The Sims franchise has been one of great triumph. Now on its third “full” iteration with countless expansion packs thrown in throughout the years, the franchise still seems to have legs. However one hurdle the franchise has yet to really jump over is that of a successful console port of its money making PC/Mac experience. The big obstacle standing in the way is of course the controls, as we all know that The Sims thus far has given a far superior experience when using a keyboard and mouse. So now in it’s third full iteration, EA is hoping that they have worked out the kinks in the latest Sims title to be released to consoles in The Sims 3. Does this game have the right makings of a great console version of The Sims? Read our full review to find out!
So with any Sims title on a console the first think we should address are the controls, which for the first time I can say that I actually think they are superb. There is a great tutorial that walks you through the functionality of the controls and the game now that you’re using the controller and I have to say that I was really impressed. After about 15-20 minutes I had the controls down and felt like I could control 95% of what I would do on my Mac with a mouse and keyboard. There is still a bit of clumsiness and its not something that you could just pick up and play but after the short learning curve it’s actually really impressive.
The one main departure or change from the PC version is the introduction of Karma Powers which are obtained by earning Karma Points. Once you rack up enough you can then unlocks powers which can either be good or bad for your Sim. There is a good variety of these powers and they either take your Sim well forward in progression or the opposite direction. Either way it’s a nice subtle change to the formula and helps things feel somewhat different from the PC version.
Outside of some small other changes to the formula this is a game of The Sims 3. You can create a family, play through there life, get them jobs, make money, have kids, grow old, and everything in between. The game does a fine job with all of the creation tools whether creating your family or building your dream house. Although maybe not as intuitive as it is on the PC these options are all available and work really well.
All in all The Sims 3 for the Xbox 360 plays like you would expect a game of The Sims 3 to play. The only issue I really had with the game was that anytime you move outside of the house there is a load screen and a long one at that. Outside of long load times this is a very capable and well controlled game of The Sims and proves that the series can be played on consoles.
Visually if you have played The Sims 3 on the PC then you know exactly what to expect as the visuals haven’t changed much. I will say it was a bit of an adjustment to go from my 27” iMac to my 52” LCD TV to play The Sims, and I noticed that the level of detail is no where near as fine as what you get on the PC version. With that being said the game looks very good and even on bigger houses with a lot going on the game manages to keep a good solid frame rate and remain being a very playable experience.
Let’s face it if you probably have played The Sims by now and if you have then you probably know whether or not you enjoy this style of game. For me I found it to be a nice departure to be able to play The Sims while lying on my couch and not feel frustrated by the controls. The only real issue the game has that can lessen the fun factor of the game are the load times which are quite length and frequent.
It is no small accomplishment what the developers managed to do with bringing The Sims 3 to consoles as for the first time in the series I actually feel like the controls are well enough designed that you can actually really enjoy playing The Sims 3 on consoles. Although maybe not as deep of an experience as you could find on the PC, if you are looking for The Sims on a console this is a great option.