EA was kind enough to give us an early access review code through the EA Game changers program.
Our views are our own. We hope you find them helpful in deciding whether to buy this pack.
The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle is a big pack – far too big to cover in just one post – so over the next few days we will be doing posts that cover the various aspects of the pack.
The overall style of this pack is about what you’d expect. Lot of industrial and modern looking items, plus some stuff that would be right at home in a retreat in the middle of the woods.
Something that is new with this pack is that build and buy mode items can have an Eco Rating. Eco Lifestyle integrates into the game as a whole, meaning Base Game and Expansion/Game/Stuff pack items have been retrofitted with these ratings. Items from Base Game and from other packs will provide either Eco or Industrial gain, or have no effect. Some items will also have an effect on household bills or generate or use water or power. So check your existing houses to make sure the walls and floors aren’t pushing the household away from the Eco Footprint that you want or causing your Sims to be less (or more) energy and water efficient than you want them to be.
As of the 3 June patch, items can also have a fire resistance rating. It’s pretty intuitive. Wood burns, metal doesn’t. This has also been applied to all previous items, so you will want to check the tooltips to be sure you have the fire resistance rating – or lack thereof – that you want for your Sims.
Let’s start by looking at build mode.
There are 8 new wall patterns in Eco Lifestyle, each with a variety of colours. We’ve included the tooltips so you can see how each pattern affects your lot’s Eco Rating and any other effects they have.
There are seven new floor tile patterns. This pack also includes some grass floor tiles. These look similar to the outdoor grass in game, but you cannot plant harvestable plants and trees directly on them, and can only move mature harvestables with a cheat. You can, however, plant decorative plants from build mode on the living floor tiles.
There are no new roof styles in Eco Lifestyle, but there are four new roof patterns. There is one pattern that contributes to the Eco Industrial Footprint, one that contributes to the Eco Green Footprint, and then there are the solar and living roof patterns, that generate power and water, respectively. Useful for off-the-grid builds, or just to reduce the bills on any lot.
There are three new roof sculptures. There are a roof-based solar panel and a wind turbine, which generate power, and a chimney, which is decorative. Note that the solar panel can be rotated at a 45 degree angle so that you can place more of them on oddly shaped roofs! Note that there are also floor-placed versions of the solar panel and wind turbine in buy mode as well. The ones in buy mode can break, but the roof-placed ones do not.
There are four new wall sculptures – one planter box and three awnings. None of them provide Green or Industrial Eco rating, or affect bills in any way. They are pretty, though, and I can see them being added to several of my existing homes.
There is one new exterior trim, the Industrially Tested Trim. It coordinates well with the Panel to the Metal wall pattern, as shown below, although it doesn’t come in as many colours as that wall pattern.
There are two new columns. One provides Eco: Green rating, and the other provides Eco: Industrial rating. Both are classified as Bill Discount Items, although we’re not really sure what the logic is behind that. I’m sure it made sense to the developer at the time!
There are quite a few new windows in this pack. All of the new windows have an Eco Footprint Green modifier, but not all of the existing windows will. Admittedly I have not looked at all of them, but the general trend seems to be that if the window is open or looks like it could be open, then it gets an Eco: Green modifier. If it doesn’t open, then it’s neutral. There are a few windows in expansion packs that have an Eco: Industrial modifier, as well.
The doors have the same general industrial/modern look as the windows, so they coordinate well. All of the doors in the Eco Lifestyle pack are Eco Footprint: Green, but most of the Base Game and other packs’ doors are neutral. A few of the previous packs’ doors do consume power, though.
There are four fences. One is a half wall height fence, and the other three are the same fence pattern in three different heights. They are the three wall heights, so you can have some impressively tall fences with this pattern. Sim shown for scale.
Stairs and Ladders
There is one stair rail, which matches the half-height slate fence shown above, and one new ladder. There is also a Base Game ladder now, which was added in the 3 June patch.
There are five styled rooms, two of which are unlocks in the Civil Designer career.
Build Mode – Overall Impressions
Some of these items directly affect Sims’ Eco Footprint and, in some cases, their power and water generation, so it is important to check descriptions when building and decorating, so that will add a degree of complexity to building and decorating. As for the decor, there are a lot of earth tones, except in the shipping container palette, the brightness of which makes up a bit for lack thereof elsewhere. Those are some bright shipping containers! Overall I like the colors, both the brights and the earth tones, and the look of the build mode items, so I can see incorporating many of them into my game, even though I’m not really a builder. Now, on to buy mode!
There are over 100 objects in buy mode, so this pack is definitely not thin on items for builders and decorators! We’ve assembled a slide show to show you those items, which you can see below.
So many things! Note that the items made by the fabricator and candlemaking station are not included here. As your Sims gain Fabrication skill they will unlock some new furniture and candle recipes, plus some things you might not expect!
Things we like:
Generally the buy mode items have a fairly earth-toned theme, which I personally like, but may not be to everyone’s taste.
Many of these items will see use by me, and I am thrilled about the power and water generation items. I have long wanted to play an off-the-grid self-sustaining household, but I have hesitated because of the power and water issues. With the ability to generate even a little power and water, off-the-grid living becomes much more feasible.
Things we feel could be improved:
Given the bright colours on some of the build mode items, I was expecting to see some more modern/industrial looking recolours in buy mode. I do like the earth tones, but having some brighter colours on some of the items would fit the overall look of the pack a little better. The rugs are particularly disappointing in that respect. There are a few colors that have good contrast, but overall they’re so muted they just fade away into invisibility when you place them. Even in the sunlight, as I have shown them above, the colors are barely noticeable. I do understand that more eco-friendly dyes are often less vibrant than the synthetic dyes, but having the colors a little more saturated would have been nice.
I was a bit disappointed to see that the plant potting station was only decorative, although I’m not sure what Sims would actually do with it if it were functional. It just seems odd to have something that looks like it should do something and have it just be decorative. On that note, I am also disappointed in the activity table. The activity table is base game item. They could have added the look of the table as a recolour and added the interactions to the existing table. There was really no need for a separate item.
The buy and build mode items in this pack are, overall, good. There are some disappointments, but the sheer number of items means that there are more positives than negatives in this pack.
Interested in more facets of Eco Lifestyle? This is a huge pack, far too big to cover in just one post, so we’re doing a series of posts on different aspects of the game. Check here for more articles on Eco Lifestyle!