The Sims 3

The Sims 3
The Sims 3 Cover
Platforms Windows, Mac OSX
Genre Even More Real Life Simulator
MtAMinutes to Action 19
Keep Playing? As a Sims fan, Yes
Buy from Amazon

The Sims 3 is the third game in the ultra-popular Sims series that has swept the globe over the last 10 years selling over 100 million copies and becoming the best-selling PC franchise of all time. The series has broken down all preconceived ideas of what a gamer is, appealing to all ages and genders. Some may call it a casual game because of this, but I would argue that there's nothing casual about balancing the lives of two adults and six babies in one household, heck, just ask my wife.

This is the first Sims game not developed by Maxis, which was absorbed into the EA conglomerate some time ago. Supposedly, Maxis was working on Spore so they didn't have time for The Sims. Unfortunately, that game didn't have any of the Maxis Magic I've come to know and love over the last 20 years, so I think they've just been destroyed from within by Electronic Arts, too bad. Anyways, The Sims is back and hyped better than ever. Now you can walk around town without loading screens. That is either too good to be true or just a reminder of a feature that should have been part of Sims 2. Well, let's get into the first hour of The Sims 3 and see if it still has that Maxis Magic minus Maxis.

Unfortunately I don't have any screenshots of my character as I was playing on my sister's laptop (which has coincidentally since died), enjoy the fancy images though.

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)
00 - I select New Game and the first hour of Sims 3 begins. There's one town to choose from, Sunset Valley, fine with me I guess. Loading...

01 - Checking out the town now, need to create a Sim. You can create Sims of all ages, including Young Adult, that seems new.

03 - Oh man, so many options, maybe I'll just skim through this so I can get to the meat.

Sims 3 Character Creation

04 - All right, I really don't care what they look like... but what's this personality option? Looks like you can add traits, like Absent-minded, Frugal, and Never Nude (LOL!). There looks to be about 50 traits to choose from and you can pick five, crazy.

07 - After reading through most of them, I pick Never Nude, Can't Stand Art, Clumsy, Inappropriate, and Heavy Sleeper. Nice list and it's not too far off from me, maybe a bit exaggerated in some spots.

08 - I can also select a Lifetime Wish, I go with International Super Spy. Guess I should pursue law enforcement. You can also select your favorite food, type of music, and color.

10 - All right, I'm going to start off as a bachelor, rewind my life by a few years. I have $16,000 in the bank and need to select a place to live. There's two lots with houses already on them, I think that will save me some time, though I can imagine a lot of people love the house building part.

12 - I pick out an unfurnished house for about $10,000, I can live on pretty much nothing, give me a bed and fridge and my Sim will be happy.

Sims 3 Town Map

13 - My house already comes with the necessary plumbing, so I just need to fill it in with a few of the extras. Beds have energy and stress relief ratings, I may not need much, I am a Heavy Sleeper.

15 - I pick out the cheapest double bed, you never know. The shopping menu is familiar but has been improved to be a lot easier to navigate. Just a little touch but it helps.

16 - Next I pick out the cheapest kitchen table and chair I can find, and finally I top it all off with a TV and couch.

18 - Couldn't remember how to rotate the couch towards the TV, but it somehow righted itself like it knew what I was thinking. I still have almost $5,000 left, should I pick up anything else?

19 - I pick up a small trash can and telephone, all right, time for some action! Greg is pretty much maxed out on every stat but Fun, time to watch TV.

Sims 3 House Building

21 - All right, a bunch of stuff just happened. Though there doesn't appear to be a comfort attribute anymore on things, when Greg sat down in his chair, a thought appeared remarking how his chair was comfortable and his mood improved by 15. He also got +20 for all the new stuff, and +25 for being entertained by the TV!

22 - Greg would like to learn some logic, he would get 750 Lifetime Happiness points if he took a logic class or something. How do I do that?

24 - Ooh, the newspaper is outside, I click on it and tell Greg to find a job. The first job available is something in law enforcement! That's what Greg wants! $40 an hour! Pretty nice for entry level, the Sim economy must be good. Entry level is Snitch, can't say I like that job title, oh well.

26 - I zoom out and check out my surroundings. Wow, this is really awesome. My Sim's house isn't on an isolated lot anymore, I have neighbors, and can walk across the street. I should go somewhere.

28 - You can click a Map View button and it will show you a blimp's eye view of the entire town. I decide to go to Old Pier Beach.

Sims 3 Beach

29 - A taxi immediately arrives and the camera follows us to the beach on the lake. Honestly this right here has evolved the Sims, though it should have been around in Sims 2, this is really nice.

30 - As I arrive at the beach, I find out that some neighbors have arrived to welcome me to the neighborhood, while why didn't they come two minutes earlier?

32 - I decide to zip back home and meet up with some balding guy on the sidewalk. I try to give him a friendly introduction but he walks off before I get there, then I almost trip and fall. Clumsy Greg at his best.

35 - All right, I've begun talking to Yumi Sekemoto, an older woman who was just walking across the street. Conversations seem a bit more involved in Sims 3, you can select exactly what you want to talk about, like my new job, or house, or her career (she's unemployed). I invite her to my home but she doesn't want to come over. Guess she ain't a cougar.

38 - I decide to employ my Innapropriate Trait and and imply that her mother is a llama. Haha, double negative for that one! That's what you get for not coming over.

Sims 3 Lifetime Happiness

39 - I'm heading out the library, maybe I can study some logic there.

40 - The library turns out to be a fully furnished building with all the classic library trimmings. Logic books, any here? Ooh, A Game of Thorns!

41 - Logic Volume 1: Knights vs. Bishops. I currently have a Power Study attribute, looks like you can study better at the library.

43 - The library is a bustling place with lots of Sims coming and going. Do they all really live in this town? That's sweet. I speed up time so he'll read faster.

44- I've finished reading and got my logic point! This also earned me 750 Lifetime Happiness points, not bad. Time to head home and prepare for my first day on the job tomorrow.

Sims 3 Roasting Marshmallows

46 - Looks like I actually have some needs to fulfill, he needs to eat and go to the bathroom. I start by making an autumn salad, seems healthy.

47 - Guess I positioned my dining room table and chair wrong, Greg can't sit down at them! He can eat on the couch either way.

49 - I use the toilet and then hop in the shower... YES! Greg is wearing green shorts, awesome. Should have named him Tobias Funke. I also get a -10 mood for having a cold shower, need to upgrade that according to the tool tip.

50 - Since I'm a heavy sleeper, I hit the bed by 9 PM, need to make sure I get up in time!

51 - I have the game on high-speed but it's still going pretty dang slow, that's kind of annoying.

53 - It's 4 AM and Greg is fully rested, seven hours sleep, have to remember that. I queue up breakfast (waffles), toilet, and wash my hands (you can also have a sponge bath in the sink).

Sims 3 Funeral

54 - Okay, this is annoying, your Sim won't automatically eat after making the food, they'll just set it on the counter and move on.

55 - I notice that Greg is wearing bunny slippers as the game tells me the carpool will arrive in an hour. Guess I have some time to watch TV and get my fun up.

57 - The carpool has arrived, first day on my road to becoming an International Super Spy! I watch Greg go to work and try to see inside the building...

58 - I guess you can't see inside their place of work, that's a bit annoying too.

59 - In the upper left corner you can change how hard you'd like to work. I have options such as Work Hard, Take It Easy, Sleep in Jail Cell, and Build Independent Case, which means I sacrifice some work to investigate a notorious criminal. I like these variations. I decide to work hard which causes a bit more stress.

60 - My boss recommends I read "How to Avoid Concrete Shoes," I accept this opportunity. I'm not really sure what this means, but I guess I have to find the book at the library. Reading it will put me closer to a promotion! Well, work is over and I'm stressed out but $240 richer, and that's also the end of the first hour of The Sims 3!

Sims 3 Pregnant Hospital

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 19

What I loved: It really did feel like The Sims. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but while there are some significant technological advances, it is all still very familiar. I read in another review that it took them over 10 hours to feel comfortable in the game, but it seemed very natural to me.

The open world is simply awesome. Living in a town in Sims 1 or 2 felt anything but real. You had your own lot, and your only connection to the outside world while on your lot was some random people walking through. Now you can simply zoom out and fly around the neighborhood, checking out who's at the library or down at the beach. It feels like a real, bustling town at your fingertips. Of course, if EA hadn't introduced this feature by Sims 3, there would have been some real questions to answer.

What I liked: The expanded conversation system is going to make interacting with other sims much more interesting. In Sims 2 you could just queue up about 10 things to "talk" about, basically limited to making jokes, flirting, or just talking. Now we can actually learn about the neighbors including where they work and what they think of their job. I really only just touched on the surface of this system.

The graphics looked great, on my sister's laptop it felt like a really, really good looking version of the Sims 2. I never tried to zoom in really close or anything crazy, but the camera is completely controllable so I'm sure it's possible. Zooming out was pretty neat though as I said above. It's like the neighborhood screen in Sims 2 but you can actually interact with it and explore.

I also really like the new traits system. They're purposefully subtle but when they show up, they're generally very fun. Some times my sim stumbled due to his Clumsy trait and he showered with shorts on because of his Never Nudeness. Good job on this! It's great that the traits aren't necessarily helpful, and some even seem slightly detrimental, but I still want to pick them!

What I didn't like: Two related issues: time on super speed still seems to go pretty slow, and you can't really do anything while your sim is at work. It'd be awesome to see your sim walk around work and go to lunch and pull pranks on co-workers, but instead you just get to stare at the roof of the building. It wouldn't be so bad if time seemed to just crawl... I'm sure that right at this moment EA is developing a At Work! expansion for Sims 3.

Gameplay: Classic Sims gameplay, wrapped in an even prettier package with some much needed improvements.

Fun Factor: Time flows slower at high speeds than I believe it should, but outside that, I was enjoying it. Can't beat a Never Nude sim!

Graphics and Sound: Looks awesome, I wish I had a really powerful computer at my disposal to see how good this game could really look. I don't think the series could look a lot better though without hitting that creepy uncanny valley.

Story: Well, Sim Greg wants to be a international super spy, that's kind of a story, right?

Would I keep playing? Oh yeah, I want to get addicted to the Sims again. I remember when I first played The Sims back in 2000, my entire summer was basically shot. And then it happened again with The Sims 2 in 2004, so it's only necessary for it to happen again. Of course, it will probably happen with my wife again too. Who will take care of our kid?

Sims 3 Never Nude Trait