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Review: The Sims Medieval

Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze review.

INTRODUCTION

Whoever has not heard or read anything about the Sims Medieval (TSM) yet, must have lived underneath a rock during the past few weeks. The game has been in the spotlight all over the (Sims) media and on our website.

I was so eager to play The Sims Medieval, that I could barely wait until the installation of the game had finished. And I was really amazed when I finally launched the game for the first time. The introduction movie is awesome, and together with the music it totally sucks you into the Medieval atmosphere.

When the game is loaded for the first time you have to select the only available ambition. That ambition is actually an enormous tutorial. The first thing you have to do is to fulfill the first quest. This quest explains everything you need to know about TSM. It takes quite a while until you’re done with this first quest, but I think it’s worth it. You’ll learn everything you need to know, this tutorial is also useful for players who have played The Sims 3 a lot.

And then after you’ve completed your first tutorial quest, you’re free to go. You can finally start playing the game, for real.

CREATE A HERO

Of course, we know the CAS (create a Sim in that case) from The Sims 3. However, in the Sims Medieval the CAS is slightly different than the one in TS3. You’ll only find clothing which are appropriate for your current Hero. So if you’re creating your Monarch, you won’t be able to give him the clothes of a blacksmith.

The very first hero you’ll have to create is a Monarch. You won’t be able to start any quest if you don’t have a Monarch in your Kingdom. As with all the hero’s, also the Monarch can be male or female. For both sexes you will find a lot of luxury, but still Medieval, clothing.

The Sims in TSM are a little bit more detailed, especially the skin. Following the creators of the game that’s done to give the game a more Medieval look. Like in TS3, you can adjust the color of the skin, the fatness, the amount of muscles, the eyes, the nose and hairstyle, etc of your Sim. But there’s also a new functionality, namely the skin-age-adjuster. With this adjuster you’ll be able to make the skin of a Sim look older. The skin will have more wrinkles and spots on it when it’s older.

You won’t find make-up in TSM. But I think that’s a logical decision, as you didn’t see that much make-up in the middle ages. At least, I suppose?

Like in TS3, your Sim does also have characteristics. In TSM, your Sim will have 2 positive and 1 negative characteristic. The positive characteristics aren’t really that game-breaking. However, the negative characteristics can have an impact on the way you’ll play with your Sim, although that’s still minor. An example of one of these negative characteristics is, compulsive gambler. A compulsive gambler wants to place a bet every now and then. If you don’t let that Sim gamble, he or she will be less successful in fulfilling its tasks and quests as its concentrations lowers.

QUESTS

A quest is an assignment with a goal, which you have to fulfill with your Hero Sim. You as the watcher, the God about all the Sims, will help your Sims with accomplishing those quests. You’ll be able to approach a lot of quests on a different way, especially when your kingdom has grown and you have more than one Hero Sim in your kingdom. Most quests can be completed by choosing different paths. You can for example chose to do a quest with your Wizard or with your Physician. This will, obviously, result in performing different actions while doing this quest.

In TSM you have to buy quests, with, how obvious, quest points. Every ambition (your main quest) starts with 50 quest point. Within these 50 quest points you’ll have to complete this ambition, if you have used all the 50 points and you have not yet fulfilled your ambition, you have failed. If you have completed your ambition, you’ll unlock other ambitions which you can try to complete next. However, the next ambition will only unlock after you have used up all the 50 QP. If you’re done with your ambition while you’ve used only 30 QP, you will still have to use the 20 leftover QP to make this ambition really count. I think the design of that is pretty bad, why would you want to play another few hours if you have done your task already?

Anyway, the price of every quest is about 1 to 4 QP, but that depends on the length of the quest. Some of the quests can take a few hours to complete, while others are completed within 5 minutes. You can find quite a lot of quests in TSM, but I still think there are not enough. But the good thing is, that almost every quest can be completed using different approaches. You can do the quest with the Monarch or with the Knight and most of the times that will result in a different quest. So if you do the same quest for a second time (in another ambition), you will most likely have another experience.

Another thing that brings a bit more variation to the quests, is that the amount of Heroes you have to control is different per quest. Most of the times the quests are done with only one Sim, but sometimes with 2 or even 3. And I think it’s nice to see that those Sims are actually cooperating if you do a quest with multiple Heroes.

THE HEROES

It wouldn’t be fun to only play with one single Hero. Therefore there are a dozen of different Heroes are available in TSM. Every Hero is unique because of their profession.

The Heroes available in TSM are: Monarch, Knight, Blacksmith, Jacoban Priest, Peteran priest, Spy, Merchant, Wizard, Physician and the Bard. Every Hero can be customized to your liking in the Create A Hero. Whenever you place a new building in your Kingdom, you will be able to create the Hero Sim that comes with that building. So if you build the barracks, you will be able to create a Knight.

Every Hero has its own looks, but apart from that they also have their unique interactions and sets of daily tasks. These differences make the game much more differs. Every time you take another Hero for your quest, the way you play the game will change. I really like this variation of gameplay.

GAMEPLAY IN THE SIMS MEDIEVAL

Apart from doing quest with your Hero Sim, you also have to watch the needs and daily obligations of your Sim. Sometimes that can be a bit tricky. Your Sim will have two tasks every day, which are different per Hero. A blacksmith will have to craft new gear and deliver that to a customer while a Monarch will have to write new laws for the Kingdom. The intention of these tasks is nice, but they are very shallow. For example: It’s a nice feature that you can have a referendum in your Kingdom about a new law, but you cannot really bribe other Sims to vote on your law. You can manipulate the outcome of the voting a little bit, but that’s not really on a satisfying way in my opion. I would have liked a little bit more control about it. As well as seeing that the new law would actually do something, now it’s merely a line of text that the new law has been enforced.

I’m glad though that you don’t have to do the same obligation every day, they are randomly chosen. However, after a while you will see the same obligation as you did a few days before. So yes, they do repeat themselves. I think every Hero has about 6 to 8 unique obligations. Apart from these obligations you’ll also have to keep track of the needs of your Sims, just like you’re used to doing in The Sims 3. But in TSM, you will only find 2 needs; hunger and sleep. As it are only 2 needs, it’s very easy to keep this needs on the desired level. I think it’s a good thing there are only 2 needs in TSM, with all the obligations and quests it would be very stressful if you also had to keep track of the needs hygiene, social, pleasure, etc.

If you fail to keep these needs out of the red, your Sim will hungry and/or sleepy and thus their concentration will lower caused by these negative moodlets. Your Sims might even die if you’re cruel enough not to feed them. While the concentration of you Sim is low, they will not be able to do their tasks for the quest or for the daily obligation. Or if they do try it, the chances are very high they will fail.

In the Middle ages, they did of course not have cars. Therefore EA has decided to let your Sims walk. There are no horses in the game, which I think is a shame. EA said the players do not really want horses in a Sims game, which I doubt to be honest. The walking can be very frustrating if you have to walk from the north to the south. That will take about 2 hours of in-game time. Horses would actually be delighting in TSM, to bad EA left them out.

Furthermore, I really like the world of The Sims Medieval. The atmosphere is super. It’s lacks some buildings at the start of the game, but that will be filled up soon enough as you make some progress. Though, I still don’t like it that the building mode is so limited in TSM.

Another point I don’t really like is the camera movement in TSM. You cannot move around buildings, there’s only one angle with which you can look into the house. This makes it difficult to make screenshots from inside the building. Also outside the buildings I encountered some difficulties with the camera movement, if you like making screenshots and movies it will be quite difficult in TSM to get the exact good shot due to this camera.

What I do like very much is that you can opt to just not pay any attention to the quest you’re doing for some time. The game totally doesn’t mind if you go to the pub for a party or go after a men/woman and try to marry one. It’s still a The Sims game where you choose what you want to do, things like marrying is (luckily) still possible. It’s nice that these options are available, but you are not as free with your actions as in The Sims 3 (due to your daily obligations).

BUILD(INGS)

The buildings of The Sims Medieval are all ready-to-go buildings, what is really a pity. There are no extended build modes, only painting and a few small option are available, so it is not possible to create your own castle or inn. A lot of playes will experience this as a disadvantage.

Meanwhile, the buildings which are available are really nice. I would have liked a few options between some buildings, so that you could choose your castle from a number of castles. Fortunately the buildings are worked out in great detail.

All the buildings can be seen in the above mentioned ‘dollhouse’ way. This isn’t really a problem, it works well and you can easily control your Sims. You can furnish all the buildings, when you’ve got enough money, and the colours of the walls and tiles are adaptable.

CONCLUSION

The Sims Medieval is a typical Sims game, with an enormous Medieval theme. The Quests of the game add an important element, for the very first time you’ve got a purpose in the game. A disadvantages is that with every ‘new’ Ambition the same Quests return (when you place the same buildings),this makes the game somewhat monotonous and boring, doing the same Quest over and over isn’t a challenge.

Humour is still present, when your Sims gets executed for example. Of course that will happen in the traditional Sims manner. Your Sims will be eaten by a blue monster which lives in a deep well, no one knows if your Sim will survive.

The village of The Sims Medieval has been worked out very nicely, but still the disadvantage of not being able to build keeps coming back. The Hero Sims of the Kingdom are all very different, this because of their traits.

The quality of the grahpics is in some ways better than the ones of The Sims 3, but there aren’t a lot of differences. Sometimes you’ve got the impression that the water of rivers flows to the wrong direction, that’s one of the minor details. The new animations are really beautiful and fun, you can see that the The Sims team gets better (and creative) in this. The music during the game are also really contagious.

ADVANTAGES:

– The medieval theme and finally having a goal in the game distinguishes The Sims Medieval from all the other Sims-games.
– Good medieval atmosphere because of the music and the new, improved, graphics.
– Pretty amusing Quests, which are solveable in different ways and by choices during the game.
– Every Hero has his or her own tasks and profession, this gives the game variation.
– The typical humour of The Sims is still there.
– The artworks are awesome.

DISADVANTAGES

– Your Hero has to travel by foot, and this takes a lot of time.
– Some things, like your daily tasks, could use some more immersion.
– Every ambition contains the same Quests, so after a few Ambitions the game gets monotonous and repetition.
– You can only unlock a new Ambition after you’ve spent all the 50QP. Even when you meet all the requirements.
– There is just one kingdom, so every Ambitions had the same environment.
– The Build mode is completely stripped, that is a disappointment for a lot of players.

Score: 8/10

This Review was written by Jimmy with the help of Xelles. Translated to English by Xelles and Fransor.

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