In collaboration with Review A Bad Game Day, I decided to review the worst game I currently own in my 3DS library.
In the year 2000, Maxis developed a game called ‘The Sims’ with its development led by famous game designer Will Wright. In 2002, the game had stormed charts and became a major success, selling more than 6.3 million copies worldwide and overtaking Myst as the top selling PC game in history. Skip forward to 2004 and its sequel, the appropriately named ‘The Sims 2’ was released and just like its predecessor, shattered records and made humongous sales, selling one million copies in just ten days. To this day the game holds the title of ‘Best Selling PC Game of All Time’. Finally we arrive at 2009 and ‘The Sims 3’ is released. Positive reviews, positive sales and a general positive outcome is the met by the game which is a surprise to no one. However, fast forward to 2011 and we come to see ‘The Sims 3D’ to be released on the launch day on Nintendo’s glasses free 3D handheld ‘Nintendo 3DS’. Now this game is anything but positive.
Boot up the game, create a profile and just like the PC or console version of the game, you are asked to create a Sim, your virtual clone. Even before you start the game, it’s apparent that this version of the game has been pared down, with very little customization options. In another other Sim game, you would also be able to completely customise your house and the plot you are staying in, but however this appears absent in this version. There’s no different towns to choose from so you are forced to live wherever you are put.
Jump into the game and you do what you need to do in any Sims game which is to get them through their everyday life. Go to the toilet, flush the toilet, clean the toilet, repair the toilet and then eventually clean the toilet again and the water that has flooded your bathroom (or wherever you have placed your toilet, it’s your house so whatever you say goes!) However, these breakages appear much too frequently, whether it is your oven, shower or computer, it’s as if you built your house over a graveyard and the spirits of past lives are out to get you via your appliances. After spending half of your simulated day (every real time second accounts for a minute in your Sims world) you will find that your Sim is either hungry, dirty, tired or feeling antisocial and missing companionship.
To cure some of these feelings, you feel forced to go out and go to the gym to feel better about yourself. However, just like the constant repairs, the need to constantly do this again and again every other day makes the game become much more of a mundane job than anything else. While watching your Sim performing the actions, you notice your accompanying environment is quite boring with no daring designs. You can decide to enter restaurants and nightclubs, but you are forced to sit and wait for your Sim to eat or dance rather than entering the establishment itself and seeing what the building has to offer in terms of design. The choice to build your own and enter would’ve been good too but alas, this was stripped from the game. Having to pull the camera around yourself with the stylus also feels awkward at times, with it leading you into strange angles only detailing how ugly the game really is up close and when combined with the shoddy frame rate that tags along with the game, it’s obvious that this wasn’t built with the 3DS in mind. It feels more like a mash up of the already existing versions (PSP, iOS and DS). The 3D effect underwhelms which only backs up the previous point, and it was clear that they really didn’t intend the game to use it for any meaningful purpose.
However I can’t completely fault the game for not being built for the 3DS, it does take advantage of its StreetPass capabilities by allowing you to swap Sims with other Nintendo 3DS owners. It also uses the camera, allowing you to take a picture of someones face to convert their real life face into a virtual one, the outcome being as about accurate as the one you would find in Mii Maker. The new Karma system changes the gameplay every now and again and the challenge system will keep you going if you ever find yourself bored as to what to do with your virtual clone.
There are no goals in The Sims 3D, you are to do as you want whether that includes getting to the top of your career, gaining as much money as possible, getting married or just owning the best stuff Simoleons can buy, you will soon find whatever you aspire to be a mundane target and that when you finally achieve what you’ve always wanted, the rewards won’t be as sweet as you think they are. Happily married? What’s the next step, children? Unfortunately, this version lacks the ability to procreate, or even age for that matter, setting it even behind the original 2000 classic ‘The Sims’. Now we have come full circle I can tell you as, not a major Sim fan, but one that has always had a keen interest in the series, ‘The Sims 3D’ to me appears worse than the game that started it all. Once you have played for an hour or so, you can see that the game was a quick cash grab for EA and was never intended for the platform. I place it as one of the worst games I’ve ever played and that has ever been ‘made’. (I say made vaguely, as it could’ve easily been a PSP, DS, iOS port).
The Good: The Karma and challenge systems bring in a different way to play the Sims, but it will become nothing more than trivial after a while. I applaud them for a StreetPass capability too.
The Bad: Ugly textures, unimpressive graphics accompanied with a terrible framerate. Controlling feels awkward too as well as camera movement. Only one save file is a bummer too.
The Final Judgement: Only EA would charge £39.99 for a downport of a complex PC game which turned out worse than the series original. Luckily you can find it for much cheaper these days but anyone who trades money for this product has been conned.
Formats: Nintendo 3DS
Price: £39.99 (At launch)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
This review was written for Review A Bad Game Day. To see more reviews of terrible games, head to http://reviewabadgameday.com/ and be in awe of the terrible games on display.