Reviews

The Sims 4 Paranormal review — Prepare to be scared…ALL.THE.TIME.

I’ve anxiously been awaiting the Sims 4 Paranormal Stuff Pack since the moment I heard about it. I first became hopeful that this was coming after a survey from EA asking about what we, the consumers, would like to see next. Spooky type stuff was on the list, but then we got Nifty Knitting (which I loved, and you can read about here), and of course the community lost their minds, as per usual with the Sims 4 community. But, it’s finally here and I was excited to dig right in. The Stuff Pack has the new Paranormal Investigator career, the new Medium skill where you can perform séances, Haunted Lots, and the thing I was most excited for was reintroducing Bonehilda, the skeleton maid from previous Sims titles!

My current family was starting to drive me crazy; I made a mermaid for the first time to see what the babies would look like with a vampire. So I seduced good ole Caleb Valtore, brought him (the vampire) into my beach home on the water and began pumping out babies. But before that, I had dated Don Lothario and had a kid with him. Caleb and my mermaid had twins, then literally five minutes after pushing them out, I got her pregnant again. Four babies in one house gave me so much anxiety. The nanny would never stay, so I aged them up pretty fast. Now I have four teenagers moping around the beach house, three of which are vampires and constantly keep going out into the sun and almost burning to death. Don Lothario came over and flirted with my mermaid in front of Caleb, now he is mad at me, and Don slapped me in front of my whole family. Should I invite Don into the family, and then kill him off for disrespecting me? Let us know if you’d like to see me make this into a YouTube episode!

I was glad to get away from the crazy interspecies train wreck and make a totally new character for Paranormal. Since I was micromanaging 6 Sims and a dog, I decided to keep it simple and make a single Sim. I used all the clothing that I could from the expac, and there isn’t much to choose from. It’s very flowy and hippy looking to fit in with the new Medium skill, and I enjoyed most options. There are four decent new hair choices as well, and once I had Anastasia Archer looking her best, I loaded in my new game to figure out how to join the Paranormal Investigator career path.

The Duplantier Dwelling, a new lot and house that comes with Paranormal.

Well it turns out it’s not easy. I looked around on the map for one of the new Haunted Lots, and didn’t find any. For testing purposes, I chose a cheap house, then gave myself some money with the motherlode cheat. I don’t and have never played with CC (custom content), but some extra Simoleons to buy a bigger, and hopefully haunted house sounded nice. After looking at literally EVERY SINGLE lot in the game, and not seeing a single Haunted Lot, I decided to go into Manage Worlds, and from here it asked me if I want to place the new Duplantier Dwelling house, which is a quirky yet charming southern mansion. It came equipped with all the furniture from the Paranormal Stuff Pack, so I really didn’t have to tweak much to get going. I placed it into the Forgotten Hollow map, because that one seemed most fitting to live in a spooky house.

Except… I kept wondering when the hauntings were going to happen. After doing a few séances at the table with no luck, I dug deep into my brain to try to figure out what I was missing. In my opinion, EA has never been good about making some things, in this case THE major thing about this Pack, obvious. You have to change your Lot Type to Haunted, and if you’ve never done this before, even that can be confusing. Go into Build Mode then look alllll the way to the top left and you’ll see a green house icon with an exclamation mark inside of it. Click that and then you’ll see the information about Lot Type with a drop down menu to turn the current lot into a Haunted House Residential. Once that was sorted out, I started to get some paranormal activity.

The second night in the house was upon me, and now I needed to find out how to become a Paranormal Investigator. Once again, not the easiest. You can join it from the Freelance career choice from any computer, but you also have to have the license to become one, which is purchased with 3,000 Lifestyle Points from the Lifestyle store under your sims Aspirations tab. Because I didn’t want to waste any more time, I cheated and gave my Sim plenty of points, bought the license, and finally was on the right track. Whew!

Bonehilda helping me with a séance! What a pal.

There were no new traits or ambitions that were linked with the Paranormal Stuff Pack, but taking the Self-Assured trait helps you a little with this career choice. I kept working at the séance table building up my skill. I really, really wanted to see Bonehilda though, and couldn’t figure out how. In previous Sims games I’ve played, she resides inside her coffin, which you bought from the store and placed in your house. But, why keep things simple? Once I hit level 3 of the Medium skill, an option to summon Bonehilda appeared. She’ll only stay around for a little while though. As of writing this, I have no option to take her into the house as a roommate. I’m super bummed about this, and hope they change it.

The Medium skill is fun to level up. The Duplantier Dwelling comes equipped with two séance tables, but in case you’re building your own home or adding on to an existing one, you’ll want to place a Table of Rage from the store in order to get started. A few crazy things have happened while using the table, including lights flickering, power going off, my chair floating, and lots of hilarious and terrifying flavor texts from spirits I communed with. The Medium skill goes up to level 5, and it seemed to go very quick for me. At maximum level you can perform a Group Seance, Commune With the Departed, Summon Bonehilda, Sense Spiritual Volatility, Perform Ceremony (to lower paranormal activity on the lot), Invoke the Dead, and last but not least, Ghastly Ritual. A Ghastly Ritual will turn you into a ghost for about four hours. While you’re a ghost you can possess items and break them, if your Sim is left alone they will start doing this right away and break just about every sink and toilet in the house. On the flip side, they can also perform a Ghostly Repair to fix everything they break.

Anastasia trying to negotiate with an angry, fire-starting ghost that haunts her front porch. The Specter Sprinkles buff makes you glow purple.

From my computer in the Freelance section, I finally joined the Paranormal Investigator career path and took my first gig. There are varying levels of difficulty, and I chose easy to start. The lot I went to had friendly ghosts haunting the grounds and house, and my Sim became Scared right away. I’ll admit that the ghosts, even the angry ones, are adorable. But, if your Sim gets too Scared, they’ll get the Terrified emotion, and this can eventually lead to them becoming Panicked. The first job, I managed to work through the Scared emotion without too much difficulty. There were ritual symbols on the ground, I tried to convince the ghosts to leave, and they gave me a really cool buff called Specter Sprinkles, which made my Sim purple and sparkly for a while. It was a friendly buff that did no harm, and I managed to cleanse the lot and get paid.

The next gig I bumped up to medium difficulty and that was a total nightmare. The house had angry ghosts, spooky dolls that kept moving, my Sim was Terrified constantly, and wouldn’t perform the cleanse. The option to remove any of the haunted objects will be grayed out when you’re too scared, and your Sim will just go to the clients bed and hide under the covers. Over, and over, and over. The job was a total fail.

Just for research purposes, I decided to take the hard difficulty for the next job, and this place was alive with paranormal activity. The spooky dolls kept replicating and moving all over the house. There were a half dozen angry ghosts setting the place on fire and ghost goop all over the floor that I kept slipping in. Needless to say, poor Anastasia was scared out of her mind, and hid in the clients bed the whole time. I finally was able to get her to move outside where she had a full blown panic attack and wouldn’t move. I thought she was going to die, and luckily I failed the job not too long after this started happening. She went home, and hid in her bed until the emotion wore off.

A Paranormal Investigator gig on hard difficulty that went bad real quick.

I have yet to succeed in any Paranormal Investigator gig past easy, even though my Medium skill is maxed out and my job performance has been great before each gig. You can carry sacred candles with you, and the Dahlia doll will calm you down, but my Sim was so terrified I couldn’t even get her to go near the candles I had placed. In my opinion they could tone down the emotion a little, or give more time to complete the gigs. Or, maybe I am missing something here, but I will definitely keep trying!

Back at my own home the friendly ghost, Guidry, shows up every night with advice for me. If he is on my lot, I can talk to him to calm myself down too. He is the former inhabitant of the Duplantier Dwelling, and so far he’s been pretty cool. He’ll only show up if you have the Helping Hand item from the store placed in your house, and it has an aura you can turn off if you don’t want him coming around. Some nights ghosts will roam around my house, and other nights nothing happens. Of course my Sim got involved with Caleb Valtore in this game too, as one does, and an angry ghost on my front porch set him on fire. I have also had angry ghosts set the inside of my house on fire. You can try to give them an offering of something hand crafted (I made them beanies) to appease them, but most times they give you the thumbs down and keep being jerks. I had an awkward ghost in my bedroom the other night, and when I asked him what his deal was he said “Are you asking me out? I’m single, in case you were wondering, and I’m willing to get weird.” No, awkward ghost, I am not willing to get weird, I’ll save that for Caleb Valtore thank you very much.

Me trying to put poor Caleb Valtore out after an angry ghost that haunts my front porch set him on fire.

After Invoking the Dead one night, the lights went out, and a box popped up on the screen with an ominous warning: “She’s Here…” warning me that this is the worst possible ghost you could commune with. Her name is Temperance, and she is really mad and hostile. Guidry gave me an idol I could place to get rid of her, and advised me to summon Bonehilda, because apparently she knows martial arts (who knew?). The idol did the trick and Temperance went running, and I am currently waiting to see what she wants and if I can resolve things with her.

“She’s HERE!…” The angry ghost Temperance. I still have not figured out what she wants, but she sure is mad.

There doesn’t seem to be any clear ending to the hauntings at my lot. Maybe I need to turn it off, or maybe I need to appease Temperance to finally cleanse the house. I’m still working my way through things, but it’s pretty difficult when my Sim is scared what seems like ALL the time. Nevertheless, I had a lot of spooky fun, I LOVE The Sims 4, and am always happy to get the chance to play with their new products!

The Sims 4 Paranormal Stuff Pack released on January 26th 2021 and is currently retailing for $9.99.

80

Great

The Sims 4 Paranormal

Review Guidelines

The Sims 4 Paranormal Stuff Pack has a lot of potential but needs some tweaking with the emotion buffs. A little more guidance on how to get things set up to be Haunted would make it easier for the player to jump in. The Medium skill is a lot of fun, and the new Paranormal Investigator career, while frustrating at times, is definitely something new and fun to try out if your Sims have been in a rut. At $9.99 it’s worth the purchase, and a welcome addition to the game.

Holly Hudspeth is a best-selling author living in Fort Worth, Texas. She has six published books to date; The Skyy Huntington Series, which is an epic dark fantasy adventure, and One Small Detail, a stand-alone medieval fantasy. Holly also enjoys writing fan fiction based on her avatars from games such as EverQuest, Elder Scrolls Online, and World of Warcraft. Her first major purchase at the established age of nine was the NES, and she has been gaming ever since. You can find her leading raids two nights a week in World of Warcraft, goofing off with friends in Overwatch, or playing SMITE with her husband. She enjoys fantasy games, RPGs, and MMOs, and The Sims franchise.
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