There’s tons of extra content available for EA’s life simulation game The Sims 4, but which are worth the asking price, and which should be skipped?
By Emma Benten
Published Jun 18, 2021
EA has recently announced Cottage Living, the latest expansion pack for?The Sims 4. Releasing on July 22nd, Cottage Living adds?farming, a highly-anticipated feature for long-time fans of the series. Costing $40 USD, each?Sims expansion promises exciting new gameplay and content for players of the game.
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No matter how fans play The Sims,?whether for supernatural creatures, family gameplay, or living vicariously through their digital people, expansion packs are always judged by how much they contain. Not all packs are created equal, though, and some packs are worth less than their asking price.
With characters such as the infamous Judith Ward?and up-and-coming star Venessa Jeong,?Get Famous?appears promising at first glance.?Look past the Hollywood stars, however, and Get Famous becomes more akin to washed-out stage lights.?From the lackluster world of Del Sol Valley?to an underdeveloped Actor career, the expansion feels more artificial than?the overly-priced bathroom fixtures it offers in Build Mode.
Compared to its Sims 3?predecessors Nightlife and Showtime, Get Famous?appears more like a game pack than a true expansion. Many players don’t believe it to be worth the $40 USD it costs and avoid engaging with the pack’s features whenever possible.
It’s no secret that?The Sims 4 is more well known for the features it lacks than the ones it has—so much so that most fans’ wishlists for the next installment include seemingly basic features. Get Together, one of the earliest Expansion Packs released, offers the ability to form groups, go to?nightclubs, and… not much else. While the world of Windenburg is a beautiful one,?it doesn’t justify the $40 price tag on its own.
Future expansion packs for The Sims 4 have put in much more content than Get Together appears to offer. While it’s in no way a bad expansion pack, many Simmers feel disappointed by the lack of substantial gameplay.
One of the earliest complaints about?The Sims 4?was the lack of realistic jobs for Sims. While new jobs are patched into the base game frequently,?Get To Work?offers three active jobs that allow sims to work as a doctor, detective, or scientist, and it allows?players to experience an ordinary day at work. It also allows entrepreneurial Sims to run their own businesses.
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Many players feel disappointed?about how Get To Work’s jobs feel too similar to one another when previous games had offered a diverse selection of active jobs from firefighting to styling.?The only active career added since then was the Actor career in Get Famous, and players hope for more in the future.
The city of San Myshuno is a diverse one,?representing a variety of cultures from across the Sims world. In City Living, EA focuses less on general apartment gameplay and more on the experience of living in a city. Through cultural festivals and careers in politics and social media, Sims can experience?a more fast-paced lifestyle than offered before.
Unfortunately, the apartments themselves suffer from a lack of content in the end. Most of the apartments end up?more?luxurious than livable, and the cheaper options carry unremovable lot traits that heavily impact gameplay.
Do not buy Eco Lifestyle for the pollution system; if?the active Sim does not work towards either end of the spectrum, the game itself remains completely unaffected by pollution and defaults to neutral. What makes Eco Lifestyle shine, however, are its various activities. From candlemaking to juicing, Sims can take up a variety of hobbies and become a freelance Maker, living out a crafter’s dream lifestyle.
For fans of building, Eco Lifestyle also offers?plenty of useful features. Ladders were introduced in the update preceding this pack, and the?pack itself also includes vertical planters and other items to create the perfect tiny container home.
Island Living intrudes the beautiful islands of Sulani, which is home to playful mermaids and houses built by the sea. Sims can scuba-dive, go boating, and take part in the culture of Sulani. The game also offers a conservationist career that sees Sims taking care of Sulani’s natural landscapes, whether it be on land or by sea.
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Island Living feels like a mixed bag; the mermaids are less developed than their vampire and spellcaster brethren, and the conservationist career feels like a test run for Eco Lifestyle.?Sulani itself, however, is teeming with beauty and life, and it more than makes up for the pack’s shortcomings.
Mt. Komorebi offers more than just snowboarding and skiing. In Snowy Escape, sims can embark on treacherous mountain expeditions, beautiful nature walks, and sled rides with younger family members—all of which are activities geared towards an adventurous lifestyle.
Where?The Sims 4: Snowy Escape excels, however, is its attention to detail and extensive tribute?to Japanese culture; sims in Mt. Komorebi wear uniforms to school, take shoes off inside their homes, and can relax in traditional Japanese onsens. The developers and designers put a lot of research and thought into creating Snowy Escape, giving players hope for more culturally diverse worlds in future packs.
No life simulator is complete without raising a furry friend, and?The Sims 4’s Cats and Dogs expansion gives players the opportunity to populate their house with the titular pets. The paint feature in Create A Pet allows players to truly replicate their real-life pets, and?the veterinarian career allows Sims more opportunities to interact with animal companions.
More importantly, the pets in Cats and Dogs have their own personality quirks. Aside from the traits assigned in Create A Pet, animals in-game can develop fears of various household appliances and other idiosyncracies—just like?real animals!
In previous university-themed expansions, Sims?had?limited?interaction with other schools outside of their chosen colleges. Discover University, however, ups the ante by introducing two rival schools that frequently interact with one another. Whether attending soccer games?or pulling pranks against?the other school, Sims can foster a real sense of pride and spirit for their university.
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With customizable electives and classes, players feel more in control of the university experience offered by?The Sims 4. Top it off with a variety of extracurriculars, housing options, and common spaces, and?The Sims 4: Discover University feels very close to attending college in real life.
The Sims 4’s Seasons expansion holds the distinction of not only being the most developed pack, but also being the most necessary for gameplay. Dynamic weather, changes in seasons, and an improvement to the gardening career all add their own improvements to the base game. Where Seasons truly shines, however, is its calendar and holiday system.
Not only can Sims celebrate classic holidays like Winterfest and New Year’s Eve, but players can customize and create new holidays with easy-to-use features. Whether tweaking Winterfest to?reflect different cultural traditions or creating a ‘Pride Day’?at the beginning?of summer,?every Sims game can be truly personalized.
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About The Author
(10 Articles Published)
Emma Benten is a New York City-based writer with a deep love of all things media. In 2020, she graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Dramatic Writing. Having interned at production companies before, Emma is aware of the business and creative factors that go into a good movie or television show. She grew up on a healthy diet of Sailor Moon and Pokémon and considers herself a walking dictionary on The Powerpuff Girls. When she isn’t contributing to ScreenRant, Emma can be found working on her own original writing or catching up on Bravo’s Top Chef.
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