The Sims™ 4
As a player of The Sims series, I have somehow grown accustomed to developing a deep connection with my simulated characters. This time around, my affection has been stranded towards an in-game persona named Jess, a tech geek with voluptuous hips and a cheeky grin. Over the past week, Jess has evolved as a character, mastering the level 10 programming skill, experiencing a broad array of emotions, starting a family, and even manipulating age by consuming anti-aging potions. However, it's quite frustrating to notice that Jess's virtual life in The Sims 4 hasn't been as fulfilling as it should've been due to the game's missing features and constrained world.
Creating Jess was an enjoyable experience, as I marveled at the broad range of options for character customization. I could imbue Jess with different dimensions of personality, right from her body structure to her walking style. However, I was disheartened to find out that I could only attribute four traits to her. Nonetheless, the newly-introduced emotions feature added considerable depth to her character.
Emotions, in fact, became the crux of Jess's gameplay. As I embarked on Jess's romantic journey, I noticed how the unique emotions feature convincingly replaced personality traits as a way to depict character interactions. For instance, being a "romantic" character, Jess would oscillate between flirty emotions and tense feelings, giving me a peek into a whole new set of actions each time.
That being said, socializing is a crucial element in The Sims 4, and to truly indulge in interactions, it's necessary to vacate the domestic premises of the characters frequently. This aspect is hampered by the limited space and lack of venue diversity in the game. Regrettably, the game takes after its ancestor, The Sims 2, requiring loading time even for moving to neighboring houses. To make matters worse, there are only a dozen public venues to visit. These constraints made me station Jess at home most of the time, making the virtual world seem petty and sequestered.
However, the enhanced Sim multitasking feature did compensate for this shortfall to some extent. With this feature, Jess could juggle between programming, watching TV, eating, and engaging in conversations seamlessly. Additionally, the automatic conversations played out by the Sims felt more authentic and enjoyable.
In terms of game features, I was fond of the improvements in Build Mode – particularly the flexibility to alter rooms and structures without having to demolish them first. However, a few monotone elements were hard to overlook. The missed Create-a-Style tool from The Sims 3 and the absence of cars and pools in The Sims 4 were quite disappointing.
All in all, immersing myself in Jess's life was entertaining, and witnessing her emotions and experiences did add a totally new game-play dimension. But, it is also conspicuous that her life and my playing experience were trapped within the small world of the game. I can only hope that the developers realize these shortcomings and ameliorate The Sims for a more seamless and expansive virtual life experience in the future.