Editors Note: Updated with final review score post-launch.
Are your Sims ready to experience life in the city?
On Friday 7th October we were invited to a preview event at EA UK for The Sims 4 City Living expansion pack, the third expansion pack for The Sims 4. With access to the game from 10am-4pm, and a Skype call with producer Grant Rodiek, we were able to explore the game and learn all about it ahead of it’s release on the 1st November (US)/3rd November (EU/UK).
During the interview with Grant Rodiek, we asked “What lessons did you learnt from Late Night that influenced this pack?” and answers ranged from city denseness, apartments needing new gameplay, veering away from celebrities and ensuring that there was plenty to do.
If you’re looking for all the juicy details, then keep reading and watching below…
The World of San Myshuno
Expansion packs usually come with a new world which I usually fall in love with, but San Myshuno (the new world) takes this to a whole new level and it’s a world unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a Sims game before. According to producer Grant Rodiek, when we interviewed him over Skype, he said it was the most complex world “we may ever make” and that it took a lot of effort to pull it off.
I think the image above pretty much seals the deal. End of preview.
…kidding, of course. San Myshuno is a new city-styled world, comparable to Bridgeport from The Sims 3 Late Night, but this time it’s been done right. There is a total of 17 lots and these are nestled into a variety of different neighbourhoods with their own style and activities. There’s uptown, fashion, the spice market, and arts districts and they are all unique in their own ways. Some may argue that 17 lots isn’t many, but once you include that multiple families can live in different levels within apartments, more lots are actually available for you to move Sims into and build.
Going back to the different types of neighbourhoods within San Myshuno, let’s explore them in a little more detail. The Art district features the spice festival, painting and murals. The uptown district on the other hand is fancy, expensive, and distinct. The four areas come together to represent the journey from being a crummy apartment to being a rich Sim with an expensive, high rise penthouse (we won’t judge you if you use motherlode to do this!).
Within the world of San Myshuno you will discover street performers who will stand there, doing street stuff. While your Sims can’t become a street performer, you can interact with these NPC’s and watch in amazement as they stand still before your very eyes! One of my favourite things is fireworks that you can purchase and set off in the world, or indoors if you wish, which provide pretty firework displays for Sims to enjoy.
Apartments Mark Their Return
Similar to The Sims 3, the exterior of apartments can not be edited (apart from the penthouse) and you can only edit the interior. Although, unlike The Sims 3, you can actually have multiple families living in an apartment building and visit other Sims within the apartment. There is a quick loading screen in between active lots, but I don’t see this as a problem and it’s a good combination of mechanics from The Sims 2 Apartment Life and The Sims 3 Late Night. Your Sims will get between floors using elevators in the building, which are not placable in other lots, and they don’t actually walk into the elevators, Sims simply fade in/out as they get closer. While this makes getting in and out of apartments quicker, which was a problem with Late Night, it does feel somewhat cheap and it would have been nice to have an animation for this. I can also confirm that there is no elevator WooHoo in the expansion pack, although there is a new death (more on this later).
A cool new feature for all lots in the game, which will not be automatically applied to existing lots so that your current game isn’t affected, is lot traits. There are tonnes of these which allow different events and features to be present on your lot. Check out all of the available traits for lots here (there are tonnes and will be available in a patch for those who don’t own City Living).
|Quake Zone||Good Schools||Mean Vibe|
|Penny Pixies||Party Place||Filthy|
|Romantic Aura||Great Soil||Childs Play|
|Fast Internet||Great Acoustics|
Increase Chance of Babies
Some of the above traits are City Living exclusive, but many are available in the base game. They all bring different attributes, for example a quake zone will experience earth quakes which will provide your Sim with a negative moodlet. Haunted trait will cause ghosts to spawn on your lot to haunt your Sims – these will be random and not those who may have died on the lot before.
Instead of buying apartments you will pay rent weekly and this is calculated based on the type of apartment that you have. You will also have a landlord, which is an NPC, who will come by to fix anything if you have any problems. Remember, the apartments range to represent everything from the good to the bad, so watch out for rats coming through the walls!
Your Sims can also hand out keys to their apartment to other Sims that they know, so that they can come into the apartment. Your Sim can also revoke access at any time if they wish to do so. But there is one huge downside to apartments and that is their compatibility with the gallery. You can only save rooms, not entire apartments, to the gallery itself which means you would need to download rooms in pieces to build up apartments. This could be overcome by hashtagging your work, so people can find all rooms for your apartment, but hopefully a patch can resolve this in the future as I’m sure people will want to share what they’ve changed inside of apartment buildings.
Apartments in The Sims 4 City Living are a nice balance of iterations we had in The Sims 2 and The Sims 3. While The Sims 2 allowed more customisation, The Sims 3 lacked customisation and gameplay with apartments – they were essentially empty shells. Apartments in The Sims 4 City Living capture the feeling of living in an apartment, from small details like rats to being able to live in a high rise apartment above everything in the city.
City Living delivers when it comes to buy objects, build items, and stylised rooms. There’s such a variety of items that can be used in almost any build and they’re all very colourful, too. In total I counted 251 new objects in buy mode, and 18 new stylised rooms, which is an insane number of items! You can see just how many there are from the image below, where I attempted to fit in MOST items from this expansion pack. As you can see, it was a bit of a struggle…
Amongst these new objects are the karaoke machine, Shisha object (bubble blowing in The Sims), and even a talking toilet. Yes, you can now talk to your toilet and it will have special functionalities that can be enabled.
Create A Sim
For those interested in ensuring their Sims always remain trendy with the latest attire, City Living won’t let you down as it boasts an impressive amount of new CAS items for both men, women, and kids. And, of course, with the CAS update earlier this year these can be used on any Sim regardless of their sex.
New Traits and Aspiration
The Sims team have added in a brand new aspiration and traits for your Sims with this expansion pack. The new aspiration is the “Location” aspiration which leads to “Sim Native”, and the first new trait is “Unflirty”, which is the opposite to the flirty trait in-game, making it so Sims aren’t so prone to romance or flirtatious interactions. And the other is the ability to be a Vegetarian!
Male CAS Items
Female CAS Items
Kids CAS Items
I felt this deserved it’s own section as it’s one of my new favourite features in The Sims 4 City Living, and I had many glares throughout the preview event from where I was getting my Sims to sing (awfully) with the volume on max. Karaoke is similar to the feature in The Sims 3 Showtime, but it’s much more fun to hear Sims progress and get better at it over time.
At first, they’ll be dreadful. But with time, they’ll be superstars!
Your Sims can sing the following songs solo in City Living, although there are also some duets:
- Nectar Drinking Land
- Run to Palomino
- Funky Sims (classic song from The Sims 1)
- Hot Summer
- For Your Love
- Classic Beauty
- Shaken, Not Stirred
- Fools Prayer
- Fun Tonight
- Hotter Than Sin
- Night After Night
Take a listen to some of the musical masterpieces my Sims sang in this video!
Somewhat similar to what we found in The Sims 3 Seasons, Festivals occur within the world of San Myshuno and focus around different themes. Different festivals include:
- GeekCon: Selfies, cosplay, fireworks, etc!
- Romance: Love guru will be in town!
- Spice: Curry challenge, lots of hot food to try.
- Flea Market: Buy, collect, sell
- Humour & Hijinks: Hopefully your Sim has a funny bone…
The great thing about festivals is that your Sim can actually join in with the fun and collect, buy, and even sell things at their own cart! While you can’t customise your own festivals, and they just appear within the world, they enable a greater sense of community within the world of San Myshuno and makes the world feel more alive.
While there is no new WooHoo, a new death is present in The Sims 4 City Living and that comes in the form of a puffer fish. Yes, you read that correctly. The puffer fish is a dangerous recipe for your Sims to cook as poor quality puffer fish can result in your Sims dying a rather unfortunate death. If your Sims are dining out, avoid the puffer fish, unless you’re wanting to hang out with the Grim Reaper.
New Skills, Careers, and Activities
There are three new careers in The Sims 4 City Living and these consist of critic, politician and social media. While we didn’t dive too much into these during the preview day, we can say that they all offer a variety of different gameplay from what we saw from others during the event.
You can now work from home to save having to head into work, which is a very neat feature if your Sim is busy or perhaps is bringing up a baby in-game. These jobs are also “active” in the respect that your Sim needs to go out and do things within the city in order to climb the career ladder. Within the politics career, for example, your Sim can become an activist or politician. Which route they go down is up to you… they could accept bribes, or donations, and become as corrupt as you wish.
New Skills and Activities come in the form of Basketball and Graffiti. Interestingly, basketball was in one of the first ever renders that we had for The Sims 4 when it was announced but it never actually made it into the base game. Now, your Sims can play solo or with others inside their homes or by visiting lots with a dedicated basketball court.
The graffiti feature allows your Sims to create beautiful murals either on the ground or on some abandoned garage doors, and these will remain in-game for other Sims to see. Pretty cool, right? We got our panda Sim to show you how it’s done in our preview video above.
Get Together and Dine Out Compatibility
One final thing I wanted to add is that Get Together and Dine Out work great with City Living. If you have Get Together, then you will have new club options including new rules and more things to “do together”. With Dine Out, you can add the new recipes in-game to any restaurant you have including the puffer fish. So, if you like, you can serve deadly food and kill all of your Sims who are dining out! Death by puffer fish, like never before, in The Sims 4.
- You can leave weird notes in the lobbies of apartments for all Sims to be able to read.
- There is no new secret lot.
- You can annoy your neighbours by being too loud at night.
- There are 27 new foods for your Sims to enjoy.
- Your Sim can be a vegetarian.
- Sims must travel to San Myshuno to perform tasks for new jobs.
- You can not place apartments in other worlds.
- You can change lot traits at any time, these will also be displayed within gallery uploads.
- Most hidden items can be found in “buydebug”.
- There’s a new sPop music station in-game.