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It’s taken over three years for The Sims four to make the transfer from PC to console, and in these three years so much has occurred to the PC sport. Content material that was lacking from the primary launch – together with a toddler stage of childhood, swimming swimming pools and swimming costumes – has been launched by means of free updates.

Associated: Best Xbox One games

4 paid expansions and a spread of downloadable add-ons have made a sport that initially felt sparse appear a lot richer and extra fascinating, albeit for a large funding on high of what was already an costly sport.

The brand new console variations of The Sims four don’t fairly drag us again to sq. one – the toddlers and swimming swimming pools stay – nevertheless it comes fairly shut. The result’s a sport that also has a lot of the magic of the PC authentic, however with its failings magnified and some new ones thrown in.

Should you beforehand performed The Sims three on PS3 or Xbox 360, you may anticipate to have the identical love/hate relationship with The Sims four that your PC-gaming compatriots had earlier than you. It’s a sport that’s one-part frustration to each two components enjoyable.

Inevitably, the most important problem is the controls. On the PC, The Sims four wasn’t precisely wanting menus, modes, selectable objects, icons and buttons to navigate, and – a lot to its credit score – Maxis hasn’t dumbed issues down for the console launch. Maybe it ought to have.

Shifting the pointer round with the left analogue stick, whereas controlling the digital camera with the correct, doesn’t actually change into a well-known motion even many hours in. Choosing Sims or objects in a rush, choosing dialogue decisions or selecting from menus feels clumsy, such as you’re attempting to deal with a posh activity with the flawed instruments in hand. Maxis has carried out its finest with completely different management modes, context-sensitive controller maps and helpful shortcuts, however The Sims four nonetheless feels awkward.

Sadly, the place you are feeling this most is in the most effective bits of the PC authentic: Construct Mode. The Sims four has the perfect home-building, furnishing and adorning instruments of the sequence, to not point out nice character creation and customisation instruments. Nonetheless, navigating these with a controller, not the standard mouse and keyboard, might be powerful. Too usually you’re preventing the digital camera, struggling to recollect the right way to entry capabilities, questioning the place the pointer has disappeared to and attempting to do issues with a stage of precision that the controls can’t fairly ship.

With follow and some changes to the view, you’ll get higher, however among the greatest, most artistic pleasures of The Sims four on PC aren’t fairly as artistic or pleasurable right here.

In the meantime, earlier criticisms stay. I’d really forgotten how a lot The Sims four felt like a step backwards from The Sims three by way of its neighbourhoods. Out go the coherent, open-world settings of the third sport, with their bustling public areas and residential zones. In come smaller, if busier, areas which are linked by map screens, with loading screens each time you journey between them.

Not solely do the neighbourhoods really feel much less like a part of one city, however they appear shorn of facilities and life, with solely a handful of locations to hang around in in every, and no bookstores or grocers to frequent. When your Sims go to work, they appear to vanish into one other universe fully – one thing addressed within the PC’s Get to Work growth pack. With out the growth packs, already rising for the console variations, The Sims four generally seems like a ‘starter version’ of the sport, however one that you just’ve ponied up a full sport value for.

These are respectable criticisms, however what’s extra irritating is that, three years after the PC launch, the Xbox One model I examined nonetheless doesn’t fairly really feel prepared for launch. It seems to be nice and the Sims AI holds up actually, however over a couple of days of play I’ve had the sport freeze as soon as, crash twice and the UI get caught with out the pointer on three events. Worse, I’ve had saves throughout two completely different video games fail to retain a number of hours of progress, with each handbook saves and the autosave affected.

It seems from EA’s technical boards that I’m not alone. Console avid gamers aren’t used to coping with these things. In reality, I can’t keep in mind the final console sport the place I had this type of problem.

All this can be a colossal disgrace, simply because The Sims four additionally will get a lot proper. With a deal with feelings, bigger ambitions and extra complicated, fascinating relationships, it really works higher than any earlier model as a sort of digital cleaning soap opera, the place your Sims and their lives are always evolving. There’s one thing about watching your Sim develop up, develop their profession, make mates, check out relationships, calm down, begin a household and so forth that retains you hooked – and that’s with out the basic capitalist enjoyable of accruing meaningless possessions and pimping up your home.

And if you need extra drama in your cleaning soap, you may have it. Fill your neighbourhood with completely different Sims; make them mates, rivals, enemies and lovers. The sequence’ transfer away from tedious micromanagement right into a larger-scale sport of life, aspiration and achievement has made it a stronger car for excellent tales, even when – or possibly as a result of – these tales aren’t at all times underneath your direct management.

Both means, we’re an epic time sink, the place you don’t at all times appear to be doing a lot, but the hours hold drifting by.  Certain, it may be repetitive – notably when there are solely 5 or 6 locations to take that particular Sim on a date – nevertheless it will also be ridiculously absorbing, even fascinating.

The Sims four won’t have the dimensions of The Sims three, nevertheless it makes up for that within the element, whether or not that’s the huge vary of animations overlaying each motion, exercise and encounter, the other ways your Sims specific emotion, and even their completely different, sometimes peculiar rest room habits. The Sims makes for compulsive taking part in, even when what you’re really doing sounds fairly uninteresting.

Verdict


There’s no query about it: if you wish to play The Sims four, the PC remains to be the easiest way to play it – and on condition that its PC system necessities are pretty low that’s what we’d advocate.

Get used to the console controls and it’s nonetheless an interesting town-building sport/life sim/digital cleaning soap, however one with a couple of too many bugs for consolation. If EA cleans these up we’ll elevate the rating one other notch, however proper now The Sims four console variations might nonetheless use a bit work.