Complex simulation titles have traditionally been dumbed down for consoles. Can The Sims 3 break the mould and still offer console gamers a smooth experience?
Format: PS3 (version played), Xbox 360, Wii, DS Dev: The Sims Studio Pub: EA
Out: 29/10/10 Players: 1
It might be a cracker with a mouse and keyboard, but The Sims hasn’t had the brightest history on consoles. On the previous generation of consoles, the original game had a strict object cap and Sims 2, though slightly improved, still offered less freedom to express oneself than its PC counterpart. In this respect, The Sims 3 on console is a notable improvement, but it’s still kid gloves compared to its big brother.
Those familiar with the workings of the virtual life simulator’s previous iterations will be quite comfortable with Sims 3. The Create-A-Sim section is kitted out with a competent variety of options, allowing you to fabricate the denizens of your choosing. However clothing customisation will be far more stringent if your console isn’t connected to the internet, as a good proportion of items must be downloaded from the Sims Exchange.
The character traits and lifetime wishes that made the PC version such a joy continue to do so here. Newly introduced are karma powers and challenges. These are almost like GTA cheats, intend for the sole purpose of livening up the gameplay by doing game-breaking stuff, such as allowing your Sim to fall in love with anyone they choose or unleashing torrential rain on your town. These God-like powers must be earned by fulfilling wishes to fill your karma metre.
Challenges are simply a set list of tasks to give you reasons to explore what the game has to offer. They’re also tied to Trophies and Achievements on PS3 and 360. Ultimately, these new additions don’t add heaps of value to the game themselves. The PS3 and 360 have less elegant control of the 3D interface seen in the PC version. And you’ll still be navigating through a colossal amount of menus that seem ill-conceived for the limitation of joypads.
The performance issues that have dogged the series on console aren’t gone either. Frequent loads when moving between customisation menus and areas of your town spoil its cohesion. Like the PC, you can customise items via Create-A-Style and share your items with friends online. You’ll need EA’s infamous Online Pass (included in all new purchases) to do so. These could be more unfettered, though.
If you’re considering picking up Sims 3, then I would advise you get the PC or Mac version. It still offers the broadest experience and the most opportunities to extend your play with add-ons. EA have never been shy of excluding content from previous Sims packs, but The Sims 3 is a lonely experience without internet connectivity piping items and friend updates to you. Despite some shakiness, it’s still a buzz to watch your creations living their virtual lives.