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Sims Medieval: Prima Official Game Guide (Prima Official Game Guides) Paperback – March 22, 2011
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Top customer reviews
Greg Kramer wrote the guides for The Sims 2 and its expansions, and they were simply wonderful. Written with intelligent humor and an obvious love of the game, they were satisfyingly thorough. I finished each guide with very few unanswered questions (mostly of a pretty esoteric nature - I'm a very demanding simmer!). The guides could have used a little more editing (really now, Prima, I'm sure there are any number of people with excellent spelling and grammar who would LOVE to preview your manuscripts for FREE in exchange for two copies of the finished work - one autographed and one to use in playing the game - I'm available, hint hint), and there were always a few factual errors in the text, presumably as a result of changes the designers made to the game after the guide had been sent to the presses.
Ever since The Sims 3 was released two years ago, the franchise has been taken over by Catherine Browne. Like Greg, Catherine writes with humor and enthusiasm, but her tone feels a little overeager, as if she's trying too hard. If only she would focus more on what gamers actually want to know, maybe she could relax.
This guide, like all of Catherine's Sims guides, is full of lists. There are pages and pages listing every buff your Sim may receive, including the in-game description. There's an exhaustive list included of recipes and craftables, and their ingredients. Some information, such as the progression of levels for each Hero, actually appears TWICE. Over 100 pages of the book is devoted to a step-by-step walkthrough of all the quests in the game.
Here's the problem: all of that stuff actually appears in the game itself. I'm not saying most of it shouldn't have been included; it is useful for planning ahead. What bothers me is how much should have been included, that wasn't. There's nothing about how NPCs "work," which ones are generated by which buildings and quests, and which ones are added to the population permanently as opposed to those who show up once and are never seen again. The sections on marriage, family, and socialization seem to have been largely copied from the Sims 3 guide and rather sloppily altered to apply to this game. All the steps for the quests have been laid out, but you won't find any help in this book on HOW to carry out those steps that aren't self-evident or spelled out in in-game instructions. I spent a couple of hours yesterday becoming increasingly frustrated as I was supposed to make a Divine Catalyst and I had all the required ingredients, but the option still wasn't coming up in the game. It turned out there was another ingredient I needed which wasn't mentioned in the game at all, and I had to look for "Divine Catalyst" as an option under meal preparation choices. A quick check with Google revealed that a number of other players had the exact same problem. Isn't it the LITTLE things we need to know to finish a quest that ought to be in the guide, not just a flow chart of the events of the quest itself?
There IS plenty of useful information in this guide. It's helpful to know which quests will result in unique craftables, Legendary Traits, and foreign alliances. The "Notes" and "Tips" scattered throughout the guide are often more useful than the main text itself. The map that reveals the location of herbs, fish, and mineral deposits is very useful indeed when you find yourself in need of an ingredient that can only be found in some out-of-the-way place you'd probably never happen to go in the course of ordinary gameplay.
If you're a die-hard simmer, this guide will be worth your while as an exhaustive reference, and for the interview with executive producer Rachel Bernstein and several pages of hilarious bloopers. Casual players, however, will be better off just learning the game by . . . playing it.
My only criticism was I would've liked a bit more detail in the quest walkthrough section; although the quest-tree was helpful, occasionally it wasn't immediately clear to me how to go about performing the required step in the quest I was playing through, and the guide doesn't actually spell out exactly what to do in the quest tree beyond listing the required action. Although the quest-tree method makes for a very efficient quest reference, this was a glaring subtraction of information when compared with the rest of the extremely well-fleshed-out other sections of the guide. What the guide lacks in this section truly is more than balanced out by the well-detailed other sections of the guide so by all means don't let this shortcoming stop you from purchasing it.