Electronic Arts have made fans of the Sims franchise wait for the rejuvenation of The Sims 2: Pets for over two years since the initial launch of The Sims 3. With promised new features, such as the ability to control your sims’ animal friends and new creatures to play around with, hopes were high for the fifth Sims 3 expansion pack. But does the game, whose predecessor achieved well over a million sales, live up to the hype?
Although The Sims 3: Pets is little more than a rerelease of Unleashed and the title of the same name which accompanied The Sims 2, it does its best to offer new features. Some of these include the ability to pick a pet’s traits as you would a sim, control a pet unlike previous games, and a whole new collection of creatures to add to your game, arguably the most significant of these being Horse and Unicorns.
I’m yet to discover a Unicorn in the game (heck, my sim can’t even watch a wild horse without it whinnying aggressively at them), so I can’t make too many observations on that, however, horses are a great addition to gameplay – if, like me, you quickly run out of new things to occupy your sim’s time with, caring for this animal and training it new skills will certainly bring you satisfaction – and if you’re good enough, you’ll gain the opportunity to earn simoleons by competing in horse riding contests. This aspect of the expansion pack seems really well thought through, with detailed moodlets such a “saddle sore”, interesting new needs and a variety of new interactions for your sims and their horses. What’s more, it’s free to adopt a horse and the equipment in the game for training and the like is reasonably priced.
Now onto some of the other animals that are available in the EP. Cats and Dogs both make a reappearance from previous games, and the basic formula which has worked well remains, with one key alteration: you now have the opportunity to control them, just like horses, and decide whether they’re the ideal companion (scratching a scratching post as a cat, for example), or if they make the lives of their owners a misery (by destroying the furniture as a dog, for instance).
This is a definite improvement from The Sims 2: Pets, as are other new features such as conditioning your furry friend so they’ll obtain new traits, and a highly detailed Create A Sim – or in this case, Create A Pet tool, but having to control your animals 24/7 can become time-consuming if you’re playing with a large lot, and even if you leave them to their own devices there’s a chance they’ll destroy your most prized possessions!
Next we move on to the other creatures in the game, of which there are plenty – from womrats and chipmunks to snakes and birds. As expected, there a fewer interactions with these pets than the other animals, and they don’t actually register as a new addition to the family (so therefore you can’t dictate their actions), but it’s nice to have them even if they are a bit, well, pointless.
Another great feature of the game is the fact that your sims can go exploring in the beautiful new neighbourhood of Apaloosa Plains (which comes with this expansion pack). It’s also great to walk around and see deer hopping past your sim, but whether this’ll work in towns such as Bridgeport or Lunar Lakes I’m yet to find out.
This EP also brings with it some more furniture, generally based around a country theme (there’s a “goth” section too!), and of course objects for your pets. In all honesty, the latter department does seem to lack slightly – there aren’t a whole lot of objects to entertain your pets and a few of them are oddly placed, too. Overall, the new objects are nice, but nothing all too amazing like the great items on offer in Late Night.
So, to sum up, The Sims 3: Pets is a welcome addition to the franchise, giving players a nice selection of new options and advancing life with pets from titles we’ve seen before. However, this game does fall down in a few places – it doesn’t offer all too much more (with the exception of horses) than The Sims 2: Pets – a lot of the content we’ve seen before and I can imagine it quickly getting stale, especially if you’ve invested a lot of your time on previous sims games of the same nature. However, it’s still an enjoyable game and is certain to bring a new depth to your game and is certainly worth an investment.
If you liked The Sims 2: Pets, you’ll certainly love this update – but if not, you may want to shy away from the Sims 3’s fifth Expansion Pack.