On June 2nd, 2009 EA released the next chapter for one of the most popular gaming series – The Sims. The Sims 3 brings a lot of new stuff to the table, while improves on what was already there. We have a look how.

First thing you will notice the moment you launch the game is the new graphics engine. Trust me, Sims was never more beautiful. Frame rates are decent, no leaks, no freezes, and no boring loading screens (well, that’s a game play feature, nothing to do with the graphics engine).

Sims 3 - Off to Work
Sims 3 - Off to Work

The pivotal change brought about in the series by The Sims 3 is the opening up of the neighbourhood. Never again will you go claustrophobic looking at the same set of walls every day. There is more to life than being stuck at home isn’t it. Well, that’s what EA decided and delivered a gamers’ delight. Yup! Ten minutes of Sims 3 later you will wonder how you ever played the game without the neighbourhood.

The opening up of the neighbourhood brings with it many advantages and disadvantages. There is a whole new set of activities that you can partake now, meet a whole lot of more Sims. And there is the challenge – while the Open Neighbourhood looks like the biggest change in the series, it is the relationships model that really makes the game what it is.

Other than the neighbourhood opening up, EA has fine tuned the Needs and Aspirations system too, and added Mood Bonuses. Mood Bonuses are bursts of highs and lows your Sims get due to their actions. ‘WooHoo’ing with your girlfriend will give you a high for a couple of hours, proposing and getting accepted will make you fly for two days, a good meal will keep hunger at bay for some time, lack of fun will make you irksome and irate for a couple of hours and so on. The purpose of the mood bonuses is clearly, to over ride the needs system. In earlier games, you had a tough time feeding, bathing and socialising your Sims, not anymore. There is a more realistic balance of activities now.

Sims 3 - The Sims Household
Sims 3 - The Sims Household

The aspirations system has also become more fluid and makes the games mechanics more easy to manage (mind you – no matter how simple Sims looks, it can be a very daunting game). Aspirations can be long term and short term. Long term aspirations are the life goals of your sims – what they want to do in life, what gives them a meaning. Short term goals are more like milestones for reaching there. So beign an International Spy is a long term aspiration, while having a logic skill of 5 is a short term aspiration.

Also new this time around is the traits system. Your sims can have upto 6 traits ranging from artsy, flirty, childish, to cant stand arts, evil, genius, etc. These traits help define your sims personality and psychology and play a very important role in your relationships. Of course, it is difficult to be friends with an evil guy, but so easy to fall in love with a hopelessly romantic girl.

Sims 3 - We Like to Party
Sims 3 - We Like to Party

The needs system, mood bonuses, aspirations system and the traits system are the core of the game play and very closely integrated.

EA has also made the wise choice of adding stuff from the previous games in the series. Like you always carry a cell phone now, and have personal inventories. So do equipment in your home like bookshelves, fridge, etc. You can wear jewellery, manage aspects of your ‘young adult’ life, go to college amongst others.

The online aspects of the Sims 3 are also as enriching as the overall experience. However, it doesn’t include anything very innovative but the usual stuff. Trade custom designs and equipment with fellow players, edit and share user movies on The Exchange, and purchase official content to enrich your game world. That’s about it. Come On, EA! How about a Sims MMO?

Priced at around Rs 950 in India, Sims 3 is a decent deal. Trust me, you will loose count of hours in this wonderful game – replayability is one of the core strengths of the sims series.

Our Verdict:

Graphics: Audio: Gameplay:
Replay-ability: Online Action: Value for Money:

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