EA was kind enough to give us an early access code for The Sims 4 Discover University pack. Views are entirely our own.
With each new iteration of The Sims, EA/Maxis needs to strike a balance between new ideas and returning to those people loved. One of my favourites in Both The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 was the University pack, so I was excited to learn that The Sims 4 was getting its own version.
My first impression of the pack? It’s huge! There is so much to explore so this will be a brief overview looking at some of the highlights. It takes 12 units to earn a degree, and each term has a maximum for four units lasts a sim-week, so we can’t pack everything into this, but we’ll have more info in the coming weeks!
Digging into the game play, it feels like they have taken the best bits of both previous University packs, added a unique twist, and graduated with an A+!
Let’s start with the new world, Britechester. It has three distinct regions – Gibbs Hill, which is a residential area that any Sim can live in nestled in the centre, and hosts 3 residential lots (2 occupied, and 1 starter home) a library and a bar, both of which are tagged as Student Hangouts, which is a new lot trait. To one side, you can find the Foxbury Institute, a modern looking campus, to the right, the University of Britechester with a more European feel. Both campuses offer 4 playable lots – 3 University residences and a Commons area. Lecture Halls in both are rabbit holes.
One area where the world and housing already stands apart from previous University packs – you don’t need to move to the world! You can remain in a non-university world and commute if you prefer. It does warn you that, as in real life, while it may save you money, you won’t get the “full University Experience” if you live at home!
Living off campus isn’t all bad, though! If your student lives in another world, like a little apartment in San Myshuno, it treats going to class like going to work, in that they enter the classroom rabbit hole from their front door, instead of trying to run to the classroom building from their dorm. Unlike real life, it’s actually easier to get to class on time if you live off campus!
Sims can start applying to University in their teens and start attending when they transition to young adult. Note that once you apply for a scholarship and are turned down, you can’t apply again until the next university term. So if your teen Sim is looking at scholarships, might be a good idea to wait until closer to their birthday to apply, just so they have the maximum chance to build skill. Adults and elders can also go to Uni, but they don’t benefit from the full range of scholarships that a younger sim can earn. Since results of scholarships and University applications take a day or 2 to arrive – by snail mail! – the sooner you can get started, the better!
Once accepted, you can choose your Alma Mater – depending on which degree you want, not all Universities are created equal – or are even available – select where you want to live, what classes you want to take, and how to pay for it. And you’re off!
As mentioned, it takes 12 credits to graduate, you can choose from one to four classes for your Sim per term. You can choose one elective per term, either related to your Sims major or something just for fun (Mixology for rocking parties!) and up to three core classes (four if you don’t choose an elective) that the school chooses for you. It’s up to you how chilled or intense your Sim’s time here is – take a single class per term and enjoy student life, or max out their time with required credits, an optional class and fit in their full time job around it – the choice is yours. The more classes they do at a time, the faster they’ll finish their degree, if they can keep up! My Sim with a full course load and a freelance job was VERY grumpy by the end of her first term.
Different classes have different requirements, although they all include homework – just click on the composition notebook in your inventory. Depending on the class, you may have a term paper, a presentation or an exam – and how you do them is up to you – do you want to cheat and submit a plagiarized term paper? Or would you rather practise your presentation over and over until it’s word perfect?
Terms last 5 weekdays and each class I’ve looked at so far has fixed classes on either 2 or 3 days – Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Outside of those classes, it’s up to you to balance your time and get the work done. If you want to know how you’re getting on, you can email your professors, or visit them in office hours to get feedback. At the end, you will get an overall grade and GPA based on all your class grades, and the opportunity to re-register for your next term. It’s up to you if you want to go back to real life and earn some more money, or jump straight into the next term! If your Sim has scholarships, though, if they take a break they will lose their scholarships and need to reapply.
CAS and Build/Buy are packed with new content. Look for a more detailed post on this later, but there’s a lot, and we mean a lot! My new favorite hair is in this pack! It’s categorized as a masculine hair, but my Sims who identify female are just going gaga over it, too!
It’s worth remembering that without cheats, build/buy mode is locked while your Sim is living in University residences. You can have some options, though – essentials are available from uni kiosks, including Uni clothing, room decor and laptops, or you can use the cheat bb.enablefreebuild to enable build/buy on University residences.
Overall, this is probably my favourite pack for The Sim 4 to date, and I’m looking forward to digging in deeper and reporting back with more info. If there is anything you particularly want to know, either leave your question in the comments or send us a tweet and we’ll happily consider your request! We probably want to know too!
Thank you to EA for the opportunity.