I finally pinpointed the exact reason I can’t enjoy Sims 4
I’ve gone on and on about how I don’t like sims 4 because the gameplay is shallow, the sims all feel the same, it all feels rushed, it’s not as detailed, etc. Which yes, all of those are big contributing factors, but I found the specific reason.
With each stuff pack, game pack, and expansion pack, the world around them changes, but the Sims themselves never change.
With each pack we receive, we get anything from new furniture and interactive objects, new careers and skills, new traits, sometimes even new worlds. But what big changes ever happen to the sims? Sure, they can learn a new skill here and there. They can take on a new trait or lifetime wish, but they still largely feel the same every time. But if you look at Sims 2, so much about the sims changed with each expansion.
University - Added an entirely new lifestage that was completely different than any already in the game. But not only that, it added lifetime wishes. Now each sim could take on one big goal that they wanted to strive to complete in their lifetime. This was a big game changer for us as players in deciding how we wanted our sims to go about life. It also added the influence bar that opened up entirely new socialization options.
Nightlife - Added turn-ons and turn-offs so we could decide the types of sims that ours found attractive and clicked with more easily. This also made it more difficult to chat up townies.
Open for Business - Added talent badges, something totally new from the skill bars we were used to improving.
Pets, Seasons, and Bon Voyage didn’t add much in terms of changing the sims themselves, but I think they added enough solid gameplay that makes up for it.
Freetime - Added the hobby enthusiasm which will forever be one of my favorite gameplay features in any Sims game. It added so much varied gameplay to help make each sim feel unique because there were so many hobbies to choose from, so many ways to build enthusiasm for it, and so many perks unlocked. This also added the lifetime aspiration meter which was a measure of how happy of a life your sim had from the time they were born until the time they died. Unlike Sims 3 and Sims 4′s lifetime points that you spend for perks (of which every sim can unlock the same ones) this meter didn’t decrease by buying perks, so you could always tell where they were in life, and the perks were specific to which aspiration your sim was, which was another way that sims felt unique. For instance, popularity sims could buy a perk that let them make 3-way phone calls, and family sims could buy a perk that let them make grandma’s comfort soup that cured illnesses.
Apartment Life - Added the reputation system which was based on the way your sim interacted with the world and sims around them. For instance, if they were awful to the townies, their reputation would be poor and sims would gossip about you and not like you before even meeting you. It also added the social groups that, again, made each sim feel unique, and again, affect how certain sims viewed your sim. It made the social factor of the game much more realistic in that not everyone would love your sims immediately upon meeting them.
None of this even touches on anything else these expansions added outside of the sims themselves, and they added a hell of a lot. So the issue is that Sims 4 isn’t adding anything that fundamentally changes the Sims or how we play them. No matter how many traits or skills or careers or interactive objects they add, each sim will continue to feel exactly the same as every sim you made and played before them.
This is made worse by the fact that the traits are barely noticeable (I always forget what traits my sims even have), any sim can take on any lifetime wish at any point without any negative consequences, every sim can buy any of the lifetime rewards no matter what lifetime wish they’re working towards. Every sim is just an exact clone of each other.
The team needs to innovate. They need to evolve the game, not just throw more animations at us that we’ll watch once or twice and then be bored by. I mean how many times can you really watch your sims play basketball, or bake brownies before you crave something deeper?
Sorry for such a huge wall of text. If you made it this far, thanks for sticking through it. Would love to hear what you think.