It's an "inside" job.
As I wrote in my feature preview for the Get to Work expansion for The Sims 4, much of the effort from EA Maxis has been to redeem itself from its controversial launch. The continual free patches that have added pools, ghosts, two careers, and a Genealogy patch have removed some of the sting from the lack of an open world, create-a-style, an elevation build tool, and dishwashers. While Get to Work doesn't amend those particular missing features, it does give fans the introduction of aliens, three careers that require on-site participation, and the ability to open their own retail business. For the price tag and for what it is, these additions do the job and only a little more than that.
The three new careers—Doctor, Scientist, and Detective—may not seem that connected, but the Get to Work expansion argues otherwise. Not only do they all require a research lab at some point, but they also need your hands-on guidance and, ideally, your Sim's laser-eyed focus. Instead of opting to send your Sim to its imaginary job, only to return with money about eight hours later, you can direct your Sim and hopefully check off the many items on the list that will count toward the Sim's overall performance. By that, it's not far off from having a special in-game event during every one of your Sim's work days. But be careful, since your work shift will end promptly even if you're in the middle of something.
Somewhere between CSI and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the Detective career has your Sim climbing the ranks from a beat cop to a star detective who can gather clues, find criminals, and force them to confess. As a rookie, it's your menial job to file paperwork, fingerprint prisoners, and write citations to other Sims while on patrol. But once you are assigned to cases, you will need to piece together crime-scene photographs, DNA evidence from the research lab, and witness reports, getting a clearer and clearer description of the criminal before sending an APB and booking the fool who dared to spray graffiti on that poor woman's house.
None of the deductions are too difficult, a step below "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" mysteries, and you'll pretty much catch the criminal so long as you have enough clues on hand. The best part, though, is arresting the suspect and doing either the good cop or bad cop routine in the confession room. (One guess which part of the routine this fan of Detective Stabler likes the most.) The only issue is that this career requires a lot of environment changes and that means an equal amount of long loading times—once for heading to the station, another for the crime scene and one more back to the station, yet another for the APB and once more to the station, and then the last one for letting your tired feet rest at home. Yeesh…
Unfortunately, the Doctor career doesn't carry over many of same positives. Success as a physician means correctly assigning the right diagnosis for a patient before treatment. But no matter how many times you run standard tests, take X-ray scans, or have the patient run on the treadmill, it might not lead to a guaranteed diagnosis. So then you're left with a flip of the coin where picking wrong will lead to poor performance and possible demotion. It may actually be better just to leave patients with unidentified sicknesses on the hospital bed (you prick!) and silently stepping over to the next patient. In the meantime, there are numerous patients lining at the counter and you're seemingly the only doctor on staff. Even with the neat moments for surgery and emergency births, this is one career where I wouldn't blame you for opting out of direct control.
On the bright side, the Scientist career is incredibly rewarding and can be mostly be done on your own time. Taking place in a desert laboratory, your Sim needs to uncover breakthroughs by tinkering with machines and experimenting with chemicals at the science lab. Heck, you can even view statues and water plants in the garden for inspiration. With time, the Scientist can craft powerful serums not far from the potions in Alchemy from The Sims 3: Supernatural, and while some of them overlap with the existing potions in the Rewards Store, some improve fitness (Ox's Strength), fill all needs instantly (Need Fixer), and allow your Sim to befriend Death (Reaper's Friend). As a bonus, you can search the new handy Notebook built into your Sim's phone to look up the ingredients for recipes.
On top of that, Scientists essentially have a passive Invention skill, capable of crafting minor baubles at first before having the robot companion design an almost game-breaking cloning station, plus a wormhole generator that can lead to the alien world, Zixam. This otherworldly area, by the way, is gorgeous and filled with bioluminescent plant life and rare collectibles that can be spliced into your garden. On a related note, you can now create a Sim as an alien, who can wear a human meat sack as a guise or just walk around as an alien out in the open. (No one will really care.)
Retail businesses, however, remains the best of the expansion and, if you set it up properly, can lead to whopping amounts of Simoleans. So much so that you might not need another Career apart from unlocking objects. After selecting an existing store to take over—perhaps one from the new Magnolia Promenade—or creating a store from scratch, you can set pretty much put any item up for sale, open your business, and then watch as customers flood your store. Between restocking shelves, ringing up costumers, and giving your sales pitch to a select few, it's about managing another set of spinning plates on top of handling your Sim's existing needs. So it may be worth hiring employees to take some of the responsibilities off your shoulders, though they sometimes require more time if they slack off and require a good verbal spat.
I found that success, at least with my upscale store "Calibrations" (in recognition of everyone's favorite Turian), came with selling high-end items at double the initial purchase price. While a single sale might require an in-game hour of hassling a customer, earning anywhere from eight-thousand to fifteen-thousand smackaroos on one purchase of a rocketship, high-tech Schmapple Fridge, or virtuoso violin makes up for the relatively low costs of advertising and lethargic employees. From there, the difficulty curve only lessened when I earned perk points which can be redeemed for reduced time for restocking and selling. It comes to the point where my Sim can clock out of a nine-hour shift with a hundred-thousand extra dollars. At that point, there's no need to earn royalties or even type in "motherlode" as a cheat.
Get to Work also enhances the core game in several minor ways. The new Baking skill will let you make delicious pies, breads, and tarts, though having a third cooking-based skill feels superfluous. The Photography skill makes a comeback and gives you the ability to take selfies and open a photo studio, all while making it extremely easy to produce family photos and frame them on a wall. Along with the Doctor career, Sims can become sick which they can simply deal with or follow the standard cure of resting well, drinking orange juice, and having a cup of rejuvenating tea. Better yet, you can now add a third floor as well as two floors' worth of basements, which will be a free update regardless of your purchase of the expansion.
Despite several issues with the Doctor and Detective careers, Get to Work makes the case that The Sims 4 is now ready for a full purchase. This first expansion may be a tough sell at the moment given that it's asking for about two-thirds of the base game's price, but the Scientist, the retail business, and other minor additions will improve the experience for nearly all types of players for The Sims. Still, some of the core issues with The Sims 4 have yet to be addressed, so if that's preventing you from picking up the game, Get to Work won't change your mind. In the meantime, I'll be making millions at "Calibrations" for whatever future expansions The Sims 4 has in store.