Remember back in the year 2000, when quitting your day job to craft and sell homemade garden gnomes for 10 hours a day was the quickest way to get rich? In The Sims, that is. Not in real life. The difference? For one, there's no ominous floating hand in the sky kindly moving your furniture for you. But those who still enjoy playing God to these virtual people will be happy to know The Sims has come a long way. Over the last 10 years the world's most popular life simulation has evolved into an incredibly refined experience boasting an almost incomprehensible amount of depth. With the Sims 3 now making an impressively smooth transition to console, everyone can get a taste.
Above: “You think my hat looks stupid eh? Well, now you’re on fire”
For those new to the Sims universe, The Sims 3 is a very charming game simulating an unnerving amount of your real life, only your hair never gets messed up and you don't pay taxes. Your Sim can get a job, forge relationships, buy amenities, have children, grow old, and yes, die. Once you create a Sim from scratch and give him or her unique traits and a lifetime wish, you can purchase a house and begin living any number of possible lives.
Unlike its more linear console predecessors, The Sims 3 port offers a truly faithful translation of the open-world PC hit. The controller-integrated interface may seem daunting at first, but the game does a great job of hand-holding by using succinct tutorials as you progress through the early stages. You'll be flying between sub-menus, rotating the camera, and forcing your Sim to eat spoiled mac & cheese like a pro in no time.
Above: After a carelessly self–induced house fire, ease your stress level with Karma Powers
Once you've adapted to the controls, you can explore some of the new console-exclusive features. The challenge system allows you to earn points by completing pre-determined tasks - a nice incentive for those who already love trophy/achievement hunting. These points are used to purchase new items or unlock another console-exclusive feature known as Karma Powers. Such powers allow you to conduct divine acts like instantly fulfilling your neglected potty needs or raining actual fire on that ex who just won't stop calling. As fun as these powers are, they also rely on a point system so as not to be abused. Still – buy those smoke detectors ASAP!
Above: The new challenge system adds many hours of additional gameplay
As you might expect, there are some performance issues here given how similar the console version of The Sims 3 is to its year-old PC counterpart. Framerate drops are common as you maneuver the camera or when people and cars move around outside your home. Load times grow as you add more Sims to your household, and that load screen is something you'll see every time you move around town. It’s inconvenient, but a small price to pay for finally having a full Sims experience on console.
Nov 3, 2010