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The Sims 3 Supernatural Review

Nick_Tan By:
GENRE Simulation 
T Contains Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Come in and sit a spell.

This may surprise you, but I've always been a console Sims player. Blasphemy, I know. From The Sims and The Sims 2 on PS2 to The Sims 3 and The Sims 3 Pets on Xbox 360, I coped with the D-pad and analog stick controls in my bumbling bubble of bliss. Then The Sims 3 Supernatural for PC came through our mailbox and, as I kept glancing at it from a distance, it gradually gnawed into my unconscious like a psychic vampire until it convinced me to turn. I am now a PC bloodsucker.

The Sims 3 Supernatural expansion pack revolves around the eerie town of Moonlight Falls, a clearly open-minded suburb where werewolves, vampires, witches, fairies, and regular Sims mingle together like an extended community of Addams Families. Of course, you're not forced to start a new game in Moonlight Falls to rein in the new supernatural forces, but the preset town does already incorporate some of the added community lots like an elixir store and a supernatural hangout. The expansion pack also allows you to create a supernatural racial type from the Create A Sim editor, so that you don't have to convince a vampire to bite you or commit suicide to become a ghost.

As you might suspect, nearly all of the supernatural Sims have extraordinary powers and magical abilities so useful that they make regular Sims seem almost boring and obsolete. Humans, jealous or not, are merely living on a higher difficulty setting. Fairies have wings for faster movement, a repertoire of tricks and pranks, area-of-effect Auras that can increase skill-building and reduce stress, and an inborn knack for artistic skills and gardening. As long as they're not under the effects of a full moon, werewolves can transform into hairy lycanthropic beasts at will, who can travel quickly on all fours, sniff out collectibles, and frighten every Sim in the neighborhood. Vampires, who appear more classically sinister than their Late Night counterparts, also have super speed and can psychically read a Sim's mind and force a Sim to think of them before snacking on succulent plasma.

Nothing speaks more to this difference in power than witches and wizards, who have a short but effective set of spells at their disposal. Starting with the ability to conjure apples to fill their hunger bar, they quickly learn how to convert them into random and sometimes valuable collectibles worth hundreds of Simoleans. Soon thereafter, they can cast fire and ice blasts, magically upgrade electronics within a fraction of the time it would normally take, and enchant themselves with charms for good luck, love, and instant fills for hunger, bladder, and hygiene. That's not even mentioning the curses for toadification, pestilence, and ghost hauntings.

If that wasn't enough, wizards also have a natural talent for the new skill of Alchemy. By gathering and gardening various ingredients, Sims can brew potions with magical effects that act like cheat menu shortcuts. If you manage your time well, you can effectively create enough Invigorating Elixirs to stay awake indefinitely or enough Skill Booster potions to max out each skill. At its highest level, Alchemy even allows you to change a Sim's supernatural type and personality. The more sinister player can throw potions and force a Sim to fall asleep, become severely depressed, or turn into a zombie.

Where this expansion stumbles, however, is the lunatic effect of the full moon in the title's new lunar system. Sometimes it leads to hilarious moments where a crowd of Sims acts insane, but it's mainly a nuisance. Anything you've assigned on the queue can be suddenly crossed out without warning, forcing you to do the command over again. Meanwhile, zombies rise out of the ground and attack your home and garden. Since the best outcome is merely surviving the night without any damage, it just feels like a waste of time. Perhaps if there was a challenge to save the town or smite the undead, it wouldn't be so tempting to turn the lunar system off.

I imagine that there must exist a cross-section of fangirls who love both The Sims and Twilight (and perhaps Sam and Dean Winchester), in which case I also imagine them squeeing in unison over The Sims 3 Supernatural. Luckily, the new, magically endowed racial types and the all-around additions to interactions, lifetime rewards, and purchasable items make the expansion pack worth it, though the $39.99 price tag is slightly steep considering that the base game is only $29.99 at the moment. Still, The Sims 3 Supernatural works its magic enough that all Sims 3 fans should be left spellbound.

Copy provided by publisher.
The Sims 3 Supernatural
  • Werewolves, fairies, and wizards
  • Improved ghosts and vampires
  • Alchemy skill
  • Many new assets
  • Makes regular Sims rather boring
  • Full moon effect interrupts gameplay, has no rewarding upside
  • A bit pricey
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