Originally developed by Maxis and The Sims Studio and published by Electronic Arts, The Sims 4 is the fourth major title in life simulation video game series, The Sims. While The Sims have always had a home on the PC, they have once again made their way to console via the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The original PC version of The Sims 4 originally launched back in 2014, which means that it has taken 3 years for The Sims 4 to grace the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. While the PC version had its issues, such as the lack of swimming pools, toddlers and decent content – which were all eventually included through free updates or via paid for expansion packs – the console version comes with its own issues too.
This time around the base-game comes standard with toddlers and swimming pools; however, it seems to be lacking in the content area. Granted, expansion packs can be purchased; however, it would have been more of an incentive to offer console players more content… especially when you are purchasing the base-game for the full price of a standard Xbox One or PlayStation 4 title.
Apart from the lack of content, as well as a plethora of paid for content, The Sims 4 on console is a blast to play… Well, when the game actually functions as it should. After many hours playing The Sims 4, I came across a fair amount of bugs in-game. Certain actions that my Sim had to perform that had been cancelled sat queued up for days before eventually disappearing. To add to the issues, saving a game in The Sims 4 was a bit like spinning the wheel of fortune… either the game would successfully save or it would freeze. Another issue I came across was audio and animations had the tendency to go out of sync after fast forwarding time. To add to the issues, menu response times were also not a highlight… even when playing on the PlayStation 4 Pro.
While The Sims 3 had huge neighbourhoods, it seems as though The Sims 4 has stepped backwards and offered up smaller, less interesting neighbourhoods. To add to the frustrations, players will also be presented with a fair amount of loading screens when travelling outside of their neighbourhood. An example of this would be when arriving at the museum you won’t be able to visit the bar right next door without the game loading. This becomes a bit jarring as moving out of any play area will present the player with a loading screen. What also makes gameplay jarring is the fact that the loading times, even on the PlayStation 4 Pro, can be fairly long at times… so be prepared to wait.
As stated above, The Sims 4 has its issues; however, when it works it’s really fun to play. I enjoyed every aspect of creating my Sim from scratch. I also enjoyed watching my Sim progress through his career as well as form close relationships with those around him. I also enjoyed watching my Sim’s emotions flair when he had arrived home from work only to find that the computer and bathroom sink needed to be repaired. To add to the fun factor, I also found it fantastic that my Sim had goals and aspirations that he wanted to achieve over and above sitting on the couch and watching the cooking channel.
While gameplay has its frustrations, one thing I will say is the development team had done a great job when it came to the control structure in the game. As there is no keyboard and mouse option, players will need to tackle The Sims 4 with their controllers. This was surprisingly a pleasurable way to play The Sims 4; however, it does take some time to get used to the controls. Thankfully, there are a ton of tutorials available in order to get you started.
The Sims 4 on console thankfully includes all the free feature updates that were included with the PC version. However, these should have been included in the PC version from the get-go. Apart from this, the Sims 4 on console is a welcomed addition… but be warned, it does come with a fair amount of bugs. While it is a blast to play, when things work as they should, you will need to purchase various expansion packs in order to get the most out of your Sims experience.
Overall, when The Sims 4 works it’s fantastic; however, when it doesn’t it can become a rather frustrating experience. Here is hoping that the development team and publishers iron out the various bugs in order to improve on an otherwise good game.