The Sims 3 Generations expansion review

The latest add-on may not be enough to satisfy any generation

While you could certainly make an argument that EA is nickel-and-diming customers with constant Sims 3 expansion packs, they’ve typically been meaty additions that add interesting gameplay to the Sims experience. The Sims 3 Generations, unfortunately, adds a lot of content, but not a lot of substance.


Above: The abundance of pillow fights makes us think a teenage boy took over design duties when Will Wright left EA

Generations focuses on adding elements to every stage of a sim’s life, with an emphasis on children and teenagers. A lot of these additions are really interesting, like how adults can now suffer a midlife crisis, during which they have particularly childish wishes that cannot be canceled (though you don’t have to accept them).

One particularly clever feature is that infants can grow up with an imaginary friend that no one else can interact with, which can be turned into a real creature later in life. Teens and young adults get a lot more options in terms of relationships, including the ability to go on dates and host parties (especially when the parents are away), as well as go to dances. In what may be true to life, your sims can be ditched or denied at events like prom night.


Above: This man is stoked that he can have body hair in this new expansion

You can also buy a video camera for your sims to use, which gives you a first-person view and the ability to record your sims’ life for a set amount of time. Your sims can even watch these movies later on their TV. The camera is a little unwieldy and the footage is shaky, but that’s true of most home movies, isn’t it?


Above: The popular “scary image and loud sound” prank is alive and kicking here, just like it’s 2002 again

If you’re just making a list of new content introduced in Generations, it seems like a lot. There are plenty of new objects (as should be expected), new social opportunities, expanded life celebrations like weddings and graduations, star gazing, bachelor and bachelorette parties and even the option to clone your sims.

But when looking at these features up close, a lot of them become less exciting. For example, rebellious sims can play pranks throughout their house and neighborhood, such as the classic whoopee cushion on a chair. Funny, but extremely simple. And the effects just don’t last. You can rig a shower to dye the hair of its next user, but unfortunately the effect only lasts a second before the victim somehow washes it away. It would be more entertaining if the victim had to spend a little time in public with embarrassingly colored hair.


Above: This kid looks a little more than just mischievous

Another new feature is the ability for adults to WooHoo (you know, get their freak on) in a couple of new locations: the shower and the tree house. Great, we’re glad that’s there (because we’re perverts who enjoy watching that sort of thing), but couldn’t such a simple addition have just been given to everybody in a patch?


Above: Kids can play make-believe in the tree house. Adults can play a very different game in the same location

It’s not like Generations makes any bad additions or changes. Everything in this package is something you can at least appreciate existing, even if it doesn’t appeal to your gameplay style. But what’s there doesn’t always feel like enough to justify this full price of an expansion pack, especially when so much has been added in past products. Unless you’re desperate to add a little life to your sims’ youth, you might be able to pass on this one.

Jun 17, 2011

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