Na Gamespot gisteren heeft nu ook IGN een preview online gezet (met video preview) van deze eerste uitbreiding voor De Sims 3. We proberen zo snel mogelijk een vertaling online te zetten.
The Sims 3: World Adventures Hands-On
by Charles Onyett
October 2, 2009 – With the release of The Sims 3 this past June, the franchise’s massive player base got the opportunity to dive into a less rigid, more open world than ever before. Judging by reviews and subsequent sales, pretty much everyone is happy with what Electronic Arts did to push the franchise forward while maintaining the key elements that make The Sims such a distinct gaming experience. It’s true when you say there really isn’t anything else like it.
How EA cashes in on all this success is no secret – by releasing an avalanche of expansion packs. The world of The Sims 2 was officially expanded upon eight times in three years, and the first in what we can assume will be a long chain of releases tied to The Sims 3 is coming this November. Called World Adventures, the expansion will of course enhance the virtual doll house appeal of the game with tons of new items and collectibles, but also offer players the opportunity to travel to China, Egypt, and France to dig through dungeons for treasure.
Many of these treasures can be brought back to homes and displayed there, but there appears to be a lot of gameplay packed into each dungeon section. You won’t be able to spend an unlimited amount of time in these new spaces, as you’ll be limited by your current visa level that determines the duration of your visit. Once you’re able to bump up your visa to level three you’ll be able to spend quite a bit of time abroad, as well as purchase vacation homes that should facilitate fostering new friendships or even marriages. Not hindered by such visa restrictions, I had a chance to try out a few challenge sections in Egyptian tombs, navigating past traps, investigating hidden areas, and even avoiding undead threats in the interest of uncovering treasure chests.
When you first arrive in one of these added areas, you’ll find detailed new lots to wander around. In Egypt, for instance, there are NPC Sims standing around markets in a base camp, some who offer goods and services and some who can point you to the starting level dungeons, much like in a role-playing game. There’s a progression to the challenges, so you can’t just dive into the highest level dungeon immediately. In fact, you’ll basically be questing, or adventuring as it’s called at EA, for some of the Sims standing around, and the quests are chained together, giving the progression through World Adventures more of a structured flow. You have to start small, solving simple puzzles in beginner areas that acquaint you with the types of challenges the game has in store.
What kinds of challenges? Well, let’s say you enter into a dungeon and there’s no clear way forward. There are, however, piles of debris stacked against the far walls and a statue parked in a corner. By hovering your mouse over particular spaces onscreen you’ll find all these can be interacted with. Perhaps you’ll need to grab hold of the statue and push it on to a pressure plate, or dig away the debris and reveal staircases or switches that trigger hidden doors. Uncovering the event trigger chains that eventually unlock a way forward is up to you (do you pass by or swim to the bottom of that curious looking pool?), and multiple paths of progression have been built into some of the harder dungeons.
Search carefully, there will be plenty to find as you progress to more difficult tombs
If there’s an easily identifiable switch that opens a door, you might want to look around more carefully. By mousing over a particular section of wall, you might find it can be pushed aside to reveal a secret entrance to a treasure room. Naturally, the treasure should be collected, but rushing in all wide-eyed and overeager could result in a painful death. Any game space worthy of being called a dungeon isn’t complete without its share of dangers.
Fire traps, lightning traps, and more will block your way in many instances or be positioned around items of worth. In general there’ll be a method to deactivate them, but if you’re feeling particularly adventurous it’s possible to try and leap over. This isn’t recommended, as your Sim may very well wind up getting zapped or fried (as eventually happened to me), but such is the irresistible draw of valuable baubles, which can range from trash and busted bowls to coins and gems to invaluable antiques. Keeping these in your collection can activate moodlets, or you could just sell them off.
A Sims expansion wouldn’t be the same without a supernatural element, so fans should be happy to hear mummies have been included in World Adventures. They’re likely to pop out in dungeons, and if they manage to catch up with you, it’s possible to get hit with a curse. Visiting the Sphinx in Egypt can remove this, but otherwise an unfortunate death may be in your future. It’s also possible to turn into a mummy if you decide to take a nap in a cursed sarcophagus, a transformation I was told would be permanent.
Early dungeon experiences can be fairly brief, but the longer and more challenging ones will require you to bring along tents and dried food to keep your Sim happy. The tent can also function elsewhere in the world, allowing your Sim to rest on the road. Of course you can bring all this back to home with you, including other new stuff like motorized scooters, martial arts equipment, nectar-making gear, and photography items.
When mummies attack, you’re going to need a way to fight back
On the subject of photography, in World Adventures you can snap pictures and make a career out of it, selling the photos or using them as decorative objects. As you take photos, the game notes the situation, tagging shots of certain scenes with subtitles. For instance, if you can capture an image of a deathfish and an angelfish in an aquarium at midnight, the subject line will read “Midnight in the Aquarium of Good and Evil.” Each level of the photography skill will offer up new challenges, so the hope at EA is that players will be excited by the opportunity to try and collect as many shots as possible.
While visiting China you can check out a martial arts academy and practice against training dummies or break everything from wooden boards to space rocks (or so say my notes). If this isn’t an aspect of the game you’re thinking would be interesting to spend time with, consider that it’s possible to beat up and fight off mummies with enough practice. There’s a sparring tournament here as well, and to prepare maybe you’re the type of player who would want to meditate. I was told if you manage to mediate for long enough you’re even given the convenient option to teleport around, which may make it easier to bring home some fireworks, which when set off can activate powerful moodlets. I didn’t get any hands-on time with China, but I did get an overview of the area, which is quite different in appearance from the sandy Egyptian sprawl with lush forests and some creative dungeon entrance designs, including a giant dragon head with coulds of smoke emanating from around the front door.
One of the more creative tomb entrances in China
A nectar-making mechanic is also included with this expansion, which EA described as an extension of the gardening system. There’ll be new fruits and vegetables in World Adventures that can be grown in each location, along with six new grape types that tie into the nectar-making. Full sets of objects with French, Egyptian, and Chinese themes will be made available for those interested in new furniture, so if you want a fancy Egyptian couch, you’ll get it in World Adventures. Maybe you can set that up in your basement, which can extend four levels underground. If you don’t feel like filling that extra space with chairs and everyday accessories, you can set up your own dungeons and trap chains using the build tool.
I didn’t get a chance to see much of France, but was told there are still tombs there, though comparatively less than in Egypt or China. Overall it seems like this should be a welcome addition for any franchise fan who took the plunge and picked up The Sims 3 earlier this year. It’s especially interesting to see how the series as a whole appears to be continuing the trend of incorporating more and more traditional gameplay elements, such as the dungeon exploration, questing, and treasure hunting, into its distinct brand of accessible, light-hearted simulation.