A detailed life
It seems like forever since we last got a good expansion pack for the Sims 3 and Sims 3: Generations attempts to fill that void. On paper, the idea of adding more detail to your sims’ lives and giving them important life milestones sounds great but does it stack up as a stand-alone expansion?
The Sims 3: Generations enables you to create a deeper story for your sims than ever before. Each period in your sims’ life comes with a small selection of elements that influence his or her background story, making them feel more unique than you would see in the base game.
The expansion pack adds two new sliders in the Create a Sim mode, as well as two new personality traits. The first new slider in the Create a Sim mode is a body hair slider to add hair to various parts of your sims’ body. The second is an individual age slider that allows you to set the exact age of your sim. A sim with the ‘Rebellious’ trait is prone to pulling pranks like doorbell ditching, making the toilet explode and even adding hair dye to a sibling’s shampoo. Having the ‘Nurturing’ trait makes your sim a shoo-in for bringing up kids and dishing out punishments such as timeouts, groundings and banning video games. The new traits are very life-like and a lot of fun to watch.
The different age ranges each have a specific theme that I am sure every player can relate to. The main themes for children are ‘imagination’ and ‘make-believe’ and both offer new objects and interactions that have a profound impact on how life-like kids feel in the game. Gone is the generic Sims 3 kid that didn’t do much else than just going to school, coming home and doing homework. They now have dress-up boxes with animal and fairytale inspired costumes, play make-believe and have imaginary friends that will keep them company and - occasionally - even do their chores. Children have the option to attend school dances, go to ballet class, join the scouts, go on field trips and hold slumber parties. Children can also attend one of five specialist boarding schools: Military, Sports, Art, Hippie and Posh Prep.
The teenagers’ age range has expanded the most and has the two most intriguing themes: rebellion and chaos. Teens can pull pranks, set up booby traps, tell ghost stories and throw house parties that will make mum and dad pale in disgust. Generations also brings dating back to The Sims 3, including the ultimate date, the school prom. Just like children, teenagers can attend specialist boarding schools and engage in after-school activities such as joining a sports team, participate in a drama club, be on the debate team or play in the school band. With the help of their parents, teenagers can even learn to drive. Sounds cliché but it is fun to play out.
Adults and young adults crave relationships, aspire to marry and have children. To this extend, the ‘woohoo option’ has been expanded to other locations such as the shower and the tree house. You can even throw your sim a bachelor/bachelorette party before heading off to an all new in-depth wedding ceremony, only to lose risk divorce by the time the mid-life crisis comes lurking around the corner. Life in Generations seems to stop after the mid-life crisis though. Elderly sims grow old, reminiscing on the past and watching their grandchildren grow up. That’s it.
Copy / Paste
One of the more intriguing new additions is the cloning coupon. This coupon can be redeemed at the science facility to receive a cloned child identical to the parent. In effect, if you have a perfect sim you can relive their lives over and over again. Not my idea of fun but perhaps some players will make use of it.
Your sims’ memories can now be tracked in a scrap book in-game and online. There’s a decent sized variety of new objects such as lava lamps, sleeping bags, video camera, shampoo, bunk beds, strollers and more.
With Generations, EA fixes the long standing flaw of not having enough diversity between sims. The expansion offers a wide range of life-like choices for each period in your sims’ life. It is disappointing that the elder sims are left in limbo, especially since it’s not that difficult to make that age interesting. A retirement home where your sims can live out their last days interacting with other old folks could lead to some hilarious moments.
To answer my original question: as a stand-alone expansion, The Sims 3: Generations leaves much to be desired. After playing it, I found myself wondering what is keeping EA from releasing the Pets, University and Open For Business expansions and that’s never a good thing.
Adds a lot of diversity and fun to the lives of your sims
Doesn't add enough to warrant a stand-alone expansion