Hands-on – The Sims: Medieval

Why hello there! Today I’ll be having a look at the newest installment of The Sims. This time, The Sims go back in time to the Dark Ages.

The Sims franchise comprises of a series of extremely addictive games such as The Sims 2 and the gazillion expansion packs that were released for it. But this time, the Sims jump back in time. In The Sims: Medieval you can literally build and expand an entire kingdom. Question now is if this version of The Sims is just as addictive as its predecessors which were set in a more modern time.

Personally, I don’t have much experience when it comes to simulation games such as The Sims. I only really played The Sims 2 for a couple of hours before I got bored because it resembled real life too much … And because of that it takes a whole lot of time to actually build something nice for your Sim. Hence, I can only deliver a basic look at The Sims: Medieval.

From what I understand, The Sims: Medieval differs from other Sims games because you have to build an entire kingdom from scratch rather than just a family. You control your king or queen and you get to create all kinds of characters, called ‘Hero Sims’ such a knight, a bard, a wizard, a priest or a spy.
 
Just like any other Sims game, The Sims Medieval has you controlling people during their everyday lives. They have basic needs that must be met, though The Sims Medieval has slimmed down this aspect to only two needs, hunger and energy. Thankfully, this means you no longer have to make sure your Sims are having fun or using the bathroom. The goofy sense of humor, Simlish, character creation, and home decorating are all here as well, but that’s just about where the similarities end.

In The Sims Medieval, you don’t have the ability to take control of any Sim in the world, which is a big change from previous Sims titles. Rather, you have a set of “Hero Sims” with very specific jobs that can only be controlled if they’re directly involved in the active quest. Even though this might seem limiting, my Sims play style has always been to focus on one Sim at a time, so I didn’t really feel that constrained by this element.Each Hero Sim can be quickly selected using pre-set parameters or created from scratch in the character creator. In addition to their looks, Hero Sims each have two traits and one fatal flaw, which have a big impact on how they behave in the world, and how much of a pain they’ll be for you to control. Sims affected by Gluttony are seemingly always hungry, and have to eat at least twice as much as Sims without this flaw. While this certainly adds to the challenge, it can get pretty tiresome. The other flaws that don’t have anything to do with eating or sleeping are much easier to manage.The traits and flaws don’t always introduce a new layer of challenge, though. Some of them are pretty funny and keep the game amusing in unexpected ways. Evil Sims will stop and laugh maniacally at random times, Unkept Sims will pass gass frequently and laugh after doing so, and Sims with Weak Constitutions will vomit all over the place.One of the coolest new features that really makes The Sims Medieval stand apart from its predecessors is the use of quests and kingdom ambitions. The ambitions are broad over-arching goals that range from simply building up your kingdom to seizing power in all neighboring territories. You satisfy the ambitions by completing a number of specific, smaller quests. You can pick and choose which quests to undertake, how you will approach them, and which Hero Sims will be involved. I really enjoyed this set-up as it gave me a satisfying amount of direction while still providing me with plenty of choices to make. The quests also enabled a bit of story to form, which helped defined my characters beyond their traits and flaws.

Although I had plenty of fun playing The Sims Medieval, it’s not without its flaws. Like all Sims games before it, The Sims Medieval suffers from Sims getting stuck walking in circles or screaming and stomping their feet when someone’s in their way. The camera can also become an issue at times. You have the option to “follow” your active Sim, which is really useful, but if you’re speeding along in super time, it might take some camera finagling to be able to see your Sim behind some of the scenery. I also encountered a glitch that forced me to abandon a quest, as the Sim I was supposed to get an item from got stuck in the forest. After speeding through a few days, hoping she would free herself, I finally gave up and moved on to another quest.

The Sims Medieval also seems to be pre-primed for expansion packs, as there are a number of areas your Sims visit, but you can’t actually see, much like going off to a job in the original Sims. The forest, village, and cave are all examples of this, and given EA’s affinity for expansion packs, I can’t help but wonder if this was deliberate. However, The Sims Medieval is a very expansive game and still feels like a complete package, unlike The Sims 2 and 3, both of which removed features that had already been available in the original game, only to release them later as expansions. 

People who are used to the older Sims games will have to adjust to this medieval world. As a new player you probably will enjoy the refreshing and beautiful way this game is developed. All objects and quests fit the heavily romanticized version of the medieval world.

Though, after this pleasant aquantance with The Sims: Medieval I can’t help but think that the real fans will appreciate this game less than the modern version, where they get a ‘realistic’ reflection of real life. The Sims: Medieval is more limited in this way, even though the game is well made and still as addictive as before ….

/Niels

Author: Niels Van Hellemont

Hi, my name is Niels and I'm a long time fan of movies, anime, comics, games and whatnot. Could say that I'm a bit of a fanatic when it comes to the above mentioned things. I'm currently studying for a Bachelor After Bachelor in Advanced Business Management - Human Resources Management.

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