The Sims 4 – Cats & Dogs is almost here!
EA was kind enough to send us a review copy so that we could give you our impressions.
This is a big pack. There is a new world, Brindleton Bay, which has homes of varying price, some empty lots, some premade families, including a same sex married couple, which I’m happy to see. The Sims has always been very inclusive in this regard, and it’s wonderful to see this continue. There is also a premade vet clinic, a museum, a dog park, a lounge and a bar. The lounge and bar are in the Whiskerman’s Wharf neighborhood, which has some good fishing. My test family doesn’t have any fishing skill, though, so I couldn’t say if there are any new fish. My sim was able to buy a haddock sandwich from a food stall, though, so new fish are certainly a possibility.
There are some new pet-related lot traits:
New Lot Traits:
Breeding ground – Increases the chance for pets to have larger litters
Cat Friendly – Cat owners will visit this lot with their cats (not available for Vet Clinic, Spa, Restaurant, Residential, or Retail)
Cat Hangout – Stray cats really love this lot – Meow!
Dog Friendly – Dog owners will visit this lot with their dogs (not available for Vet Clinic, Spa, Restaurant, Residential, or Retail)
Dog Hangout – Stray dogs will hang out at this lot.
Training Ground – Sims gain pet training skill faster on this lot
The items in the pack have a rustic country living/nautical feel to them, which makes sense as Brindleton Bay is on the water. Build/buy was considerably increased in this pack. To start with, there are eight styled rooms – two living room/dens, a dining room, a bedroom, a child’s bedroom, a bathroom, a patio bar, and a yard
I freely confess that I don’t build – thank the Watcher for the gallery! – but even I can tell that there’s quite a bit of new build mode stuff in this pack.
Build mode got 10 walls, two floors, 9 doors, which include three pet doors and one door that is unlocked through the veterinary career (which is why I don’t have a picture of it for you), a dozen windows, some wall sculptures (awnings!), a foundation, a column, a spandrel, three roof sculptures, a railing, a fence, a gate, three really nice looking large trees, and some other small plants.
And then there’s the items. I attempted to put everything in a lot so you could see it all, but they don’t fit! There is just so much stuff.
The picture should, however, give you an overall idea of what the items in the pack look like. There’s definitely a pair of themes here – rustic/nautical and pets. One thing I’m really excited about is the new Robot Vacuum and High End Robot Vacuum. That little vacuum can pick up pet hair and their messes, but best of all, cats can ride it! There are, unfortunately, no kitchen items, but there is so much other stuff that I didn’t even notice that there were no kitchen items for quite a while. There are also some blank signs that seem to be meant to be used for businesses. You can add whichever of the decals you like – and there are a lot of decals – to customize a sign for your veterinary clinic (or anywhere else you want to put up a sign). This will work well with the Get to Work pack, if you have it, so you have more options than ever for making a unique business for your Sims.
There are some items not pictured – there are crates of varying sizes that look like they belong on the waterfront – some of them are huge! They look really nice, though, so if you want them on your home lot they could be placed with the size down cheat (open bracket) that came in yesterday’s patch. There is also a new public bathroom and several new food stalls that sell seafood and food for pets! When a Sim buys a meal from a food stall and eats it, they do learn the recipe, just like with the City Living food stalls.
Also not pictured are the items that go with the veterinary clinic, because that part of the pack is enough for a review in and of itself. Stay tuned to Platinum Simmers to read a review of the veterinary career and the vet clinic business, coming soon!
CAS got some love in this pack, and not just for the pets. There are an impressive number of hairs and new clothes – 20-odd hairs and over 40 clothing pieces. The new clothes have a casual feel which goes with the rest of the pack (there’s a pair of deck shoes, for example.) and there are some scrubs for the veterinary career.
There is one new aspiration group, Animal, which currently has one aspiration in it – Friend of the Animals, and two new traits, Cat Lover and Dog Lover. Happily those two traits are not mutually exclusive.
Phew, that’s a lot of stuff. And I haven’t even talked about the pets yet!
The pet CAS is massive. The Create-a-Pet trailer does a wonderful job going over all of the options.
You really can do pretty much whatever you want with pets. You can even give them clothing! I decided not to with my test pets, though, because my real life cats would kill me if I tried it. There are a lot of options for both cats and dogs, though, as you can see!
Pets have traits that determine their personality and behaviors. Each breed comes with one suggested trait, although it’s not locked. For example, I recreated in game one of my real life cats, who is a Siamese mix. She has the breed’s body type, so I selected the Siamese breed for her and then changed the coat to match hers. When I selected the breed it suggested “talkative” for one of her traits. That’s certainly appropriate for my mouthy little cat, so I kept it, but I didn’t have to. If you create a pet “from scratch” then it will be listed as a “Mixed Breed” and will not come with any suggested traits. There are a lot of traits, so you can make a wide variety of cat and dog personalities in your game.
Pets are not controllable, but they can be trained, which increases the new skill, Pet Training. There does not seem to be a skill book for this skill, so Sims must learn by doing. At first the options are limited, like teaching a dog to fetch, speak, etc. None of my Sims have high skill yet, so I don’t know what options will open up later. My Sim with the “Friend to the Animals” aspiration does have an aspiration goal to train out negative behaviors, though, so that will be an option. I’m not sure if his skill level isn’t high enough or if his pets just haven’t done enough negative behaviors yet for him to be able to train them not to do things like howl and make a mess. I haven’t yet seen an option to train cats at all, but that may require higher skill level than my sims have. I know I personally don’t have high enough skill level to train my two real life cats!
There are strays in the world now, which your sims can befriend and adopt. Various areas around Brindleton Bay attract strays – stray cats are attracted to the Whiskerman’s Wharf, for example. My sim was “friends” with the stray dog he adopted, but he relationship was not quite halfway, so the requirement doesn’t seem to be too stringent. He does have the dog lover trait, though, so that may be affecting things. There is a lot trait to attract strays, but I do not see one to discourage them. It’s possible that the “Private Dwelling” trait will discourage animal as well as human visitors, but that is just speculation on my part.
I’ve actually spent quite a bit of time just watching the pets do their thing. My Sim cat, who has the affectionate trait, hopped up on the couch next to the family’s child and seemed to ask for attention, and she got it!
There have been many “D’aww!” moments like this. I can see myself spending time just watching what they do, because the pets act like pets – one of my test family’s dogs has been going around sniffing everything and getting “people food” from his Sims – Sims can offer pets food while they are eating, which will make them feed the pet from their plate. My test family’s cat is currently “obsessed” with the television, according to my notification wall. What this seems to mean is that if the TV is on, she’s watching it, and it’s not easy for sims to interact with her. She did leave the TV to go to sleep, though, so hopefully that means they won’t neglect their needs for their obsessions!
To sum up, this pack is huge. It’s really full of stuff, and the gameplay I have seen so far is great. If I hadn’t received a review copy I’d definitely be buying it. It’s well worth it. And this is before I’ve had a chance to look at the veterinarian career! We’ll be reviewing the veterinarian career within the next few days, so stay tuned!