SummaryThis game is not completely evil, it's only a little bit evil.
The GoodThe new wishes system is a really nice feature that adds mini-achievements to the game for your Sims to complete. If you complete a wish you get points which you can spend on special powers to help you and your Sim. For example: I bought a power that made sure my Sim would never have to go to the toilet again. If I have to complain, I would say that some of these wishes are really easy, like "wash your hands two times", but there are also some tough ones in there that require you to travel and spend a lot of money.
There are a lot of ways you can interact with other Sims and the city that I have never seen in any other life-simulator game before. When you click on a Sim for example, it opens a menu where you first have to select an approach which opens another menu with all the possible actions you can perform related to that approach (for example: friendly > Chat). Since you can now travel through the town freely there is also no shortage of interaction there, you can visit a lot of buildings and even go fishing in the nearby ponds.
This game can be very challenging at times, in the sense that it becomes very hard to keep your Sims alive without getting them fired from their jobs or lose all their friends. My Sim managed to marry another Sim in this game and shortly after that the two gave birth to Twins. I can safely say that these Kids are demanding as hell and would always wake my characters up in the middle of the night while my Sim needed his rest for his work the other day. I also had a situation where I just haa a new room build and then ran into some financial problems that kept stacking up.
I really like the new system they made for promotions because I remember in The Sims 2 for the Gamecube that you always had to meet a certain quota (like having level 8 in chess and four friends) and then just go to work in order to make promotion, but now they have a new system where you have to fill up a bar by making sure your Sim is in the right mood and trains his skills. This is much nicer because the old system was very demanding and it would take a lot of work before you could make promotion in the game, but now that is much easier and makes a whole lot more sense.
This game adds a lot of new skills to the franchise that you can use to receive promotion or just to win tournaments and other events. Chess is, for example, now a separate skill just like cooking and painting. Another new skill is writing which is also a fun activity. There is also a new feature that has you working towards certain milestones in every skill in order to receive bonuses. If you write a total of twenty books for example, you would receive a bonus that increases the speed at which you write.
This is the first time I played a Sims game on a PC and I was very pleasantly surprised, I remember seeing the Sims 2 manual at a friend's place and it was so huge I thought it would leave a whole in the floor if you dropped it. Like I said, I was very surprised when I figured out that everything was very self-explanatory, you click on an item and select an action, that is all you need to know if you are already familiar with the franchise's goals. Figuring out where to find the menus and how to build stuff was also very easy.
I noticed that the Sims were pretty decent people that could look after themselves without ending up dead somehow. I remember that in the two Sims games I played on the Gamecube, it would always go wrong if you didn't control each individual Sim yourself. To see if this was fixed, I conducted a little investigation: I constantly invited a Sim over and prevented her from doing anything besides interacting with my Sim, by the time she left she was tired, filthy and had to go to the toilet, when I invited her over again two days later, she was almost completely fixed again. That's what I call "an improvement".
The BadThere were a lot of glitches in this game that seriously bothered me from time to time. The most common one was that my Sim randomly cancelled certain actions like waking up in the middle of the night because he just felt like it or just standing still in the middle of the room while he has a bus to catch. Also annoying were actions like washing your hands that took several in-game minutes while they should only take like thirty seconds in real-life.
This is another one of those games that pretty much forced me to play in Dutch. I am not sure if this game allows me to change the language to English somehow, I don't think so, but it's pretty annoying and I keep forgetting to look it up. I suppose that it's a good thing that the game is so good that I keep forgetting to change the language to something else, but that doesn't mean it's not a flaw worth bitching about in my review of this game.
The Sims have always had the problem that it's very hard not to fall into a routine and this game certainly no exception. Here is the complete routine my first Sim had to go through on a daily basis: wake up, go to toilet, take a shower, eat some cornflakes, go to work, return home, eat more food, go to toilet, sleep. There was no space for me to ever break away from this routine and it was very annoying. This is probably the biggest flaw in this franchise, you want to break free from that routine and go around town to have fun, but your held on a tight leash all the time.
The weirdest flaw in this game is no doubt the really small assortment of items you can place in your home, it's probably only 5% of all the items I could buy in The Sims 2 and the most noteworthy items that were missing were the treadmills and other items that helped you train your physique. There were also no snooker-tables or Jacuzzi's in the game which were some of my favorite items in the entire game. I know why this flaw exists though, so they could milk more freaking money out of the consumers by making a whole lot of expansions. If only I was allowed to swear on Mobygames...
There was a serious problem with the explanations and tutorials in this game because they didn't really explain anything. When one of the Sim children had to go to school I wanted to know how I could make him do his homework, I couldn't figure it out, so I opened the tutorials menu and tried to find all the information related to schools. I looked everywhere and couldn't find it, so after some more menu-digging I finally found an item in the inventory called "homework". Another problem was when one of the wishes my Sim had was "donate money to charity", but how I could donate money wasn't mentioned anywhere.
There is a severe lack of options in this game, I can understand that it was too hard for them to fit every single aspect of life into a video game without spending twelve years on it, but I swear there was a lot of stuff missing in this game. Why can't I make video-games myself, why can't I I throw apples at people, etc.. There was some very basic stuff missing which made me a bit sad at times because I imagined my first Sim as a psycho that wanted to murder other Sims, but apparently there were no guns in the general store.
The Bottom LineThe Sims 3 is a game that you either hate or love depending on whether or not you are interested in a life-simulator. If you like the idea of guiding a character through life, you'll love this game, if you aren't than this game won't change your mind. It's a very fun game to play and it will keep you busy for quite a while, but it's not really a game I would give to a person who is trying to get into gaming.
While there is a lot to complain about, mostly the glitches and the small assortment of items, there is also a lot of good stuff in this game which I really like. I had a lot of fun with it and I will continue to play it for a few weeks.