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If you enjoy the idea behind the Sims, but you are really not one for micro-management of a situation, then Sims 3 may be just the game that can get you into the fantasy without subjecting you to death by minutia. For those of you who are not familiar with the Sims series, in this game you take control of a virtual person and run their lives. In the previous version, you had to manage things as simple as when your sim had to go to the bathroom. This new game takes you to a less hands-on and more administrative role.
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It’s only skin deep- The wrapping
When you make your own custom Sim, you make a truly custom Sim. The character customization is not as detailed as the one you would find in Elder Scrolls, but you can still make a completely custom character. This has a lot of potential when you consider that this means that you can make a digital mini me or a digital Angelina Jolie, whichever strikes your fancy. The customization also extends to your clothing choices so both skin tight leather and cheerleader outfits are at your disposal.
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Since you are going to go to all of this trouble in making a custom Sim, you are probably wondering how it will look during the game play. The visuals in this game are suitably impressive. Characters come out cleanly, and there is a nice level of detail and shading to them. The town and houses, for the most part, are also done well. Going from one section of the town to another no longer results in skips in the graphics. The only real issue with graphics is when you look at patterns in the distance. As you get closer and closer to the pattern, you will notice an abrupt change in its size. Most players however, will not notice this change or be bothered by it.
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Personality and Needs
Your Sim has personality traits that are picked off of a list that looks surprisingly like an IM window. You pick your current traits from the list to help determine your Sims life goals. The list of traits is far from vanilla. You can be a cowardly cleptomaniac, a child hating daredevil, or evil genius. As you can imagine, they have some different aspirations for their lives, and yes evil characters can end up plotting world domination. You needs have been replaced by 'Moodlets', which cover things like hunger, bladder, energy, social, hygiene, and fun. Each of these are pretty obvious.
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Sound and Music
The music of the Sims series is a little bit like the score of a feature film. It enhances the feeling of the game, but to be honest if it was not there, you would probably not miss it that much. That being said, the quality of the music is as good as it needs to be for its function. You won't be amazed by the sound, but you will probably not be able to find any fault with it as well. It wont overpower any other sounds that this game has to offer you.
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Sims and Gameplay
As I mentioned earlier, this game take out the micro-managing aspects of previous Sims titles. When it comes to the minor things, your Sims will self-manage. You don’t have to worry about your Sim starving to death or going to the bathroom in the park if you walk away to answer the phone. Some things - like going to the gym so that your Sim doesn’t get pudgy - are up to you. In this game, you are more of a guiding hand putting your character on the path that best suits their goals.
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Requirements to Run
- Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
- 2.0GHz (XP)
- 2.4GHz (Vista)
- 1 GB (XP)
- 1.5GB (Vista)
Hard Drive Space
- 6.5GB of free space and 1GB for additional content
- DirectX 9.0c compilant card with 128 MB RAM (NVIDIA FX 5900/ATI 9500 or better)
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The Test System
This game was tested on a system with the following specs:
- Vista Home Premium
- AMD Athlon X2 QL-62(2.0GHz)
- NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT
- 512 MB
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It is very nice not to have to deal with when your Sims need to go to the bathroom or starve. The ability to focus only on the big stuff and skip the details is something that gamers have been craving from this series for a while. The traits system and full customization of your Sim allow you to do things that quite frankly, are just cool. While this game is a lot of fun to play on your own, it is still missing one thing that many players would love to see - online collaboration. The kind of fun you could have - if you and 20 of your friend's evil Sims collaborated to take over the town - is just too tempting to miss. One can only hope that they will have that in the next entry in the series.