The Sims has another expansion pack! The Sims 4, the latest iteration in the long-running Sims franchise from EA games, was released in September 2014 and has been steadily growing to meet player demand since then. While players were happy with the graphics and certain elements of game play when the game first dropped, a lot of the features felt like a throwback to previous games, rather than the giant leap forward we were all promised. The newest release, The Sims 4 City Living, aims to amend that.
The new expansion, released November 1 in North America, requires the purchase of the base game to play, but that doesn’t seem that bad to those of us who have been die-hard simmers since the first game was released in 2000. At $40, it’s cheaper than the original release was (though not cheaper than it is now) and follows the pattern of pricing EA has been giving gamers for this round of Sims releases.
So what is so great about it? City Living not only adds the option to live in apartments but also, in the cartoonish way Sims does everything, adds a touch of diversity to a game that otherwise looks a lot like California. The game’s developers have added new food items from various parts of the world, new clothing styles to suit people who are not from North America and a diverse cast of neighbours for your character to meet and interact with. One of the most important improvements has been the adding of head coverings for those interested. Sims do not have religion and make no acknowledgment of diversity themselves, but players do; by allowing them to create people who look more like them, Sims developers have opened up a whole new arena of game play. Now players can take their sims to the new festivals, ranging from a flea market where you can sell paintings, produce and other collectibles, to a gaming festival where other characters dress in cosplay and compete for an E-Sports prize.
This added cultural diversity comes on the heels of a change made earlier in the year that breaks down gender barriers. Players can now create sims who fall just about anywhere on the gender spectrum with no restrictions to clothing, hairstyles, etc.
The Sims has become a highly diverse world — fitting for a game played by over 5 million people worldwide. Even better, my sim’s apartment is nicer than mine and she’s a much better cook.