The Sims 3: Generations was a curious choice on EA’s part for the next expansion, as it didn’t conform to the usual expansion formula. After the success of Late Night and Ambitions, it was expected that the next piece of the juicy formula would be the long-awaited return of furry friends, but what emerged was an expansion based on expanding the options for kids and teenagers. Upon announcement many groaned, and cries of “Pets! Pets! Pets!” echoed throughout forums for weeks while others wondered if EA’s gamble would pay off. After playing it for myself, I’m not sure if it has.
The expansion includes additions to all life stages, however the most substantial additions have been thrown at the Child and Teen life stages which have long been neglected and as such have often been considered the most tiresome.
Children now have the ability to set a variety of pranks, including whoopee cushions and squirting taps, and can also dress up and act like a dinosaur, prince, princess or astronaut. A new play-park set is available, and tree-houses make an appearance albeit as a rabbit hole. It would have been nice to have had the ability to build individual tree-houses, but the three on offer do allow a certain level of choice and fit the themes on offer to children nicely. The after-school clubs add a little more variety to day-to-day life, as do field-trips and nightmares. It is now also possible to send kids to one of many boarding schools. Teenagers can now go to prom, play pranks on their neighbours, host a house-party, graduate from High School, go on dates and learn to drive. The punishment system works well, however it could have been expanded for more hefty punishments.
A variety of new interactions have also been added to all life-stages; Ghost-stories, star-gazing and pillow-fights act as fun little distractions for your family which are good for forging life-long friendships, yet seem to appear in the wishes box far too often. Two new traits; Rebellious and Nurturing have been included. The Rebellious trait can be very fun to play, as your Che Guevara wannabes receive a mood boost for riding motorbikes and “sticking it to the man”, yet the nurturing trait seems more practically based in the same strain as the Perceptive trait but for the new profession, Daycare.
With all this new excitement in the house, it’s inevitable that your Adult Sims will suffer a Mid-Life Crisis, and whether that be a desire to change job, change style, change car or change spouse, all have a hefty reward.As always, a new type of creature has been introduced; Imaginary friends! At first I was sceptical but the concept works well in the background and keeps your children happy. The Chemistry set has also returned with a variety of different potions to both help and hinder your Sims.
The one problem I have with Generations lies in the fact that much of this stuff feels like it should have been there already, and only acts to fill gaps which should never have existed whilst not offering any huge change to gameplay. The baby-buggy allows easier transport of small children around the town and prevents their parents from putting them on the floor in the middle of a shop, which is a huge improvement, but surely aspects such as these should have been addressed in a patch rather than a £30 expansion pack. The most important elements which change gameplay are the reputation system, which can spoil your romantic endeavours if you are a known cheater, and the memories system which returns from the Sims 2. However, the memories system has been released in a free patch for the base-game, so this interesting (if annoying) new feature is available without buying the expansion, and the same can be said about the inclusion of male body hair. However, the charm of Generations comes from the small improvements it brings to the game, making it that little bit better. The new interactions are charming and interesting; the new clothing is the best we’ve seen for kids in an expansion and the host of new decoration objects and patterns enhance your ability to create a more rounded and aesthetically pleasing family home.
All in all, this expansion isn’t going to convert anyone who doesn’t already like the Sims, and it would be hard to say that it adds anything revolutionary to the formula; however, it works well to freshen up the gameplay until the Pets expansion comes out. Is it an essential expansion pack? Well, if you are a casual player who prefers the bigger, sparklier aspects of the game, this isn’t for you. However, if you prefer family-based gameplay over adventures and jobs or want an all-round deeper experience, you should definitely pick this up.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.