It’s a warm night at the Rattlesnake Juice Bar. Bella and Mortimer seem to be slumming it up and gracing us with their presence all while Nina is storming around on one of her angry spells again. If anything sounds familiar here, you are probably an avid Sims fan. This is not an uncommon scene and a fair representation of what a night out in The Sims could be.
Generally, you tell your chosen sim to go to a specific local, or your sim does it on their own, and then you are whisked away to a location. Shortly after arriving, the lot slowly fills with other sims, materializing on the edges like the start of some sort of tower defense game. Once all the actors arrive, they go about their day or night, talking and drinking and generally taking care of their own needs. Sometimes there are objects to interact like a karaoke machine to sing quite poorly at or various other things to see just how untalented you are.
Arguably you could say that yes there is life here and some dynamic action for the most part, however, for a game about life, there is not much of it here. There are sims bustling about either walking the streets on a loop or wandering to the picnic bench to gorge on hotdogs and burgers for a few hours, but there is not much else besides the occasional moody sim. The Sims 4 engine cannot handle it too much right now with the current engine and build, however, The Sims is missing life at its core.
I was absolutely delighted when I first started playing through the Strangerville game pack and saw cars driving through town, secret agents doing secret things and crazy alien spore infected sims creeping me out in all the good ways. The town itself felt more dynamic and energetic instead of its neighborhood counterparts. This is a great start but I feel like it can be improved further. The size of the worlds can stay the same, but lots need to be smaller. Yes, It is great fun building a giant mansion with an incredible pool, but I generally find the very large lots to be superfluous. A smaller lot allows for more tightly packed houses or shops that could be built with a theme or purpose in mind. Also, while we are on the subject of Lots and size, GET RID OF THE DAMN LOT SPACING! There is no reason why there should be two houses next to each other that can not share a fence or wall. For the larger lots, make it so you can have multiple job actors and really fill out the space. I would like to have more than one bartender on a lot thank you. Especially if one building is a bar and another is a night club.
I know this probably will not be possible in the current game, but I am hopeful for the future of The Sims. In the meantime, I'll continue to hunt for mods that will slowly inch us closer to the appearance of sim life.