The Sims 3 World Adventures Review
Simming seeing the world.
Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 1st December 2009
The Sims 3 World Adventures
- Developer: EA Games
- Publisher: Ea Games
- Release Date: 16th November 2009
For the vast majority of 2008, Sims fans everywhere sat on the edge of their PC chairs eagerly awaiting the new instalment from their favourite franchise. After a number of set-backs, rumours and delays, the fan base and general public were rewarded with a game which opened up a whole new world for their small computerised families... well, nearly.
Ok, so the town completely opened up to Sims and loading screens were a thing of the past, but wouldn’t it be cool to take your Sims out of the town altogether and send them jet setting across the world? EA thought so, which brings us to the first expansion pack for the game, The Sims 3 World Adventures.
World Adventures takes the brief form of the “Bon Voyage” expansion pack which was released for The Sims 2. Instead of choosing from three “types” of holidays however, you now get to choose from three real life world destinations including China, Egypt and Paris, each with their own unique style, adventures and activities.
Once you install the expansion pack, each Sim will receive their visas for each foreign destination. Starting out on a low level (allowing only 3 days abroad at each time and limited access to adventures and rewards) Sims must complete missions in each country to level up their visas. Once the points begin to build up on your Sim’s visa, access to adventures, rewards and the length of your Sim’s stay increases allowing access to a better holiday experience.
What I immediately liked about this expansion pack is that the locations are so different and unique. When China loaded up for instance, a short “town” scene began to play, rolling across lush green hills, the great wall, temples and traditional bridges. Buildings had that authentic Asian quality such as the market, martial arts academy and dragon caves. It really was impressive, especially after the limited experience of Pleasentview!
Egypt and Paris were also well designed and unique. Egypt featured acres of sand, a narrow river, pyramids and sandy mountains. Flat top, sandstone buildings set the scene for the local homes and businesses and visitor attractions feature the likes of The Sphinx and tombs. Paris is set amongst a backdrop of pretty countryside, stylish architecture and modern streets with authentic music setting the scene for the city of romance.
Once your Sims arrives at their chosen location, they can check the notice board at the base camp (your temporary home whilst on holiday) for new adventures. After stocking up on essentials from the local traders (such as a tent, dried food and shower equipment) your adventurers set off on their quests. This could include exploring dangerous tombs in Egypt, sparring with Martial Arts masters in China or wandering the catacombs in Paris.
Once you find the location of your adventure (easily located on the town view), adventures usually involve simple puzzles and path finding in dimly lit tombs and passageways. Imagine a really watered down version of Tomb Raider, simplify it again and you have a rough idea of what is expected of you. For each completed adventure, locals give you rewards such as ancient coins (which can be spent with special traders), visa points (helps to level up your visa) and souvenirs to take home with you.
The shop’s merchandise varies depending on where you visit. Books for instance are unique in each country, China’s recipe books features the likes of egg rolls and stir fry. In Paris you’re more likely to find Frogs Legs! You may buy your Sim a Martial Arts study book in China, but you wouldn’t find that in Egypt you may however find photography books there instead.
It’s all designed so that each place holds specific attractions. There is no point in travelling to Paris and buying everything in the expansion pack from one shop. World Adventures wants you to truly experience each country in its own unique way, so if you want that Martial Arts training book, you will have to get saving and make a trip to China. If it’s a posh camera you’re after, try Egypt.
Speaking of Cameras, World Adventures manages to incorporate this new element of game-play nicely into the game. Cameras of varying quality from the cheap disposable to the better multi-lense cameras can be bought for your Sims. With each photograph your Sim takes, their photography skill increases leading the way to better photos of higher value. Sims can now be given the photographer’s Eye trait which helps them excel in the field of photography.
Other traits which have been added to the game are “Disciplined” (great for Martial Artists) and “Adventurous.” I especially liked the new Martial Arts addition to the game. Starting off with somewhat “wimpy” punches and kicks, your Sims can now work their way up the ranks from white belt to black belt. Martial Arts can be learnt from books, the training equipment and from other Sims. Once a Sim levels up in their Martial Arts skill, they earn a new belt and will waste no time in trying it on and showing it off to anyone who will listen! After a while, Sims can spar with other Martial Artists and even set up tournaments over the phone.
As with most expansion packs World Adventures throws in a few new items for you to play around with. Buildings can benefit from new roofs and basements and Sims can decorate their homes with various items from around the world. After a particularly hectic visit to China, my Sim brought back with her a number of relics, vases and bowls. A dragon statue, a ‘kung-fu’ gnome and a Martial Arts training block. My house began to resemble something from “The Last Samurai” rather than your standard Pleasantview home!
I’d like to end the review on a happy note, because I did really enjoy this game and I feel it was a brilliant start to The Sims 3 expansions packs (of which I’m sure there will be many more) but I can’t help feeling I should mention the not-so-great issues I had with the game.
Firstly, every 10 minutes or so, the game switches back to desktop for no reason at all. Although nothing is lost (as you can bring it back after a minute or so) it’s so frustrating. This happened just as my Sims were about to marry and I actually missed the marriage due to desktop suddenly appearing. Secondly, I can no longer change my active household. If I try, the game freezes and has to be turned off via task manager. I’m not sure if there is a fix for this as I downloaded the patches available and it still happened again, very frustrating. Lastly, the other countries are pretty much ghost towns with very limited NPC activity. You may need to populate them yourself if you wish to create a true living environment.
Apart from the issues (which hopefully, there will be a cure for sooner or later), World Adventures is a very promising start to The Sims 3 expansion. The new environments are beautifully created and the new hobbies and skills are a great addition to the game. I look forward to seeing where EA takes The Sims 3 next!
Review Score: 8/10
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