Arguing with the Grim Reaper... and 7 other bizarre things to do in The Sims 4

Chum-cha laka!

With T-minus two months until The Sims 4 hits shelves, you probably already know a few things about it. You know you can customize your Sims more than ever before. You know you can download people and creations from an in-game gallery. You know your Sims are going to have complex emotions that dynamically affect their lives. But do you know about freeform Build Mode? The genetic manipulator to make family members look alike? The brand new desert where your Sims can start their digital lives?

I didn't think so--but don't fear! We're here to tell you about eight of the coolest features we saw during our exclusive demo of The Sims 4, from enthralling a group of friends to shouting down the Grim Reaper.

Your Sims can build their home in the middle of a desert

The Sims 4 will have another environment to compliment the lush Willow Creek neighborhood, and this one's more on the parched side. The recently unveiled Oasis Springs district is set in the middle of an arid desert, and has the look of suburban Las Vegas. This locale is filled with desert-themed charm, complete with set-pieces like cactuses and shed-sized air conditioners (and is that a Western-motif diner I see in the background?). You can still build lovely homesteads with plenty of modern comforts. You'll likely have tons of fun in thiswellspring? Fountain? Watering hole? It's right on the tip of my tongue

You can create families that have actual family resemblance

The days of laboring to give your Sim kids their father's nose and mother's left eyebrow are finally over. Sims 4 is streamlining family resemblance with a genetic matching tool that removes the guesswork. Taking features from mom and dad in equal measure, the mechanism will put those traits together in a new person that you can customize from there. It can work in reverse, too: if you love a Sim you've created and then want to build their parents, you can. Exactly how this will work is still under wraps, but soon you'll be able to make little Suzy look just like Gram-gram, and Nikita will probably inherit dad's receding hairline.

Almost all actions are dynamic and affect your Sims' lives

Say you don't quite make it to the bathroom, and end up leaving an unfortunate puddle in the hallway. I'm guessing you'd be embarrassed. So will your Sim, and that's gonna affect their mood until they take a brisk shower to get energized, or go fishing to feel relaxed. Then, when they catch a fish and mount it on the wall, they can think about how happy it made them, on and on into infinity. With Sims 4, actions are more than a series of disconnected tasks. This time around, Sims display dynamic behavior and emotions that directly relate to the world around them, making the Sims' world feel that much more real.

Your Sims' traits are highly customizable and affect how they interact with others

Players have always had the ability to decide what kind of people their Sims are, all the way back to the trait points from the original game. The Sims 4, however, has the whole thing down to a science. Not only can you choose how your Sims present themselves, from fashion sense to walking style--you can also decide the characteristics that change how they socialize. Is your Sim a bookworm? They can talk to others about their favorite authors. An athletic Sim? They'll find plenty of fun interactions at the gym. Misanthropic Sims that love video games? Insulting other Sims' gaming cred might end up being their pastime. The list goes on and on, and on and on, and on and on

You have every reason to take your Sims out and explore the world

Like your Sims' actions, locations in the Sim games were once static, existing in a vacuum where they were unaffected by any other area. That's changing with the Sims 4, where each district has something unique to experience. You can have your Sims collect onion seeds from one park and carrots from another, then bring them back and plant them in their garden. Areas like the library or lounge might be limited to a single region, encouraging your Sims to explore. And as always, you have the option to build up, so you can take that lounge and library and combine them if you want. Which leads to

Build Mode is more powerful and fun than ever before

Remember those days when you couldn't replace that fridge you hate, because one of your Sims stubbornly refused to stop staring into its depths? That's a thing of the past in Sims 4, where you can pull objects right out from under those thankless jerks and build around them as you please. In addition to that satisfying change, Build Mode allows for an absurd range of customizability, so you can do everything from adjusting the width of a house's eaves to adding new rooms with a single mouseclick. Plus, if you don't feel like messing with any of that, you can import whole rooms and houses from the gallery and plop them down wherever you please. There's something for every level of commitment.

Helping your Sims get ahead is a challenge, but a fun one

Full disclosure: You're going to deal with inherent limitations when things kick off. Your Sims have a set amount of money to start out, but many lots cost more than that, so you'll be restricted to one or two neighborhoods at first. You can also expect utility bill systems to be a bit rougher, with the power and water getting turned off if you neglect to pay up. But if that sounds a little too real, don't despair--in Sims 4, it's a challenge for you to face as you help your Sims move up in the world. And hey--if that isn't your jam, there's always cheat codes.

Your Sims can't die that easily

Yes, your Sims can laugh themselves to death, or get so furious they have a heart attack, or just lie down and die of embarrassment. However, it's harder to pull off than it looks, and Sims must be at the absolute pinnacle of an emotion to expire from it. Really, it's okay. Besides, you can always get a hyper-confident family member to slap down the Grim Reapers iPad (yep!) and demand that the dead be resurrected. Conviction is convincing.

Try not to get abducted by aliens

Sims 4 is zooming toward release on September 2nd, and things are looking good in SimNation. What are you excited to see from your Sims this time around? What sort of characters will you build, and how do you plan to make them miserab--I mean help them succeed? Tell us in the comments below! Badeesh dag dag!

Sim-ply cant wait for more info? Check out our preview of The Sims 4 and everything we know about the game so far.

Ashley Reed

Former Associate Editor at GamesRadar, Ashley is now Lead Writer at Respawn working on Apex Legends. She's a lover of FPS titles, horror games, and stealth games. If you can see her, you're already dead.