I can’t remember exactly when I heard about The Sims 4, but what I do know is that I have been waiting rather impatiently for its release for months. With my birthday coming up next week, I begged my mother to buy it for me and she did. Ripping the plastic off, I thought about how The Sims 3 had offered so many great things and proved to be a wonderful upgrade to the previous instalments. All of these months I have been wondering how they could have possibly made The Sims any better. Well, the short answer is, they didn’t.

I won’t lie, there are some great things that have been introduced in the sequel. The creation process is not only easier but also way more realistic. The drag option for your Sim’s appearance cuts creation time in half, and finally being able to give my Sim some junk in her trunk was a huge plus. An added bonus is the changes you can now make to their personalities. The Sims 4 provides a great new way to create your visualized Sim, and after all these months of dreaming up the perfect character, the sequel makes it really fun and easy to bring that dream to life.

The Build mode is also much easier now, with the added option of searching for items by name. You also have the option to make the game decorate a room for you without doing any work or hunting for the perfect item in the menu. I’m glad they kept things pretty much the same in terms of hunting for an item, because I didn’t want to have to learn a whole new system. It’s bad enough that I have to sift through 30 different kinds of ceiling lights for my bathroom.

Another upgrade is the range of emotions the new Sims are capable of feeling coupled with their being able to multitask. I can finally watch TV as my husband dares to talk to me.

As fancy as these upgrades are, the negatives unfortunately outweigh the positives. One of the biggest blows to the Sims community was that The Sims 4 omitted pools (not that big a deal for me since I can’t swim in real life so I never made my character swim in the game), vehicles, and toddlers. Being able to teach your toddler to walk, talk, read, and better their skills was one of the best parts of The Sims 3, but a Sims rep said in a YouTube video that in order to make room for all the new stuff, they had to get rid of a few things. Like the logic that followed a baby growing into a toddler instead of a full-blown nine-year-old.

I could almost live with that if it wasn’t for the ridiculous amount of loading screens between just about everything you do. In The Sims 3 I used to be able to follow my Sim to his job at the newspaper and listen to the journalists inside rushing to meet deadlines. In The Sims 4 my Sim disappears until the end of his shift and I can’t go with him. I also can’t walk across the street without being greeted first by the dreaded green diamond.

The Create-a-Sim menu also makes it much harder to create the Sim you want with their lack of empty trait slots. I used to be able to choose five and I’m now down to a measly three. Just terrible.

I went into The Sims 4 expecting some typical bugs. You know what bugs I’m talking about: the one where you go to cook eggs or pick up your toddler and your hand is forever stuck in an outward motion, leaving you with the option of ignoring it or recreating the entire household. Well, yeah, that happens. But the crashes happen, too, and that’s not what I was expecting. It’s bad enough that I can’t roam the city freely anymore, but when it’s accompanied by a crash, I am not impressed.

All in all, the game didn’t live up to my expectations. Whether I was expecting a heavenly sequel and thereby unfairly putting The Sims 4 on a pedestal or EA just didn’t deliver, I wish I hadn’t dropped the $79.99 on it.

MM 1/2