The Sims franchise will celebrate its 20th birthday in January of next year and over that time it has changed dramatically, especially when it comes to additional content. But has it been a good thing?
Recently fans of the game, usually referred to as Simmers, have started to think not, as DLC packs have begun to ship with some pretty major issues.
The History of DLC
The original Sims game was pretty light when it came to content. It added seven expansion packs over its lifespan of a little over four and a half years. In comparison, The Sims 2 was around only a month longer and shipped eight expansion packs and 10 stuff packs. Finally, The Sims 3 was around for just over five years and shipped a whopping 11 expansions and nine stuff packs. This extra content had varying degrees of success.
Some content was criticized for it’s misguided or lackluster content, while other packs were slated for their ability to ruin your entire game by crashing it randomly. The Sims 4 is currently suffering from both.
Previous Games Through Rose-Tinted Glasses
As The Sims 4 enters a season of backlash, minds are cast back to previous games. Many people are praising The Sims 3 for the sheer volume of content it offered and the numerous features it added to the game.
While the content was on a huge scale, even the Sims team didn’t recommend trying to load all your packs at once. The open-world combined with the volume of content was often fatal for players, resulting in spectacular and seemingly random crashes.
In comparison, The Sims 2 is often held up as the previous game with the best balance. It had far fewer technical issues and to this day is still a very stable game. However, Sims 2 is also a game that is far more basic when it comes to processing power, graphics and the load it places on a machine.
When the team first tried to upgrade everything, with The Sims 3, it was often unpredictable. The Sims 4 aimed to fix all that but many are now saying it hasn’t succeeded.
The Sims 4’s DLC Catalog
The Sims 4 has recently celebrated its fifth birthday and by the beginning of next year, it will officially be the longest-running title in the franchise. Over its five year lifespan, we’ve seen seven expansion packs, eight game packs, and 15 stuff packs, with another expansion rumored to be arriving in November.
While this is fantastic for gamers who don’t want to go back to basics with a new game, it has inevitably led to more issues as the game gets bigger and more complex. The question is: are these bugs to be expected or has QA been failing?
A Downward Spiral
Opinions will always vary about the content of the franchise and comparisons will always happen. Themes are directly compared and sometimes players feel like they are being short-changed.
What people forget, however, is how much more complex yet stable The Sims 4 base game is, even with all the available additional content running. Recreating everything done before is neither possible nor desirable and we should expect content to change.
With that said, we shouldn’t have to expect major bugs, glitches, and issues that all could have been ironed out before launch.
Right now the Sims community is cross. They’ve been waiting five years to get witches in their game, and finally, they are here but they bring with them a raft of bugs, glitches, and game crashing issues and it’s not for the first time.
Back in April, the team announced that the next six months would bring us a new expansion, stuff pack, and game pack, as well as a free update. As the timescale draws to a close we’ve seen all these things come true but not all of them have been good.
Island Living was the first content to be released and it came out on June 21. Personally, I loved the game and had little to no issues as a player with a decent machine and no CC or mods. Any minor glitches have not affected my personal gameplay and I felt like QA issues where exaggerated, then the rest of the content appeared.
The Moschino stuff pack followed not long after on August 13 and brought with it controversy and chaos.
Not only did the collaboration go down like a lead balloon but it also brought a number of game-breaking bugs. The most severe one was a glitch which meant that the new much-lauded freelance photography career became unplayable.
While a workaround has been discovered, this is a pretty major (and seemingly random) bug, which severely restricts gameplay. I didn’t encounter it at first but as I ventured into a new save I did and it immediately made the exciting new career frustrating.
When the highly anticipated Realm of Magic was announced just a couple of short weeks later simmers began to relax, thinking things were about to get better. Sadly they weren’t.
Realm of Mayhem
The first thing you need to know about this pack is that the content is incredible. The second thing is that it feels unfinished.
Create a Sim crashes your game if you exit at the wrong moment, sims like to jump through the walls and end up in the ground and the animation is full of clipping and glitches. There are even issues with the swatches, where the same pattern appears twice. Then there are the townies, who appear all over the magical realm, breaking the illusion that this world is a secret for you to explore.
These feel like basic issues that should have been sorted before launch, so why weren’t they?
Too Much, Too Fast
Year on year the team is releasing more content. However, it’s never enough for some people. Simmers are hungry for new features and the team is doing their best to provide. While I applaud the commitment, maybe it’s time to slow down.
Realm of Magic feels like a step too far. Its astonishing content is dulled by the bugs which plague gameplay. With each subsequent release having more and more issues at launch, it’s understandable that players are concerned.
Quality should come before quantity. When you compare the most recent Sims 4 packs to the earliest ones you can see that feature-wise the quality is outstanding. However, this is now being marred by the abundance of glitches, bugs and even major issues that shouldn’t be in a fully released pack.
Please Sims team, slow down. Your ideas are amazing but your execution risks executing the franchise.