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The Sims 3 Ambitions Sneak Preview: First impressions of Twinbrook

Too much, too much. Not enough time, absolutely not enough time. Even though we were lucky enough to be able to play and discover the new expansion ‘Ambitions’ for the full 4 hours of this sneak preview.

Because I saw everyone around me plunging immediately in to discovering the new professions and the stuff related to them, I made this other choice. I decided to use my time in another way. As a ‘builder’ it seemed natural to delve through the new building tools and options, but I also took some time to shift through the new objects and to peek behind some of the cheats. Oh, the things I saw there … . But that will all be told to you in another review, that we will be writing and publish soon.

Next I took my time to wander the lands of Twinbrook, the new neighborhood coming with this expansion. It can only be described as beautiful. Especially the marshes and swamp area: the atmosphere in that part of town is so great, so striking and mysterious.

Imagine: a landscape full of little pools, ponds and creeks wandering in between. Some patches of ‘dry’ land just breaking through that damp and wet surface, where grass is the only thing that seems to be able to survive. The trees are struggling and obviously loosing that battle. Therefore the most common sort of tree on those patches of land is a special one: the bare, leafless, but for all, dead tree.

Above the still waters and barren lands floats this constant layer of fog. Light, barely able to penetrate this, is sparse so it is hard to tell what time of day it is. A gloomy, dusky place to be.

Wandering through these marshes you suddenly see a dark shape in the fog ahead. At first you are not able to see what it is, but as you get closer, you recognize it. It is some kind of wooden scaffold. Why would anyone build such a thing in the middle of this scary place? A second, closer look reveals some old rails heavily covered in rust mounted on top of the scaffold. Then it all becomes clear. In the earlier days, when Twinbrook was a thriving town, a railroad was constructed here to connect it to the rest of the world. But now, since the swamp took over here, it is impossible to maintain it, so decay has its way.

I can’t help wondering what else I will encounter in this part of town. At least, just this short visit to this spooky part of town makes it completely clear to me, why the profession of ghost-hunter is a popular one in this city.

This is just a short impression of what I saw today. There is a lot more to discover in Twinbrook. It is a large, new town, exceeding Riverview in size.

To afraid to continue my stroll through this scary marshes, I decide to return to the civilized parts of Twinbrook as quickly as I can. With every step I take the frightening feeling seems to press on me less and less. My breathing becomes calmer and I notice my heartbeat slowing down.

As soon as I leave the marshes I see they didn’t abandon traveling by rail totally. Starting in the hills far, far away a railroad is meandering through the landscape like a steel ribbon; a ribbon, that passes over the dam to continue in the direction of Twinbrook. I wonder if this railroad is still in use. It looks well maintained, as does the railway gate I see a bit further on. But wait, does the track end a little to the right? Certainly one of those things I have to look at when I return here later this year.

I can’t help but feel lucky to be in the civilized world. Things look a lot better here. Quite a contrast with the abandoned and decayed railroad back in that gloomy landscape. I even seem to have seen an abandoned, partly derailed wagon train there in the distance. But then again, the continuous fog there could have tricked my eyes. But if that is what I saw, I don’t think I want to know what horrible things happened there. Horrible it must have been, though, if they didn’t dare to retrieve the wreckage and just left it for the swamp to engulf. Until then the skeletonlike trusses, sticking out of this mist, will horrify many unprepared wanderers.

Luckily the part of Twinbrook I am walking in now is totally different: nice straight roads, a beautiful central park and nice, stately mansions. What contrast, compared to those wooden, cabin-like shacks in the swamp.

On thought is creaping into my mind. Could it be Stephenson was inspired by a town like Twinbrook in the days he wrote his ‘Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde’. Certainly Twinbrook has all the elements with on the one hand the partly light, straight structured, dr. Jekyll-esk part, and, on the other hand, the dark, craggy, unstructured Mr. Hyde-esk part. Yes, that must be true. The whole of Twinbrook breathes contrasts: good versus evil, light versus dark, clear versus foggy.

Suddenly I return to reality. In the late afternoon light I see a big plume hovering above the roofs. That has to be quite a fire; much bigger than I am used to in Sunset Valley. Coming closer I see my assumptions were right. Fat, dark, almost black plumes smolder through the roof of a homestead. On the sidewalk I see a family standing, shaking with fear. Two daughters are crying and cling to the skirt of their mother, who is staring at this disaster with tearful eyes herself. The father seems close to collapse. With a blank face he stares in the distance, seemingly seeing nothing at all.

Luckily, the firefighters have arrived, slashing the front door with their axes like the real heroes they are. After it collapses the firemen run into the house, taking their gear with them, in an attempt to reach the fire as quickly as possible and minimize the damage.

While looking at the things happening, I suddenly notice one of the firemen, looking nervously around, while taking a painting from under his coat and placing it behind a seat of the fire truck. Could he really ….

I think I have seen enough and decide to walk on. The sun slowly descends behind the horizon across the lake with Twinbrook nestled at its shores. The light line, barely touching the water, sparkles and the sunset is breathtaking. Beautiful, pinkish colored clouds drift along the sky on the light summer breeze like gigantic cotton candy. The memories of my stroll through the swamp and the fire are already being pushed to the background. The idyllic atmosphere makes me want to stay here for hours. Enjoying the evening air, listening to the soft, almost whispering sound of the water touching the shores, only now and again broken by the chirping of birds, my fears of earlier that day are reduced to only a faint shadow.

One thing is clear to me. The longer I walk through this new town, the more questions I have. Questions I am willing to uncover the answers for the next time I visit this town.


( WimHuiskamp – Sims 3 Nieuws)

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