One of the favorite pastimes of The Sims’ community is to talk about how good the older games are. While there are things about The Sims 4 that I don’t love, I’m not as nostalgic as other fans. Every time I think about The Sims 3, for instance, all I can remember is how much that game kinda sucked.
I got The Sims 3 the summer before my sophomore year of college and played it obsessively. I played it at my boring summer job, and then later in my boring classes. I made Sims of my roommates and friends, I downloaded hundreds of mods, and I continued to play it through the the release of its final expansion in 2013. I am exhaustingly familiar with that game, and all the ways it is bad.
Let’s start with an easy and obvious problem. The Sims 3 is optimized like shit. The loading times for this game are so bad that eventually the developers added a spot-the-item style game to them. I remember sometimes spending 20 minutes waiting for my game to load. Even on the very modern gaming PC in the office, the initial loading screen took a full minute. Saving my game was also a crapshoot. Sometimes, after waiting for half an hour, the game would crash while I was saving it. Then while I played, the game would hitch and jerk any time I sent my Sims out into the open world.
There’s a loading screen when you go into Build or Buy mode, and because these are each separate game modes, you’re going to do a lot of waiting if you want to build a house. When you go to a location in town, you have to wait for all the textures to pop in. Worst of all is that it takes a full minute of waiting, even at the highest game speed, for your Sim to get a full night’s rest. You just kind of sit there, watching. It’s creepy and not fun to do. When your Sim is awake, if you want to send them to a restaurant or a movie, instead of a loading screen, you’ll have to wait while they disappeared into a rabbit hole for an indeterminate amount of time. What an engaging, living world!
The Sims 3 seems built on the philosophy that more is more. Unfortunately, if you played the game for half a decade like I did, you come to realize that for all the options they give you, most of them are bupkis.Take the custom patterns they offer you. I mean, who exactly is this nightmare Halloween pattern for?
The Sims 3 is constantly getting in the way of itself. In the effort to make sure that the player uses each and every disparate system it has, it stops you from having the organic moments that make The Sims so much fun. My Sim was a cat lover, and when I sent her out to the park on her day off from work she finally met a stray cat. As I was trying to befriend it, her phone went off, and my game was interrupted with a notification telling me that my coworker wanted me to cook her some hot dogs.
There are plenty of little things that get under my skin about every Sims game, but when I think about the experience of playing The Sims 3, I can feel flames on the side of my face. The Sims 3 sucks shit, and if you say that you actually like this bloated game, you’re a liar.