Celeste Dobropolski On January 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm

The Sims 3 Seasons Expansion ScreenshotThe latest release from The Sims line-up of expansions, Sims 3: Seasons, is looking to rain on your parade. But don’t take that the wrong way. Your Sims can now experience rain, snow, heatstroke, and allergies. The additions featured in this expansion reach way beyond just seasonal changes, however.

While having different seasons within the game of Sims 3 seems like a minor detail, this expansion includes many features without forcing itself to the game’s forefront. The integration of this expansion in particular blows the others away in terms of how it makes the player feel it has been a core component of The Sims 3 from the very start. The most obvious addition is that of four seasons, along with environmental map changes. These changes, such as leaves, puddles, and snow, also offer interactions for Sims. Seasonal activities include one of the largest additions to the entire Sims series yet- the ability to swim in areas beyond swimming pools, including the ocean.

In terms of additional items, Sims receive not only new outfits, but also an entirely new section of their wardrobe designated for outerwear. The game includes many appealing options for winter hats, gloves, and coats. Outfits are also able to be changed with the seasons, so feel free to trade in your Sims’ umbrella for a snowsuit, or maybe even a mermaid swimsuit. New traits exist, allowing Sims to either love the heat or love the cold. Temperature effects also exist, so keep Sims away from extreme exposure to heat or cold. Sims can become ill or experience seasonal allergies, the latter thanks to wildflowers. A quick trip to the hospital will help patch up your Sim. Customization within this expansion even extends to the ability to change nearly every setting for seasons. Players can make seasons last anywhere from 3-28 days. Any season can also be removed from the rotation, even allowing for one season at all times. Types of precipitation, such as hail and snow, can also be turned off or on. Sims can individually control the weather by earning enough Lifetime Happiness points and purchasing a Clim-a-tron control unit.

Seasons include more time off for your Sims, introducing Leisure Day in the summer. During the rest of the year, there are plenty of holidays for Sims to enjoy, including virtual versions of real world holidays, such as Spooky Day and Love Day. Interactions during holidays are too numerous to list here, but they do a great job of supplementing depth to interpersonal relationships for Sims. There are also Festival Days, which allow Sims to participate in activities such as eating contests, skating, soccer, snowboarding, and more. These take place at the brand new Festival Lots, which feature an ample array of lot types to match with many different town and seasonal themes.

Quirkier additions include the ability for your Sim to be struck by lightning- which while hilarious, can potentially prove fatal- and the first ever inclusion of aliens within the Sims 3. Alien interactions can include conversations, abductions, male pregnancy, and even a part-time job of being an alien test subject. But perhaps the most unexpected introduction is that of the new blueprint build/buy mode. This mode allows the player to place lots and build houses much more quickly and efficiently than the more intricate modes that already exist. Features to customize these preloaded lots still allow for the player to unleash their creative side, but now they might not have to spend an hour building the house to get started.

While Seasons adds all of these excellent things, it’s really important to not overlook the greatest feature in this pack – the seasons. Simply including the background ambiance of changing seasons deepens and lends credibility to gameplay. A really bad day for a Sim can feel even worse if it has been raining all week. Celebrating with holiday items is even better when there is snow or fallen leaves all over town. This basic addition adds so much depth to the virtual realm, providing something that is not just solid as an accessory, but is integrated so well, you’ll think it has been a part of the game since the beginning.

Gameplay

While no new towns are added, plenty of features will help transform your existing towns and help them achieve their full Sims world potential.

Graphics

Standard Sims 3 graphics, but the weather related clothing and items look great, as well as the Festival lots.

Sound

Mostly the same as the core game, though a few pop and indie station songs have been added.

Overall

I can’t overstate how well seasons work within The Sims 3. All of the other extras work well and provide an excellent array of options to help enhance gameplay, even if not providing a handful of new careers or towns as in previous expansions.

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