In previous console editions of The Sims, the series trademarked “play with life” formula was watered down with story modes that no one really wanted to play. With the Sims 3, the console editions have finally caught up with the PC counterparts. Or should that be the other way around? After all, The Sims 3 features new desire system that plays out like a story line, much like the earlier console titles.

Regardless, The Sims 3 is simply a must buy for fans of the series without a decent enough PC. Featuring all of the original release’s amenities including a brilliant character creation mode and an addicting gameplay system, The Sims 3 console edition may not be perfect, but it is one hell of a good time.

In case you’ve been living under a rock — The Sims series can best be described as a “life simulator.” You design your characters, known as Sims (see how that works?), design their world and then play Deity and run – or destroy their lives. You’re tasks will range from the everyday mundane duties of taking out the trash and eating to major life accomplishments like getting married and of course – death. You’ll assist them in making friends, getting a job and even controlling their bladder – in short, living life.

What truly sets The Sims 3 apart from those that came before it is just how fluid the game is. In previous games you could move freely within your household and the immediate area surrounding it with little to no lag – but if you wanted to go anywhere like a business or a friend’s house that was a bit away you’d be greeted with a lengthy load screen that seriously took gamers out of the experience.  The world of The Sims 3 is one massive map – free of load screens and disruptions.

While this new mechanic may seem basic, it adds an incredible level of depth to the gameplay mechanics.  A major aspect of the franchise has always been creating relationships with other Sims. This used to be done by inviting other Sims over to your house or to do activities around your world. In the past, this involved making a call, inviting that sim and waiting. Sure, you can still do that in The Sims 3 but the beauty is that you don’t have to – you can just zoom out on your map, pick where you want to go (and occasionally invite someone) and you’re off.

The true brilliance of The Sims 3’s new open world is the added level of exploration it provides. Of course, the focus is still on your lot but for once – you don’t feel confined. You can walk around, check out the sights of the neighborhood, peruse a business or two or even introduce yourself to a new Sim or two (just don’t be surprised if they’re a little freaked out by a stranger approaching them).

These social interactions are made all the more entertaining by the incredible depth of the customization available in The Sims 3. As before, you’ll be able to choose your Sims appearance and personality traits, but in The Sims 3 there’s just so much more to do. You choose up to five personality traits for your sim that will greatly influence just how you play the game.  You can be everything from an easy-going, friendly free-spirit, to an excitable, neurotic and everything in between.  There’s a ton of different options here and they truly do have an effect on gameplay; for instance a more social sim will be happier interacting with others while a neurotic will be content making sure the dishes are clean over and over.

One key addition to The Sims franchise is the ability to set goals for specific characters. These goals can range from being successful to having a happy family life and anywhere in between. You’ll have to make choices (like going to the bookstore and reading up on hobbies and chosen careers) to work towards these goals. These goals are optional – but you’re going to want to obtain them if you want your sim to be happy. In a series that has taken some flak for having no real goals – these new goals add an entirely new level of gameplay to the franchise.

Your character’s appearance has also received an upgrade. Sliders are used to customize a sim’s height, weight and age and you’ll be able to customize your own clothing and accessories. To say the level of customization is deep would be an understatement – you can make 100 Sims and still not make any that look the same.  While this is impressive, it’s quite evident that the developers are holding some features for future expansion packs. If the game is so advanced, why do we lose the ability to live with Pets, take your Sims to College or to an island if we could do it in a previous game?

The Blast Factor: The Sims 3 is a fantastically deep yet incredibly accessible addition to an already accomplished series. From the robust creation engine to the customizable personality traits – there’s something for just about everyone here. While it won’t do much to change the minds of the series’ doubters, The Sims 3 is an incredible experience that combines its core gaming element with a strong sense of community to form an almost social networking medium.  Those looking for a game they can really dig in and devote some time to will need to look no further than The Sims 3.

About The Author

Joe Sinicki is Blast's Executive Editor. He has an unhealthy obsession with Back to the Future and wears cheese on his head. Follow him on Twitter @BrewCityJoe

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