by Chris Priestman
reviewed on PC
Hear Ye, Hear Ye
The ever-popular series of games, The Sims, finds itself in a completely different setting than its usual white-picket fence neighbourhood in this latest iteration. The Sims Medieval is a fantasy world inhabited by goblins, monsters, kings and knights. Rather than play a life not so dissimilar to your own, you can now play as The Watcher for a bunch of Sims from a more adventurous age. Along with the change in setting comes another alteration that affects the gameplay. The traditional focus of the game is shared with an RPG style of gameplay complete with quests, character traits and experience levels. Are fans of The Sims being bestowed with a gratifying vicissitude, or has that core experience been lost under all the medieval lore?
The Grass Is Always Greener
It is an odd choice to cross a life simulator with elements taken from an RPG, but it was one that may entice those players not so enthralled by the daily life micro-management of the typical Sims composition. The prospect of a full fantasy realm in a medieval universe is certainly an inviting change for the series, and yet The Sims Medieval falls short of being the alluring world it promises. The game teeters in a state of limbo, neither being an RPG or life simulator, and thus edging dangerously close to alienating fans of both genre types.
Long time players of The Sims will no doubt be grateful for the slight switch around in gameplay, which is thankfully explained to you in a lengthy tutorial. However, soon after finishing the tutorial you find yourself being given tasks that you cannot quite work out how to complete. It will not be long until you question how much attention you actually paid to the tutorial. You need not though, as it the game that somehow does not make clear how to perform some of the vital processes you need to know in the actual game.
Once you have got past this initial teething problem though, The Sims Medieval starts to open up a little. The main aim of the game is to build a kingdom and manage it in the way you see fit. You will take on a number of quests that give you back Renown Points (RP), how many depends on how well you completed the quest. You can then spend RP on extra buildings that will need an inhabitant which will be one of the nine types of hero (playable Sims); a priest for the monastery, a knight for the barracks, a bard for the tavern and so on. Having more buildings will increase the capacity for security, culture, well being and knowledge; and it is your job to make sure these variables are tended to by selecting quests that will improve the ones that need it. For instance, if security is running low a quest might appear that will result in the slaying of a band of goblins, which will in turn increase the security of the kingdom. With more heroes come different solutions to completing quests that affect what variable is increased or decreased on completion. Making the decision to construct the right building, choose the most beneficial quest and using the right Sim to do it, is probably the most satisfying part of the game. It is the game’s lack of depth from hereon that lets it down overall.
Initially quite fun, overseeing your kingdom can be quite satisfying, medieval setting adds variation to the series.
Lacks depth, feels like half a game, very repetitive, not very engaging.