Get Famous changes up the gameplay in The Sims 4, wrapping up the celebrity lifestyle in a more glamorous and unpredictable package than past iterations.
Presented by EA GameChangers. Early access was provided by EA/Maxis. All views are my own.
It’s been over four years since The Sims 4 was released and it feels like we’re just getting started with the game. I find that quite weird to say as by this point in The Sims 3’s lifecycle, I was so ready for another main entry in the franchise. But it’s different this time around. We’ve heard nothing about a “The Sims 5” nor have I felt the need for it at the moment, as the base game still has so much potential.
It seems like EA/Maxis are also realising this too and have been releasing some killer packs – such as Cats & Dogs and Seasons – which launched over the last year. This is also the first year since 2015 that we are receiving two expansion packs in one year. But what else could The Sims 4 need? Well, apparently it’s the celebrity lifestyle (and not My First Pet Stuff).
The Sims 4
Get to Work Get Together Get Famous, releasing November 16th 2018, allows you to live the celebrity life with your Sims and take them from nothing to stardom on their journey as they, well… get famous. Am I the only one a bit tired of this ‘Get’ naming convention? You can do this through the new acting active career, by being a livestreamer/video blogger, music producer, or other various things in-game. With this, you can also live in a brand new world and enjoy new objects, WooHoo’ing in a money vault, and plenty of new create a sim items. In a nutshell, you can think of this pack as a combination of The Sims Superstar, The Sims 3 Late Night and The Sims 3 Showtime in one neat pack, to some extent at least.
On top of all of this, a free game patch has been released for The Sims 4 featuring terrain manipulation, a first-person camera, a new career and more. The Sims 4 is really getting beefy after starting from barebones in 2014.
You may remember I attended SimsCamp in October where I had 4 hours on hands-on time with The Sims 4 Get Famous, so this review will touch on a lot of that and provide you with a final score and my thoughts on the game after getting more hands on time from the press release version EA have provided me.
If you are looking for a broad overview of all content in this pack, then you’d be better off checking the SimsCamp preview video below. This review is shorter, more concise, and all about my thoughts on the pack.
Impressive Gameplay Enhancements
Like with many expansions and game packs for The Sims 4, Get Famous brings some highly anticipated items to the base game for free. Why am I speaking about that here? Because these have technically came with this expansion.
One of the real big things here is terrain manipulation which has been missing from The Sims 4 since launch, and was apparently very hard to achieve with the way that The Sims 4 is built. But after 4 years, it looks like Maxis have managed to crack this and it’s finally here! You can go wild with hills, slopes, ditches, anything you can imagine to really spice up the homes you now build your Sims. Gone are the days of flat homes!
I will admit, I usually forget all about terrain manipulation in The Sims 4 until I play an older Sims game, but it’s nice to see this back. Builders are going to love it (or those of you who enjoy trapping Sims in obscure locations).
Foundations have also received a nice update. In previous Sims games, you could place walls on the ground or on a foundation. In The Sims 4, you can adjust foundations to various different heights with one caveat – if you have a foundation, all walls will be placed on this. This is no longer the case! You can choose the foundation height for individual rooms which is a very welcome addition to build mode.
Other various items include a new career, but one fun item – which I had a blast with at SimsCamp – in the first person camera. This is a fun feature, which is entirely optional, where you can experience your Sims’ world in first person. Want to see what WooHoo looks like in first person? Now you can. Albeit a gimmicky feature, it’s something fun and a nice addition.
To get all of these lovely additions, you just need to update your game with Origin.
A Beautiful, But Constraining, World
A new world has arrived with Get Famous – Del Sol Valley – which is extremely similar to Los Angeles, California, and this is one of the highlights of the pack for me. The great thing about Get Famous, unlike The Sims 3 Late Night or Showtime, is that your Sims do not need to live in this world to be able to take advantage of everything it has to offer, or to get famous in the first place. This can be done from any world – whether that is in the sprawling metropolis of this world or more hidden away in the ghost town of Newcrest.
You can see from the image above, that the new world is broken down into three playable areas and one which is reserved for the new Plumbob Studio lot, which is part of the acting career. Unless you’re planning to live the fancy life in this world, where you are loaded with money, then Del Sol Valley will not offer you much in terms of places to live. There is a huge lack of available lots in this world to quickly build on or do much with – it’s simply too small. On the other hand, if your Sims are loaded, they can move into a gorgeous mansion (or bulldoze it to play with the 64×64 lot) where they’ll get beautiful views of the city and may even experience fireworks in the distance!
Del Sol Valley has everything your Sims need to get the best of the celebrity lifestyle, though. There is a “Hollywood” walk of fame featuring iconic names from The Sims 2 (Darren Dreamer, anyone?), where you can take your Sims to dream about their future celebrity life, deface a star or even steal one! There are also some hotspots around town where you are likely to see celebrities. If your Sim is lucky enough to be one of them, then they can check out exclusive areas of clubs too.
In a nutshell, this new world is stunning. It is, by far, the most gorgeous world they have ever created in The Sims. It captures the spirit of LA perfectly. However, while it is beautiful, the world is way too small and it’s so disappointing as it could have been an amazing place if it had another neighbourhood within it with lots. I understand that as The Sims 4 ages they need to take performance into consideration, but with the fact that we have loading screens between each lot, I am hopeful the Maxis team will be able to make sure worlds do not get smaller and smaller.
You will fall in love with Del Sol Valley, you’ll just wish it was a lot larger for all of your Sims. It’s times like this I am very thankful for the world system in The Sims 4, where you can just travel between any world instantly.
Lights, Camera, Action!
If you plan to get famous in The Sims 4, then you will need to be prepared to commit a lot of time to this. It’s not an easy road to stardom and your Sims will need to commit to being on their top form, preparing for gigs and actually doing well when they head to these gigs – whether that’s something small or a huge acting opportunity.
The great thing about Get Famous is that there are loads of way in which your Sims can get famous, it doesn’t have to be down the acting path. Taking into account the success of many YouTubers, one way that you can get famous is through the new video station where your Sims can become internet famous, or as a music producer. Additionally, you could even get famous through other paths too without even stepping into Del Sol Valley. Pretty neat, huh? I love that this is an addition to the game and a pretty modern thing to include. The video station, for example, allows you to upgrade it with better lighting, equipment, and you can even use a drone to follow your Sim and capture content for them to share with their audiences!
From playing, I found the most preferred (and possibly easiest) way of achieving stardom is through the new acting active career which involves passing through auditions for different gigs. As mentioned, your Sims need to prepare different skills for this which is very time consuming and then actually go and nail it. It works in a similar way to the careers from the Get to Work expansion pack.
Once your Sim climbs through the acting career, they will be able to enter Plumbob Studios – the inaccessible area of the map in Del Sol Valley. Once you are at opportunities at Plumbob Studios, your Sim will be able to meet their co-workers, build relationships, rehearse lines, talk to the director, get into hair and make-up and more. Once they have done all of this, they will actually be able to act. Now this is something I like. Sims can work their way across the stage and choose whether they perform a normal or risky interaction with their co-star. Of course, the normal route is the safe option but if you’re ready to accept the risk then you will be rewarded.
For those of you who may not want the celebrity lifestyle, you will be happy to know that you can completely turn off the celebrity lifestyle in the game options, something that was missing in The Sims 3 Late Night when it launched. You could not escape the fame system in that pack, so it’s great that The Sims 4 recognises the problems of the past and rectifies it.
Living the Celebrity Lifestyle
Unlike The Sims 3 where everyone became a celebrity, The Sims 4 Get Famous wraps the celebrity lifestyle in a glamorous and appealing package. You can easily spot celebrities out in the street, or your own Sim if they’re famous, from the glowing sparkles radiating from them.
Celebrity life isn’t just about money either – it’s also about lots of VIP parties and the lifestyle your Sims lead. While there are super expensive lots that your Sims can move into, and the money vault to store all of your money (or WooHoo in it, take your pick), there is also the fame and reputation system that the pack introduces which can lead to unpredictable outcomes. This system helps determine how other Sims will behave when your Sim is out and about. High reputation? People will quite literally fall at your feet as you walk by them in the street and freak out. Bad reputation? People will talk about you and boo you.
Celebrity quirks also tie into this, where you can select some of them but also develop some based on how your Sim behaves. This could be something like an obsession with a mobile phone, where your Sim will get withdrawal symptoms if they don’t check their phone, of an obsessive stan who stalks your Sim, goes through their trash and stands outside their home. It really changes up the game and I love how varied this can make gameplay as you don’t have control over all of the quirks that your Sim ends up getting.
Fame points are also something that you collect over time as your Sim progresses. You can see from the image below that you can view your quirks but also manage other items relating to fame. For example, you could unlock the ability to skip any auditions for gigs. It’s a neat feature although it does feel like this perk system is over-used in The Sims 4.
A Glamorous Expansion With Most of the Glitz and Glamour
If you have been looking for a more significant change to the gameplay of The Sims 4, then Get Famous is going to deliver that for you. While Seasons is probably my favourite expansion so far, that pack only complimented the base game. Get Famous significantly changes this up and delivers lots of content everywhere possible, whether this is new interactions, gameplay, CAS items, objects, WooHoo options and more. It’s full to the brim with new things to do and experience that we haven’t seen in The Sims before, particularly with the active acting career.
Del Sol Valley is absolutely stunning and I can’t fault the teams attention to detail, but this world is a bit of a let down. It’s such a shame that this is one of the smaller worlds in the game, because it could have been something extra special. Although, as I mentioned, you will be in awe of how it looks but you’ll be wishing there were more places for you to be able to build, so it will be a love/hate relationship.
The active acting career is great fun and you will enjoy working your way up this career ladder and seeing what opportunities it presents your Sims, and how they respond to different situations. One thing I will comment on though is that I feel the active career system as well as the perk system is getting over-used in The Sims 4. It was introduced as a big thing in The Sims 4 Get to Work, and since then it has been used multiple times for ‘active’ careers in The Sims 4 City Living and the mechanics of the retail system in the pack have been reused for Dine Out and Cats & Dogs. I do feel like this pack relies a lot on these mechanics, despite the fame spin, and The Sims team need to start exploring new ways of bringing us content.
Overall, The Sims 4 Get Famous delivers what it says on the tin – your Sims can now Get Famous and you will have a blast as you experience this. Whether your Sim pursues the career of an actor or gets famous through another path, you’ll experience the slapstick Maxis humour along the way. And thankfully, it does all of this in a glamorous package, bringing so much new content and freshens up the gameplay. While there are a few shortfalls, such as the world and reliance on active career/perk system, it’s a fun pack that you are likely to enjoy as you experience the unpredictable road to fame.
Presented by EA GameChangers. Early access was provided by EA/Maxis. All views are my own.