You wake up one day and decide to give The Sims 3 a try. Perhaps you’ve played the previous games and decided that this time you’ll go all in. Or perhaps you’ve been wanting to try out a life-simulation game for a while and finally find the perfect excuse to play one. Either way, you find yourself standing in front of the console, ready to hit the ‘Start’ button and enter the world of SimCity.

The Basics

Even if you’re not familiar with The Sims 3, you’ll have no trouble understanding the basics. As with most other Sims games, you’ll start by creating a character. This character, like all others in The Sims 3, has a custom appearance that you can adjust to your heart’s content. The body types are still there – thin, medium, and thick – and each one provides its own unique look. However, the facial features are where the real customization magic happens. Thanks to the game’s newly integrated Face Wrinkle Tool, you can now give your sim a more realistic appearance by adding creases, cracks, and even wrinkles to their faces!

A Whole New SimCity

The most obvious visual difference between The Sims 3 and its predecessors is the game’s graphical style. While the previous generation of SimCity games still relied heavily on pre-rendered images of 3D models, this new game presents the world of SimCity in glorious high-definition 3D. Not only do you get to see the whole city from every angle, but you can also rotate and scale the models as you please (for example, if you want to see a particular building from the outside or walk around the inside of a shop).

The visual fidelity is incredible and the attention to detail is something to behold. Even the most mundane objects in your city, like trash cans and mail boxes, look remarkably realistic. But that’s not all there is to the new SimCity. Thanks to the introduction of SimCity Stories – a brand new game mode that lets you play through various stories and ultimately build a thriving metropolis – the game now offers a much broader variety of experiences. Instead of just playing the basic game mode, which lets you build up a small city and expand it over time, you can now choose from a variety of settings, including the aforementioned Stories mode. In this mode, you’ll not only have to build up a larger city, but you’ll also have to manage the environment around you. For example, you may have to prevent overpopulation or overuse of resources, or perhaps even avert a disaster.

In between the regular gameplay, you can now also take on side-quests that provide you with experience points and new items to enhance your city. These points, and the resources you need to build your empire, are all displayed on a map, so you can easily keep track of which areas you’ve explored and which spots you still need to check out.

What’s New In The Sims 3

Besides the obvious visual tweaks and overall gameplay improvements, The Sims 3 also implements a number of small changes that make a difference. One of the biggest changes is how the game’s menus work. In previous SimCity games, these menus were somewhat cumbersome: you’d often have to enter a specific letter or number combination to reach the option you wanted. In contrast, The Sims 3’s menus are much more intuitive: just click on the option you want and you’ll be right there.

There’s also the inclusion of parks and recreation. In previous games, these were merely random events that could occur if you built a gym or skating rink. In The Sims 3, these are now regular parts of the gameplay and you can plan your city to include them.

As you can probably tell, we were extremely excited to play The Sims 3 and review it for you. Not only do we think that the game represents the best that Sims has to offer (and we know what we’re talking about, considering that we’re the creators of the popular The Sims blog) but we also think it’s a great example of how a video game can provide an immersive experience that doesn’t require a keyboard and screen.

If you’re a sims fan, then you owe it to yourself to try out The Sims 3. Just make sure to take a break from whatever it is you’re doing and don’t play in the evening, because the game gets incredibly demanding – even for those who are experienced gamers. Still, the thrill of creating something unique and living out your childhood dream of being a game developer is what ultimately drives us.