The Sims 3 once tried to break away from the tyranny of the ‘normal’ world with The Sims: Medieval, only to find that setting the franchise’s signature gameplay in the Middle Ages sacrificed much of its creative freedom. The Sims 3: Supernatural takes you on a similarly wild ride, but it benefits from a decision to remain rooted in the world you’ve created for your sims over the past three years. Here, the focus is on augmenting the core experience instead of attempting to redefine it. It’s an approach that largely works despite some noteworthy flaws, and almost every new feature exudes a creative spark. There’s a stranger lurking in the neighborhood, and while he may not always be the most charming of visitors, you should still invite him into your home.
If you’ve ever wanted your little computer people of The Sims 3 to contemplate the dark corners of their lives, the Late Night expansion is your ticket to blood-pumping parties and blood-sucking brotherhoods. The latest add-on to the popular life simulation makes a number of tantalizing additions to the game, though they come with a few caveats. The most important one is that you must leave your cozy burb behind and start anew in the bustling city that comes with the package if you want to explore all The Sims 3: Late Night has to offer. Just like moving in real life, the prospect of leaving behind the spoils of your hard work and starting from scratch is a stressful one, but there are good reasons to be enticed. One of them is the way the expansion’s charm captures the essence of a night out on the town.
If you were thinking that The Sims 3: Pets would allow your existing sims to frolic with virtual puppies and kittens, Electronic Arts has a little surprise for you. Rather than allowing console devotees of the popular series to import their sims from the original release into this newest outing, EA has released The Sims 3: Pets as a stand-alone game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. That alone is enough to make this offering feel inferior to its more robust PC cousin, but a different setting and the limitation of only playing with cats and dogs (as opposed to the PC version’s horses, snakes, and other assorted beasts) make it feel like an entirely different game. Even so, if you meet it on its own terms, there’s a lot to like, including new karma powers, a collection of ‘mystery’ quests, and, of course, the loveable companions themselves.
Upon initial consideration, it seems unusual that the first expansion for The Sims 3 would revisit a concept the series has already trod. After all, in 2002, The Sims: Vacation let you visit three different travel venues and introduced a few new (but minor) concepts to the formula in the process. The Sims 3: World Adventures sends your digital counterparts back on the road, but don’t assume that this expansion simply retreads what has already been done.