The Sims 4 came out in 2014 and since then we’ve seen minor additions and three major expansion packs; Get To Work, Get Together and City Living. All of these expansions add to the Sims 4 experience, but City Living is the one we’ve been waiting for.
Any Sims fanatic can tell you that the expansions in a Sims game are just as, if not more important, than the base game itself. My favourite is still the Makin’ Magic expansion from the original Sims series purely because you could get baby pet dragons. That’s saying something because I have played every single major expansion in the history of the Sims. City Living may not have beaten Makin’ Magic as my all time favourite, but it’s everything the Sims 4 needed and more.
The Sims 4 was launched with a lot of controversy and a lot of criticism. A lot of content from previous Sims games was left out in order to showcase newer features. This left a lot of early adopters feeling as if they had been ripped off and I will admit that I had half a foot in that camp. Generally though, most of the complaints have been addressed. Pools were added in with a free download and finally (after two long years) toddlers have also been recently added.
My biggest problem with the base game of The Sims 4 was the lack of storylines and tiny townships. Sims 4 had much smaller townships that were half or even a quarter of the size of those in the previous games. With less space, real estate becomes a real problem and the Sims 4 managed this by reducing the amount of pre-made house and pre-made sims. I hated it, but I’m not so short sighted that I don’t understand why: shorter load times are a blessing, especially when you’re going from ten minutes to ten seconds. But the reduction of pre-made sims seriously changes the way you play, or at least, it did for me.
No longer could you take control of a pre-made sim and try to cover up his torrid affair. No longer could you become a goth, and try to prove to your parents that you could run the family business. No longer could you play through a modern version of Romeo and Juliet, letting the star crossed lovers get together, only to go to different universities, fall out of love, marry different people, and eventually have a fight about who’s fault it was at a neighbour’s barbecue. That wasn’t just me right?
You can imagine my happiness when I booted up City Living, and was presented with the ability to meddle in pre-made sims’ lives. City Living’s San Myshuno is a vibrant city with plenty of pre-made neighbours to bug and be bugged by. I have never been so happy to get a welcoming party to a new lot. Despite having approximately the same amount of lots as the other townships in Sims 4 (not enough) the fact that San Myshuno features apartments means that there are so many more spaces for sims to live. Expect neighbours to come over for a cup of sugar, and if your sim is a kleptomaniac, you could always just knock on your neighbour’s door and swipe something when they invite you in.
The hardest part about moving a new family into San Myshuno is trying to figure out where to settle down. City Living offers house attributes. Picking between a historic yet haunted house and a house that features gnomes and penny pixies is difficult. Other house attributes range from the horrible, such as loud neighbours and quake zones to the amusing, such as ley lines which give you a higher chance of having twins. Speaking of loud neighbours, living next to a couple is both a blessing and a curse. You have more people you can befriend for your careers, but you also have to spend time banging on the front door because of those “loud noises.”
Friends are important too, because City Living offers three new careers and all of them will require a high friend count. Social media, politics and critic all offer the usual new clothes, aspirations and top tier items. They also offer a brand new way to play your careers.
You won’t be following your sims to their job like in Get to Work, but you can have them stay home and control their actions. You will get a phone call before each shift and if you choose to stay home you are then given a list of jobs your sims are required to complete. These tasks will take your sim out into San Myshuno to collect money for a charity or peruse an art museum for fine (or not so fine) art. Or if you’re getting bored of it, feel free to go into work and let your sim do it themselves.
If you are struggling to meet your friendship quota, I’d suggest exploring San Myshuno. The township is split into four different areas; the Fashion District, the Arts Quarter, Uptown, and the Spice Market. These areas also host festivals. The first one I went to was the Humour and Hijinks festival. I was given a choice of teams and was then required to perform special festival actions in order to gain points for my team. I won a voodoo doll. There are a ton of different social areas, and even a Geek Con for those who want to make their virtual life just a little bit more like your real life.
As much as I have loved exploring San Myshuno, once you get back home to your apartment, one flaw really sticks out. By sticks out, I really mean it. It’s hard to see into your apartment when there’s another one next to yours blocking the view. It gets worse if anyone dares to build an apartment right next to yours. You’re left with a mediocre view down the length of your apartment and sometimes you just have to hope that your sims will go to the bathroom on their own. You sure can’t tell them to. It’s enough to have me pining for my own single story house in the middle of nowhere.
Along with an amazing neighbourhood full of things to do and new careers, City Living also gifts us a multicultural set of new clothes, as well as a raccoon costume for all your political needs. Taking from Indian and Japanese culture (as if the name San Myshuno didn’t hint at it already) you’re now able to wear a multitude of head wraps, sari, kimonos and the man bun.
There are a lot of other neat features that City Living brings. From talking toilets to fireworks, and dying from poorly prepared pufferfish, there’s a little something for everyone. Most of all though, City Living gives us a township full of life that’s easy and fun to explore. With new ways to do jobs and fun interactions with neighbours, this is one expansion any Sims lover should add to their collection.