The Sims 4

The Sims 4 preview!

Written by Annabelli_22
I was invited by EA to come to the European preview event of the Sims 4. We were able to get 4 hours of hands on time with the Sims 4. Play with the full game. It was my first time I was able to go to something like this for Platinum Simmers and I was super excited! I tried to focus as much as I could on things that were new, and maybe less covered by other sites already. As I’m mostly a builder in The Sims 3, I had to get used to playing with the Sims themselves again.

GamesCom 2014

Arriving at the EA office

We had to wait a little while before we could enter the room and got assigned a computer (I got number 11)
They had already put the game up to its home screen when we got there. It’s very similar to the CAS demo home screen before you actually go in to the game. Though instead of a static picture they had animated short clips.

After a short intro by SimGuruRachel and SimGuruLindsay what they loved about the game and what they encouraged us to find out. We even got a little anecdote from SimGuruRachel. She told us the very first time she really recognized herself in the Sims was when her Sim picked up a drink, swirled the glass and then took a sip. “I do that!” was what she thought. Those little things really do make the game fun. But mostly, they wanted us to have fun and explore this new game.

Starting up the game!

When you start up the game, you begin in the world overview. Here you can either pick an existing family or you can click on an empty lot and chose to create a new family. That is what I did. I chose a lot in Oasis Spring (I could choose between Willow Creek or Oasis Spring on the upper left corner) and then I created a family. The Kessler family! With elder dad Davin, young adult mom Latisha, teenage daughter Skyla and child son Jarrod. And guess what! The elder dad could actually be the dad for the kids! Was so happy about that. I thought they family would move into the house right away but it didn’t. So I had to go to my library to select my newly created family and select moved them into a house they could afford. Later I found out I could have done this all way easier by clicking on ‘create a new household’ before going to the game, but I just excitedly pressed the ‘play’ button.


Next up I started building them a house. So when moving in I chose to bulldoze the lot. But as I wanted to get as much gameplay in as I could. I didn’t focus on making a beautiful home, but rather show some new features. So bear with my design!

Creating a house with just plopping down rooms is soooo easy! And the roofing is so adjustable. I need to play around with it longer to actually feel I can make something pretty. But it sure is a lot easier and way more diverse that it was in The Sims 3. I love that you can give every roof part a different texture. As you can see in the image below.

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An awesome new feature that I loved to use was the cheat to increase the size of objects. Select an object and press Shift + ] and you can use it to make practically anything larger you want. With Shift + [ you can make it smaller again. Though you can’t make anything smaller than the original. As you can see here with Chompy. I made one as big as I could. And one smaller (it’s Chompy dad with Chompy kid!). The original is as big as a kids toy.
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Terrain paints come in a nice variety again. You have grass, dirt, grass with flowers and nice pavements.
Windows can move up and down the wall freely when holding Alt. Though you can’t stack more than one window on the same wall section. I was a little bummed about that part. But wall decorations it self (paintings etc) can move freely over the wall when holding Alt. Vertical and horizontal. Curtains can too! so match away with windows and curtains!
When placing windows for a whole room. You select the feature that you want to place windows for whole rooms and pick a window style and then you click in the room you want to place the windows at. Super useful and time saving!

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There are a lot of objects to choose from to place in your house. It’s a really full game in that way. Like I mentioned before, when holding Alt you can place any wall decoration freely on the walls. This also applies to other objects, when you hold Alt, you can rotate or place items off grid.
also the re-sizing cheat, I was a bit worried that it would make items unusable. So I tried it out with the cute Freezer bunny guitar. I sized it up a bit and made my Sim play on it. And it still works!! Though the animation is still the same, so it looks a bit weird. But imagine what funny and hilarious things you could do with this cheat!
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Appliances like stoves, toilets etc. also have a “reliability” grade. I think it goes from 1-10 (Is saw 3-10). It gives you an indication how reliable that item is, and if it will break sooner or will last forever.
Showers, bathtubs and beds also have an extra indication. The discomfort relief grade.

All in all I love the build mode and am going to spend many hours in it when I get the game in September.
But since my build wasn’t all that, I knew someone that build an awesome house. My boyfriend Robbert was allowed to come with me and since there was a spare computer, they let him play too. He isn’t a Simmer, but has played a bit of Sims in the past. Though him playing is just building his dream house. So that is what he did in his play time. And what an awesome house it was! His neighbor asked if he could get the house in his game, so they enabled The Gallery for him to upload and the other to download. And if he could, I wanted it too! I went into The Gallery and downloaded his house. “Stroopwafel House” it was called. So now my family had a decent house to live in! (Link to the Gallery)

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Live mode

So now my family had a house to live in. It was time to start living! I used the phone to search for a job. Davin was going to start a career as a Tech Guru, Latisha a culinary chef and Skyla the teenager got a part time job in the retail business.
Davin was a snob and loved to eat. Latisha was family oriented and had the aspiration to have a successful family. I made Skyla the romantic type and wanted to get a lot of romantic interests. And Jarrod wanted to be playful.

First thing I did was greet every neighbor that walked along my house. Get to know the neighborhood. Soon I had a small group of 8 Sims standing in my front yard. They interacted with each other and had a group conversation. Not what I expected, though probably should have. I was used to my Sims greeting people in The Sims 3 and then they would just move on with their own thing. In The Sims 4, they actually wanted to interact with each other. I liked it a lot, though if I had thought that through, I wouldn’t have greeted EVERY Sim that came by.

I send my Sim family to meet some other Sims and explore the rest of the world a bit. Skyla met Cassandra Goth there, and they seemed to hit it off! I love that one of the flirty moves is “Sexy pose”.
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After a few interactions I decided to ask Cassandra on a date, as that was a whim of Skyla. Luckily she agreed. I got to pick a lot to go on a date on and they went to the comedy bar. When you start a date there are a few goals you can do. These are small interactions. The main goal was to kiss your date. Others were to tell a story, sit and talk to your date etc. When you complete an interaction/goal, a new one will appear.
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I didn’t really pay attention to the needs of Skyla, and it turned out she was really tired! She fell asleep on the couch at the bar! Poor Cassandra, don’t think the date went all that well….
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The next day the kids had to go to school and dad had to go to work. I noticed that the UI of those out to work or school changed. When you click on their small icon in the left corner, you get a few options they can do at work/school. They could leave early, work hard, take it easy or meet new friends/colleagues. I couldn’t check their needs, skills, or anything in the bottom right corner. So I didn’t know what need needed to be taken care of, so that made it harder to pick an action for them to do (if fun was low, I would let them take it easy for example).
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Besides showing up for work, Sims can also do other things to improve their performance. These are things they have to do. So Davin, as aspiring Tech Guru, had to play video games for 4 hours. Latisha had to wash 3 dishes.

Other information bits

A few random things I noticed and checked for.
I looked what services you could hire. Only services you can hire are a maid and pizza delivery. I saw no repairman or gardener. Though they did have two options for the maid. A one time service, or a scheduled maid.

You can still use the “hand of God”. So if you have dirty dishes lying around and you don’t want your Sim to take time and clean them up, you can just pick them up with your mouse and drag them to the sink or garbage.
But if you do make your Sim clean up dirty dishes, they first throw out left over before washing them!
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When placing a roof on the ground, which is possible, and you add a foundation, the roof part won’t get a foundation. Which can make your design look a bit odd.

The fountain tool has a cool option to add a border. You can choose between 3 borders, or choose to have no border.

In the buy mode you can see a few items, but aren’t allowed to pick them yet. Those are items you can unlock with certain achievements. Like maxing out a skill. I like that you can see the items you can unlock and they tell you what you need to do to unlock that certain item.

They asked a few people from SimCity to help them create a sleek and useful UI. And I think they succeeded! I looks really sleek, takes up practically no room on your screen, but it has all the info you need. It takes a short while to find the things in their new places, but that is to be expected.
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What did I think of the game

Personally, I loved the game! There where a few things I had to get used to, after playing The Sims 3 for so long. But in my opinion, nothing that I couldn’t overcome. The Sims have such cute little quirks. The building is sooo easy! And I love the style for the furniture, can’t wait to make nice home decor screenshots.
Though not being able to see the needs when a Sim is at work or school is something that I would want to change.
There is just one thing that is missing.. And that is that I don’t have the game yet! Bring on #Simtember!!

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  • I enjoyed reading your experiences with the Sims 4! Thanks for sharing that!! I’m actually looking forward to the game 🙂

  • Hi there!

    I like your review, I think it was very well-written and descriptive. However, something that you didn’t really address was the loading screens. How does that work? When do they happen, etc?

    Would you be able to elaborate?


    • Hi! Glad you liked my review!

      The loading screens. Thye happen when you go to a non-active lot. So that means every lot that you are not currently in.
      Let me give an example. When you want to visit your neighbours, you can click directly on that house to visit them. Then you will hit a loading screen. Want to go back to your own house? You will hit a loading screen again. The loading screens are fairly short and you will get used to them quickly. After a short while playing I hardly noticed them anymore. The space between your house and your neighbours house is ‘public space’ this is always loaded and there are plenty of Sims walking around there. I hope that explains it a bit.
      If you have any other questions, let me know!

      • Thank you – that certainly does clear my question.

        This may sound a little strange and I don’t expect you to feel like you could answer it, but do you think (especially as expansion packs are inevitable) that the loading times will be affected by additional content? I know people who (at the end of the Sims 2) stated that they could do the dishes while they waited for the game to load.

        • Hmm. I can’t predict the future of course. But I do think the bigger the game gets the loading screens will be affected. So depending on your computer and the amount of content, I do think they could be longer. But I don’t think they would get that long that you could do the dishes. We will have to wait and see.

  • Great article Lebanna! Can’t wait to build! Is holding Alt like using MOO and did you get a chance to see if there are L-shaped and or curved stairs? Your insights have helped alleviate some of my nervousness about Sims4. Thanks!

    • Hi Noisybrain,

      Thank you, glad you liked the piece. No Alt is not like MOO. It is quite the same as Alt in The Sims 3. So it moves freely off grid. Objects can’t intersect each other (yet, who knows what they will add), but I did notice that plants and such can be moved fairly close to each other.
      There are only straight stairs, so no curved or L-shaped ones.

  • Awesome overview! Can’t wait for the game! So many things look amazing!!!!! Only a few more weeks to wait! Ahhhh XD