Editors Note (25/08/2017): We have updated the article to correct an inaccuracy regarding information we provided about DLC.
Gamescom has been in full swing this week and The Sims has been pulling out all of the stops. Firstly, we had the announcement of The Sims 4 Cats and Dogs which has been highly anticipated, and it was also recently announced that The Sims 4 will be coming to console, with the pre-order bonus of Perfect Patio Stuff.
This answered the prayers of a lot of Simmers who’s PC’s are unable to handle The Sims 4, those who want to play from the comfort of their couches, and those who may not have a PC at all!
At Gamescom, EA had The Sims 4 on Console in both the Friends & Family hall and also the EA Business Lounge, where I had the opportunity to try the game and share my thoughts on it with you.
Please note: The version available at Gamescom was a pre-alpha version of the game and may not reflect the final product.
In the past, the console games differ from the PC experience. With The Sims 1 and The Sims 2, a story mode existed alongside a free play mode with had elements of the core Sims experience. With The Sims 3, the console versions closely resembled the PC game although wasn’t an exact replica and it was also plagued by several issues for a long time, such as save errors. With The Sims 4, you will be getting an authentic experience which is essentially a clone of the PC experience.
And I mean every word of that. The game looks identical, from the user interface to the gameplay itself, it’s almost as if EA has ported the exact code over to consoles. This is great in many ways as console players will now be able to join in with the same experience and be able to take advantage of everything The Sims 4 has to offer – even game updates such as Toddlers, Pools, etc. On the other hand, this may be a disappointment to those who may have wanted a story mode like previous games.
One thing that immediately caught my eye, and is perhaps also a bit of a personal concern, was the user interface and controls. It’s identical to the PC, and there’s even a virtual cursor which you can control with the left analog stick on the controller. You can then switch between using the cursor to control your Sims and select things in-game, and the user interface elements itself. While having a cursor is familiar and something everyone should be able to get used to, it doesn’t yet feel optimised for console.
Previous Sim games had a line/pointer/magical god thing that would come down and could be used to navigate through the game and interact with your Sims’ world, and you would then hit the start button on the controller to get access to buy/build/other game options. You can see an example of this below from The Sims 1 on PS2.
After playing the game a little bit more, as I visited the console booth in the EA Business Lounge several times, I will admit that I did start to get more used to the controls and they grew on me. Hopefully they will be refined a little bit before the launch in November though.
Moving onto the gameplay itself, it is The Sims 4 that you know and love. All of the powerful features in both Create A Sim and Build Mode are there, toddlers, pools, dishwashers, it’s all ready for you to play on console. You can hop in and edit all of the details for your Sims, build that dream house on the comfort of your couch, and enjoy the same live mode.
There are a few minor changes I noticed, such as the gallery being obsolete. While this won’t be in the game, you will be able to save your creations in your own personal library, like you can on PC, to use in your game. Your saved games on the PC will also not be transferrable to the console version, and vice versa.
As the game is pre-alpha, the game did feel a bit rough around the edges in the sense that it was a bit laggy at times, but this is expected at this stage of development. It’s just so great to see The Sims 4 running on a console and for it to appear to have been well executed, as the last thing we would want is for a bad port to be released.
It has also been mentioned that while Perfect Patio Stuff will be coming at launch for those who pre-order, and other DLC will be available at launch. I am hoping that this means console and PC players will both be able to enjoy similar content in the future too, once the lineup is revealed, which would be a first for The Sims on Console.
From the short hands-on I had, what are my thoughts? If you like, or are interested in, The Sims 4 experience and you want to be able to play on your couch or if your PC/Mac can’t handle the game, then this will be perfect for you. It’s pretty much identical to the PC experience from what I have seen, give or take a few small things. If you’ve been playing on PC you will be able to almost immediately hop into the game with little guidance, although it may take some time to get used to the controls based on my experience.
I am thankful to both Dustin and Duke who were at the Sims 4 console booth in the EA Business Lounge for explaining things and chatting about the game, it’s much appreciated.
Overall, I am excited for The Sims 4 on Console and I am hoping that the controls will grow on me the more that I play the game once it launches in November on PS4 and Xbox One.