At the beginning of this month, the newest Sims 4 expansion was released, and I eagerly downloaded it day one. The Sims series always have a “Downtown” expansion, although they normally introduce nightlife, dating, and basic apartments that don’t necessarily reflect actual apartment living. Since nightlife (bars and nightclubs) was already introduced in the Get Together expansion, it was interesting to see where they would go with the City Living expansion, and I must say it’s a very fascinating addition to the game so far.
Sims 4 City Living adds apartments and apartment life in a much more realistic way than we’ve seen previously. Every lot now has up to three traits, which can be either good or bad. Some cause all of your appliances and electronics to break overnight (I mean all of them…and as far as I could tell it was happening every night…) while some help you level up certain skills faster. Excluding the penthouse apartments, each of the buildings has several apartments available to place Sims in. The interactions with neighbors are fun too, since they can keep you up partying or being loud in other ways. They also respond to your Sims making noise as well, which definitely adds levels of realism to the concept. The starter apartments are definitely starter apartments, and there’s plenty of incentive to try to work hard and move into bigger, nicer apartments as you go.
Within downtown, there are different districts, each with their own hosted festivals and neighborhood theme. The Spice Market neighborhood, for example, hosts the Spice Festival where your Sims can try different spicy foods and purchase spices to make those foods at home themselves. The festivals happen once a week, and are a fun way to experience a (new for the Sims) cultural experience. I think the most interesting part of this expansion to me has been the way that they tried to capture the essence of cities and how diverse they are. They made a concerted effort to populate the city with diverse residents, and introduced items, clothing, foods, and experiences that allow for your city to be full of many different Sims with very different backgrounds.
There are three new careers, each with two different paths available; Politician, Social Media (the only one I have tried so far), and Critic. These new careers allow the option to work from home if you want, and if you choose that option it gives you a few goals to complete at your own pace. It definitely gave a very modern, upgraded, dare I say Millenial sort of feel to the game, which actually works quite well. The only new aspiration available is the Location aspiration, which gives Sims a strong desire to explore the city and everything it has to offer, and certainly fits in well with the idea that city dwellers usually do absolutely love their home turf in the city. A few new skills and hidden talents were added, including singing at karaoke bars (buildable skill) and chopsticks and tolerating spicy foods (both hidden talents).
I will say, my biggest complaint for the expansion so far has been how easy it is to fall into the habit of routine, and how easy it can become to ignore what’s going on in the streets below when your Sims are in their apartments. After a bit of doing all of the new things I could, I fell back into a habit of trying to build up their careers and relationships like I always do. It’s still nice, though, to see how seamlessly the expansion has added on to the stories you can create with your Sims. Overall, I’d say 8.5/10 for this expansion.