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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

The Sims 3 Preview

Nick_Tan By:
Nick_Tan
07/21/10
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Simulation 
PLAYERS 1- 999 
PUBLISHER Electronic Arts 
DEVELOPER EA Redwood Shores 
RELEASE DATE  
T Contains Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

In Simlish, it's another "myshuno".


Writing a preview for the upcoming port of The Sims 3, which is already out on PC, now coming to Xbox 360 and PS3 is a challenge. (It's also for Wii and Nintendo DS, but the build I played was only for Xbox 360) What else do I say other than, "uh, go read the freakin' review for it"? And "oh, you use a green pillar and the analog stick instead of a keyboard and mouse"? But the greater challenge then is that of the PR people and developers; they must figure out some improvements so that the press can write something new about the game (and for them to write something in their progress report).

click to enlargeWhat they've come up for the console versions is the concept of Karma Points, which the player gains and loses depending on how they play the game. The most basic way is to satisfy the wish of a Sim, which earns 1 Karma Point. The other way is waiting until the stroke of midnight, the hour of reckoning if you will, when the system makes a judgment on how well or how poorly you have been playing the game and then awards or takes away an appropriate amount of points.

Essentially, Karma Points works as a miniature-sized cheat menu that acts in lieu of the already incredible database of mods for the PC version. For a small number of Karma Points, you can curse a Sim, draining all of that Sim's needs (bladder and all) to zero. So if you have an annoying neighbor or some roommate who's trying to steal your potential girlfriend or boyfriend, you can make that person's life miserable for a little while. Or you can opt for the evilest power, Epic Fail, which turns a Sim into the most unlucky person ever: Objects break, relationships fail, careers falter, and life simply sucks.

The kinder side of the Karma Powers imbues a Sim with temporary boosts and fixes: accelerated skill-learning, incredible luck (the opposite of Epic Fail), instant repairs to everything in your home (great for fires), or a quick jackpot of Simoleans. With a boon of divine intervention, you can even resurrect a fallen Sim from the digital grave. But beware: If you use too many Karma Powers in a day, they might actually backfire on you.

click to enlargeOtherwise, everything about The Sims 3 remains the same - creating a Sim from scratch, taking care of a household, satisfying the Sim's needs, climbing up the ladder in a career path, and completing Lifetime Wishes and challenges for special unlockables in the challenge store. Faster, enhanced graphics allow for smoother modeling, wind through the trees and bushes, the ability to walk around town, and elevation modification for installing pools and other outdoor structures.

The only other minor addition is integrated online exchanges for selecting various clothing options. With the ability to customize and upload apparel online, you can rate pieces and see which of them are the most popular. You can also upload and download furnishings, houses, and other Sims.

Other than that, did I mention this is finally going to be on the console? I mean, that's why you've read this article to the end, right? The only damper on the excitement, though, is that no DLC has been announced so far, which is a conservative approach given that they just announced The Sims 3 Nightlife for the PC. One step at a time, I suppose, but it's a step they should take, else we shall curse them with our Karma Powers and make them pee all over the EA campus. Check for The Sims 3 to hit consoles October 26, 2010.

More GR previews for this game:
The Sims 3 preview posted on 07/21/10.
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