Previews

A world in a box: Hands on with the Sims 4 character creator on the PS4

I’ve poured countless hours of my life into the Sims. From creating custom clothing and hair for my Sims, to agonizing over relationship choices, to saving up to finally own that dream house, the series has always found ways to keep me glued to the computer screen. That last part is about to change, thanks to the imminent release of The Sims 4 on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on November 17th. Sims fans will soon have the option to experience the massive world of the Sims 4 from their living room couches with their controllers in hand.

While I wasn’t able to spend a whole lot of time exploring the Sims 4 on console, I was able to get a pretty good feel for the character creation and house building features on the PlayStation 4 version of the game, which felt just as robust as the PC versions.

Character building was easy, allowing me to quickly cycle through outfits, voices and personalities. Moving the pointer with one thumbstick while turning the camera with the other felt entirely natural. Part of the appeal of the Sims is the deep customization available at your fingertips, all of which is present in the console version. That said, I was quickly distracted by the pre-made outfits, particularly the strikingly accurate Star Wars Boba Fett costume that popped up.

It initially struggled a little with the controls, but those who have played a modern console should have no problem at all. Embarrassingly enough, I haven’t seriously logged any time with a PlayStation controller since my old PS2 Slim finally gave out, so it took me a bit of time to realize that I could access the menus and tools on the far sides of the screen by simply moving the thumbstick while pressing the touchpad. Building a Sim proved to be incredibly easy, with the character updating and posing in real time, just as they do on the PC versions. Because of the inherent restrictions of console gaming, the Xbox One and PS4 versions are lacking in custom, consumer-made content, but the plethora of premade and licensed content provides plenty of options to help fill that void.

The builder was easy to use and just as powerful as the PC version

Once out of the Create a Sim screen and in the main world, I found that tracking my Sim was far less difficult than I anticipated, thanks to the addition of a trail and pulse system. This helps you keep track of where your Sim is and where they are going, an addition that fits nicely into the world of console gaming. The build tool also felt incredibly console friendly. Selecting what kind of item you wanted to buy or build involved moving the pointer over a drawing of a house, and with the press of a button, a corresponding menu of all of the available options relating to that element sprang open. Click the door, and out flies a menu with every available door potion in the game. Navigate to the back yard, and you get all the patio furniture, barbecues, and plastic slides you could want.

Created in collaboration with Blind Squirrel Games, a company which has made console adaptations of a number of titles, the console versions are a mix of familiar and new tools, making this sometimes unruly game more manageable on a controller. The console versions offer all the content from the main Sims 4 games, the ability to enter command line cheats, and come with with a nice addition of 50 unlockable achievements per console.

The Sims 4 console versions are packed with more than enough content to scratch that Sims itch, and are a great option for players who want to create, build, and play in this huge sandbox of a world. While they have a all the official content you could want, the very nature of consoles means that they are lacking in custom content creation capabilities, so those who need their Sim to wear that exact replica of their favorite fandom t-shirt may still want to stick to the PC versions. That said, The Sims 4 console versions, with their intuitive controls and tons of content, will serve as a great gateway to a whole new set of gamers who prefer a controller over a mouse and keyboard.

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