So recently, EA offered to sponsor a trip to their headquarters in Redwood Shores to get an early preview of the third expansion pack for The Sims 4…City Living! I gladly accepted and got to play the game alongside many YouTubers, Twitch streamers, and fansites, and also listen to a handful of different presentations from the producers, giving insight into the production process.
Disclaimer: Even though this trip was paid for by EA, these are 100% my honest thoughts and opinions.
There is SO much to talk about; just doing a video simply wasn’t enough. I took pages of notes to make sure I could get as much information across as possible!
Food. Fashion. Art. Money. These were the four things kept in mind when the team was designing this new world. They took a look back at Late Night for The Sims 3 and wanted to create something even better, and in my opinion they definitely did. I’m very impressed with how immersive this world is. I think Windenburg from Get Together is fantastic, but I love San Myshuno even more just from two days of playing. I spent more time than I thought I would just looking at the backdrops because they’re so detailed. As you may have already seen in my First Impressions video, they even went to the lengths of making a legitimate traffic system for the cars driving in the background.
Each district feels very unique compared to the others. My favourites are the Spice Market for its more run-down look, which I think Sims 4 needs more of, as well as Uptown which has impressive views where you can even see the rest of the districts down below. I love the continuity in design between neighborhoods in each world, and that’s something I really hope to continue seeing in the future.
There are three new careers in City Living: Political, Social Media, and Critic, each with two branches. What’s really interesting is that they’re all a hybrid between the base game careers and Get To Work’s active ones. While I’d still like to see a few more active careers (Military and Interior Designer please!), these are an interesting compromise.
The Political career is based around choosing a cause to stand for, including Speak for the Trees, Foundation for Less Mischief, and Simoleans for Everyone. You can change your cause later; you’re not stuck with just one permanently. The two branches are Politician and Charity Organizer. You can use the new podium object to start protests. You can also join protests initiated by NPCs, even if your current sim isn’t employed in the Political career.
Social Media is easily the one I can relate most to. It makes good use of the social networking features from the Charisma skill that has been around since the game launched. They are instrumental for getting promotions. The two branches are Internet Personality and Public Relations. In this career your sim can perform a “Check In” interaction through their phone while at venues. It’s much like how you can do that with some apps in real life. You can even do angry rants on the computer, just be careful because it could cost you followers!
The Critic career I didn’t get far into sadly. The two branches are Arts Critic and Food Critic. You can go out into San Myshuno to sample food or art. Apparently critiquing food even works with Dine Out restaurants, though I didn’t get to try that out myself.
You can also make a “career” out of busking, and selling arts and crafts with the new crafts table and wall. With the latter, you can basically have a yard sale at your home!
One of my favourite things about this EP is the new alarm system, which is exclusive to the new careers. One hour before work, you get a text notification (similar to the ones we started getting with Get Together) alerting you that your sim needs to go to work, and then offers you three choices: Go To Work (like a normal career), Work From Home, and Take PTO (Paid Time Off). If you decide to work from home, you get some assignments that feel similar to tasks in active careers. For example, as a Critic one of the assignments I had was to paint a mural. It feels weird playing the game without this system, as sometimes I’m so preoccupied with other tasks that I forget my other sims need to go to work soon. Hopefully in the future they can make it work with all the other careers in the game.
Make no mistake; these are very different from the seasonal festivals in Sims 3 Seasons. The festivals in City Living were made to represent the cultural aspects of the game. The festival types are Humour & Hijinks, GeekCon, Romance, Flea Market, and Spice. There are 2-3 festivals per sim week, chosen at random. Not sure when and where they take place? Not to worry, the developers have made it very easy to find out. If you live in an apartment, there’s a bulletin board in the main hallway that you can read to get a popup with detailed info including the lot it’s taking place at, the time it starts and ends, what activities are part of the festival, and a button to take you straight there if it’s currently taking place. There are also signs around the city that glow around the edges when a festival is on. You can even place them in the other worlds, which I’ll most certainly do, and they still function the same as they would in San Myshuno. You also get a TNS notification (the notification system in the top right corner) when the festival starts. You can see the festivals happening from your window if you happen to live in the same neighbourhood as the festival, which is pretty neat. The objects gradually fade in and out as the festival starts and ends.
I only had enough time to play with Humour & Hijinks and Romance. Humour & Hijinks is my favourite of the two. It involves drinking light or dark tea from a fountain resembling the one from Luxury Party Stuff to choose your team. Drink the light tea to join the Jokesters. Drink the dark tea to join the Pranksters. Depending on the side you choose, you need to perform funny or mischievous interactions to earn points for your team. At the end, one is declared the winner and you win prizes if you’re on the winning side. My sim joined the Pranksters and ended up winning! She got 500 simoleans, fireworks, a voodoo doll, and the Power of the Jokesters moodlet.
While I’m disappointed that we can’t build our own apartments in other worlds, the ones we do get in San Myshuno are immersive and fit into the world pretty well. It’s great that you can put multiple households in one building, and that you can even give your neighbours keys so they can visit you at any time. Those neighbours could be noisy though, and you can knock on their door to ask them to turn it down. It is a two-way street though, so don’t be loud yourself! While practicing singing at the microphone at 5 am, I got a notification from my neighbour telling me to be quiet. I made my sim continue singing anyway, and I got another notification from them putting me down for being inconsiderate and said that they’ll never forget it.
Giving lots traits is a cool idea that hasn’t been done before and really helps lots stand out even more. You can even apply lot traits to residential lots and venues outside San Myshuno. My personal favourite is Quake Zone, where earthquakes of varying intensity can occur, shaking the screen and giving sims a negative Tremor Terror moodlet. While playing the game I was sitting beside Vixella, and both of us experienced very powerful quakes. It was pretty crazy! I almost thought the camera was glitching out at first.
There’s one new aspiration: City Native, which is in its own Location category. Time will tell if we get more aspirations for that category later. The aspiration is a great guide to taking you through a lot of the new content in this EP. At the beginning, I had to introduce my sim to sims in different neighbourhoods, give an apartment key to a friend, and order food from food stalls.
The two new traits are Vegetarian and Unflirty. If Vegetarian sims eat meat, they can almost instantly get Very Sad with negative moodlets such as Violating Principles and Tainted With Meat. Luckily, foods labeled as vegetarian-safe are labeled by the in-game UI as such. Unflirty sims get different flavours of the normal flirt interactions. In addition, if you try to flirt with an Unflirty sim, you’ll get a moodlet letting you know that sim is Unflirty. There’s also a hidden Spice Hound trait that you can unlock.
Singing skill is the one new full skill in City Living, and it’s pretty fun. You’re not limited to singing at the karaoke machines. You can click on your sim to initiate a singing interaction. They can even sing sitting down! I took one of my sims to a restaurant (all the current packs were installed on the computer I played on, there are no restaurants coming with City Living) and literally had her sing for her supper while sitting at a booth. Okay, well, it didn’t replace actually ordering food from the menu. It was still funny though.
There are many solos and duets you can sing at the karaoke machine. Apparently there are “Rage Duets.” Never ran into those, but they sound hilarious!
There are also hidden skills! One for handling chopsticks, and one for spicy food tolerance, which are improved the more you do each. I welcome hidden skills with open arms!
Create A Sim:
The CAS assets in this pack focus on themes from different cultures to Indian to Asian, and it all looks wonderful. I’ve personally been really wanting Indian culture to be represented in Sims 4 and I’m quite happy with it. I love having more CAS items to play around with and create more interesting characters. Excited to see what I end up creating on that front!
Admittedly I didn’t spend a ton of time in Build mode, but I like what I saw. There’s many new objects of varying styles. Even the ones that look very themed by default also have more plain swatches. There’s one new park bench in particular that has a lot of both, and it’s so realistic looking. It may be my favourite bench in Sims 4 so far. Weird, I know. They’ve added a keyboard version of the piano which is most welcome. You can easily take it with you by placing it in your inventory. It can also be played automatically like a stereo. Surprisingly, your sims can just sit down without playing. Here you can see Babs eating grilled cheese at her keyboard, which was too amusing for me not to take a picture.
I also found billboards under the Roof Sculptures category. From what I recall, there were a few variations, and then each one had a TON of designs. I think there may have been 20 or so. I really want to see how I could fit some of them outside of San Myshuno!
I know a lot of you want to know more about elevators, and it was one of the first things I checked out. I have to be honest…I’m very disappointed with how they turned out. Not only are they only available in Build mode on penthouse lots, but they’re basically warp points. Your sim goes up to the elevator, and then they teleport down to the street. This really threw me off for a few seconds; I was wondering where my sim went. You can either choose Go Downstairs or the Travel option you can normally access on your sim’s phone. The teleporting saves a lot of time versus how they worked in Sims 3, but I think I’d rather have the slow realism than what we’re getting now. I made sure to let the SimGurus know I still want animated elevators that work like in the past games, so hopefully it’s not out of the question that we could still get them at some point in the future.
There are three new radio stations: Spop, World, and Talk Radio. The Spop sounds like Jpop. I listened to most of the songs in this station and I love them all! The World station draws influence from music of varying cultures. Talk Radio is quite unique, as it features sims bantering about politics. I always wondered what it would be like if the radio had a Simlish DJ between songs, and this is the closest thing to that so far. It’s quite an interesting addition. No Hip Hop station. Hopefully in a future pack?
There are two new collections in City Living: Snow Globes, and City Posters. Snow globes can be bought from festivals or found in random boxes on the street. They all have nice animations with them. For example, I found a rare snow globe featuring the dinosaur from Oasis Springs that features meteors crashing down around it. City posters can be found on the back of lockers around San Myshuno. A bit random, but the art is pretty neat. I can tell the art team had a lot of fun making these as well as all the paintings in Build mode.
Kids can sing karaoke, and it’s super adorable. They don’t have the Singing skill; singing builds their Creativity skill instead. I’m so happy that despite EP3 not being a Generations-style pack, the kids are not being left out. They can use the basketball court, video game console, bubble blower, and they have cute animations with the sparklers. Oh, and they get nice new clothes too!
There’s a lot of other stuff in this EP I couldn’t find into the other categories!
-New red skintone in Create A Sim!
-The world select icon for San Myshuno is gorgeous! My favourite so far.
-Three new TV stations: Civic Public Access, World Culture, and PolitiSim.
-27 new recipes, all of which can be added to Dine Out restaurants!
-New Death By Pufferfish. (Check out Rory Plays The Sims’ video to see it in action! https://youtu.be/8-R1UYWS3l8)
-Two versions of the game console: Cheap and boxy, and a high-end one that reminds me of external hard drives.
-Fireworks can be ordered from the computer, not just at swag stands
-There are produce stands, where you can buy fruit and vegetables from
-Eating curry improves basketball performance
-When festivals are not on, there are signs that can be read that have amusing text including a “Simphara” ad. Really enhances the fiction of the world!
-Seagulls, pigeons, and rats can all be seen as visual effects around the city
-No secret lots in San Myshuno
Overall while there are a couple of major problems I have with City Living, I still find it a much better expansion pack than Get To Work and Get Together. There’s plenty of content I’ll use often. It really refreshes the game and pushes it a step forward. It feels weird playing without San Myshuno and the alarm system especially. I’m more eager than ever to see where The Sims 4 will go from here. City Living releases November 1 in North America, and November 3 for the rest of the world. Can’t wait to have this expansion in my game again!
Once again, thank you to EA and Maxis for having me. It was surreal getting to meet you all, talk to you, and give lots of feedback. Dreams do come true after all!
This trip was #SponsoredbyEA