Review: IGN reviews World Adventures

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 23:30

"Travel the world, explore tombs, get cursed, and more," says IGN in their first look preview.

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GC 2009: The Sims 3: World Adventures First Look

by Jason Ocampo

Travel the world, explore tombs, get cursed, and more.

We've had a lot of fun with The Sims 3 since it shipped in early June, and we're not the only ones. According to EA, there have been 3.7 million copies sold since then. The Sims 3 did a bang-up job of widening the scope of the game, giving us the ability to explore entire towns without a single loading screen. That did bring up an interesting question as to how EA would then expand the game, and we got a first look at the newly-revealed The Sims 3: World Adventures to see the expansion pack strategy.

It's sort of difficult to add whole new regions of the existing towns of Sunset Valley and Riverview since they're already so large, so the idea is to create places where your sims can travel to and visit for days or even weeks at a time. (Don't worry, because sims lifetimes are so limited, the designers are making it so your sims essentially don't age while on vacation.) They won't be able to build homes in these new areas (simified versions of Egypt, France, and China), but they will be able to pursue adventures that seem like a further evolution of the franchise. These adventures feature puzzle elements that, upon completion, unlock bigger adventures and more.

The Sims 3 World Adventures
The very first trailer for World Adventures.

Here's how it works. The example we were shown was Egypt, which, as expected, is a desert environment that's filled with simified versions of the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, and other famous Egyptian landmarks. When your sims go on vacation they are limited in the amount of time they can stay in a region by their visa level; at the earliest levels your visa might last a few days, while at the higher levels it might last a couple of weeks. A high visa level will even let you build a vacation home to stay in, because at the low visa levels you'll be staying in a base camp that's essentially a small tent lot. (Tents will also be in available in Sunset Valley and Riverside, which may means good news to those who like homeless sims.)

At the base camp is a job board that has adventures, which are beefed up versions of the opportunity missions you found in The Sims 3; the more complex adventures might consist of a dozen or more tasks chained together. Completion of these adventures unlocks more challenging adventures, raises your visa level, and so on. An example of these adventures might be exploring tombs, of which there are many in Egypt. These tombs might have diabolical traps that must be circumnavigated or be dealt with. For example, fire traps can be tackled by dousing your sim in water (say by jumping into a small pool) before entering them; the soaked nature of your clothes will protect you. Or you might need to move objects around to activate pressure plates in order to open a secret door. Your sims might dig in rubble for artifacts that can help unlock other doors. Or, you might find all the parts to a rare item and reassemble it, thus giving you a nice trophy for that shelf back home.

The Sims 3 World Adventures
Typical, you're making out and someone's mummy interrupts.

You'll also have to search for triggers to reveal hidden doors or stairwells, and this is something that can be used in the regular game when designing houses. That could potentially create all sorts of new adventures in Sunset Valley or Riverview as you could download user-made houses with all sorts of secrets to uncover. Another piece of good news for house designers is a brand-new basement tool that will finally make basement making about a billion times easier than it is currently. With it, you can create basements up to four stories deep that cover the entire breadth of a lot.

Other travel regions will have their own themes. In France it's nectar making, which is the equivalent of wine for The Sims. This involves learning how to cultivate up to eight different kinds of grapes, stomping them into wine, and more. In China, it's martial arts, and there have been all sorts of improvements to the animation system so that the fighting movements are fluid and natural.

While you can't live in these new areas permanently there are many ways you can take them back to Sunset Vally or Riverview. Of course, you might meet foreign sims and marry them. Or there are a new skills and abilities that you can bring back with you, such as nectar making (the sims version of wine). And you might see foreign tourists wandering around your home town taking pictures. That's another new thing, as your sims can now take pictures that you can then mount on your walls, much like the paintings they create.

The Sims 3 World Adventures

And this wouldn't be a Sims expansion without a nice, supernatural element. This time around it's mummies from Egypt. These guys (and gals) might come out of a sarcophagus and chase after you. You can get cursed by the mummies, in which you must go to the Sphinx and perform a ritual or else your sim is doomed. You can also become a mummy; the downside to that being that you move very slowly.

World Adventures is still deep in development, but EA says it'll ship on November 17.


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