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"The Sims 3" Review (PC)

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


"The Sims 3"

Box Cover © Electronic Arts.
Publisher: EA Games
Release Date: June 2, 2009
Genre: Life
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Platforms: Mac, PC
Format: DVD


  • Open neighborhood
  • Universal aging / story progression
  • Less demanding needs system
  • Edit colors/patterns for clothes and objects
  • Realistic body shapes
  • No loading screens in game


  • Limited clothes, objects, & hairstyles
  • Micromanaging gamers will find it difficult to let the story progression change their custom families
  • Lose lifetime wishes & points, inventory when switching active families
  • Cannot follow Sims into all buildings (i.e. restaurants)
  • Speed controls need tweaking

"The Sims 3" Features

"The Sims 3"

Screenshot © Electronic Arts.
  • Control a virtual family. Decide their fate.
  • Sims will have babies, age, and someday meet the Grim Reaper.
  • Create Sims with personality traits, favorites, who develop lifetime wishes.
  • Customize objects and clothes through styles, color changes, and patterns.
  • Decide on a career and earn promotions by befriending the boss, working hard, and improving skills.
  • Set the tone on how hard Sims will exert themselves at work.
  • Sims in neighborhood will age even when you are not playing their household.
  • Build homes that fit your families' unique needs and personalities.

"The Sims 3" Review

Our Sims are growing up.... again. “The Sims 3” changes the world in two primary ways. One - all Sims in a neighborhood will age even when you are not playing their household (note: this can be turned off). The second is the seamless neighborhood. No longer can Sims see the outside world and not be able to go for it. Now the world is right outside their door and waiting.

No more taxis are required to get out into the community. Sims can take their own cars or you can have them walk to their destination. The seamless neighborhood works beautifully. No loading screens between a home and stores is a huge time saver; plus families no longer feel isolated from their neighbors and friends. Being able to go on your neighbors yard has its benefits. You never know what you may find rummaging through someone else’s trash. Juicy gossip with a little luck!

The universal aging and seamless neighborhoods are the biggies and will change how previous players approach the game. Be ready to let go of control. All non-active families will change with story progression and free will turned on. You may leave a single gal alone and return to a married woman with a kid or two. Families have been known to up and move out of town too.

Screenshot © Electronic Arts.
Changing the active family is not intuitive. It’s done through a menu titled ‘Edit Town.’ Between burying the ability to change families and Sims losing their opportunities and wishes, EA was pushing us towards one family per a neighborhood. Playing more than one family in a neighborhood can be done. It’s just not as smoothly done as in previous versions.

Not all new features are awkward. Personality traits, moodlets, Create-a-Style, and the skills and career tracks are all well done. Career tracks are no longer one dimension. Opportunities will arise to further a career.

The tasks send work home or generally require a Sim to visit a specific lot by a certain time. Branching careers into two areas is a new addition too. For example, the music career branches off into either a rock career or a symphonic career at level 6. Exact skill requirements are no longer given in numeric form. Sims are encouraged to work on skills and work relationships to further their career.

Let's move on to the fun part. Customizing. Creating Sims can be an exhausting process. There is much to change. Weight, muscles, and skin tone are now on a scale. Any color hair you want is possible. Don't like the shape of a nose. No problem. The little details of faces can be changed - Nose width, jaw height, etc. Hairstyles can be choosen specific outfits from the very few they gave us. Looks-wise almost anything is possible.

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