The Sims 4 Review Roundup

Does the missing content make the latest entry in the life sim series too slight to recommend?

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Last week, five years after The Sims 3, EA launched the latest entry in the life simulation series, The Sims 4. With it comes some controversy over missing features, but do those omissions ultimately prove to have an effect on the game? We've gathered up a sampling of reviews below to help you decide whether the game is worth a look.

Developer Maxis made waves earlier this year when it revealed that mainstay features like pools and toddlers would not be included in the "base game." This was explained as being necessary in order to deliver on the new technology that powers the game and allows for what it says are more emotional characters and better AI. However, given EA's propensity for selling numerous expansion packs for past Sims games, this fueled concerns that fans would be asked to pay for these features in the future.

Since its release last week, Maxis has already patched the game--doing away with things like a way to date the Grim Reaper--and fans have recreated famous locations like the Seinfeld apartment and Arrested Development model home. EA is also working to fix an issue that prevents words like "gay" and "lesbian" from being used in characters' names and descriptions. And don't forget, if you owned The Sims 3 and any expansions, you're entitled to some free Sims 4 items.

You can check out a selection of reviews below. For more, check out GameSpot sister site Metacritic.

  • Game: The Sims 4
  • Developer: EA Maxis
  • Platforms: PC
  • Release Date: September 2
  • Price: $59.99

GameSpot -- 6/10

"The Sims 4's biggest problem is that The Sims 3 exists, and describing where it stumbles by necessity means looking at where the series has been. This is a lovely and lively game that elicits constant smirks, but The Sims 4's moments never feel like part of a bigger picture." [Full review]

USGamer -- 3.5/5

"The new generation of Sims begins with what feels like a bare-bones starter kit. It packs top-of-the-line Sims-creation and house-building tools, but styling options and activities are distinctly lacking. Add the contents of its first expansion, and Sims 4 will probably feel like the game it should be right now." [Full review]

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Polygon -- 6.5/10

"So much of the effort that went into The Sims 4--and don't misunderstand, there was a lot of effort--went into improving the tools and mechanics of the game. In that regard, Maxis succeeded; there's no doubt about that. The game-level stuff, the creation and control, is top-notch. But ultimately, it feels like a well-made box, only partially filled and primed for expansion." [Full review]

Joystiq -- 3.5/5

"I like The Sims 4, although I fully recognize that it's not nearly robust enough yet for series fans. If you're new to the franchise, it's a great place to start and explore the possibilities. The Sims 4 certainly feels like more of the same game we've known for over a decade. Hours will go by and you'll think absolutely nothing has occurred, but then somebody will ask you what happened in your game and you'll have a rich story to tell." [Full review]

Eurogamer -- 7/10

"The Sims 4 is both fresh and yet also predictable, pleasant, comfortable, and rarely overstimulating. It's wobbly, and you can still see some of its joins, or hear the creaks as new parts settle into place. It's not likely to win over any new players, but it will satisfy a lot of its old ones. For many of its fans, it will feel like moving into a new home. They'll settle." [Full review]

Ars Technica

"It's just a shame that the game's improved core, as of this review, feels trapped in a four-wall box with no doors. Everywhere you look in The Sims 4, you can see EA's next money-making DLC/expansion opportunity, from towns to out-of-house destinations to hairstyles, pools, cars, pets, careers, hobbies, and on and on and on. If EA wants us to love The Sims anew by letting us toy with our characters' emotions, perhaps they'd be wise not to do so by toying with ours via this very, very thin retail package." [Full review]

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Avatar image for superstition222

People have spent over $500 just on the Sims 3 junk and now they're trying to replace it with a game that's worse than the Sims 2 base game was? Fascinating! The real scoop is that this was supposed to be a lightweight online game and, after SimCity bombed completely, EA decided to try to pretend that it could substitute for The Sims 3 and get people milked for another $500.

The studio is simply incompetent. It thinks smeary aspartame-sweet corporate graphics can substitute for gameplay. That was the approach for SimCity and it's the approach here. It thinks it can flat lie to customers ("SimCity needs the server for calculations") and threaten them ("If The Sims 4 isn't a success there won't be a Sims 5").

It's not going to work, no matter how many obscure reviewers post puff pieces giving it vastly more points than it deserves (see the two-three paragraph "review" by that New Zealand site via MetaCritic) by refusing to look at it for what it is: an empty tablet-lite clone of existing games with the content stripped. But, Kotaku has posted about the "amazing" new mods that are the same mods that existed for The Sims 2 and lazy sites are pasting EA press releases and linking to Kotaku. Desperate times call for desperate propaganda.

Avatar image for superstition222

(somehow comment was duplicated.)

Avatar image for raynemccloud

sims 4 is exciting to me! I did not like 3 and I miss 2. I did a lot of great things in 2 and i was pretty bored with 3. I started playing 4 and said YES sims 2 on steroids! I don't know. I made my family they've had their children, bills are HIGH! I just hope a business expansion comes QUICK and I need more crafting objects! making big money fair and square is how I love to play. I am really looking forward to what ever the creators do next! I give thanks for this game it has been my pleasure to play it for many years! Cheers - Lady Rayne McCloud

Avatar image for tanza101

I have owned ever singel sims game since inception including every stuff pack etc..I must say I am so disappointed by Sims 4..all I can say is it is CRAP!!!!!

Avatar image for alexisdale91

Only disappointing game of the sims is sims 3 in every way that game is nothing without ep or cc is load of crap of a game. Least sims 4 had its charms and fun sims 3 is bland and boring in my opinion. Best sims game for me was sims 2 that never grows old or boring.

Avatar image for spence2f

<< LINK REMOVED >> I liked SIMS 3. Here's the thing, I have been a SIMS fan since paying SIMS City in 1999 at the age of 13 wishing that I could play the little SIMS city people that you could never see. Then Maxis made The Sims. Because this game was new and fresh, I fell head over hills obsessed with it. Then SIMS 2 came out and they gave us the ability to open our own business, I was really smitten. Between the vacations in The SIMS and opening my business in SIMS 2, I was solidified as a bonafied SIMS fan. Then SIMS 3 came along and I hated the glitches, but loved the pets (because I didn't play the pets in SIMS 2), the Apartment Life, and the celebrity life which came with a get rich scheme of gifts to sell and get rich, not to mention the possibility to own multiple properties and switch between them. I didn't' t like that you couldn't just play any household you wanted like in (I think) either The SIMS or SIMS 2. Nonetheless, I loved being a celebrity and raising a toddler and punishing my kids/ teens. 15 years strong with The SIMS and I even got my 10 year old playing for 2 years now, she actually told me about the SIMS 4. I went to Game Stop back in August and was like, I'll put some money on the Pre-release, because I never buy a new SIMS release until about a few months to a year later. However, my husband sensed my stress at work and surprised me with it a week and a half ago. I have to say the graphics are great, it is very simple to build a home, conversations and multi-tasking is great, all upgrades based on thoughts I always had in the back of my head. But I am completely bored, my SIMS go to work and come home-that's it. There is nothing else to do. It seems that even the interactions lack. I make friends, go to call them and they aren't in the friends list.

The only great thing that came out of this is, is that back in April this year we suffered a fire and I just bought SIMS 3 and expansion packs last September (2013) and thank goodness for Origin I was able to re-download The Sims 3 which had quite a few glitches (The best thing that's happened before I decided to stop playing SIMS 4). But I must say Maxis and EA you have managed to digress my enthusiasm for playing SIMS 4 to going back to the SIMS 3. I am completely bored with SIMS 4. Please get the expansion packs out soon for the sake of appeasing many of your fans who may be skeptical of purchasing a SIMS 5. Please continue to deliver the content for free and cut down the cost of your next expansions since this SIMS 4 game has been such a disappointment. I get it that this is a reset button and it's like playing the SIMS for the first time but graphically evolved (loving being able to give my SIMS a booty), but please add back the custom paint pallet to give some variety and atleast release the SIMS PETS and Ambitions/Careers/Business something has got to give.

Avatar image for alexisdale91

Omg that's it I'm going to strip my sims 3 tht at I don't even play any more to base game and no cc,mods. Than I'm going to compare it to sims 4 which I've come to love since 12am on September 4th cause I'm in Australia. I know I will love sims 4 more cause I hated sims 3 base game when I got it but in all fair I didn't play much of it so I will see what comes of it.

Avatar image for alexisdale91

Already bored of sims 3 just load of boredom in my opinion. Sims 1-2 were better than this. Sims 4 was entirely better than this I can't get back in sims 3 anymore since played sims 4 just limited as hell the whole game in comparison too sims 4.

-Better clothes hairstyles.

-Trats work better.

- Emotions make the game better.

-Have way more social interactions default and ones that open in skills,traits, job.

-More ten jobs and a lot more exciting jobs to choose for them

-More options on computers, even open stuff through skills.

-People actually around the neighbourhood its populated well. I think the game knew I like playing teens I saw I had a lot more teens to talk to that never seen so I could talk and romance teens cause when I started a new game there were lot more teens I could interact with than previous saved games.

-new romance option. Teens can mess around with partners cause this generation lets get real they are doing that at teen stage.

-jobs and school have tasks and daily tasks to do also better chance at raise grade up with the desired emotions teens mostly seen forcus and children energized.

-can draw on the creativity table again disappointed that sims 3 took that out and just had blocks.

-adult jobs is not lacking cause they don't have careers from previous if anything there better and more exciting.

-Loading scenes not bad at all they don't take long so not a great problem.

-Love watching cooking animations too funny.

-Planning different social event all different

-different skills for children for development were great add in.

This is all on too of my head atm not all of. This game is not lacking much at all it's got soo much in it than sims 3 had in base game and sims 4 will just keep getting better and better with ep will be better than sims 3 more and more.

Avatar image for naryanrobinson

Getting the game the way it was originally made is going to cost at least $250. I guarantee it.

EA just figured they'd sell it for full price anyway even though a fraction of the game is there. It's basically theft to sell this at $60 but they don't give a s*** about the gamer just wanting to get their money's worth and enjoy a game.

Avatar image for mulder_000

So, basically, everyone is in agreement that it is meh?

Avatar image for GH05T-666

EA, Why rush games?!

Just complete a game and then release it instead of always rushing and making glitchy, half finished games.

Avatar image for naryanrobinson

<< LINK REMOVED >> The game is finished, they just chopped it up and are feeding it to you slowly at 4 times the cost.

Avatar image for Sevenizz

For some reason, I want to play Theme Hospital.

Avatar image for bloody-hell

<< LINK REMOVED >> You may be interested in the community developed open source version called "CorsixTH". (URL : forums corsixth com)

Runs fine on Win7 / Win8, updated screen resolution options, AI, simulation, performance, modding tools and all that good stuff. Enjoy.

Last time I checked it required the base game during installation to import the models, textures, etc. from the original, so I'm not sure if they're at the point where OpenTTD is yet where they've replaced all assets by self made ones so the original game isn't required anymore, but it was on their ToDo list. (worst case you can pick up Theme Hospital for 4,50 on GoG and then install the open source version)

Why are we talking about Theme Hospital in a Sims 4 news article ?

Oh yeah, right, because Sims 4 is a failure and not worth mentioning.

Avatar image for xantufrog

Maxis used to mean unquestionably great games to me. I was with 'em back when they got their start. Sad to see where their products are now, although the game doesn't sound *bad*, just not what it should have been

Avatar image for gajbutler

Simcity all over again, I mean bring back John Riccitiello, at least he put a creative bone in EA. Sure some of the games failed, but they failed while being creative and good. Whoever is in charge of EA today.... they had their worst EA press conference ever, their games all last year and this year flat out SUCKED and they show more signs of going back to the old EA we hated. I miss the John Riccitiello years now :\

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

Nice work shoving this mediocre effort out, EA. Maxis is 0/2 on their last two games.

Avatar image for waffleiron88

<< LINK REMOVED >> Keep in mind EA owns DICE, who is working on Battlefront 3. Hope = Gone.

Avatar image for i-b-tex

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Not to mention the fact that EA has full rights to Star Wars videogame development for the foreseeable future...I have a bad feeling about this.

Avatar image for Kirdian

@i-b-tex @waffleiron88 @Thanatos2k

This is not true. Disney is the owner of SW mark. EA never was. They just buy license for some titles like battlefront.

Avatar image for i-b-tex

@Kirdian Did anyone say EA owns the "SW mark?" No. But, they do have an exclusive license to Star Wars videogames aside from mobile and web. "The agreement covers titles aimed at core gamers on "all interactive platforms"; Disney retains the rights to make casual and social games in the Star Wars universe on mobile devices, tablets and the web."


Have to prove everything these days. ;)

Avatar image for Neo_Sarevok

@waffleiron88 @Thanatos2k Actually, wrong. EA has shown when there is competition, EA does put out a "good" product. Not excellent, but good. However, when EA drives out the competition and creates games that no other company sells (ie. Spore, the Sims, Madden, etc.) that is when they don't give a shit and you can expect a mediocre product just tolerable enough to garner average Metacritic scores.

Avatar image for Shelledfade1

At least EA lets you get a refund within 24 hours. Damn shame this game is such a downgrade compared to the sims 3. I was kind of looking forward to playing a sims game again (played 1&2) but damn, I wouldn't pay for this. It's like it was designed for a crappy ipad or something.

Think I'll buy the sims 3 next time it goes on sale and pretend this mess doesn't exist. EA said if it doesn't do well it will be the last sims game they make, may as well play the superior version (3) and pretend this one doesn't exist. I still don't get why they did this though, it makes no sense. I don't understand why they would do this unless they were forced to push it out before it was ready. Maybe it was DRM and they had to redesign it from the backlash sim city had, and maybe they intended to make this playable on an ipad or something, I mean why else would they design it so badly considering how strong pc's are today? If decent gaming pc's can run the sims 3 no problem why the hell would you do something like this? It's like going 10 steps back in game development. I mean this may as well be the sims 2.5 instead of the sims 4 because from what I've read it is in no way superior over 3.

All I know is I'll wait for a sale and I'll buy the sims 3. This game wack, just like sim city was (which I didn't buy either, thank god I'm smart enough not to pre-order bs anymore).

Avatar image for BigFeef

Got this game last week Thursday off Origin and played it over the weekend. Applied for a refund on Monday under EA's "Great Game Guarantee" and I'll see how long it'll take them to give me back my $45 (they said it should be done by Friday).

This game is definitely not worth the asking price; and for longtime Simmers, this game is a slap in the face. So many features have been stripped from the game it feels like a bad Sims 2 clone with better graphics. A sequel is supposed to build on the offerings of it's successor; but apparently not to EA. The only thing that EA seems to be willing to take further with this new Sims game is how much content they are willing to cut so they can add later on in an expansion and store pack.

Avatar image for Hurvl

Even the best reviews for it on metacritic mentions that the game's features seems trimmed down or downright lacking, which isn't a good sign. Too bad that the Sims don't offer a Goty edition where you can buy all the stuff for one low price compared to buying everything separately.

Avatar image for homey_d_clown

EA claims to be Players-First!

But actually meant to say Pay-Me-First!!

Avatar image for simsumre

<< LINK REMOVED >> So you should pay them after using their product? I don't get it.

Avatar image for codeman101360

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> "We'll complete the game later."

Avatar image for homelessgamer

Fight the power!

Avatar image for homelessgamer

So friggin lame EA. Booooo.

Avatar image for PinchySkree

Looks like all those reviewers know what's up. They are too scared to say it bluntly though.

They made a 10% complete wireframe game designed around and with the intention of selling you the other 90% in 10% chunks at 30% of the price.

Avatar image for elheber

EA: Pay Us First.

We'll complete the game later.

Avatar image for fabs1

I've always been curious what the metacritic score would be if bribed reviews were discounted.

Avatar image for fabs1

"Does the missing content make the latest entry in the life sim series too slight to recommend?"

In short, yes.

Avatar image for Random_Matt

Game sucks.

Avatar image for xboxonly1

<< LINK REMOVED >> Why its not a bad game. it is just missing a load of content that the previous version had. The game is still loads of fun to play :D