The Sims 3 Hands-on Preview

Written by Joe Martin

May 18, 2009 | 08:05

Tags: #expansion-pack #hands-on #preview #sims #the-sims-3 #will-wright

Companies: #ea #maxis

Townie Sims

The town in The Sims 3 isn’t like it was in past games, where you had to call a taxi, sit through a loading scene and then be dumped on a small city block. In The Sims 3 the world is utterly open and your sims can wander freely wherever they like.

Want to pop down to the bookstore and buy a present for Miriam? No problem. Want to follow the paperboy on his route just to see if he gets nervous and tries to break away, like Elaine did? Fine, but don’t tell Jack Thompson that’s what you’re using the game for.

The fact that the world is so open creates some new challenges for your Sims too, as you have to delicately weigh the amount of time it’ll take to do anything to an even greater extent. When we said in the introduction that The Sims 3 is a micro-manager's paradise, we weren’t joking. If you want to get anywhere in The Sims then you need to attend to each and every detail of your sims mood and needs while still making sure they have enough time to get to art class.

*The Sims 3 Hands-on Preview Guybrush gets a job!
Click to enlarge, if you really want to

Luckily, because the game is structured into a proper week, managing that aim is much easier than it was before. You can have your sim do their job during the week and then keep the studying and partying for the weekend, just like you should do (but probably don’t if you’re any fun at all) in your real life.

Occupations are another area of the game that have been expanded upon in The Sims 3, with players now able to customise how they work to a fairly high level. There are still the same general professions – Medical, Business, Law Enforcement and even Journalism to name a few – but each one now has multiple paths and careers within it. Your Law Enforcement sim might be heavily into athletics and handiness skills, pushing them into the role of a detective, or they might specialise in Forensics due to a love of logic. Each will bring different hours, pay and benefits and it’s up to you which you want to do.

In addition to choosing different paths you can also choose how your Sim will work by tweaking their attitude and actions throughout the day. You don’t actually get to control your Sim as they work, which is both disappointing and a huge relief (as it would inevitably be some repetitive mini-game), but you can nominate certain behaviours. The options include sucking up to the boss, meeting new co-workers, working hard, staying for overtime and a good five or six more. Again though, it’s a balancing act and it’s easy to get overstressed or fired for not working hard enough.

*The Sims 3 Hands-on Preview Guybrush gets a job!
Unlike previous games Sims 3 is set in an open world

Luckily though, getting overworked or underappreciated wasn’t a huge worry for Guybrush and Elaine as it was a Saturday and the pair had gone to the bookshop to get a gift, not yet realising they had spent all their money on a cocktail bar. They had not a care in the world, as the perused the skill-enhancing books on offer and a variety of recipes they could take home and make dishes based on.

As soon as the Threepwood family realised that their financial situation was shakier than a drunken ant on top of jelly mountain though, things changed. They had started the game with enough food to last a few days, but were now in a situation where they couldn’t afford basic groceries, though on the plus side they were having to walk everywhere and Guyrbush was losing a lot of weight through the diet/exercise combo. The fact that sims can now gain and lose weight realistically does have advantages occasionally.

Lacking any cheat codes to fall back on, the Threepwoods checked the newspapers and both got jobs; Elaine at the police station, Guybrush as a journalist, funnily enough. Well, strictly Guybrush was a paperboy, but we all have to start somewhere, don’t we? Unfortunately though, the stage of the game where we were having to go to work on top of the regular daily rituals was also the point where our enamour for the game started to fade and the gloss rubbed off to reveal the tedium underneath...
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