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The Sims Medieval review

More than a Sim in a new skin

There are surprising amounts of RPG elements associated with these quests, too. We mentioned mining for resources, which play a direct role in crafting items such as weapons and potions. Your hero Sims will also level up as they accomplish tasks, getting better at their professions and becoming capable of doing more things. You make and equip gear that has actual stats associated with it, which can affect how your Sim does in battle or while forging new items.

Quests bring an element of fantasy storytelling into the Sims universe, and a lot of it is actually fun to experience. Some of it even affects your kingdom in very drastic ways – such as forcing you to kill your monarch for good. The game doesn’t use this as an excuse to take itself too seriously, though: it’s still full of comedic animation and over-the-top situations, which is a good thing.

After completing a ton of quests on your way to fulfilling whatever ambition you chose at the start, which can take quite a chunk of time, the game essentially ends. Like any good sandbox experience, you can keep playing, but the story is done and you don’t have to worry about quests anymore. To take on a new ambition, you have to start a new game with a whole new kingdom and set of characters. It’s nice to have options for such replayability, but the downside is that you’ll be doing a lot of the same quests over again, and they’re just not as fun on return visits.

There are other aspects of the game, such as responsibilities and religion, which also change things up quite a bit. No matter your preconceptions, this is a surprisingly different Sims experience. It’s extremely refreshing. At the same time, though, some people will miss a lot of the freedom from The Sims 3. It was actually a pretty big disappointment to learn that we couldn’t sit down and build an awesome castle from scratch (how are we supposed to make our Hogwarts replica now?). You can still buy and place items like furniture and decorations in pretty much the exact same fashion as before, but your options are extremely limited.

Making The Sims 3 again in a fantasy setting would likely have been easy, fun and still have sold like crazy, so good on EA for taking a drastically different approach. If you’re of the mind that The Sims has been stale since the original game, this may bring you back. It feels like a Sims product while at the same time feels like something completely fresh and original. But if you don’t like having goals or being too limited in your virtual sandbox, then who are you kidding? You’re probably still playing The Sims 3. Stick with that and let the rest of us enjoy the breath of fresh air that The Sims Medieval brings.

Mar 29, 2011

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The Sims Medieval adds a fresh coat of paint and purpose to a stale franchise, making it fresh and exciting again. But the added structure and story come at the cost of unlimited sandbox freedom, which may turn old fans away while bringing new fans in.

Franchise nameThe Sims
UK franchise nameThe Sims
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating12+
Release date22 March 2011 (US), 24 March 2011 (UK)