The Sims 3: Generations Review (PC)

Life, as they say, is a journey. A long, long journey, full of ups, downs, joys, sorrows and whatever other cliché you can think of. Thankfully, games like The Sims 3 allow you to skip all of the boring bits and get straight to the good stuff - dating, getting married, having kids... all whilst living out your ideal digital life. The Sims 3: Generations is the fourth major content expansion.

He's going to be popular with the ladies when he grows up...
Unlike past Sims 3 expansions, despite still having an overall 'theme', it's not all focused in one area. As we mentioned during the preview, the content is scattered through-out the different life-stages, with each one getting its own theme. We'll be up front - this expansion is unlikely to radically change your sim experience. Some of the additional content for the younger life stages is different and allows you to do more with them, but there's no new town to explore, or new styles of play to get to grips with (like nightlife for Late Night, or holidays/adventuring with World Adventures).

The main changes you're going to see are for the younger years. Imagination and Invention really kick in here, with Chemistry sets available for the kids to make use of their logic skills, and this also feeds into the teenage years where rebellion and pranks have been introduced. There's also options like after-school activities, boarding school, new costumes and a ton of items for kids to play with and interact with. New parties like slumber parties and cheeky house parties can also be thrown.

There's not a lot extra when it comes to the adult life - as the focus is on relationships and the basics are already there. Dating returns to The Sims¸ but these are little more than outings with a specific twist. You can have proper marriage ceremonies now, and Bachelor and Hen parties have been introduced into the game. There's also a new reputation element to help regulate your sims actions in conjunction with social norms. Fool around too much and people will notice. The old-people stage really only get the ability to reminisce and wave canes at people, which is fun too... I suppose.

The idea of 'memories' also features heavily. Significant actions get stored at a 'memory' in the scrap book (although the game's definition of 'significant' can sometimes be a tad loose - we honestly wouldn't have been surprised if there had been one for going to the toilet, or something). You can also take custom memories, and there the new camcorder feature that allows you to go into first person and record events. This ties into the later stages of life where you're old and you have nothing better to do than remember the good times.

There is plenty to explore here, but a lot of it is buried beneath the surface. Mid-life crises for adults, the new interactions that are woven into the standard elements... body hair for male sims. A lot of it will be easy to miss though, and some it - like dating, can still be skipped entirely because it has no significant bearing on how the game progresses. It's a shame there isn't a new town or city to go with it, one that's maybe suited to the new changes, as some context always helps new features blend in.

It's also hard to make a value judgement on this game. For the price they're asking for, the immediate payout isn't great. You'd have to settle down for the long-haul and make sure you experience each generation in order to get the full array of features available. It's slightly disappointing in some respects, but then the game is that little bit better with all these changes, so we guess you can't complain too much.

With each expansion, The Sims 3 experience becomes more and more complete. At the time of writing, a new 'stuff' pack and the Pets content expansion had already been announced. As we said, on its own Generations isn't going to do much for your experience, but in conjunction with everything else it just makes for a more interesting experience. The Sims 3 was always going to be a long term investment - and this is just one more step on the road.

Top Game Moment: The new booby traps are quite funny.

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By JPerry06 (SI Core) on Jun 20, 2011
i think i have sims 2 somewhere. I did enjoy the sims game as they are pretty simple, good bed and fridge and your sorted. Always nice to see updates for games though even if the changes are small.

I just got lost with all the different sim extra games like the pets and holidays one. i felt like i was playing pokemon and had to catch them all
By James_Day (SI Newbie) on Jun 20, 2011
Generations doesn't sound too hot.

As sad as it sounds, the simple fact that it adds spiral staircases is enough that I'll probably pick it up at somepoint.