I’m a big fan of The Sims since 2004: after spending two weeks playing the first chapter of the franchise with my cousin, I came back home and found out that The Sims 2 had just hit the stores. At the time I played only on consoles, but for The Sims 2 I was ready to make an exception, and so I bought it. I was instantly hooked to the game and played it non-stop even for 12 hours straight without stopping. I didn’t have many friends and I usually was alone all day long, and The Sims 2 kept me company during some of the most difficult years of my life.
I bought every main Expansion Pack, increasing the contents of the game, and in 2009 I bought The Sims 3 on Day One. It didn’t have for me the same magic The Sims 2 had, and there were some things that I loved and some that I hated, but I played it anyway and enjoyed some of the Expansion Packs. The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 were both great experiences even without buying any DLC at all.
Then came The Sims 4.
I want to start by saying that The Sims 4 is a great game, and I actually prefer it instead of The Sims 3. I love the role of emotions in the life of my sims and I appreciate that the developers made a step back with the whole “open-neighbourhood”, because that feature was great on paper, but not so good in action (does someone else remember the infinite loading screen?).
My problem with The Sims 4, as you have read in the title, is with its DLCs. I personally think that in the years Electronic Arts has become greedier and greedier, and this approach actually ruined the whole experience.
If you are not familiar with the whole The Sims universe, I’ll try to make a quick introduction to Expansion Packs and Stuff Packs. Since the dawn of the franchise, Electronic Arts made DLCs to add new features. Expansion Packs are the biggest DLCs, with brand new features and lots of new items for the sims and their home. Stuff Packs were first introduced with The Sims 2 and are smaller and cheaper DLCs that contained only themed clothing and furniture.
The Sims had in total seven Expansion Packs in a life span of four years. Some of the features introduced in the first DLCs became part of The Sims 2 vanilla. Some of them were the possibility of traveling inside the neighborhood and having parties at home. The other ones were remade for The Sims 2, 3 and 4, like the Expansion Pack with animals.
The Sims 2 had eight Expansion Packs and ten Stuff Packs in a life span of almost five years, the latter DLC being Apartment Life in August 2008. There were counterparts of DLCs seen in the first iteration of the series, like the Expansion Pack about traveling or the one about pets. The Stuff Packs implemented many objects and clothing for our Sims, with some more interesting than others.
The Sims 3 had eleven Expansion Packs and nine Stuff Packs during its five years life span. It had DLCs similar to the ones seen in the past, especially during the The Sims 2 era (like Late Night, Seasons, University Life, Travel Adventure and Pets). Electronic Arts still managed to make something different like with the Expansion Pack Into the Future.
The Sims 4, to date, has eight Expansion Packs, eight Game Packs (which I later explain) and sixteen Stuff Packs. I think that the life span of The Sims 4 is almost at the end, since we recently had a DLC about magic (except for The Sims 3, the other chapters of the series ended their life span with the introduction of witches), and I kinda hope it is, because The Sims 4 is the most expensive iteration of the series. And it is because of Game Packs!
Game Packs are in the middle between an Expansion Pack and a Stuff Pack: they introduce game mechanics, new features and new objects and clothing. Contents that we now find in Game Packs, in the past were part of a main Expansion Pack (like vampires were in The Sims 2: Nightlife and in The Sims 3: Late Night or TS3: Supernatural). And that’s the part that makes me angry. EA should try to make something new, not split content to make Game Packs.
To have an experience like the one proposed in The Sims 2: Nightlife and/or The Sims 3: Late Night, in The Sims 4 you have to buy the Expansion Pack Get Together, the Game Pack about vampires and the Stuff Pack Bowling Night Stuff (bonus: add the Dine Out Game Pack to have an experience more like Nightlife, or the Expansion Pack City Living to have penthouses like in Late Night). It’s a ridiculous situation: to have a Nightlife-like experience we should spend almost 90 euros, and to have a Late Night-like experience we have to spend 110 euros!
Thinking about it just makes me angry. The other iterations of the series were also really expensive, but not like this. This is just pure money grabbing from Electronic Arts, and I am afraid of what The Sims 5 will be because The Sims 4 vanilla didn’t feel like a complete experience, I needed to pay for two DLCs to have at least the same longevity as The Sims 2 vanilla, a game that came out sixteen years ago.
I am tired of throwing money at Origin and, I must be honest with you, these days I’m playing The Sims 4 (just because The Sims 2 crashes for compatibility issues). I purchased Get to Work, City Living and Cats & Dogs, and a tiny voice in my head suggests I should buy more DLCs to make my experience funnier. I decided not to and I think I’ll never buy The Sims 5 either.
As a Sim would say in simlish before leaving, Dag dag Electronic Arts.