Review: The Sims 4: Get Together

GTG

Look, I’m going to be honest; it’s finals week right now and I’m writing this review in between paragraphs of my Operating Systems textbook.

Get Together is the second expansion for The Sims 4, following on from Get to Work. While Get to Work focused on new careers and business opportunities for sims, Get Together has more of a focus on what sims get to do in their free time. Namely, it revolves around forming clubs with other sims, with their own rules for entry, encouraged activities, meeting spots and even uniforms, if you so choose. Although clubs are the largest feature of the game, there are also  new things like coffee shops, pubs and the return of DJ booths to liven up the base-game nightclubs.

In comparison to previous Sims games, this one actually feels a lot like The Urbz (this is where you all laugh at me for having played literally every Sims spin-off game, even especially the bad ones) because of its focus on cliques, each with their own dedicated activities and the like. Of course, unlike the several pre-made groups in that game, this one lets the player create and customize their clubs to their liking. And there’s actually a startling amount of customization available. Club owners can choose rules for club admission (age, job, etc.), activities that are encouraged and discouraged and even dictate how their club members dress when the club is gathered. I’ve noticed too that activities from separate add-on content (like meditating or photography) have made it onto the list of things that I can encourage my clubs to do, meaning that EA has actually put some nice thought into integrating the club mechanics with other optional content.

I’m honestly rather happy with the club system as it is. Unlike Get to Work, and, to be honest, many of The Sims 3‘s later expansions, I feel that this expansion actually thought about putting creativity back into the hands of the players in an easy to use and understand manner. The allowance for player creativity was what drew me into the series in the first place some 15 years ago (oh god) and I’m glad to see that it might be making a comeback. I might be speaking too soon, of course, but I’d like to see what The Sims team comes out with six months from now and whether or not they make a habit of things like this.

The only real drawback to the mechanic, I would say, is the rather limited range of club activities to choose from. For example, you can create a club where eating food is encouraged but as far as I’ve seen you wont be able specify which foods.  It’s the same for music genres and so on, so although clubs let you be very creative, the system still lacks an incredible amount of dept.

The new neighborhood is quite lovely. They decided to take a step away from the whole North American suburbs vibe for once and gave us a neighborhood with a distinctly western European vibe. It’s very pretty as far as this game’s scenery goes, and, if I’m not mistaken, is the largest world in The Sims 4 so far. The ‘background props’ that can be seen in the distance are rather low-quality, however, in ways that those if the already existing worlds. There are also three ‘special lots’ in the neighborhood that can’t be edited without cheats but they have some neat functions, unlike the secret lots in the base game, which are only really good if you like collecting.

Two new skills are included with the expansion; DJing and dancing (I think there must have been some misunderstanding at EA on what was meant exactly by ‘clubs’). They’re interesting. Dancing added a bunch of new animations which are pretty well done, if not rather goofy. DJing acts almost like the already-existing instrument skills but does have a few differences. Neither of these skills are particularly amazing or revolutionary for the series, but they are quite nice.

There’s no supernatural creature this time around, which is a pretty major disappointment for me, as they’ve always been one of my favorite parts of the series. This is the first time in around ten years a Sims expansion has been released without one, and I hope this isn’t the start of a new trend.

There are a bunch of small little details that need mentioning. The new objects and CAS things are pretty good. Decor seems to mostly revolve around bars and pubs, and there’s a very nice set that reminds me of the old pubs that I spent my Sundays in as a child. CAS stuff is pretty nice, and seems to come in two major themes; preppy and rave. The rave stuff is pretty eye-searingly coloured, but I guess that’s the point. There are a few new social interactions and quite often my sims would get texts and tips about events happening around town. They make the game seem a bit more alive but I could see the frequent invites getting annoying quite soon. Fortunately, they changed the UI for such things so that getting an invitation no longer pauses the game.

While I was a little impressed with Get to Work being a stale idea that was implemented surprisingly well for what it was, I find Get Together to be an original and pretty decent idea that seems to have been implemented well as well, which impresses me a lot. What impresses me almost as much is that the expansion’s release was pushed back by around a month or so because the development team wanted “to make sure that this pack is everything it could be”. That’s not something I expect from AAA game development, especially when it’s EA publishing. And especially especially considering how much content was apparently cut from The Sims 4‘s initial release in order to make its release date. In exchange for one month the game released was an honest-to-good good experience that I can’t really say a whole lot of negative things about. Can we see more of this kind of attention to quality in the future please, EA?

Overall, I don’t like giving out number scores, but fuck it, 8.5/10. There are certainly flaws, but overall I’d like to see more content like this for The Sims 4.