on March 23, 2011
Seems like a lot of people are disappointed having expected something that was never promised. A lot of reviews are giving the game 1 star because "it's not The Sims 3 with medieval objects and clothes." Why would EA release that? That's more of an expansion for The Sims 3, not a standalone game. Heck, you could do it now yourself if you wanted to by downloading third party content for free. Thankfully, EA did not cheat us by simply giving us The Sims 3 with new decorations and clothes. They gave us an entirely new game!
The opening movie once you first start the game is quite amusing, and it's full of win simply because it's narrated by Patrick Stewart. The appropriately themed illustrations along with the narration explain that you're The Watcher, revered by the people. Also, we learn that "people are dumb" (because they're getting eaten by dragons and forest dwelling dire chinchillas), and that you are to give your Heroes gentle nudges to help guide them on the proper path to a glorious new civilization.
This game runs faster and smoother than my full Sims 3 installation, likely for obvious reasons, but even so, the graphics seem updated and quite a bit more detailed. The facial and clothing details in Create A Sim, including the new, sharply detailed eyes, are really a visual treat. When you're choosing your sim's voice, you'll also discover there's a new version of Simlish, sounding a lot more European than your standard Simlish we've all come to know and love.
Once you've made your Monarch for the tutorial (I chose to make a Queen, rather than a King), you're dropped into the game for your first quest. Never fear, the tutorial for your first quest helps explain a lot, but I'd advise not neglecting to do something simply because the tutorial doesn't tell you to. For instance, it never tells you where to go and when to eat. Don't let your sim starve to death. Once the hunger bar is about 75% depleted, head up to the 2nd floor of the throne room and make yourself some gruel in the fireplace cauldron. You'll sit down at the table nearby and eat it with your hand! Other than that, the introductory quest does a fairly good job of teaching you the ropes. This game is quite different from your standard "The Sims" series of games, so you might be a bit frustrated if you skip the tutorial... there are lots of new mechanics. One thing I did find a bit annoying was that the popup info in the upper right portion of the screen sometimes faded out as quickly as it popped up, not allowing me to actually read the flavor text. I missed out on the thoughts of my Monarch's first romance because the overlay was up for only 1/2 a second and disappeared. Hope there is a patch forthcoming.
This game is about Heroes rather than households, and it's quest based rather than freeplay or sandbox. It feels more like an RPG to me than your standard The Sims type game. You're not on a linear rail, though, because depending on the Hero you're playing and your Hero's choices previous to the quest you've currently chosen to do (yes, you are given choices of which quests to complete based on previous quests completed, kingdom status, etc), there are different ways to complete quests with different outcomes.
In a nutshell, I'd call this a medieval-themed, quest-based Sims RPG. And it's really a lot of fun and really nice to look at. EA could have cheated and thrown a themed version of The Sims 3 at us, but they did not, thankfully. It's obvious they wanted something different for this game as evidenced by the new mechanics and, so far, I think it works. I've been having fun ooh'ing and ahh'ing and learning the new game. It's a nice change if I'm a little bored with the standard Sims 3 but still want to Sim instead of playing something else.
Most importantly, don't knock the game because you expected something less. The game's website has been up for quite some time, and if you're disappointed because you expected Medieval Sims 3, you've only yourself to blame... not EA, who's done a fine job injecting some new life into the franchise.
When I first received the game and installed it, I was immediately prompted to do a game update. Apparently one was created for the game even before it was available to buy. So be prepared after the initial installation process for a short game update to be installed prior to first playing the game.
Right out of the starting gate things about the Sims Medieval feel very different, but with enough familiarities included to make game play not totally foreign to those already familiar with the Sims games. You start out beginning with naming your "Kingdom", not a city. Once you have named the Kingdom, you need to create a "hero" sim to rule as the monarch. Doing so open up the familiar create a sim screen. While things like age, weight, skin color and hair are all still part of designing your sims, selecting their traits now also includes choosing separate flaws for them as well, such as bloodthirsty, drunkard and uncouth.
During gamely, I found that the typical Sims Mood Meter has been replaced with a "Focus Meter", basically working on the same principals of the need for your sims to stay well rested, fed and happy. The entire panel for controlling them is based on the same layout as the Sims 3. Things like your sims inventory, goals, navigation and game speed are all in almost the same layout, with only small differences.
Much like the city view in Sims 3, there is a view called Eye of The Watcher. In the original city view, you panned from left to right and north to south until you came to your cities edge. The Eye of The Watcher mode allows you to pan though your kingdom in a 360 deg. circular view. As if you were at the center, looking around. Just like in the Sims 3, you can go out into your world, interact with everyone, go places and find things to gather . The difference in the Sims Medieval is that only sims working in certain professions can collect specific items. One must also spend time investigating an item before it can be gathered.
The gathering of items plays a crucial roll in this version of the sims, as it's how you expand and build your kingdom. If your familiar with the Sims Castaway game, the gathering for the purpose of building items works similarly. Your goal is to build your kingdom and advance your sims through their quests. You can work on your quests, or just spend time doing other things. Much like in other sims games, you can do everything, or nothing. It's up to you.
Instead of necessarily having your sims spend their lives working a specific 9-5 job, now they have quests. You work to continue advancing in their quest throughout their lifetime. Each day they are also issued 2 responsibilities. They can do them, or not, but it can drastically affect a sims focus (mood) either way.
While the menus and buttons may look familiar, it would seem everything inside of them is completely different. About the only interaction that has remained the same is "chat". Everything else is something new. Each class of sim also has special interactions just for their type.
Remember the days of sims fighting with each other when one sim flirted with another's significant other? Well the days of the dusty ball of fighting in the dirt are over! Now, you challenge a duel. You hit someone with a glove and whip out your sword. But details like how heavy your armor is and weapon play a crucial roll in if your going to win the fight. The match begins and you can see every strike. There is a stamina and health meter displayed for both opponents, and the first one to run out of either is the looser. So your going to want your sim in a good mood when you brandish your sword against another.
This game is PACKED with stuff to do. This is by no means a small game. It seems to have everything from every version of the Sims. The gathering of items to build and eat reminds me of Sims Castaway, the clothing and mysteriousness of it has a touch of Sims 1 Makin' Magic. The whole layout of the menus and workings is just like that of Sims 3. The quests of building a Kingdom and advancing your sims in it is like no other. This is not a remake of just the same old game with new clothing and hair. This game has a whole new design of how it works and how to progress though it. There is so much going on that you spend very little time worrying any more about what a sim is wearing, because it almost seems unimportant.
The sims are so realistic looking in the create a sim, it's almost scary.
You'll find the game follows what it would be like in the medieval timeline quite well, in that your going to be cooking over a pit instead of a gas stovetop. Your female sims don't have makeup to wear, and the hair styles are quite entertaining. Your going to be walking everywhere, since cars are not around and if you want to mail something, your going to have to do it by carrier pigeon. Yet there's something just a little extra fun about putting a sim in the town square stockade and throwing eggs at tomatoes at them, instead of just a sim police officer putting them in their car and hauling them away.
The clothing details are beautiful, but since there are different outfits for so many classes of sims, each sims class has a limited selection. Your sim will automatically change into a preset outfit different than their everyday ones for activities such as dueling or sleeping (much like a pregnant sim changes into maternity clothing on their own). There really was a lot of thought and design put into this version of the Sims. I have had other Sims games in the past that just didn't live up to the hype, but this one does everything and more.
Playing the Sims Medieval is like exploring the Sims in a whole new way.
on April 30, 2011
Like a cross between Sims and Fable, everything about this game appealed to me and I've thoroughly enjoyed the four days I spent completing the first round. However, the Fatal Flaw of Sims Medieval is replayability, a flaw it has inherited from the Fable side of its family tree.
Creating a monarch is fun and though I take some issue with Her Highness feeling an obligation to gussy up to meet with one of her own (or his own) employees as the first act, in general, I enjoyed working my way through the quests. The actions to take are mostly clearly demonstrated and it isn't difficult to accomplish most things. You won't be allowed to kill anyone during a quest that is necessary to a quest so shouldn't get stuck. You can, however, kill everyone else, if you want. I wouldn't, but you can.
There were only 2 quests I had to pop out of the game to search the next steps for and determined that one was actually an error in the game -- in the Dangerous Minds quest, my target was not completing the task I was suppose to observe him on. The other, Bric-A-Brac Day, was just too ambiguous as to what to do compared to the clear actions described for the rest of the quests.
Playing the various heroes creates a varied experience, particularly in the Blacksmith and Physician trades where you are actively participating in making the crafts.
The Merchant class is difficult to navigate... lots of walking to opposite sides of town that seem counterintuitive to selling things at the market and I don't necessarily think every sale should have to be so much work, but you do receive a salary which could be considered the "rest of the sales."
The Knight and Monarch seemed to be favored in the quest window but that could also just be my experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my knight. I had him marry my queen when she chose a suitor and then he lived in the castle and the children and him would all come home at night to sleep and then disappear each morning by six a.m. This led more gravity to their relationship than in a previous marriage where I had difficulty getting her suitor to even come over so they could marry. Relationships are, superficial at best, outside of the objectives of the current quest.
Not being able to rotate the camera the majority of the time was frustrating. I frequently lost people behind the market stalls and had no method to click on them. Children not growing up, characters not aging in general, was disappointing. I felt like after Sims Nightlife adding a "celebrity" aspect, giving everyone the same social interactions was a missed opportunity to give the Monarch more limited social interactions available when playing other heroes with low relationships to the Monarch. In general, I felt like the Monarch should have more control over their environment. But that's not the major flaw in the game.
After completing my 13 buildings and using up my QP, I was excited to take my kingdom to the next level! To spread out across the land and... essentially, you can't. If you want to launch another campaign, you start over. So now I have a whole new monarch, doing the same tired quest of primping in the mirror to meet an employee. Not wanting to be completely repetitive, I cleared the whole castle and repurposed every room but the main throne room. But the NPCs still behave largely as if the castle had the same layout. They all gather in what is now my kings bedroom, emptying his bookshelf (I discovered later that the knight had every book from the king's bookcase in his inventory.) and ignoring the spacious receiving room with its casks of ail and game tables.
Not being able to continue to a new campaign with the same ruler and being able to reach level 10 with multiple heroes in a matter of hours, a feat I cannot accomplish in any other Sims game in a week of gameplay, there is so much potential with this game but the challenge isn't there and, ultimately, the depth of gameplay is weak.
on March 23, 2011
it's been a long time since a Sims game captivated me enough to really sit down and play for long periods of time and so far Sims Medieval has some magic in it that I didn't quite get with the 3rd iteration.
Without going back too much into what other reviewers have already stated, one of the things that I really enjoyed is that there seems to be more things to do to give your characters focus and that seems to have been missing from other Sims games. You have quests and mini quests that you can do to pass the time, you have decisions that you can make that affects the entirety of the game.
I also enjoy that as you build your kingdom you can shape other characters to perform missions without having to play the whole game as your primary character. Some of the same elements remain however as your playing is only as good as the interactions that you have with characters within your kingdom and making sure that you sim's wants and needs are balanced.
The Focus meter is a new change in that I have noticed that certain tasks will not be done as efficiently if you are unfocused as the would be when you are and like any RPG you get XP for completing tasks correctly.
I also like the fact that as you play through your story when speaking to certain sims about aspects of the kingdom, you don't always have to guess what's going on as a pop up on the screen will explain certain situations are going on like 'yes we need more stone" or "Hey, I need you to rescue the fair maiden."
The environment and sounds will pull you right in to the medieval world from the style of dress to the music to the Simlish which has a noticeable accent.
As someone else has mentioned, early on in the game you will always have things to do although it seems like some of the tasks that your king does (like collect wood) should be delegated to a lower minion. However that gets made up in the fact that certain traits you imbue on your sim may take a menial task such as wood gathering and add that you discovered treasure or a monster that you have to slay.
As far as controls, it's as easy as always especially on a Macbook Pro and even with the graphic setting on medium, it's really nice to look at with slowdown occurring if too many sims are on the screen at once.
My only complaint with the game so far is that sometimes trying to get from point A to point B is not as easy of a transition as it could be because the mapping is not as responsive as it should. Sometimes if you don't click on that 'sweet spot' on the map the game won't respond. One other thing I would like to see added to future iterations if this is expanded upon is bringing back generations of sims. One of the main focal points of that era was the focus on families contending for the throne. Maybe it's a bit contentious to think something like that could fit into a family friendly game like this but it would be nice to have some sibling rivalry play out on this game and see it mature; the old king dies and 2 siblings compete for the throne. Who knows maybe we can get that in an expansion?
if you have followed the Sims, this choice is easy...by the way EA, if you can make the Sims 3 for the iPad, can you try for the same with this???
**As someone else stated, be prepared to play through the WHOLE TUTORIAL as you cannot save your game until you finish it!!!!! And you will need at least 2 or 3 hours for that!**
on March 27, 2011
I've played for a day and a half so far, and don't expect that I'll play it again unless I get really bored with all of my other options. As it was loading I read through the instructions and I started to get really excited. "Quests", I thought to myself. That will give the game some direction. I'm currently taking a break from Sims 3 because I got tired of doing the same thing over and over with my different sims.
However, as you advance in the game, the quests repeat. Sure, there are new one's as well, but still why would you want to complete the same quest over and over? So, you can do the opposite of what you did last time, I suppose. That's not for me, unfortunately.
Even that wouldn't be so terrible - you could just not do the quests and control your sims, except... You can only control your hero sims, not their spouses or their kids. I had a heck of a time trying to track my sims spouse down in order to get some kids. He or she kept going into the village or outside the boundaries of the house, castle, etc. There are times you can't "call them over" to where your sim is at, so no woohoo until they come home. One spouse was pretty much always gone - never came home to sleep at night or to eat - no kids for that sim.
I wasn't able to get my sims to have more than 2 kids, so that didn't add any variety or drama to their lives. The kids themselves never grow up, the sims in your kingdom never age. Oh, they die - sometimes, but they never grow old and die.
If you enjoy tearing down their houses and building your own, or expect to be able to add rooms to the castle, hovel, etc., sorry to burst your bubble, but no. You can redecorate and furnish your sims home, but you get a limited number of rooms and that's it.
I had the expectation of the combination of Sims 2 and 3 and thought, cool, set in medevial times with quests to keep it fresh and advancing a kingdom through the generations. That's not the game. If that's what you're expecting too, well, you can try it, but may be disappointed.
on April 4, 2011
I bought this game with high hopes: after all, EA has made some pretty expansive citybuilders and seems to have a handle on what that should entail. However, by taking people out of the open gameplay of the sims and not giving them a viable "tech tree"/expandable world, they've created a game that plays through exactly once. Yes, you can unlock different kingdom "goals" after that first playthrough, but you never gain any novel abilities, buildings, heroes or even weapons and armor that are not completely accessible on your first go round. To top it off, spouses do not join households (only your hero sim is playable) and neither do children.
The first mission set (which, btw, you MUST complete to unlock the other goals) simply asks you to place x number of buildings in your town. That can easily be achieved with plenty of quest points remaining. Level all your hero sims to level 10? Easily done with a max of playing each one for three missions. Again, plenty of quest points remain. Build weapons? Weapons and advanced armor (for the blacksmith and wizards) become accessible after level 10, so see above. Spells? Potions? Poultices? All available from leveling the hero sims. "Unlock" the special outfits by achieving a "watcher goal"? I'd done so by day three of minimal playing.
The saddest thing about this is its lack of replayability. You can simply end up playing the same game over and over, with very little variation. Perhaps most unfortunately of all, though this is not an expansion of the sims 3, the sims 3 development team has already had a heads up about this problem with the World Adventures expansion; in that instance, they made an expansion that forced the player into linear gameplay, but then allowed no real variation and was essentially non-repeatable for other families from the same town. Now, they've made a hauntingly similar mistake: though you can replay quests, there simply isn't an incentive to do so.
Here's a hint, EA.. people play citybuilders like Civilization because they a. increase in difficulty, b. offer tech trees, and c. require an increasingly varied level of skill. The idea to hybridize the role-playing aspect and the citybuilder is a neat one, and the game is pretty to look at. However, there is absolutely no incentive to keep playing. I haven't even bothered to unlock the level two goals (in other words, I'm not out of quest points for round one) and I'm already bored out of my mind. If you like grinding, this game is for you. If you don't, be prepared to spend lots and lots of time gathering flowers. Yes, I'm being serious.
Upshot: pretty game. Wait until on sale for 9.99 so you can get your money's worth. Or wait until EA manages to figure out it's D'OH moment of completely not understanding its audience, and offers some exapansions that actually value-add to your gameplay.
on July 19, 2011
I adore the regular Sims (1, 2, and 3). When I heard about this game, I did my research first. I watched a developer's discussion on YouTube and learned a lot about it, knew that it focused on quests, which as a WOW gamer was a huge plus for me. (I'm explaining that I knew the essentials of the game because I've seen other 1-star reviews criticized for not doing their "research" -- which is bogus, who should have to research before buying a game? Besides, it's marketed with the Sims name, so people have certain expectations.) The day it was available, I rushed out to get it, filled with excitement.
Unfortunately, it has very little play value. If you're the type who likes to check off tasks one by one, you might like the questing aspects. There is no creativity involved here. The quests are a series of tasks like "Go to the town marketplace and get water from the well." Very boring to actually play. I would have liked to back-burner the quests to do a little free play, but you are punished for that with a severe drop in mood. You are also punished if you skip your daily chores. Seriously, chores! The game makes you do two daily chores! These are not like wishes in Sims 3, where you can choose to address them or not. Your character will end up deep in the red if he doesn't do his chores or neglects his quests.
Others have addressed the lack of ability to actually build your town. Talk about no outlet for creativity or imagination.
I sincerely wish EA had instead invested its resources into a Medieval version of the Sims 3. I knew this was not that going in, but realize now how awesome that would have been. Instead of cars, carriages and wagons. Streets of dirt and hay. Buildings of stone and wattle and daub. Outfits to match. The careers from Sims Medieval would even work. It would have been a five-star awesome game, not this waste of money.
on April 16, 2011
I am an avid simmer and have been so since they announced the very first game. I have religiously purchased all PC games and expansions and I am not impressed with this one. It is unspeakably better than some of the Sims story games but falls short of Sims 2 or 3.
The gameplay is much like the existing controls. Just with fittingly medieval monikers. You choose a goal, at first there is only one. You then choose your hero. At first only the monarch is available but as you play more heros become available and are needed. Once you get your hero created you choose a quest that ultimately helps you towards yous kingdom's goal. As you complete each quest more open and you can choose different approaches for completing certain quests.
What I Like:
1. The developers stayed as true to the period as possible, which I appreciate as it was one thing that drew me to this game.
2. The Kingdom itself is a seemless interface. I feel in love with this in Sims 3 and I am glad it carried over to this game.
3. It is nice that the characters had daily responsibilities matching their position. They would get repetitive after a while but I suppose during that time that was reality.
What I Don't Like:
Unfortunately this will be the longer column. It almost hurts to say it.
1. I really do not like the "neighborhood" for this game. I spent a lot of thought justifying it and gave up. Honestly, I had envisioned something more like Sims 3 than this turned out to be; with lots were I could place buildings and build new ones. In this game I cannot choose where to build things or how they look. Having some static, yet interactive, elements like The Village or Forest is good. But the playable areas should be more customizeable. There is only so much I can move around to customize a place before it becomes pointless.
2. When in a home you cannot rotate. You can view the front only. I really miss this feature. This made the home more like an actual home. Now it is difficult to place objects where they cannot be seen. Or if a sim moves out of view you cannot change the view to find them or see what you are looking at.
3. I do not like that comleting quests is the only way to earn the points needed to add buildings. Possibly an alternate method of earning the money or a "freeplay" mode would be preferable. I really do not like being limited during gamelay when it comes to achieving goals. I like the quests as an interactive side item so to speak, like adventures in Al Simhara or Shang Simla with rewards for each step, with the primary gameplay being more open.
4. I like developing a single sim or family and staying with them. I am not horribly fond of jumping from hero to hero developing different personalities and abilities during gameplay.
All in all I stand middle of the road with this game. My love of all things sim battles with my disappointment in gameplay. I will keep playing and hopefully it will work a bit better. But for now I almost regret spending the money on the game.
on March 29, 2011
I'm not a Sims player. My background with computer games tends towards strategy games, roleplaying games and MMOs. I'm also an old school tabletop RPG player when I get a chance.
The long and short of it is: The RPG elements are very, very, light at least in the computer/video gaming sense of the word. Almost nothing you'd expect (major combat focus, loot collection, dungeons/adventures) is in Sims Medieval. That said, it's full of the other kind of roleplaying: where characters develop stories, the illusion of a living world is achieved, and quests can be wrapped around colorful narratives.
For those of us who found The Sims kinda pointless, The Sims Medieval offers up goals to pursue and simplifies the "babysitting" aspects of Sim management. Some of the more annoying needs, going to the bathroom for example, are now just optional buffs. Only hunger and rest really need to be monitored closely.
At first the experience can seem quite sparse and disconnected. The initial quests, and the single hero sim you start with, aren't exactly challenging. But over time as more quests are completed, more buildings bring in more playable sims, and the world in general becomes more populated (with kids and also, sometimes, the NPCs that drift in with quests) you end up with a fairly complex network of relationships. A narrative chia-pet.
Most of that doesn't directly impact the game goals of questing and daily activities but it does inject a huge amount of richness, and entertaining diversions, into the atmosphere and constantly suggests other activities one might pursue.
The initial gameplay isn't very deep but it is broad. There's quite a huge amount of things to do related to professions or socializing or questing or crafting or "adventuring" (I have to put it in quotes because the actual adventures tend to boil down to a text box and a decision about how to proceed. Your Sim just vanishes from the map while these resolve. Sims players call these "rabbit holes" and they're assumed to spots where future expansion content might hook in).
I just love following the antics of the little community from Watcher view mode (where you have a godlike perch to watch the all the ants below scurry about) or a given household. For someone relatively new to the Sims it was a bit of a revelation. Closest to this I've played before would probably be a cross between Romance of The Three Kingdoms X (also an ant-farm populated by NPCs you could watch running around but, overall, a much drier strategy game) or Europa 1400: The Guild (city-sized location featuring characters following assorted professions and interacting).
The Sims Medieval is much, much, lighter fare than I'm used to and it took a while to slow down and learn to enjoy the game for it's own style, rhythms, and layered emergent storytelling capabilities. It's a great sandbox for roleplayers who like a little bit of Sims drama but also want goals to pursue: that turn The Sims from a toy into something very much like an actual game.
on March 23, 2011
First of all, I would like to say that I do like this game and I am going to hold off on returning it until I hear back from the development team. That being said, my computer is 100% compatible with their requirements and on the back of the box and from what the representative told me online. Still, the game keeps crashing when I try to build certain buildings. I already had to disable reflections to get it to move on from the first part of the game without giving my computer a blue screen of death. I also spent over 3 hours with EA tech support that did nothing to fix the problem. I am still waiting on EA's Support Forums to hear from the development team, who has already responded in regards to the reflection problem.
This is not a problem unique to me either. There is a whole section of their forum dedicated to it and with various types of laptops, graphics cards, ect. In short, I would hold off on buying this game until this bug is fixed. It's unfortunate because it is fun from the two or three hours that I managed to play it...