Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Sims 2 vs The Sims 3 (Part I)

           So, it seems that The Sims 3 series has finally come to an end, as I don't see the Store team bringing any substantial game play innovations. Well, maybe they'll still manage to break something else with one more small insignificant patch, actually it will not be surprising at all. Anyway I wanted to somehow sum up both iterations from my player's perspective, after all this topic was and still is debated and it will help me to make up my mind about the upcoming The Sims 4. Since there will be no more expansions or stuff packs it is safe to compare both. 
             I've witnessed  the advertizing of both and bought The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 base games as soon as they appeared on the market and I must say that leaving aside the unfortunate the Sims 2 trailer which turned nothing like the game actually was the whole the Sims 3 marketing companion was highly untruthful and over-hyped. Does anyone remember how many times producers tooted impressive AI and "tons of impressive trait specific new interactions" giving "Steal the candy from a baby" as an example? Well, turned out there are only several really unique ones, the rest is marketing fluff and text. Moreover the Sims 2 base game was much more stable then the Sims 3 one from the get go. I've never seen so many patches for an offline game before in my life, furthermore I've never seen so may patches that break previous patches once again or take away game functionality (for example reclaiming items from the junkyard).
          Create-A-Sim: As for me, from the point of view of genetics, sim's character and face sculpting in the Sims 2 is better - the genetics actually work, you can see the traits of the parents in the children and grandchildren, character points paired with aspirations add consistency and make it possible to create sims with diverse and distinct personalities, enabling attractions. On the other hand traits in the Sims 3 seem superficial and shallow, you really cannot fully describe a personality with something like "Loves to swim" or "Loves Cold", sims can't be compared using some sort of similar parameters hence attraction system is awful. As a result you get a bunch of sims, that act and react absolutely the same. Face sculpting tools, default textures and templates have their drawbacks and strong points in both games.
         Skin sliders and advance bodysculpting are definitely a selling points of the Sims 3. Not to forget the awesome CAST, that enabled countless haircolours and clothing items recolours without resorting to external programs. On the other hand CAST slowed the game down considerably and ruined genetics, clothing textured look flat and shiny due to lack of small details and shadowing. Thanks to general art style and better animations the Sims 2 sims overall seem more believable, I tend to sympathize and remember them, while the Sims 3 sims, even with better customization and different body shapes seem disposable dummies.

         Neighbourhood and World Creation: In game town editor is better in the Sims 2, though it doesn't let you to change terrain without cheats it doesn't break the save when used. If you add or move too many lots in the Sims 3 you'll eventually break the routing, making the save unstable.
       I am not afraid of CAW and love it dearly in spite of it's flaws and bugs, so for me neighbourhood creation and environment visuals are definitely better in the Sims 3. In fact it's the only reason I still play it. I just love to come up with an idea, create a world with some character and watch how sims inhabit it and progress. Well, the last part is almost impossible with in game Story Progression, but I'll get to it in Gameplay abstract in the next part of my review.


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