I wrote a looooooooooong article about The Sims 4 in 2017 and felt the need to revisit it now in 2019 to update you on whether The Sims 4 is something you should consider buying or not. An important question to ask is, is it fun to play? Is the game there or there about? I shall answer that question and a number more in the folds below.
Before getting deep into the game I’d like to make some points clear.
- I love the Sims as a franchise.
- I’ve played every version to date (1, 2, 3 & 4)
- I’ve owned the vast majority of all of the expansion packs in 1 & 2, everything except pets and future in The sims 3, and all current expansions and game packs in The Sims 4 (but only 1 stuff pack).
- I don’t have any particular beef with the game developers, so if any of them should be reading, nothing personal. The reason I’m vocal is because I love the game, and want to see it last. I especially don’t want 5 to be a trash fire, but could see it going that way if you apply the same design approach you did to the sims 4.
You do need to have read the first article to get the full flavour, but most of the nuances I’ve re-covered here in a slightly compressed form, because I realised 42 minutes was a bit long.
There are some elements to a simulation that goes this broad, in order to fully satisfy an all bases covered report. A lot of the time there are those players who only play with a limited access to the full range of elements, they play in their happy zone. So even though I’ve bought a load more expansions since my 2017 review, I haven’t tapped out all of the possible scenarios that I could play with, and use new functions for. I can’t give you a 100% definitive. My thoughts, opinions and commentary are subjective to my experience, and there are those of you who will get more from the current feature set than I do. I mention this because there are 3 discernible sub groups of simmer. The builder, the character creator, and the gamer. I fall more toward the character creator and gamer group. I like this simulation for the gameplay most, and I find the gameplay to be the nub of the problem. I was spoilt in The Sims 3, and realise it all the more now.
- TS1, The Sims, The original released game from way back.
- TS2, The Sims 2, many player’s all time favourite.
- TS3, The Sims 3, the open world Sims and what I class as the zenith in many aspects.
- TS4, The Sims 4, our current version. I would say has undoubtedly the best create-a-sim tool to date, despite missing create-a-style.
- Studio — AKA The Sims Studio. The current programming and artwork developer that creates content for The Sims franchise. Was created as a function for EA from the remnants of Maxis and now produces the console and mobile app on top of The Sims 4 expansions. Came into effect in The Sims 3. Sims 3 being their first title in the new configuration. Consider them an entirely EA owned development company. They wear the business suit and are stained by the foul EA ichor.
- Maxis — A now defunct marque of a once beloved developer. Used simply as a banner to trick people into thinking that this game was made with love. Ah, sweet memory. See Sims Studio above.
- EA — Electronic Arts, Distributor of the Sims Franchise and owner of The Sims Studio, Maxis, Origin and all related trademarks, reserved rights and copyrights.
- Origin — The platform on which EA games are provided that require online elements to play. Also the store where you buy the expansions from. This platform provides the updates to the game in the form of patches. Origin is used both on PC & MAC. For console players updates are distributed through by the console platform (Sony, Microsoft), same is also true on the mobile app and the operating system (e.g. Apple, Android/Google, Microsoft, etc.)
Is the Sims 4 a serviceable game to play with the level of expansions it now has?
I would say ‘yes’ with a big caveat.
The caveat is an ongoing issue that many vocal sims fans may voice. This game is devoid of the kind of depth of field that the Sims 3 had from the base game (and which only grew therein). Even with all its expansions, its not there people, it’s not there. I’d like to say it was closer, but it’s not.
A lot of the expansion, and update, can be classified as set dressing. Gameplay is still relatively shallow compared to what you could do in The Sims 3. The Sims 3 in many areas still sets the bar, and set it quite high. As imperfect a game as that was, it was the zenith.
Do you now get a good game 5 years on?
Let’s say, in the nicest possible way, it’s not bad, not terrible. The problem with The Sims as a product has been that the base game has always aged at quite a rate in comparison to the elements bolted onto it later on. It’s a juggernaut product. Think of it as a bus or a coach, but that vehicle over time has various warriors leaning out of the windows and adornments bolted on to make it more feature rich, but ultimately more creaky as the weight begins to pile on. Using a different analogy; it has many 21st century features, but with 1960s decor and 1970 shagpile carpets still in effect. The Sims 4 was more like a mini-bus compared to The Sims 3’s luxury coach for base game comparisons.
What is still poor?
Story Progression. Story progression was rather a key mechanic in The Sims 3. You don’t realise how much you miss such a core mechanic until you no longer have it, or in The Sims 4’s case, a very ‘basic’ implementation. It adds system overhead by means of computation (I don’t disagree) but is rather a cornerstone that needs to function now. We’ve had it, we need it again, no compromises.
The Sims 3 did it better. You could rely on The Sims 3 to take care of business. If you only wanted to control 1 household through the generations, you could part ways with your family’s child, and let them find love and success on their own out in the wilderness. It was okay to let the clock run on life, it was okay to let time run down the days to each sim’s life. They’d take care of themselves and procreate. In TS4, this doesn’t happen. Everyone knows a dumb kid in school, this is that dumb kid. The level of programming, from what I can observe, isn’t comparable. Modders have done a superior job, without breaking too much of a sweat. There’s more than just the story progression that doesn’t aid playing through a generation. There is an imbalance weighted towards the young adult and adult life stage that is not reflected in the other life states. The focus of activities doesn’t have an equilibrium. Some of the life states are a grind. I believe there should be an adult stage between adult and elder, because the sim moves from middle aged to infirm unnaturally. I also feel that the teen life state model is almost indistinguishable from the young adult life state, it was just a mild adjustment to the frame, a cheap programming shortcut. A lot of people play the sims 4 with aging deactivated because job progression is much harder. Story progression being basic underlines all of these design shortcomings.
Design Cohesion. A lot of the packs can often run contra too other content. Sometimes they work in harmony but at other times they struggle. Sometimes this is just an unfortunate clash, but at other times it is a lack of foresight and testing. This will bring me onto a further point later in this article, but from what we can observe of the expansions, they are designed in a way that doesn’t always make it easy for them to compliment.
I’ll give you a prime example to try and explain this:
San Myshuno, the world you’ll know and kind of like. Even if you don’t have sims there, periodic events occur. The Spice Festival, The Love Festival, Geekcon, the Flea Market and Humour Vs Pranksters. Let’s take one of those periodic events and examine the issue. It’s a big issue people. The clash occurs between the Seasons Expansion pack and this event. Basically, if it’s raining outside during spring, summer or fall, you will discover that all of the computers and all of the televisions are out of service. They’ll be sparking and unusable. This problem has been an issue since Seasons, and the fix is unresolved. A solution would be simple, but how the items load in and load out of the community zone of the lot they are on means that the fix may be difficult to implement unless the programmers introduce further assets to alleviate this issue. What you need is a non permanent shelter that is non water permeable, but either this is too difficult to implement, or has a cost that doesn’t align with EA’s bullwhip. There are assets that could be expanded upon to do the job, but no volition to do so, so instead the feature is left unashamedly broken, and we as a gamer are forced either to sacrifice former functional gameplay, involve mods, or meddle in other ways to get around it.
Quality Control. If you have bought any expansion in the last 4 or 5, there have been some quality control issues creeping through. These issues can be minor or major in how they effect gameplay and are more reminiscent of TS3 fubars (fucked up beyond all recognition) from old that I’d hoped we’d got past but haven’t. As an example the programmers broke the ‘player’ trait (a reward from completing the 4 stages of the serial romantic aspiration) and there was no clear reason as to why this happened. The player trait allows the sim to conduct multiple relationships without making their relations jealous (so if you kiss another sim in front of your spouse, your spouse doesn’t get jealous). In some play styles, this trait can be rather important (if you are playing with a poly amorous family like a mormon family or something along those lines). It’s not even entirely clear why that trait needed adjustment to code. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. This is not the only example of core features, that have been broken by recoding events. Another broken feature, that was a main launch feature, is whims. Whims appeared as bubbles around the sim’s portrait at the bottom left of the UI window. Carl from Carl’s guide fame, explained this recently in a video. I’d thought this had disappeared, but Carl confirmed this. It’s now been semi deactivated by default, you can still re-enable it in gameplay settings, but you would have to do so each new game save (starting from scratch). These whims weren’t systematically updated going along, so don’t include a lot of variety for the various new packs, which is understandably rather sad.
Rushed Content. It has become quite clear in recent packs that there has been a greater plan, but the necessary resource to complete on and polish those plans has not been present. Strangerville & Island Living as prime examples, fall short of a complete experience. Time was spent on their art style but the implementation of a complete gameplay experience have been marred. They are superficial at best in many cases, with some discernibly lacklustre rabbit holes. Island Living as an example has the diving spot and a cave exploration. Both of these rabbit holes pale in comparison to past memories of the far superior expansion pack in the Sims 3 with the same theme. In this you could actually journey to the deep, and pick up shells, avoid sharks and explore. The new imagining is a very cut down ‘whitebread’ experience.
In a number of expansion packs, pre-built homes have had elements that were non functional. The crashed airplane lot in Strangerville features a kitchen that has an unusable counter, therefore you can’t prepare food. In the most recent realm of magic game pack, a call back to supernatural and makin’ magic (both of which were superior in design) there is one house in the new ‘world’ that has a missing rear door, but all of the necessary infrastructure to suggest one should have been added. In Get Famous, there is a mansion lot that has a major camera flaw, one of the Sim Gurus even admitted this during a live stream with a YouTuber (James Turner from The Sim Supply). That same lot was missing toilets. It’s disappointing that these items get pushed out without a suitable catch. They are allowed to persist when they should be corrected so that at least when you start a new game, they are corrected.
What has become poor on observation from 2017 to 2019
Main Expansions have been underwhelming in scope. The full expansion pack as it were. The new worlds are now noticeably smaller compared to the previous full expansion packs. The Studio have said this design choice is driven by keeping the loading overhead down, but I don’t entirely believe that. Yes in some ways having larger individuals worlds, and having those customised will increase the save file, but so what. Should we be driven by the bottom end user, the child with the crappy laptop, or should there be a drive from the median user, with a relatively decent computer, who’s going to throw down on all these expansions?
Patch notes are far less involved and funny than they used to be. Though it’s a small thing, I really enjoyed the patch notes in their previous format. They’ve been moved to a more obscure location, and are not as detailed (one of the gurus had a fun sense of humour which I enjoyed (simgurugnome)). It also seems that patches include far less bug bashing these days when compared to past efforts. This means that more is going unfixed. Some of this focus has been taken away by new content which is no bad thing, but there are still a massive raft of basic fixes that are needed, alongside some fundamental addresses to missing functional elements that haven’t been addressed since the game’s release in 2014.
Press output had a severe downturn after a point. They used to make considerably more effort on community engagement, but because TS4 was met with backlash, they only kept that going to appease for so long. They then seemed to dial back engagement to a whimper after noises turned more favourable. I was hoping that they would follow the same general production time they’d observed with the previous versions of the sims, but already TS4 has gone longer than the others in terms of age. I have to remind myself that this game was launched in 2014. It’s been out a long time and has not been developed like TS3 had been in a similar length of time. There is no deep wealth like there was in that game, because TS3 had a much richer base game experience (it was a complete game experience and rich from the off, you could play quite happily on the base game for a long period).
I made complaint about alleged Sim Shills in my previous review in 2017, but I’ve come to respect these people more now, because they seem to be the only conduit between the player and the company. The EA Game Changers programme does allow some latitude for the YouTubers in question to criticise the game, Lilsimsie in particular makes some very valid points on the build quality of worlds which I find myself nodding my head to more often than not. I’ve also found Plumbella’s complaints about the lore and laziness of its application to the pre made characters to have notable points because it seems that the studio has given up on trying to make that a consistent ‘thing’. The studio has got lazy and even the hardcore fans see it.
James Turner often makes some observations that I agree with. He questioned Lindsay Pearson, the current head, and that interview was quite revealing. He asked her some difficult questions, and I’m glad he did. I thought she answered them quite well, and I’ve warmed to her more than the previous heads who’ve been a little more hands off with community engagement. Graham Nardone has changed, not for the better. He says some dumb shit sometimes when he probably should have stayed quiet. I have some eyerolls when I watch some of the live streams for the new packs. I know they are unscripted, but there are some things you shouldn’t shine a light on lest you look… like a douche. The one good thing about EA is that you can have a negative opinion about what they do. They don’t listen, but they don’t try and stamp you out either. They normally role with it, and very rarely get to the nub of an issue to make a positive change (pools, toddlers, terrain tools).
Maxis as I mentioned in my previous review, are Maxis by name only. The Sims Studio is a puppet of EA, the Sims Studio is the core of the Sims now. I can’t help but feel that they took the wrong lessons away from the flaws in TS3, overcompensated in TS4, and became overtly stingy in the process. Being a franchise you have to take the sharp stick up the butt sometimes, because that’s what franchises are about. They milk the Richard (Dick) out of the subject matter, homogenise it, then milk some more.
Carl from the Carl’s The Sims 4 guide is a bit of legend. Love the guy’s detailed website of information and have been perusing his content since The Sims 3. He now has started more of his world domination with a YouTube channel of his own that has been running for a while now, and he often exposes weakness in the game because like me, he’s more of a gamer than a builder or a character creator. I think what really made me somewhat angry with the developers is the fact that they have got sloppy with the code at points. One of Carl’s videos details him having to go to a code level of the game to adjust a file where code used to function. The fact that someone has had to go this deep to correct this shortfall boggles the mind. The fact that there was code that worked, and was programmed by a hard working programmer over at the Studio, and then was somehow obliterated or more unpicked by cack-handed revision controls is disappointing. I had made an observation in my last review that the development team working on TS4 is a lot smaller comparatively than that of TS3. They don’t have the scope with their manpower now to produce the depth that we crave, yet EA have the balls to charge large sums for underworked content, and often undo their hard work with sloppy implementations. We were spoilt in what we could look forward to in TS3 expansion packs. It’s annoying to see working functionally made unworkable by poor quality handling but it is not unexpected either. It’s the situation. It’s the status quo. Boringly predictable.
Carl goes into quite some depth with this video and I resonate with a lot of what he says. He details more than I’m going to go into with this review. He’s pulled together an aggregated list of complaints on what’s wrong with TS4 so that you can understand a more complete picture of where things are wrong. Worth a 25 minute watch.
What has improved in my opinion from 2017 to 2019
The content provision has been stepped up. It seems like the studio are working to a better road map now. There were some serious threadbare gaps where there were sparse patches of content dropped between 2016 and 2017, but since my article there have been a number of updates both through expansions, and through functional additions in patches. The most recent functional update of branching stair paths is amazing, so more additions like these are welcomed with open arms. We now have terrain tools, we can now shape terrain. That was a big request that has been ticked off. There have been packs that I’ve simply said ‘yes please, take my money’ where in the past I’ve thought to myself ‘I can really wait’, not all of those purchases have been entirely as satisfying as I’d hoped, but at least the assets have improved my overall gameplay and provided fun additions. My review could never be an all encompassing one, mostly because it takes you as a player to be in the unique situation with your sim, to make use of the provided infrastructure that is available. That said, the game has become a bit more capable in time and is slowly shaping up nicely. The pace is slower than TS3, but at least the game is relatively stable and playable compared to its predecessor. One of my big bug bears with TS3 was that some of the later expansions killed the game on the machine I was playing on. I had to wait on Maxis to bash those bugs, and keep my fingers crossed that they’d done enough to make some changes that would let the game load. People often cite TS3 as superior to TS4, but it had many failings compared to TS2. We can be very thankful that TS4 runs and that for the most part patches and game improvements are implemented that don’t introduce game breaking bugs, its just a shame its as shallow as balls. You don’t remember the dark days of TS3, there were many, I know, I lived it. Even TS2 had some really horrid patch updates that could jank the game though TS2 was a lot more stable than TS3 because it wasn’t open world. Open worlds had a huge overhead and if they plan to put this in TS5 I hope it is not a half order implementation and that somehow they’ve been able to optimise the game to running with the large computation overhead. They did their best with TS3 but it had horrendous load times between worlds.
Classics are being revisited. It was noticeable that with the inception of TS4, the design had moved away from the traditional to incorporate new locations and the odd additional piece of gameplay. The latter element is still lacking, but the popular expansions are being covered off in some degree which is appreciated. We’ve had the traditional Pets and Seasons, and covering off some of the more popular experiments that were trialled in previous iterations including Get Famous and Island Living. University has been leaked as coming out this year in time for the holiday period at the end of year, which would see another classic ticked off in the production schedule.
The UI (User Interface, or buttons and panels what do shit), unlike previous versions of the sims, has been continually improved over the years, to be more function and clear. The inventory tab for each sim, with another of pullout tabs, can now be dragged upwards to expand what is visible on the page. This may seem a small thing but these kinds of quality of life improvements are always welcomed. You don’t notice them as they slowly get implemented in otherwise unremarkable patch updates but they soon start adding up over time. I recently watched James Turner run the original unpatched game from 2014 and we’ve come such a long way its untrue. The UI back then was atrocious. It’s nice that with this implementation of TS4, and the fact that updates get pushed online through Origin, you do get an improved game, I wouldn’t have said that initially.
Something that has been improved with the expansions, is the overall range of music stations on the sound systems. A lot of the music really didn’t gel with me for the longest time, but I’ve found they’ve sprinkled in some simlish gems that are quite catchy now. They still aren’t a patch on some of the original scores that were made in TS3, or the orchestral gems in TS1 and TS2, but there is a broader range of catchy tunes now available. I’ve even, in some instances, sought out the artists to some of these songs to listen to their music with the real lyrics because I’ve enjoyed the song, so that’s cool. Small things can make you happier with the overall experience because I’m an older simmer and not down with the young folk. As the Sims becomes an older franchise I understand that as part of design choices, the studio is trying to keep old players and the old fanbase relatively happy but not prevent newbies from jumping on and becoming fresh acolytes to the franchise. It must at times be quite a difficult balance.
What I’ve noticed since playing The Sims 4 more since my last review in 2017
I’ve been enjoying it way more. It is not such a huge change as the kind seen in No Man’s Sky, but I’ve just found my time playing it more enjoyable. Though the game is deeply shallow in parts, I’ve learnt to find enjoyment where I can, and a lot of the new assets (including clothing, decorations, furniture and entertainment) help give each sim plenty to do.
The pack that made a big difference, was one I reviewed back in my previous review. One that has become more useful the more I’ve played, and expanded my way through the content. This is Parenthood, and I rate this game pack much higher now than I have before. Parenthood is quite an important gameplay improvement because it makes a purpose to looking after the kids. It provides reward and it changes the experience enough to make things interesting. I feel that the way that infants, children and teens are handled is sub nominal, under par, so Parenthood does address this area by providing a small additional layer to that gameplay. I would like more expansions dedicated to gameplay improvement over style, though it seems that the Sims Studio are more focused on rather light improvement in this area because I think that gameplay packs in themselves don’t outwardly appear as appealing as bauble dense packs even though when we get hold of gameplay changing packs we love them all the more. Generations was a game changer in TS3, we need more like this.
I was also rather harsh about City Living but it has some benefits that were previously not enjoyed. I had a particular famous sim that exploited living in the City to make quite a powerful winning strategy. I soon had her make over 500,000 simoleons in an artist career in a very short time frame, where she surpassed the maximum career level and continued to receive 10 additional pay rises through some sneaky play that involved Realm of Magic. Realm of Magic is a deeply contentious game pack (and game packs are the best, often better than their more expensive expansion pack cousins). It is contentious because it allows you to break the somewhat difficult game balance and make life very easy for your sim. The potion of plentiful needs is a ‘game breaker’, it is cheating without cheating. Realm of magic in itself has some questionable choices, and some flawed implementations of which I will cover. However, I do enjoy it very much.
I noticed some other things happening that were less scripted than before. A lot of the townies (NPCs) were becoming absolute ‘land whales’ in some of my playthroughs. Because of how a lot of the towny interactions with stalls occur, pop up stalls being more of a thing now in community lots, and how the calorie system in TS4 works, a lot of the NPC characters, and uncontrolled lot characters were bloating out. It was quite fun to watch but left my population with a morbidly obese issue. Anaya Jang in particular had one proverbial ‘fat ass’. It was impressive to watch.
I do enjoy some of the festive periods that provide a free day off work such as the sims versions of Thanksgiving and Christmas that occur in Autumn (Fall) and Winter respectively. Father winter always cheers me up, I just like the fact that he’s there. He reminds me of the TS1 and the Bear that showed up, and also the Raccoon that would show up and rifle through your bins. I wish they’d involve some more random events likes these (which you can opt out of if you so choose), it adds a bit of light hearted fun that adds a dimension to your story which I quite enjoy. I didn’t know because I hadn’t tried it, but having a child with Father Winter provides quite a powerful trait for the offspring. It’s a small thing but just a fun additional Easter egg that adds a bit of variety to the game. Island Living has something similar with you having an offspring with one of the Sulani spirits, you can then call down meteors at will (with a cooldown, ah the irony).
Nostalgia and Expectation
Before I get into the EPs that were brought in post my original review, I just wanted to cover something.
If you ask any long term sims devotee, they will wax lyrical about the virtues of the older games. They will tell you how much better mechanics and systems were implemented in previous iterations of the game. Unfortunately it seems all too clear that while the developers (Maxis AKA Sims Studio) look at the past, they don’t take the right decisions or learnings away from those iterations. They don’t take a fan’s eye view and look objectively enough at why the sims drew people in. They are working to a different agenda that involves making money for EA, and they are unashamed by that fact.
Game difficulty doesn’t exist now. Not like it used to. Failure leads you to greatness but somebody left the Sims Studio out of the memo.
I was reminded of an event that happened. My sim had a fear of seeing a ghost. Their needs were already quite low and when they saw said ghost, they died. This doesn’t happen so much in TS4. You don’t feel on the ragged edge of survival. It’s all too clean and easy. Death used to be a true spectre of the game, because being on the ragged edge, you never knew quite when he’d come to claim you. I remember distinctly with TS2 that one of my pregnant sims died during childbirth, the one who’d seen said ghost. It was a sad thing, but these things happen and shouldn’t be sanitised out of a game. I remember in TS3 one of my sims was out on a date at the restaurant rabbit hole (the swanky one). When he turned up with his date, there was a huge group gathered. A sim had died whilst walking down to the grocery. There was a crowd of people gathered, crying or otherwise shocked and it felt like something was going on. There was a light switched on, a community, it was an event. The thing is, I still remember that to this day. I’m not sure how much of my TS4 gameplay I’ll remember as fondly, or that will resonate as profoundly.
Do we ever really see that in The Sims 4? The spontaneity and fun of events isn’t quite there. The sharp reality is absent. Whilst crowds do now show up, do they actually leave a ripple in the pond? Do they have meaning if our sim doesn’t interact with them? Do they just make up the numbers?
Will Wright was rather crucial to bringing the fun to the earlier games. They weren’t perfect, but they were fun. Spore broke Will.
I think that the end result was a vast difference in scope to what he had envisaged, so he decided to leave the world of games industry altogether and instead pursue something else. The Sims 3 did alright without Will, but his hand was still there in spirit. In TS4 he’d been firmly forgotten. Even Lucy Bradshaw, his shining Lieutenant, had to fall on her sword after having to swallow the repercussions of a franchise dying in the shape of Sim City. You know what that franchise ultimately got replaced by, and wasn’t an EA construct, it was City Skylines. Did you know that there were programmers poached from the Sim City team to help develop it further, and thoroughly overshadow the misstep that was Sim City (SC5)? To me, my favourite Sim City was 3000, but I loved Sim City 4 just as much. It was just when the reimagining in SC5 was handled by a more noticeable EA presence that it went pear shaped. Because Sim City stopped being Sim City. It was a bauble to entice people to Origin. It was shallow, required online play (even though it was uncovered that it could be played offline with some modification of a single line of code) and didn’t have appeal. Was that Lucy’s fault? I don’t think so. But she had to perform Hara-kiri for it all the same, it was on her watch, she had her hands on the tiller. I went into detail about this in my last review. It was a third quarter axe. The third quarter is the end of Summer. It is when companies review the beans with their accountants, and get angry when the beans don’t total their prediction. They don’t let the head continue behind the wheel at that point, they appoint someone new for the more lucrative winter months to manage those much larger winter sales. Getting them in for October gives them a chance to make some key changes before December lands. Its simple business. But it sucks too. Losing Lucy didn’t matter as much, but losing Will did. I don’t mean that in a sexist misogynist fashion, I mean to say that Lucy wasn’t the driving visionary. She was just a good hand on the tiller.
The biggest mistake Maxis made was selling out to EA. Every developer’s worst mistake is selling out to EA, Activision/Blizzard, Ubisoft and Take 2 Interactive, for the same reason. You lose what soul you have in order for that publisher to make bank. They are watching you to see if you faceplant and will be in there to kick in the balls if you do. They are far less shameful of that fact now, make far worse decisions than they used to, because we go along with it. We permit them to treat us shabbily, we turn up with the money like Oliver Twist and ask for more. Unfortunately we don’t get the response back of “MORE?” we get “Okay, hand me your wallet and your pin code.”. Corporations as large as these with as many billions as these, and with as much clout as their lawyers can table, don’t give a rancid llamacorn (A sims Llama hybridised with a unicorn, that thing currently dancing on the menu screen with the freezer bunny) about how you feel. You are a unit of monetary fulfilment in their eyes. You are a number. Moving the needle with this establishment is difficult at best, and when you do get a victory, its bloody hard won.
This should be something you should bear in mind. When an indie developer sucks on the teet of a prime publisher, that’s when the trouble starts. They try and hold out as long as possible, but often times resistance is futile. They get assimilated quicker than a prime drone recruit at a borg diner. You are never really the same after an assimilation. Just ask Seven of Nine, or Jean Luc Picard. The assimilation tubules tore open the flesh of Maxis and injected their borg nannites right into the blood stream. The Sims Studio replaced Maxis, but Maxis is still floated as a trading symbol to try and reassure you every time you start the game. EA got its hooks in with the Sims Store, it was EA’s first look at trying out microtransactional shenanigans. It wasn’t overly accepted by the masses so they ditched it for TS4. They raised prices on all types of expansion, and provide less content than had been provided in the past in a diminishing returns proposition. Don’t be surprised when you come to TS5 and have to pay the same for less. If they can’t get you one way, they’ll get you another.
But enough of that… I am going to round out this article now with the expansion packs added after my review in 2017 (which did get an update in 2018) and I will try and re-rate all of the expansions to date, with how I view them in maturity. This may mean some move up and some move down relative to how I view them with more game time under the belt.
Speaking of Game Time;
At time of publishing this article, this is how long I’ve spent playing. It’s probably time I could have been spending trying to find a date, or writing more books, but The Sims does often help me get through life’s meaner curves. It’s more than just a game at times. I did a save game review, because often in the past I drift from one save game to another when I get bored, and that has happened quite a few times. On my review, I had 90 save games. That might be quite pedestrian compared to some players out there.
1335 hours is equivalent to nearly 56 days.
So, what are your thoughts on expansions? Do you think that they should only be deployed when you run out of things to do on that lovely and rich base game? Ah…. that lovely rich base game. Hah.
Or, do you believe in EA shareholder pleasing fashion, that you should look to complete as little of a base game as you can get away with, and charge the faceless horde many groats to buy features that should have been fundamental to the game in the first place?
Let’s have a look shall we.
Expansion Packs Since 2017 Review
When I reviewed last there were only three. Now there’s 7. Having 7 did make a difference but not as big a difference as it should have.
So our 4 new packs are as follows;
- Cats & Dogs
- Get Famous
- Island Living
These are lovely made packs. They all add something unique and there definitely was a good amount of content with each. But some of them were better than others, and when I say better, miles better.
Island Living despite having some deficient qualities is perhaps the most beautiful of the introductions. Sulani is one of my favourite new worlds. The swimming mechanic was enhanced, the mermaid returned, and it was definitely nice to see an island theme. It’s nice to visit this world even if your sim isn’t living there, purely because the environment is pleasing. It’s also nice that you can be a mermaid without living in this world, albeit it is much easier to look after your hydration needs in Sulani. The aspiration is weak, with a weak reward trait, though never being stressed is quite useful in some cases. I like some of the small elements this expansion brought, such as the part time work. You can now do odd jobs like you did in TS3, and I often enjoyed working these more than some of the main jobs because it gives you free time to potter at home. I must say quite definitely that this pack is a poor reflection of Island Paradise from TS3. It is nowhere near superior. The lots and the world are nice, but not as expansive as the open world provided in TS3, with many features either simplified or not present. Though I still like it all the same, it just needed more overall polish.
Get Famous was also a fun addition to the series. My criticisms of the mechanics were that you often get quirks that are really rather annoying. You can wash them away but they can be replaced with equally annoying quirks. You have to accept 4 quirks when you reach the highest level. Some of annoying qualities connected to them. Also the acting career whilst detailed with a lot to visit, and some fun backdrops, is repetitive after a time, and also there are long periods between the audition and the gig, whereby being an actor is not as good a career choice as a career where you get more days on the job. I found that being an Artist or a Writer gets you up the fame ladder quicker, this as well as mixing your own tracks and videos on their respective entertainment equipment. Some of the clothing in this pack is some of my favourite from this version of the sims. Definitely worth it, you can always opt out of the celebrity life style if you so wish.
Seasons was a difficult one for me. As much as I like changing seasons it messed up the gardening skill a bit. It’s annoying when your plants simply aren’t growing and you are forced to take the growing indoors under the new glass rooves. Also Seasons introduced some issues into the game that clashed as mentioned further up in this article. There are some elements I enjoy but this version of Seasons is not as good as previous versions. As an example of a major shortfall, snow was very light. In the Sims 3 you could build an igloo. Once again TS4 falling short. I’m a bit harsh on Seasons, I didn’t really care for it so much in TS3 either, that’s just what I favour so this is more opinion based than anything. You might rate it higher, and I can understand and sympathise. I simply don’t. I could take or leave seasons, it was never big on my tick list.
It does bring in a calendar system, which allows you to make your own fun holidays. I do enjoy that mechanic. If you don’t feel like celebrating Harvest day (Sims equivalent of Thanksgiving (which I don’t celebrate because I’m English and hence the age old enemy of Thanks, the steel yoke of the Empire what what)) and/or Winterfest (Christmas) or New Year’s Eve, you can delete them all from the calendar if you so choose. I even enacted naked day once, that was fun. Cooking a grand meal is fun and the vegetarians get a tofu equivalent in the Tofu Turkey. There is other stuff that comes with Seasons, I’m just meh with it. Meh. Meh!
Cats & Dogs is also a bit cut down compared to TS3’s offering. However, I love the Cats & Dogs that it brought along with it. I did love Brindleton Bay, its a lovely addition to the habitable worlds. It’s nice that there is a suitable dog run, and it also brought the possibility of running a vet clinic to the game. Both the Cats and Dogs that you could craft were quite detailed, and I loved their animations so I do actually rate this expansion. I like in a way that you don’t have autonomy of the animals, it mimics real life. Animals are not easily controlled. Cats can be real shitheads at times, dogs can too. Cats & Dogs is not equivalent to the pet expansion pack from TS3. There were way more pets included in that showing, and it was just altogether a larger scope than this. You had horses in TS3, just sayin’.
The customisations for the dogs and cats are quite something. You can actually paint your own designs on to them which is pretty awesome. There are lots of pre-made builds if you are going for a specific breed. Most of the favourites are on there. Three of my favourites are the greyhound, husky and chow chow (the Chihuahua is also fun). I like the Siamese and Maine Coone as well. You can even make a raccoon. You may find more of an adherence to American breeds, mostly because America is the largest market, so not so much of the more European breeds but there is still quite a plethora. Having had two Jack Russell terriers (read terrors) myself, I can appreciate pets, especially a doggo. I’m not entirely disliking of cats. They can really add to a story, and are quite fun as an accessory for an older Sim.
How I rate the sum of the 7 packs;
- Get Together
- City Living
- Get Famous
- Island Living
- Cats & Dogs
- Get to Work
So things have changed.
Get to work, the first EP, is officially now the worst in my eyes. I do occasionally use some of its mechanics but the careers were woeful in their design, it just hasn’t been good value overall. Seasons whilst fun at times, has cohesion problems with the rest of the game, hence why it hovers near the bottom of the pack, for all the good it brings, it brings all the shitty with it. I find it restricts my gameplay, so am scathing. Cats & Dogs was solid but I don’t get as good value for money out of it as I do for some of the higher ranked expansions. Island Living is fab, but a little bit limited compared to its compatriots. If you don’t fancy making a mermaid, joining the conservation career, or living off the grid, this has less kerb appeal. Get Famous is useful just because it adds some additional gameplay on top of the fact that you can also be a special sim (Alien, Vampire, Ghost, Mermaid, Wizard/Witch), so even if you don’t use the lots, you are very likely to use the gameplay additions, and the high quality furniture and decorations. City Living proved to be more potent than I realised. It aged better than I thought. I was rather uncomplimentary in my initial review of it, ranking it worst. But those shortcomings are easily overcome. The alternative method of rent can make some interesting challenges, and you can complete the self made challenge of rags to riches quite a fun proposition here. Get Together is still my ultimate favourite. Because it had the right balance of lot number and diversity, and a good amount of feature set. I also love Windenburg. One of my favourite places to visit and live.
Have the new 4 been on par with the past 3? No. The only one that comes close is Get Famous. These new additions feel light but are serviceable. Island living had more to give but was feature short, I suspect they ran out of time, it needed more time in the oven. It could have been one of the best. If Brindleton bay, the Cats & Dogs land, had featured more lots, this would have been higher on the list. I liked the Hecking family, thought they were fun. The design of this land is great, it was just shy on property space. It needs about the same as Windenburg, but was less. Get Famous has the worst lot space and composition of them all. It goes from abject poverty to insane riches with no inbetween, it really could have done with the middle class homes and a bigger number of basic home slots. Some of the pre-gen stars are boring too. I’m also a bit disappointed because Holly Alto looks nothing like the Holly Alto of The Sims 3. I’m sure Plumbella and I could give the team a bit of a kicking for that, I’d make sure she was wearing the Catholic boots that day (that’s an inside joke for viewers).
They have all been rushed! Sims Studio, calm down, take a breath and produce quality goods please. Don’t break off chunks and put them in smaller packs. That is just annoying. Okay?
Game Packs Since 2017 Review
I love game packs. They are often better focused than expansion packs and cost less too. I often feel you get your best bang for your buck from these packs, and they are the ones to get when they come along.
When I reviewed there were 5 of these beauties. Now there are 8. I wish there were more. I really do. Game packs are the jam, ma’am!
Jungle Adventure. This was an interesting pack. It took some of the elements from World Adventure and blended them as a holiday destination which made Outdoor Retreat almost completely redundant. I like this pack a lot, because you get to do quite a lot around the Archaeology skill. I also like the destination because you get to meet some pretty hot townies here. The art style is cool, and I love the South American vibe. This is a great pack. The only sad thing was that it made Outdoor Retreat a pale shadow. I’m also kind of annoyed that it retraced an obvious pair of footsteps. Albeit what we got was good. If I were to have not bought Outdoor Retreat, this would have been the better purchase if compared. Raiding the temples is fun, and the death state (getting the curse) can make this gameplay more fun (as there are plenty of ways to get the curse by messing up traps). One of my favourite scenarios was an archaeology company.
I had one matriarch who would hire townies from the various towns (people I deemed should die) and made them collect the loot and identify it until they inevitably caught the curse, and were not treated (I’m a sick bastard). I found a major flaw with trying to operate a business that sold the artefacts. The sim might value them high, but if you went to sell them in your shop with 100 markup, they would take a non identified price as the base, I was pissed off after that so just identified and sold them from inventory. I was annoyed I couldn’t run a shop that made double profit on these artefacts, it would have been very lucrative. But we try these things. Sometimes I just take a lone sim here to bang as many locals as possible, just for fun. They are a lot more attractive than those generated in Outdoor Retreat.
StrangerVille. Hmmmmmmmmmm. I like that they tried something different here. I enjoyed the new career. The story mission for this is a one shot, and completed ridiculously quickly. Once you’ve won the day and restored StrangerVille, there’s not a whole lot to do. It’s cool that you can reset the story but its a short run side adventure (which can be completed very easily). This could have been made better with a bit more work on the part of the developer though it is a game pack at the end of the day, and therefore doesn’t have the expansion pack scope.
The lot spaces are once again woeful, just like some of the bigger EPs, and as I mentioned above, the crashed aircraft house has a counter that prevents you cooking (which is dumb as shit). This felt rushed just like Island Living felt rushed. It needed almost twice as much as what we got. I do like the townies here, and there are some neat visuals. It tries to play on the Stranger Things vibe that has been popular on Netflix. However I found the third season of that to be a relative let down compared to the first 2 seasons, also diminishing returns.
Some big complaints from some of the YouTubers including Lilsimsie is the fact that some of the starter homes are rather cheap flips of existing properties in the base game (willow creek ones to be precise). I believe that argument to be sustained.
Not much to Strangerville. I won’t spoil the end for you, even if you come across it in between 4–8 hours of gameplay. Seriously.
Realm of Magic. This is a marmite expansion. Both love and hate. This should have been a full expansion just like Supernatural in TS3, however, it wasn’t. I like some of it. Some of it is totally unbalanced. Some of it is downright lazy. But as much as I kick it in the pantaloons, I frickin’ love it. The difficulty level is ridiculously easy. You can breeze through to a Virtuoso level magician in no time. There are some weird choices about the realm. Lilsimsie made a comment on the HQ and the fact that it is kinda crappy. Totally agreed. This really needed more time. The realm looks beautiful but is not well thought out. Some of the potions you get from the potion making, and spells you get in the spell book clash with potions you get from the scientist career in Get to Work. Some are almost identical clones (and funnily enough you can clone people in the scientist career, and as a magician). It is missing the one spell/potion I really craved that was present in TS3. I used to de-age people without cheating. Supernatural was a much superior implementation of the witch/warlock, so it already disappointed in a way. I still like a lot of the objects and fun that it brings. The only big negative is that it would have been nice if you could have been a vampire magician, or an alien magician, or even a mermaid magician! Also some of the regular townies you know get dragged into this alignment, whether you want that or not, whereas it might have been better if new NPCs were generated like they were in Jungle Adventure. This version hoiks existing townies instead, and presents 3 sages of each magic alignment. They are the pushover. Just become good friends with them and you can tap them up for every potion and magic spell. It would have been better if in this pack they’d tried to figure out some kind of difficulty factor to attaining levels. You always get weebs who complain about how difficult things are, but frankly they can just shut up.
This was a game pack. It should have been a full expansion pack, fully fleshed out. There was a desire for this, maybe with more of the other missing supernaturals (the fairy, zombie and the werewolf, the genie could also have been included).
I rushed through a character in this one as quickly as StrangerVille, which is to say too quick. Once your caster has all the spells and potions, it makes the Realm almost completely redundant. What I did to increase its longevity is not place down a cauldron at home. That way I had to visit the realm to cook up a potion. Other issues are that the Copypasto spell combined with any other spell are OP. Gamebreakingly so. It is cheating without cheating. My favourite flavour. Your sim never has to sleep, never goes uncomfortable. Potion of plentiful needs is ridiculous but I love it. In TS3 you had a job performance potion which was rather OP for a similar reason. Unlike TS3 it is very easy to clone all of your potions with Copypasto, even if you destroy one or two bottles in the process, when you go towards the overcharge zone, you can duplicate more than once. You end up with a mega pile of potions. If you overmax your character’s stats in all attributes, your chances of failure are minimal. You can discharge from a full globe once a day, you can prevent yourself dying the first time with the potion of immortality, and your familiar can prevent you dying as well. I never got that close.
Duplicato is an interesting one. Slightly better than the Scientist cloning because your identical magical duplicate has all the skill levels and attributes you do. In my Folder-Verse, Julianne is the third duplicate of the original. If she had a duplicate, they would be over powered, quite seriously. You just have to remember to get them to the friend level so that you can ask them to move in, otherwise they will simply disappear. If you’ve ever watched the film Multiplicity, you can have some real fun here.
How I rate the sum of the 8 packs;
- Jungle Adventure
- Realm of Magic
- Spa Day
- Dine Out*
- Outdoor Retreat
Parenthood rose to the top. It plays a lot into the game under the hood so its longevity is more important than you might realise on the face of it. It adds a dynamic that is universally useful in all aspects, the parenting skill. It also adds rewards to toddlers, children and teens that weren’t there before. A worthy supplement. Jungle Adventure has the best feature set and design, it should in theory go higher than Parenthood, but for two reasons it drops a peg. Mostly because it makes Outdoor Retreat almost entirely redundant, and that it is a holiday destination so is only going to entice you on rare occasions. Despite that, there is a lot of fun to be had with this game pack. Vampires is great, what you get with this pack for the money is worth it. It dips down a few from the original top billing because it does get old after a while. Looking after these sun sensitive suckers is tiring and they have other restrictions and qualms that you have to overcome which you think might be fun, but actually need busywork. The pack itself is a prime example of how a game pack should be made, the attention to detail was on point. Realm of Magic, despite some design flaws, is fun. How you approach it will determine how much you get out of it. It can really boost your fortunes in a fun way, and it provided me with a most unique scenario that I’d never considered before. You might rate this lower, but I enjoyed it. Spa Day is limited. You can do the wellness skill anywhere, but you have to plop down a spa to take full benefit of the features on offer. Often it is easy to forget when your start a new game, to add a lot for this. I use a lot of the assets from this pack. There are wallpapers and other items that are just my kind of aesthetic. StrangerVille probably should be lower but does have some nice assets to use and some nice wild west clothes to adorn your sims with. I like the design of the townies here and often invite many home with my sim (because I’m a creeper!). Dine Out is depicted with a * in my list. The reason for this is that I bought it and have not yet created a restaurant to play with. I haven’t got around to it. Therefore I’ve only experienced the pre built restaurant lots so have only sampled 50% of the gameplay on offer. Many of the YouTubers that have sampled this pack indicate that some of the mechanics are both buggy and broken. I can’t actively say whether I side with them or not as I’ve simply not sat down to make a restaurant. My initial thoughts are that this pack could have done with expanding Magnolia Promenade, that was featured in Get To Work. As it stands, you don’t have a whole lot of places to plop down restaurants. Outdoor Retreat is the sad runt of the litter now. Consigned to bottom place where it will remain unless a game pack comes out that is less feature packed than this. Whilst Outdoor retreat is a lovely side amble, it is flawed and weak compared to many that have followed since. If Jungle Adventure wasn’t a thing, this would have some utility, but it really is redundant now. I only played with it recently to bother the lonely woman in the hut, she was love starved after all (well that’s what my sim tells herself at night when she lays beside her). I think the skill let down this pack, because now that seasons is in effect, you have to go when the herbs and other plants are growing in the woods, if you go at any other time you’ll find no examples to harvest, which makes the skill difficult to level. Another example of how game cohesion has suffered due to packs overlapping each other badly.
Are the new 3 better or worse than the previous 5 I reviewed in 2017? Hard to call. They all added something to the mix. Some were way better than others. StrangerVille was weak, it needed more. Jungle Adventure was solid, but, it destroyed the need for Outdoor Retreat so kind of stubbed its toe a little in that regard. Realm of magic introduces some imbalances that are concerning. Supernatural did the same in TS3 (people just tend to forget) though I love the result and it was in my opinion good value for money despite its shortcomings. I might think differently by my next review.
Stuff Packs Since 2017 Review
Stuff packs don’t float my boat. Never have. I did buy the pack with the hot tub. I like the woohoo option, I’m a sick man. But seriously, I didn’t put down on any since Perfect Patio Stuff, and it is the sole Stuff pack I’ve bought. My observations here are not based on my experience of them, just my opinion.
Toddler Stuff. Apparently this turned out quite good. Toddlers was a long time in coming, and obviously to milk the Richard out of us because EA, they had to make a stuff pack to facilitate that. There are many simmers that speak highly of this, who have a family. Though as I’ve mentioned, playing a dynasty just isn’t fun. This pack was a hard pass thusly.
Laundry Day Stuff Pack. I have a personal hatred of how this pack turned out. It pissed me off. I actually voted in the voting options because this was a community based decision for a change. Obviously the community is a bunch of bone heads (Bella-Ends!) . How this was chosen over better ideas out there, is beyond me. I’m still buzzed about it now. Having laundry equipment, clothes lines and general paraphernalia for laundry. No… I just can’t. Not when we had some actual good choices. I felt like the community where trolling hard when they picked this over the other options. I laughed for a brief second then held my head in shame. They seriously went with this? In terms of what you get in the pack, there are some pretty nice pieces of furniture. It definitely had plenty of time spent over it. I was just completely disappointed that so many absolute tools had voted this over so many more useful elements to this game. I don’t mind if you happen to be the douche that was one of them. Shame on you. We could have had a Wedding Day Stuff Pack. But you wanted this crap. You sicken me, you weeb!
My First Pet Stuff. The war crime stuff pack, the pack you get taken to the Hague for, the pack you get sent down for life for. The pack that prompted 17 months of no more stuff packs because it had pissed off the community. It was harmless enough, just a stuff pack. Only problem was that Cats & Dogs was so lean, that this content should have been included in that pack. That is why the fans were so cynical, and rightly so. Even the YouTubers were up in arms. James Turner, as an example, actively boycotts this EP today.
The Moschino stuff pack. I was very tempted to buy this when it dropped for a big reason. It would have fit perfectly with my gameplay because the pack addresses some interesting elements of the photography skill. You get a slightly upgraded ability, coupled with a tripod mount, and a freelance career branch that follows photography. It was a pretty nice upgrade. Some of the Moschino clothing is…. barnyard, a term you might be familiar with if you read my last review, but what that means is that the clothes are entirely off kilter with normal sensible wear. Fun for a one time use perhaps, but not universally used. They were a bit smarter this time out in creating styles that could have neutral colours in the swatches. The leather jacket is a particularly nice item in my view. It smacks of the Diesel Stuff Pack and the H&M stuff packs of the past, but I wasn’t that irked by it. I will wait until it goes on sale because stuff packs are always overpriced but this one actually seemed like a good buy at a discount. I’m not paying £9.99 for it (which effectively is £10).
Stuff I’ve left out this time
I didn’t go into war and peace on Modders. The modding community is important. They crutch poorly implemented or lacking systems in the game. Modders have a purpose. That said, their philanthropy is making The Sims Studio lazy. That’s as much as I will say.
I’ve not mentioned in colourful detail, the emotions system. It was covered in expert depth last time out, and the link to Carl’s video above should give you some insight on the issue. See above.
I’ve not mentioned much this time out on the open world aspect of the TS3 and its lacking in this. I covered that in depth last time out. It’s simply something we won’t get, so when comparing TS4 to any previous game, it is only appropriate to consider neighbourhoods against TS2. This game is no TS2, let’s just put that straight.
I didn’t make much of a callback to LGR (lazy game reviews) this time out, Clint Basinger, Mr Nukem. I’m of the opinion from the tone of his recent expansion pack reviews that he has completely lost the plot now. It’s sad. I feel the same. He used to receive the expansions free to review from EA, but I think they cottoned on to the fact that he is rather damning in all of his reviews. Each review is always very frank and honest, perhaps something the Sims Studio don’t like to hear.
Sims Freeplay, or the abomination as I like to call it; microtransaction hell, EA’s favourite flavour. Also used as a portal to entice children from one platform to another to try and keep the player tide flowing on an upward scale. Still an abomination, nothing’s changed. Don’t buy it, don’t be a weeb, collect $200.
Quick Honourable Mentions
Terrain Tool! Yes, Terraingate was finally brought to a close. You can now edit terrain. Yes people, edit terrain on lots. It obviously falls short of being able to modify your own world like in the TS3, but dang, we have it and it’s good!! You no longer have to live in a linear, flat world if you don’t want to, you’ve got humps and bumps now. You can make a realistic grave with a raised section. :) A free update. Hooray!
Adjustable staircases. I love this tool! A fairly recent update, but an awesome free one. More like this please. If you remember back to TS3, staircases were horrifying, even worse in TS2. We’ve come a long way since then. A free update. Hooray!
Should I buy The Sims 4?
Take this from the viewpoint of a long term player;
Because once you do, you’ll be tempted by an expansion, and then you’ll be into EA’s hooks. The expansions rated against The Sims 3 expansions are lacking. The Sims 3 expansions benefitted from better planning. They were cohesive with one another, they worked in harmony, rarely breaking balance so badly (with the exception of Supernatural and Into the Future). More importantly, they added gameplay to an already rich gameplay experience. You felt like you got value for money with each one. TS4 is not the same beast. TS4 is the minibus to TS3’s prestige coach, albeit TS4 doesn’t run into the gutter as much and looks more aesthetically pleasing.
As I hope I’ve made clear, this game is shallow. If you were holding out from a previous version, skip this one. Don’t sully yourself. Think about the children goddamnit!
If you’ve already got it (because Origin gave you the base game for free). Don’t buy anymore. Save yourself the pain.
If you are playing this on console, and buying into the expansions, you are insane. Just saying. I’d prefer sitting in the deckchair in a sewer and letting the rats slowly gnaw off my soft bits, but each to their own I guess.
If you are playing Freeplay. Stop being a weeb. Don’t feed that microtransaction troll. It’s an abomination!
5 years and still no determined end in sight. No mention of The Sims 5. So that may mean that in a year or two’s time, I return to tell you once more, whether this is worth a buy or not, with whatever has been bolted onto this minibus. I’ll most likely be scathing in the majority, but pleasantly surprised in some areas. We’ll see.
Much love to my fellow simmers.
The Pancakes family were not harmed during the making of this review.
Bob and Paka’a live happily in Strangerville, Paka’a now chooses to dress like a woman. I think they make a fetching couple.
Eliza is split between her options at the moment. She has now been renamed Eliza Woods.