Title: The Sims 3: Supernatural
Alternate Title: The Sims 3: Expansion Pack #7
Developed By: The Sims Studio
Published By: Electronic Arts
Console: PC / Mac
Classification (AU): This title has been classified as M for Sexual References and Supernatural Themes
Review Conditions: PC Edition, All Major Expansion Packs Installed, No Stuff Packs Installed
Special Thanks: Electronic Arts Australia for providing me with a copy of this title for review.
While I have subtly dropped hints now and then about it, I can happily say that I am an avid player of the Sims franchise dating back to when Sims 1 first launched in February 2000. Each of the three major installments in the series have brought something new, and I feel the key feature in the latest games which has been working in the favor of Electronic Arts et al. is the whole town/community integration. While core games have always been well received by me, in any set expansion packs have been pretty much hit or miss… with several of them containing interesting concepts such as The Sims 2: University and The Sims 3: Late Night which have been built around a community/social element to those containing features which provided nothing but an aesthetic change (The Sims 2: Seasons) or could have been so much better (The Sims 2: Bon Voyage).
When it comes to “Magic” in any Sims game, it has generally been an indicator that they are at the end of the current generation of games and are willing to let you break the game ever so slightly without the use of cheats. The Sims: Makin’ Magic and The Sims 2: Apartment Life both featured the inclusion of magic and both were solid expansion packs. The Sims 3: Supernatural is of course not the final game in this generation, but granted how they have set things up, they have gone outside the box and beyond to produce an installment which overshadows both, with the inclusion of not only Witches but fairies, zombies and werewolves along with the utilization of previously released types.
As I mentioned above, the game allows you to create Sims with three new states and all with special pros and cons – Witches which can cast magic, ride broomsticks and so forth, Werewolves which following the lunar cycle can transform into hairier beasts with enhanced hunting capabilities and fairies which have unique objects, the unique ability to fly and generate positive auras for other nearby Sims. Each of these three states were well implemented for most ages (Toddlers and Children still get toned down capabilities). Keeping with the Supernatural theme you are provided the ability to choose what your Sim is through CAS for the first time in any game, meaning if you want your character to start out as a Ghost who died from transmogrification you are able to do so. There are some limits to this however with not all types available for selection, but the primarily playable character classes are there.
Many things in this game including werewolf transformations and zombie outbreaks are timed via a Lunar Cycle, and upon the full moon many different events can happen around your town. The biggest being zombie outbreaks, prove to be more trouble than they are worth. Zombie outbreaks are initially fun and the game provides you with several different ways of dealing with them – from casting a Sunlight Charm to brewing a remedy through the games new (and rather diverse) alchemy system or succumbing to the bite of a zombie yourself. Unfortunately I found the novelty ran short fast, and given some bug seemed to eventually produce them everywhere my Sims went… it proved tedious.
Check out a trailer for the game!
The Sims 3: Supernatural features a nice collection of new objects, hairstyles and clothing options for your Sims, several of which go well with the new supernatural elements to the game. The game also comes with a small collection of new lifetime rewards, new skills to master for each character type / alchemy and a single new career “Fortune Teller”, which unlike many of the games career rabbit holes is possible to plonk down on any park lot and work at, taking up minimal space in your town. There are a couple of new lot types included with this release, an Alchemy Store which is self-explanatory and a Supernatural Hangout which in my case always seemed to be filled with normal Sims.
Surprisingly, out of all the expansion packs I have installed this proved to be the least problematic to install, with no random crashing from a sizable library of custom content. However there were some notable bugs the moment I began playing which served to hinder more than be a game breaker. In my case, it was Sims going behind walls into areas not accessible to Sims (At least one Sim in every apartment block I had Sims living in). Other than that most of the time I was faced with the random bugs you generally get used to while playing The Sims 3, zombies appearing in mass numbers during daylight, the odd crashes and so forth. Of course those bugs do suck, but in my experience there was nothing much to build upon that which was pre-existing.
Honestly, if you are not into the Sims franchise and have skipped the last couple of expansions, this is not a title that will win you over. But for those of you who have most of the expansion packs and are pondering of whether or not to pick The Sims 3: Supernatural up… I could recommend it. The pack is in my opinion the strongest expansion pack for this generation of Sims games, offering plenty of content to do with your Sims as a family and the community as a whole. At the very least if you want to populate your graveyard with ghosts you don’t have to starve your Sims or follow one of the many infamous “Pool” methods.
Personal Opinion: B
Overall Score: B