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The Sims 3 Preview
PIV 2000, 1GB RAM, 6.1GB HDD, 128MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Jun 02, 09 (released)
|» All About The Sims 3 on ActionTrip|
A lot of gamers prefer getting immersed into different types of fantasy worlds. If they are not swinging axes or casting spells in World of Warcraft, they're probably out there firing blasters and shotguns in Mass Effect or just hopping up and down with good old Mario in Super Mario Galaxy. This is no insignificant demographic either. We're talking about millions, in fact.
Some people, however, are more partial to games that mimic intense real-life situations. And yet others are just satisfied with games that depict normal, every-day stuff (like, stroking one's own... pet). To appeal to this kind of audience development studio Maxis -- lead by game designing legend Will Wright -- created The Sims, which was followed by practically countless expansions packs and a full sequel (which also had numerous add-ons). Eight years have passed since the launch of the original and the franchise sold over 100 million copies to date. In short, the life simulation series turned into a worldwide phenomenon. Backed up by industry publishing giant Electronic Arts, the nearly decade-long series is now slowly drawing closer to its third installment.
The first change emphasized by EA is the effort to create towns and true-to-life neighborhoods, where each household functions on its own. Specifically, your neighbors will be up to the same daily routines as you. They'll also get new jobs, get into relationships, etc. Unlike before, in The Sims 3 you can actually see and keep track of each character. In The Sims 2 avatars (be they your neighbor's or your own) would disappear when you're not looking. This time, you can follow them as they go about their day-to-day tasks. If you so desire, you can follow your neighbors' activities - as they start their cars, go off to work and such. For socializing and interaction, EA plans to introduce places like parks, movie theaters, bistros, bookstores, clothing stores etc.
You may have noticed that The Sims 3 doesn't appear on par with most modern-day video games when it comes to graphics. This is because the developers are looking to appeal to the huge Sims fan base and are doing their best to create a simulation of a living and breathing community, in which each citizen remains active as you play, with individual homes, careers, personalities and so on. This, in itself is enough of a burden for PC hardware. Adding more detailed visuals would unnecessarily increase the system requirements for the game.
There are some technological benefits. You can now create your Sims and enjoy a dynamic and seamless world. Just zoom in and out from a view of the entire neighborhood to the interior of a home. All this without any load screens to bother you. Now, doing this without load screens is certainly a welcomed feature and something that was not possible in earlier The Sims games.
A decision was also made to remove the five bars that have defined the personality of your Sims. Instead of this, the developers have thrown in the possibility of choosing five "character traits" for a new Sim. These may be selected from a list of approximately 80 available traits - perfectionist, dreamy, daredevil, brave, clumsy, paranoid, genius, schmoozer (i.e. smooth talker), artistic, loner and outdoorsman are options and more. The point of these traits is to simulate how people describe themselves, as well as those around them. The real fun, I guess, should ensue when you start creating characters that are 'inappropriate' or 'rude,' maybe even 'kleptomaniac' and 'hydrophobic.'
Another major change is the exclusion of the game's traditional motive bars, with which players had to keep an eye on things like bladder control, appetite and other basic needs. These have been reduced somewhat to make way for so-called moodlets. Every character in the game collects moodlets; basically, they are little icons that appear when important events take place in the life of a Sim. For example, a teenager may experience a first kiss, which influences the character's mood and that could last for many days. Contrary to that, getting fired causes a Sim to feel lethargic or gloomy.
Steps were taken to create a more convincing life simulation, neighborhood exploration without load screens, interface improvements, enhanced character customization, realistic personalities.
Visuals seem to suffer on account of gameplay complexity, seems like a cool game for fans only, why burden the game with stuff players never get to see?
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