties), and family gathering.
While each activity is exciting in its own right, the family gathering is particularly interesting and comes as part of The Sims team's attempt to celebrate different cultures around the world in "an authentic and respectful way." The event is intended to act as a "catch-all" that allows players to pay tribute to certain wedding rituals unique to their own heritage, such as Chinese tea ceremonies or any of the many elaborate Indian ceremonies. As you can imagine, all of these events--as well as both the actual wedding and reception themselves--require quite a bit of planning. Luckily, My Wedding Stories also adds quite a few options to these areas as well, making each union feel one-of-a-kind.
For starters, you can now give your friends and loved ones assigned roles in your wedding, such as sim of honor, ring bearer, flower pal, and officiant. These sims will then be able to participate in your wedding, granting you the option to send them down the aisle when the ceremony begins. There are also new actions sims can perform, allowing them to gush about their upcoming nuptials, share their concerns, slow dance with others, perform group dances, and more. You can also purchase cake to serve to your guests--complete with a unique topper--and flowers for your blushing bride to hold as they walk down the aisle. However, it should be stated that despite being featured in the trailer, there are no unique events or methods for buying flowers, cakes, or wedding apparel shopping. All of these remain tied to simple stalls you merely walk up to in Tartosa or just lead you to Create-a-Sim mode, which is a bit disappointing.
However, a major way you can insert a bit of choice and excitement into your wedding celebrations is by planning what activities will take place at each event. You are able to do this when first scheduling the event by selecting what traditions are most important to you from a pretty lengthy list of options. Available activities include dancing, giving toasts, sharing a meal, giving speeches, cutting the cake, walking down the aisle, sharing a first kiss, drinking tea, exchanging vows, throwing rice, performing a first dance, having drinks, blowing bubbles, and more. Whichever activities you select will ultimately pop up as a sort of to-do list on your big day, though The Sims team emphasized weddings are not goal-oriented events and therefore there will be no penalties if all these tasks aren't accomplished. According to the team, they want each day to feel special rather than perfect.
Choosing a venue and its decoration remains the same as it was prior to the game pack, though My Wedding Stories does add a substantial amount of new items, new venues (including ones crafted specifically for Chinese, Indian, and Hispanic weddings), and the ability to get married anywhere. Other additions to the game include a lot of new formal wear, the ability to assign sims as "fiance" in CAS, and new moodlets specific to events that can occur in My Wedding Stories. However, for those you who were hoping the pack might inject a bit more "spice" into your betrothal or wedding ceremony, be warned that there are no new woohoo locations, cheeky bach party activities, changes to divorce, or even an option to interrupt the ceremony with an infamous "I object!" included.
However, following your sim's drama-free big day, another sweet and special event unlocks: a vow-renewal ceremony. This allows sims who have been married for some time to reaffirm their love to one another and celebrate with their loved ones all over again, making the pack last beyond your sim's short engagement period.
Considering My Wedding Stories is a game pack rather than an expansion, the breadth of options and robust amount of features it adds to the game is rather impressive and makes it one of the more valuable packs introduced thus far. However, you might find yourself a bit frustrated that the pack doesn't fix certain issues around weddings and events that have existed for some time--such as NPCs refusing to participate in the events they way you might like them to. While you can now somewhat direct people to the next activity--requesting they take a seat, or move onto the dance floor-- it's still tricky to get them to actually do it. This extends to even sending your wedding party down the aisle in proper order or ensuring food is served.
Furthermore, there's a real issue with the choices you make not feeling particularly meaningful or immersive. While there's a lot to choose from, cake-tasting, hearing your friends' toasts and speeches, saying "yes to the dress," and all the small parts discussed above that truly make the wedding experience are simple button clicks rather than experiences. Considering how much the pack adds and accomplishes--especially in terms of representation--My Wedding Stories is a lovely pack to help celebrate a lovely time in your sim's life, even if it is a bit imperfect.
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