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11 January 2011

The Sims 3 [DS]

Plot Synopsis: 5/10
It's The Sims. You make a character, choose a career path, and go to it. Pretty easy. I'll give the "plot" a 5. Can't really score higher because there IS no story. But, I feel like it deserves SOME points because it's open-ended, and you essentially make your own story.

Game Play: 1/10
Again, the game is very open-ended. It is also incredibly user-friendly. You create a character, starting with the appearance and gender. From there, you pick anywhere from 2 to 4 personality traits. Then choose a career path and a home to live in. Then, you create your own story, with how you choose to play.
My biggest problem with this game is that it is incredibly glitchy. First of all, one of the glitches appears once your Sim has a roommate/spouse, and you start switching back and forth between controlling the two. Occasionally, when the Sim you are controlling returns home, if the roommate had been sleeping, they will appear in the house, awake and about, but in their sleepwear, which they normally only automatically switch into when they go to bed, and switch out of automatically when they wake back up. Secondly, when you are done playing for a while, and select the "Go Back to Main Menu" option on the menu screen (accessed during play by pressing the Start button), nine times out of ten (if not more often), the game will freeze after closing out of your game but before pulling up the Main Menu screen. I have tried a variety of conditions, to see if I can determine what, specifically, causes this glitch, but so far, nothing is conclusive. There has also been one instance, already, where the game froze on me WHILE I was playing. Another glitch I saw, just this morning, was that the icon that represents a particular Sim's location, which normally appears as an image of their face within a green circle, appeared instead as a flat red square within a green circle.
Which brings me to the next glitch. There are occasionally times where placing a furniture item becomes, for all intents and purposes, permanent. I currently have a lawn flamingo outside my home that I can't move or interact with. I also have a barbecue grill outside and a stereo system inside that can't be moved from where they are, for no apparent reason. My Sims can interact with them. They just can't be moved while redecorating, like other items can. Finally (I think…), on occasion, the stink cloud that appears on dirty dishes left about the kitchen will also appear randomly in the middle of the kitchen floor, for no reason.
One other thing worth mentioning is that the inclusion of same-sex couples, which
has been a major news item for the franchise, in spite of having been expanded upon in the other versions of the game, appears to have been excluded from the Nintendo DS version entirely, from what I've seen, so far. If I am incorrect, then it is certainly far more difficult to achieve then a male-female couple.
The basics of the gameplay, when the game isn't glitching, are good. And so far, none of the glitches I've experienced hamper one's ability to actually play the game. However, due to the sheer number of glitches present, I just can't score the game well, here. A 1 out of 10.

Graphics: 8/10
The graphics are reasonable. I'd put them just about on par with the PC version of the original game in the franchise, which, for a Nintendo DS game, is decent. They COULD have been better, but they don't need to be. Everything was perfectly clear, and easy to read. I'll give the graphics an 8 out of 10.

Audio: 5/10
I'd really like to describe the music, in The Sims 3… but I can't. Unfortunately, this is because the music is rather plain and forgettable. On the plus side, it didn't stand out as being excessively bad, either. It seems to be more for a bit of background noise so that the sound of the various Sims speaking doesn't drive you nuts.
Which it will. That weird pseudo-language the programmers made, making it sound, if you aren't really paying attention, like the Sims may be speaking actual words, has the capacity to drive a person insane. You find yourself focusing in on it, trying to figure out if they're saying real words or not. It has an "uncanny valley" effect, where you know it's NOT real, but it sounds close enough that it unnerves you.
I have to score the audio rather low. I'll give it a 5 out of 10. And the only reason it's getting that high a score is because I at least appreciate what the developers and programmers were trying to do with the Sims' language, whether I like the end result or not. It's just too bad about the music, though.

Overall Score: 4.75
The Sims 3 for the Nintendo DS is very vanilla to begin with. The format itself is limited, so expansions are not possible, as they are on a PC. As a result, the novelty of playing wears off fairly quickly. Add to that all of the glitches I mentioned earlier, and you quickly end up with a game that seems, I hate to say, like a bit of a waste of money. If you're interested in playing The Sims 3, I'd avoid the DS version, personally.

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