I’ve played The Sims Medieval for 7 hours already. But let me tell you, that is not enough to discover everything, let alone to give a judgement about The Sims Medieval. But this doesn’t keep me from giving you a preview about the game. I will tell as much as possible and I will share all my experience, but again ; although I’ve played the game for 7 hours, it is still too short. The game is immense, the gamecreaters said that you need 20 hours, at the very minimum, until you’ve finished the game.
Well, let me begin with a small explanation on The Sims Medieval. The Sims Medieval is a complete new game. It is based on The Sims but there are some points which are completely different. The first difference is the scenery, which is obviously Medieval. The second is the fact that you need to fulfill quests. You need to finish these quests with your Heroes, that are Sims with a specific role like a priest, king, magician and lots more. You’ve got more things to do than just these quest, every Hero Sim has his or her duties. For example, a priests has to do a ceremony once in a while.
Start of the game
When you start The Sims Medieval for the first time you will see an awesome intro clip. Right after this clip the main screen is shown. Here you can find the main assignments, these are called ambitions, which you can choose. At the beginning only the introduction ambition is available, when you’ve finished this one more will pop up. What I really liked to see, is that you can choose different ways of playing the game and your way of playing will unlock certain ambitions. As soon as you’ve finished ambitions number one, two new ones will be unlocked. When you’ve finished one of the new ones more ambitions will be unlocked, but only those which are next to the ambition which you just fulfilled. This way not all ambitions are available from the beginning, I think this is a good design as that results in some challenges for yourself.
The first ambition says that you need to place all the buildings which are available in your Kingdom, basically the first ambitions is a tutorial. You will need this tutorial, because there are a lot of differences between The Sims 3 and The Sims Medieval, gameplay-wise. The basic stuff you will recognize, like how you should control a Sim. But some new features of The Sims Medieval you really need to learn first.
To fulfill your ambition, you need to do quests. You will earn points for them and they will help you to finish the ambition. Quests are the paramount element of The Sims Medieval. You’re not controlling one household anymore, no, you have the control over a whole Kingdom. And within this Kingdom you can find Hero Sims for you to play with. There is a but though, you can only play with them if you need them for a quest. So you won’t be able to control the king if you don’t need or selected the king for your current quest.
I was afraid that the quests would look like the assignments of The Sims 3 World Adventures, but luckily I was wrong. The quests of The Sims Medieval are very varied. Medieval will interest you a lot longer than Adventures did, because when you do a quest for the second time you can most of the times choose a different approach than the first time. At the beginning of a quest you often get to choose in what way you would like to do it. You can choose between the ‘good’ and the ‘evil’ way, for example; to kill the king instead of curing him.
Most of the times, you will also be able to choose which Hero or Heroes you want to use for a specific quest. This choice will influence the rest of the outcome of the quest. You can imagine that a knight will kill the king in a different way than a magician would.
Even while doing a quest you get different choices. It happened to me a couple of times that I got a message which told me there was a problem. I needed to make a choice between multiple options in order to overcome the problem. This choice could be fatal. For example; My Hero, the King, could try to enter the dragon cave himself, but maybe he should rather sent someone less important.
The quests I did differed a lot from each other. A quest consist of smaller assignments, these are meant to help you fulfill the quest. For example, a knight who wants to kill the king first needs to train so he will win the swordplay. At the same time a magician could study a new spell which will make the knight stronger.
I was really content with the assignments, like I emphasized a couple of times, there is a lot of variety. I also liked the choices you can make and how these affect the outcome.
Each assignment will cost you about 30 minutes or so, but this is due to the other tasks you need to do next to your assignment.
Every Hero needs to do two duties a day. Well, if you don’t want to do your duties you don’t have to, of course. But there are consequences if you don’t, there is a chance that you Sim will be punished. You could be chained to the pillory, so other Sims can throw tomatoes on you. So you better do your duties!
The duties differ per Hero, the magician needs to make special potions and needs to study new spells. A priest needs to give a preach at the church. The duties are different every day. After a couple of days you might have to do the same duty again, but I wasn’t to bothered by this. Two duties return often, paying taxes and feed the monster in the well.
Personally I really liked the daily duties. They distract you from the quest and they show you the day to day life Medieval style. I think it would be pretty dull if you only need to finish the quests and ambitions. With the duties you focus on the life of your Hero. The reward for doing these duties are experience points.
Expanding your kingdom and experience points
What a lot of people don’t know is that your Kingdom begins from scratch. When you start with the game there is only a castle. You have to place the other building yourself. You will do so with the first ambition, as I already told you in the beginning of this preview.
Like already said, you can finish an ambitions by fulfilling quests. By doing these quest you’ll receive points, these will allow you to buy buildings. You can probably also buy other items, but that did not became clear to me during the preview session. But at least you can finish the first ambitions by buying all the buildings with these points.
There is a special kingdom view function. The world will turn into Sepia (brown) colours, this function allows you to arrange a few things within your kingdom. You can pick new quests but also place new buildings. When you have enough points you can choose which building you want in your kingdom. Every building you put in your kingdom will come with a new Hero. If you put the house of the doctor, a doctor will be a citizen of your kingdom. And a priest will live in the cathedral.
The new heroes who come with the new buildings are all inexperienced. Everyone starts on level 1. Every hero can be level 10, but in order to reach this level you need to fulfill a lot of assignments with this hero. Every quest will give you experience points, but only if you finish the quest in a successfully. With every level your Hero gains, he or she can learn new things. A priest with a higher level, for example, is able to have a ceremony more successfully than one with a lower level, just because the one with a higher level knows more tactics. Another example, a level 10 knight is much stronger than a level 2 knight. The first one will defeat the latter.
Having a Hero with a high level can be very useful, but it appeared to me that it doesn’t really influence the game. So you can finish a quest with a spy with a low level as successfully as a higher level spy. But I liked to see my Heroes gain levels and because of that being able to do more stuff with them.
Create A Sim
The CAS (Create A Sim) also exists in The Sims Medieval. After you placed a building you need to put a Hero in it. You could choose for a standard Hero but you could also create the Hero from scratch.
You can also adjust your Sims with CAS. It basically looks like the CAS of The Sims 3, but a few things differ. I really liked the new age slider. With this slider you can adjust the skin of your Sim and make it look older with wrinkles.
Just like in The Sims 3, The Sims Medieval Sims have traits. The new thing is that one negative trait you have to select for your Sim, can have a great impact on your Sim and how you play with it.
A negative trait could be that your Sim is addicted to gambling. If you won’t let your Sim gamble once in a while he or she will become cranky and will be less fortunate in fulfilling the tasks. I think that the ‘Fatal Flaw’ is a nice new feature, but sometimes it can be annoying. It is fun to keep the fatal flaw of your Sim in mind, like going to the pub every night so your Sim can gamble and become happy again till the next day.
Build and buy mode
Unfortunately, there is no build mode in The Sims Medieval. So it is not possible to create your own castle. Although I pity this, I do understand the choice. It is a lot harder to build a castle than a house.
What you do have in The Sims Medieval, is the buy mode. You can buy furniture and put them into the house of your Hero. I have to admit that I haven’t really seen what kind of furniture there is available in the catalog. But the objects I have seen in the buildings look absolutely marvelous and certainly Medieval.
Just like in The Sims 3, it’s also possible to copy colors from one object to another. So if you have furniture which is purple and you would like to color the floor purple as well, all you have to do is to drag and drop the color and the floor will turn purple. This does, by the way, also work in the CAS. In the CAS you can edit the colors of the Sim’s clothing using the same system.
Creating buildings, castles in this case, and decorating houses is not the main objective in The Sims Medieval. Therefore, EA decided to not support downloads (officially that is). Neither will there be a The Sims Medieval Store. Of course it’s a pity that you download and use custom content, but I think you won’t really miss it in The Sims Medieval. Or at least, you won’t miss it as much as you would in The Sims 3. The game is totally based around doing quests, decorating houses is just not really important.
A lot of things are still unsaid about The Sims Medieval, but I think there need to be some surprises left. I can only tell you that I really like The Sims Medieval so far. The Medieval scenery is reflected brilliantly and the era pops out of your screen. The ambitions and quests are really good and give a lot of variety. When you would play the game for a second time it will, based on the variable quests, be a new experience. Despite that, my fear about the game becoming boring after a while, hasn’t faded completely. But I feel confident enough to say that you could spent lots of hours on this game. I already ordered the collectors edition of the game.
The Sims Medieval won’t please everyone. The people who like to build and adjust houses will probably don’t like the game. The people who don’t like to be guided, by the smaller assignments within your quests, will probably dislike The Sims Medieval as well. But if you don’t mind to be helped with the story by assignments and if you love The Sims, than you will definitely like The Sims Medieval. Dairy creators probably can’t wait to make up amazing stories with The Sims Medieval, I mean the scenery is perfect for some fancy romantic stories.
Thanks to EA Benelux for the preview in Amsterdam! It was fun to see so many Sims fans in one room. I would like to thank EA Benelux again for sending me to London for the Dutch The Sims 3 Netlog.
You may have questions after reading this preview, don’t hesitate to ask them on our forum! I’ve played the game long enough to answer most of them.
In July of last year, Xelles went to San Fransisco already to preview The Sims Medieval as one of the first in the world. You can read that preview here.