It focuses on the university experience as a whole and provides a strong gameplay experience, accompanied by some flexible Create-A-Sim and Build-and-Buy items. The result is a pack that feels like it immerses you right in the middle of university life in a way we've never seen before in The Sims.
The first thing you need to know about this expansion is that the university experience is its core. If you have no interest in signing up for a degree, then you'll likely not get much out of this pack.
Don't get me wrong, there are some wider features in the game. It includes bikes and cycling, as well as a new roommate system. Both of these are available across all current worlds. There is also some furniture which would fit nicely into a teenager's bedroom and some of the most usable selections of Create-A-Sim clothing to date. However, the game truly shines when you enter Britechester and immerse yourself in the campus experience.
In a shift from previous games, young adults, adults, and elders can all enroll in college. There is also a range of options for housing. You can live in a student dorm, a house in the town, or even stay in your own house elsewhere.
If you choose to live in dorms, your sim will walk to the university buildings to go to classes. If you live anywhere else, they will simply walk off the lot, in the same way they do for rabbit hole careers.
This means that the potential for storytelling is huge. You can have parents retrain through study, elders learn new skills to keep their minds active, and much more. If an off-campus student wants to attend events, you can do this by using the map or clicking the "go to event" button on the new society menu, which is found alongside clubs.
If you want to attend college, then simply use a computer or your mailbox to apply and wait a couple of days to see which institute accepts you.
Choices And Consequences
One of the great things about this pack is that there are a large number of choices you can make, and each one has consequences. Cheating on a test or submitting plagiarized work is possible, but comes with risks, as does trying to persuade teachers to give you a higher grade.
Even from the start, your choices matter. High school grades and skills gained all make a difference in terms of which distinguished degree programs you will be accepted into and which scholarships you can earn. These distinguished degrees will offer a larger post-graduation boost, but all degrees will give advantages in specific careers, making them useful and worthwhile.
Each campus offers a full range of courses with around half of them being distinguished options. Britechester University has courses in arts and humanities subjects, while Foxbury Institutes are in science and technology.
Studying And Lessons
This pack was created with an emphasis on college as a whole experience, and it shows. While the classes may be rabbit holes, you won't even notice after a while thanks to the extra mechanics in place.
Each class will require you to submit 1-2 pieces of homework as well as a term paper, presentation, or exam. The term paper will need writing and editing on a computer, while the presentation option will give you a board to populate and refine before submitting. The exam simply requires that you attend your final class.
In addition, you can participate in study groups, visit your academic advisor for help, or study on your own. All these extras make the education part feel more in-depth and interactive, especially if you take a full load of classes.
Graduating will require passing twelve classes, with each term lasting one sim week. You can take up to four classes at once, or three classes and an elective, which will give you a small skill boost. A full load is difficult to manage, but you can reduce it to as little as one class per term, spreading out the cost and the stress.
Terms begin on a Tuesday for reasons nobody seems to understand, although often it gives you the weekend to study for a Monday exam.
Experiencing University Life
There is so much to experience at university that it's impossible to cover it all in one review. After playing for a large chunk of time, I'm still finding out things I never knew I could do. The gameplay potential for this pack is astounding.
While personally I really enjoyed Island Living for its tiny touches in terms of location, setting, and lifestyle, Discover University is a whole new level of depth. So much so, that I feel like I need more stars to award.
Create-A-Sim offers some casual and flexible clothing. These are primarily easy to wear items with a 90s vibe, which are available for young adults and upwards.
The Build-and-Buy items are also pretty flexible, although I'm slightly confused by the addition of so many windows. Focused heavily on the two campus styles, they include an incredibly useful mini-fridge and some great bedroom staples.
For wider gameplay experiences, cycling is available in every world, although sadly only for teens and older. You can also choose to have a non-playable roommate in any residential lot, including apartments, which will be great for storytelling.
Overall, this pack is jammed full of so many things that it's impossible to even list them, let alone discuss them in-depth. If you've been eagerly awaiting the chance to go to university, you won't be disappointed. This pack combines the very best of previous packs with some new and unique ideas that give a fully-formed and enjoyable gameplay experience - something The Sims 4 desperately needed.
A PC review copy of The Sims 4: Discover University was provided to TheGamer for this review. Discover University is now available for the PC and Mac. A console version for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will be released on December 17th.