One of my favorite expansion packs for The Sims 3 was Late Night. It was a fantastic expansion pack that added a totally new concept to The Sims game: urban living. Prior to Late Night, your Sims were usually confined to living in the suburbs but this expansion pack changed all that by actually giving you the option of living your dreams in the big city of Bridgeport! For me, living in Bridgeport was the only way to play the game.
So, when EA announced that The Sims 4 was releasing City Living, which is an expansion pack that allowed this very exact thing, I was elated! Maybe this will be the missing element that will make The Sims 4 the exciting and addicting game it was supposed to be! Maybe this will be the thing that will make the series great again!
The main draw of City Living is the new “World” of San Myshuno, obviously. San Myshuno feels a whole lot bigger than Bridgeport, the city that came with The Sims 3’s Night Light because of the different neighborhoods within the city. There are four in total: Uptown, the Fashion District, Arts Quarter and the Spice Market. They don’t really have offer anything extravagantly different. They have their own recreational areas and stuff. However, each of these new Neighborhoods will host different festivals, which is another thing that’s new added to City Living.
Festivals are like new areas that spawn for a limited time but they offer a lot of somewhat diverse activities to enjoy. The Spice Festival has a curry eating contest that you can win… but only once your Sim has built up a tolerance to the heat! There are also more food stalls in the Spice Festival and your Sim can learn how to prepare these new dishes. There is also a new Flea Market festival where you can buy discounted furniture or even sell some of your old stuff! There’s the Humor and Hijinks festival where the best prankster/jokester can win an award by the time the festival ends. GeekCon is also a wonderful place to visit as your Sim can participate in video game tournaments as well as increase your programming and video game skills, a boon to those who want to get better in those careers.
However, being a romantic at heart, my favorite has to be the Romance festival. I’ve always felt an integral part of the Sims experience is having her (never him!) find true love. And since the Romance festival includes a lot of ways to improve your chances in love, I always try to go there with my intended paramour, drink a few cups of sakura tea, get advice from the love guru and, if she seems to be in the mood,
While I do love the festivals and all, the biggest new addition in City Living would be apartment living! This is actually what made Late Night in the Sims 3 both a dream and a nightmare. I loved the idea of living in an apartment complex way back in the Sims 3 but it definitely had some problems. The elevators would take forever, causing my Sim to be late for work each and every day! Also, while you did have neighbors then, you couldn’t enter their domiciles. These issues were all fixed in City Living but a couple of new inconveniences did pop up along the way.
First, each apartment building in San Myshuno (as well as the other Worlds) now have their own different traits. A lot of the new traits do have some positives, like having a romantic aura. But others have really terrible traits that can really make playing a chore. During my first playthrough, I got the apartment with the “gremlins” trait, which will destroy your appliances and plumbing. I thought “no biggie” since it would actually help me build up my repair skills. What I didn’t know was that all your stuff gets busted overnight! I thought it would be one or two items, not every single item while I’m asleep!
It becomes a bother to fix my shower every morning because, well, I wanna make sure my Sim feels fresh when they head to work! But it becomes such a hassle. And calling the repairman over doesn’t help much since he only fixes around half of the broken stuff before he decides to leave, leaving a mess of junk strewn all over the place! Of course, this could be all alleviated by moving to a new place. But starting out was more painful than I imagined this time around! I could just get another place but I really want to tough it out like any other newbie in the city!
Oh, and the neighbors around my apartment suck as well! One of them keeps on trying to mooch off my food… even though my refrigerator and stove is busted half the time! Another one keeps on playing loud music all throughout the night! And the other one, a mean and randy old bag who doesn’t like me all that much, keeps on making Woohoo all throughout the night. It wouldn’t be too much of a bother but, man, is she loud! Which makes it all the more disturbing (and kinda disgusting if you get that image stuck in your head.)
The elevators are definitely much more efficient now than in Late Night. You don’t have to wait around anymore for them to reach your floor as they’re always on your floor. However, the camera doesn’t seem to really work all that well when you do go down. It has a tendency to get stuck behind buildings or stay on the same level you were on before. Even clicking on your Sim’s portrait to center the camera on her doesn’t seem to remedy the problem! Maybe it’s just me but it is an incredible bother when you lose view of your Sim.
City Living also adds a lot more content than just festivals and apartments. There are a couple of new careers (that allow you to work from home for once!) and even new traits for your Sims like the new vegetarian trait. There are also a slew of new activities, like shooting hoops, spraying graffiti and even play multiplayer video games, both at home and online! I haven’t even touched on these items yet as I’m still busy trying to fix all the stuff in my gremlin possessed apartment. But I can’t wait as well to try those things out for myself! The sheer amount of content makes this a great buy for the Sims 4 fan. However, there is one thing that keeps City Living a fantastic game, and that is the Sims 4 itself.
Even though I love City Living, the core Sims 4 gameplay is still problematic. I’ve been comparing City Living to Night Life throughout the review and, well, this keeps me on dwelling on how fantastic the open world was done in the Sims 3. I still don’t like the loading screens and it’s just more apparent in City Living as even going to your neighbor down the hall will take you to a loading screen! City Living does make Sims 4 more lively but it’s still not as lively and immersive as the Sims 3 was.
However, I do say that City Living does make the entire Sims 4 experience a whole lot more palatable. The sheer amount of stuff to do breathes a lot of new life to my dusty old Sims 4 game. It’s definitely makes the experience more fun… even if it is just me getting my Sim to fix all the stuff in my apartment every night.
Have you tried out the City Living expansion pack for The Sims 4? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!