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The Sims 4 (Xbox)

Developed by Maxis, The Sims 4 was released on PC back in 2014 and is currently available from the Origin store at £34.99 for the standard edition. It has now been released on PS4 and Xbox One for £44.99 on both consoles although, if you are an EA Access subscriber, you will be able to get it for a little cheaper at £40.49!

If you are unfamiliar with The Sims franchise then seriously, where have you been for the last 17 years? If you don’t already know then essentially, The Sims 4 is a simulation game where you can create your own person “a sim” and then control absolutely every aspect of their life.

You can always choose an existing sim to play with but for most people, the appeal of The Sims is that you can create your own! When creating your sim, The Sims 4 comes with a huge amount of customisation options! Right at the beginning, you can choose whether your sim has a masculine/feminine body with custom options as to whether or not they can have children of their own making it even more inclusive than ever, in my opinion.

You can create and play with up to 8 sims as part of one household and you can choose what kind of relationships they have with each other, whether they are just roommates, related or married. Once you have deliberated over how old, tall, short, fat, thin, realistic or completely fantastical your sim will be then you can choose your sim’s wardrobe depending on the event (sport, party, everyday, etc.) and then comes the hard part, what traits and aspiration will your sim have? Are you going to play as an evil mastermind who plans to be the biggest, baddest criminal there ever was or are you going to be the most popular esports player in the world? These are all things to think about and thankfully, you can have as many sim households as you like, and indeed you can have multiple characters created to play whenever you want to!

The creation process can be as long as you want it to be and will ultimately depend on how much you want to change and have control over or whether you just want to randomise everything without a care in the world. For me, I usually go for a very realistic sim and then try and live the life that could have been… but now I’m a little older, I decided to go totally random with my sim “Heaven Hoffmann” who I initially wanted to be an amazing author but have since career changed and gone into comedy! Oh yes, I’m very invested when I play The Sims!

Thankfully there is a tutorial which will guide you through absolutely every aspect of The Sims 4 although I have had issues where it seems to be fairly sporadic in whether it's going to trigger a tutorial part or not. My first ever playthrough the tutorial didn’t progress properly and I actually had to go into the menus in order to trigger the tutorial to start it up all over again, not a huge issue but if you click “yes” to tutorial then you expect it to do as its told!

After you have created your sim(s) you can choose a world to live in (some worlds are unlocked and are only playable through expansion packs) and then with the Simoleon funds available, choose your lot or house and whether you want it furnished or unfurnished. My advice is always to choose a house that is furnished, everything seems significantly more expensive when buying everything from scratch and you’ll run out of funds incredibly quickly.

Once you have moved into your adequately (for now) spacious home, you need to knuckle down, find a job and learn some skills! This is where the real fun begins (don’t worry, I’ll try to keep it brief)!

You’ll need to keep an eye on your sims basic needs (hunger, hygiene, energy, social, etc.) which are viewable at the bottom right of the screen as green bars which change to orange and then red if their needs aren’t met. If you do end up with an unhappy sim that will lead to negative moods and you’ll have to think of ways to make them happy again; maybe a nice hot bubble bath would help? Positive moods and fulfilling aspects of your aspirations (which you chose when you created your sim) will give you rewards and can even help towards getting a promotion at work!

I really love how The Sims 4 has improved each time a new version has been released, including more and more social, career and purchasable options. If you can’t make up your mind which career you like best then have a go at all of them until you find the one your sim seems to excel at more! Start at the very bottom of the ladder and work your way right up to the top with all of the added perks and bonuses that come with it.

My biggest upset with The Sims 4 is, unfortunately, two-fold. The controls are in absolutely no way shape or form optimised for the console, they are incredibly hard to get used to and I’ve had conversations with many people about how they’ve also had difficulty. I played The Sims 3 and I really don’t remember it handling as poorly as it does on The Sims 4 more specifically, it is just the controls where you have to quickly switch between the needs, job, skills and live mode tabs. It all seems to move around 100 miles per hour and I miss what I want to click on half of the time. I am very grateful of the fact that its easy to speed up and slow down time using the LB/RB buttons as they are more easily accessible but even then, sometimes they are a little unresponsive when I press them.

On my first day playing The Sims 4 I had an incredibly rage-inducing moment where the save function failed dismally and crashed my game. There is an autosave function but that isn’t reliable in saving very often and I ended up losing over 2 promotions worth of work with my sim, all of the skills I needed and the extra work related stats I needed was lost. I was fuming. Thankfully I haven’t encountered any other save issues (although I know there are others who are still suffering!) but I am constantly playing in fear now with the constant feeling that this save may not work and I might lose it all again. I really hope the developers are aware and are implementing a fix asap because not having the ability to save when you need to, in this day and age, is ridiculous.

Aside from those issues, the game looks great, its bright and well animated and runs smoothly. I’ve played on both my Xbox One X and my Xbox One S and I have to admit, it’s a lot smoother on my X (which is probably expected, to be honest) with slightly less of a pause between the live action mode and the build mode. I love the classic sims sounds like when you have your first kiss or when you’re just chatting to other sims. It brings home a sense of youth and familiarity for me because I first played the sims when I was 10 years old and it's incredible to see how much it has changed and evolved from way back then to now but it hasn’t lost its core appeal, which I think is why The Sims is as successful as it is.

Overall, The Sims 4 is possibly one of my favourite games of all time. It is the kind of game where I can easily lose hours at a time, whilst sitting back, relaxing and being able to pause whenever I need to go away from the game. Having said that, it's not without its issues and I really hope they get addressed sooner rather than later. If I had to give it a score it would be 7/10. I have to be honest, it plays better for me on PC but it is not awful on the console, it just takes a while to adapt to. If you have EA access then you’ll get a 10-hour free trial before you have to make up your mind!

The Sims 4 has a staggering 50 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore and by no means is it an easy completion by any stretch of the imagination. I really love the achievement art with scenes of random sims. This achievement list has been designed with the intentions of the playing for a very long time! There is even an achievement for playing with a household “for 26 generations or more”! The majority of the achievements will unlock naturally through general play but there are some extra special ones which I love! If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you! 
*Extra DLC content purchased separately*
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