The Sims is the best known and best beloved simulation series on the planet, and for good reason. It allows you to live vicariously through your creations and explore a world of complete and utter madness, so should you choose to make it so. Every time Maxis released a game, fans just lined up to get their hands on the latest copy. Whenever Maxis released a new expansion, fans would flock to the newest store or their computers to pick it up. Fortunate enough for the studio, most of their expansions were worth buying, but they did have a few duds along the way. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to develop entertainment software and it is even harder to make everyone happy with whatever you change, so it is kind of a gamble in that regard. As profitable as The Sims are, the high points of the series were exceptionally high, but whenever things got rough, they got really rough. We fans expect a lot from EA’s top titles, and when they are not delivered to our expectations, it is extremely off putting. Here are 15 of the best and worst expansions for The Sims.
15 BEST: The Sims 4: Parenthood
If you’ve ever wanted to raise a family or feel like a total [redacted], then The Sims 4: Parenthood is for you. This particular expansion has brought the most to the table of any expansion, simply because it adds a deeper level of connection with your little creations. For some of you who are of the less reputable persuasion, this expansion will allow you to be as abusive to your family as possible; conversely you can strengthen the bonds between your Sim parental units and their spawn. A number of features were added with this to help with your bonding, including a number of activities. From what can be seen, this might be the only part of The Sims where the majority of people won’t seek to do irreparable harm to their little play things.
14 SUCKED: The Sims 4: Outdoor Retreat
I don’t know about you, but there is a certain kind of charm in spending time in the great outdoors, unfortunately for those of us who play The Sims, Outdoor Retreat failed to capture any of those sentiments. The new features which this expansion brought to the series are absolutely dull, giving nothing really captivating us to justify its price. If the price tag had been lowered or its features provided in an update, this would probably not be here on this list as one of the worst expansions for the beloved series. If Outdoor Retreat accomplished anything, it’s that it won’t keep you at your computer for too long; it will drive you to explore the wilderness just so you can forget this lackluster DLC faster.
13 BEST: The Sims 3: Supernatural
If you have ghosts, then you have everything–at least as far as The Sims is concerned. The Sims 3: Supernatural capitalized on the vampire and werewolf craze of the day, allowing players to be either as pretty or horrifying as they pleased. New activities, locales, and clothes are a staple of any Sims expansion, but this one is a cut above the rest. Easter eggs (Halloween eggs?) are one of the best parts of this expansion to the renowned series. Discovering all the hidden magical items in the town of Moonlight Falls is shockingly rewarding. Don’t know about you, but my favorite part of this game is making my own undead horde for no other reason than “just because.” The Sims 3: Supernatural is guaranteed to keep you roped in; just ask Bonehilda if you don’t believe me.
12 SUCKED: The Sims 4: Get Together
Clubs, parties, arcades, and all manner of social outings are all important in how we get and bond with friends; too bad The Sims 4: Get Together is an abject failure at anything more than a poor mimic of those. The DLC itself is kind of fun, but it feels more like playing with dolls than playing with the lives of digital people. As your Sims find various ways to entertain themselves, a whole slew of problems will become apparent. Your little cybernetic playthings just bumble around, meandering their way through all the options; it is so bad that it gives George Romero’s countless zombie hordes a run for their money. The little flair and flavor that this expansion gives to the base game is not worth the money and is only somewhat worth the effort of actually downloading it.
11 BEST: The Sims 4: Get To Work
What could be more fun than the daily droning of waking up, working, sleeping, in all its endless repetitions? Playing it out, of course! Seriously though, this expansion is pretty wicked. The illness meter alone makes it totally worth the buy. It adds a lot of different things to the game that just increase your immersion and makes The Sims look more alive. This might seem silly, but one of the absolute coolest features of this game is that you now have hospital births. That’s right, babies are now born in hospitals! I actually do feel silly for being so excited by this one feature, but it makes me think of each Sim as a distinct and semi-functioning person instead of firework-fodder. For the conspiracy theorists out there, yes, aliens are confirmed to run the world in this one.
10 SUCKED: The Sims 3: Showtime
The Sims 3: Showtime is best described as a social media simulator because that is the main function behind it. It allows you to connect with your friends and family by creating a friends list and all sorts of stuff which you see on various social media sites, like Facebook. You can also have your wannabe rock star Sims going on tour through other players’ towns where they perform, but it doesn’t feel much like a multiplayer experience or even really connecting to other people. If you want to make the best out of your Showtime experience, it may be best to just go full on diva or social butterfly just because it satirizes what we think of celebrities. All in all, there isn’t much substance to this DLC.
9 BEST: The Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles
Let the nerdiness in all of us stand as proud as any lover of all things medieval and pirate-y can! The Sims Medieval is the one entry in the series that does not get the love that it deserves, and its one expansion is sorely overlooked. If you are a fan of strategy games and the like, you’ll find the new kingdom ambition to be quite fascinating; I know I found it to be so. The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles gave a lot of promise to what the Sims game series could be, but public opinion seemed to prevent further releases. If the fact that this expansion is largely forgotten offends you, perhaps you should send some of your sims to the interrogation chair to feel better.
8 SUCKED: The Sims 3: Generations
Serving as a precursor to the Sims 4: Parenthood, the Sims 3: Generations helped to lay the groundwork for how different digital entities interact with one another. This entry, which built on previous Sims work, was a good experiment in how to perfect the in game parenting mechanics. The main issues that this DLC presented to the player base regard various levels of instability. The main issue that fans reported with this release is that it will crash upon loading (similar to what many Crusader Kings II fans report). The crashing and poor optimization makes it rather difficult for fans to get into, but if you are able to get past those, or are lucky enough to not experience those particular ills, you will love this DLC.
7 BEST: The Sims: Livin' Large
Whenever we look at something, it is important to look at it in the context of its time. The Sims: Livin’ Large was quite important for the series; it showed that there could be something more polished and beautiful. The expansion to the (now classic) original Sims game was one of the first to add an insane amount of content, particularly in terms of career paths and objects. Livin’ Large actually set the stage for how all future expansions, bundles, and adventure packs would work in the series. One of the more disparaging reviews was still praising in its message, saying, “in the end, The Sims does mimic real life: if you aren't happy, new stuff is only a fleeting solution.” It’s pretty true, though, Livin’ Large did make the game feel more lifelike.
6 SUCKED: The Sims 4: Spa Day
Sometimes, a DLC which is garbage isn’t completely garbage; it can still be fun to play and be beautiful. Unfortunately for fans of the Sims series, The Sims 4: Spa Day has this exact problem. The DLC and its gameplay are absolutely stunning in every single way, but the audio is one of two problems. The worst part about the audio for Spa Day is that it is pretty much the same song and dance as the base game. The lack of new music and general sound just feels kind of lazy, it really brings down the quality of the DLC in such a way to make it not worth the money to buy it. If you can get it on sale or for free, you should pick it up, but if not, swerve and avoid.
5 BEST: The Sims: Hot Date
“Mawwiage, mawwiage is what bwings us together today,” or rather that is what we were all hoping for at the end of the day. With The Sims: Hot Date, things got pretty steamy as players were able to fully explore what the dating scene and develop complex relationships with Sims from all walks of life. The new locales and the new NPCs really endeared the series to us, especially since Hot Date continued to deliver the killer expansions which made the original game such a success. A highly underrated aspect of this game is all of the new interests added, especially exercise, food, parties, and romance. It really gave personality to your Sims; unfortunately for them, their love lives looked more like that of a mix of Joffrey Lannist... I mean Baratheon–and Prince Humperdinck.
4 SUCKED: The Sims 4: City Living
The one thing that the Sims 4: City Living reminds you of is the expansion to the original Sims game, Hot Date. Your Sims will get rewarded for going out and doing things constantly, but the unfortunate side effect of this is that you will have to sacrifice much of their wellbeing to get it done. It’s pretty and adds a lot of the game, and was beloved by critics. Fans, on the other hand, were much more critical of City Living. There were a number of fans who decried it as being one of the worst DLCs in the series. They said that the price point and the relatively small amount of new content just made it not worth picking up, basically complaining about the usual problems with expansions.
3 BEST: The Sims 3: Ambitions
For those of us who love the Sims series, we’ve always loved the level of omnipotence and omnipresence that we were afforded. Where the game shined was how seemingly limitless things were in what your Sims do, The Sims 3: Ambitions gave us more than what we could have dreamed of for the game. In Ambitions, you are able to tailor your Sims’ lives to whatever their whims are. It made it so that your little digital playthings would be able to organically grow as people through pursuit of education and a much wider career tree. Children and adults would be able to actually learn new and technical skills which mimics the real world. If the game wasn’t as cartoonish, it would be in the Uncanny Valley. The naked ambition of this expansion makes it one of the greatest ever made, across any game series.
2 SUCKED: The Sims 3: Island Paradise
Unfortunately, my favorite readers, I can’t just say a game or its expansions and DLCS are boring, no; I have to give you some sort of reason because you deserve it. The Sims 3: Island Paradise is one of those expansions which suffers from boring content and poor timing. The announcement of the fourth game in the Sims series should have signaled an end to the expansions for the Sims 3, but it didn’t. The content updates were designed to make your Sims relax, but, it came with too little and it came too late. If this particular expansion was not rushed, it would not have been that bad; same goes for if it had been released earlier. It’s hard to keep everyone happy, especially after ten expansions for just one game, so they did the best they could.
1 BEST: The Sims 3: Late Night
Late Night, the third expansion for the Sims 3, is easily one of the best expansions for the series for multiple reasons. The main reason is that it brought back a lot of the content from expansions such as Hot Date, Nightlife, and Apartment Life. This one expansion showed that Maxis learned from the shortcomings of previous expansions and sought to remedy them as best as they could. The new opportunities for your pixel people just made everything seem so much more alive and welcoming than before. Maxis pulled out a major win for the studio once this was released. Unfortunately, the restructure of 2015 made it less likely for expansions of this caliber to be released for EA Maxis’s beloved series. No matter, what, if you get the chance you should very much pick this up.