Content of the article: "How the Sims 4 has removed all Sims personality (and why the Sims 2 had so much)"
Warning: this has been a procrastination rant which accidentally became a bit of an essay – sorry!
Tl;dr: They took Wants, the Attraction System and one-sided relationships out of the Sims 4 and I believe those are the primary things that have prevented Sims 4 Sims from having any meaningful personality.
I've recently been trying to work out why even though my Sims 4 Sims all have different traits and I try to play them differently, they generally feel incredibly similar. My generations seem to all play out the same – grow up, get married, have kids, reach the height of their career, die. This was nothing like my Sims 2 and 3 games, which would often have random deaths, affairs, chaotic career decisions, and generally tons of drama. I think the main thing that has changed between Sims 3 and Sims 4, and has massively hurt the game, is the removal of Wants.
Sure, you have Whims – but the default for Whims is to be turned off and I think that's because the Sims team knew how bland they are. You barely notice them unless you remember to regularly check what they are. It almost feels like they were so confident in the Emotions system driving the plot that they decided Wants were no longer needed. I don't think this has been the case, however.
Wants were absolutely key to any kind of organic drama in previous Sims games. Having your married Sim suddenly want to cheat on their spouse; having your teenage Sim decide that they want their first kiss with a certain person; or having your Sim very randomly decide that they wanted to become enemies with their sibling. All of these things very naturally drove the plot forward and honestly, not having them in the Sims 4 has really killed any drama that doesn't feel forced. If you want drama in your Sims 4 game you now have to just… do it. Taking a happily married Sim and making them cheat with some random person, despite them having no inclination to feels very random and almost unkind. One of the best parts of causing drama was that your Sims would want that drama to happen, and so when it went wrong it felt like they deserved it.
Another thing is the lack of any attraction system. This means that absolutely any Sim could get with any other Sim (provided they are the right age and aren't a relative), and it's entirely your own choice, based on you arbitrarily deciding you like the look of a random NPC. Your Sim isn't ever going to have a greater inclination to one Sim than another. Once again, it's entirely for the player.
And one last thing that is perhaps more to my personal taste, but I miss relationships having the chance to be one-sided. It feels like the Sims 2, which didn't link the relationship between two Sims, was much more realistic, and led to incredibly organic drama such as rejected proposals, one-sided crushes, and a lot more.
It feels like a lot of good things that lent a lot of personality and charm to Sims has been taken out of the game and replaced with each Sim having three incredibly bland traits which barely impact the game at all. And I think that's a shame because it makes playing for any time longer than a couple of (real-life) days a bit of a chore. Whenever I play, usually it's to try out the new features added – have a Sim become a doctor, or a celebrity, or something – but each generation might as well be the exact same Sims as the one before it for all their traits do to affect their personalities, and I find that to be the thing that keeps me from really enjoying playing with my Sims in the Sims 4 more than anything else.
- EA: “Make your own story!”
- Maybe a hot take, but I think requiring friends for career promotions was essential to game balance, and we lost a lot by losing it.
- I don’t want to give up on the Sims series
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