Ashleigh’s Review of The Sims 3 Ambitions
Hey all! Ambitions is finally here and I’ve been lucky enough to get the new expansion and play it for a few days. Now I’m giving my review here!
The Sims 3 Ambitions is the newest expansion pack for The Sims 3, released on June 1st, 2010. For the first time ever, Simmers can control what their Sims do at work and shape the world around them with their skills (or lack of skill) in the workplace. Choose from several exciting new careers like Firefighting, Private Investigating, Fashion Designing and Architectural Design.
I was pleasantly surprised at all the graphic improvements made in The Sims 3 Ambitions. I was expecting the graphics to remain unchanged from previous expansions, but I was indeed wrong. It seems the creators paid close attention to detail with this new expansion, giving hair a less matte texture, improving the shine on the metal patterns and balloons, and even giving the water a more crystal appearance. It’s actually quite beautiful. I was even more impressed when these changes didn’t hurt my game performance. In fact, Ambitions runs smoother on my PC than WA, HELS and the base game.
For the first time since I bought The Sims 3 a year ago, I have had no major problems with running Ambitions. The game seems very stable and glitch-free. I was shocked that EA seems to have actually made a game that not only works, but actually improves the stability of the game as well. Perhaps EA is finally listening to us? Being pretty computer-savvy, I immediately added my TS3EP02.exe file to my DEP to prevent the crashing that many people were complaining about. I have not experienced a single game crash in hours upon hours of extended gaming. The only glitch I have found since playing Ambitions is being unable to switch active households. When I attempt to go into a new household, no loading screen appears and the game remains perpetually in Edit Town mode. After doing some research, I found out this glitch is not uncommon amongst Ambitions players. For those of you who use Twallan’s SuperComputer mod, this will not pose too much of a problem, since you will be able to switch active households instantly by clicking on Sims or another house in-game, bypassing the glitched loading screen. For those of you who do not use this mod, this problem may pose some major issues for you. This glitch isn’t affecting all Simmers, but it is affecting a fair few.
I cannot express how pleased I am about the new gameplay introduced with Ambitions. I don’t know if I’ll have time to talk about it all. There is just SO much to do and experience in the game. I’ve been playing for whole days at a time and still haven’t even scratched the surface of all the new careers, opportunities and new features. So far, I have completed the Ghost Hunter and Firefighter careers and I am working my way through the Architectural career.
As a ghost hunter, I could choose whether or not I wanted to be a compassionate ghost hunter or a ruthless one. I could choose to release the spirits I captured to let them rest peacefully or sell them to the Science Lab for experiments. I could also choose to talk to the ghosts invading clients’ homes and convince them to move on of their own free will or I could choose to suck them into my Banshee Banisher machine and be done with them. I have a lot of compassion for the souls of the dead, so I released all the spirits I captured and chose to gently nudge the ghosts towards “the light”.
As a Firefighter, I also had choices as to how I wanted to operate. I could try to get trapped Sims out of the burning building, first, or I could focus on saving their belongings instead. Of course, my top priority was getting people to safety, so I would focus on getting the trapped Sims out of the building, first, and then focus on dousing the fire. It took longer, resulting in a lower score at the end of the day, but to me, it was worth it, knowing I saved someone’s life.
As an Architectural Designer, I got to shape the entire town with my own hands. I could change the entire neighbourhood by designing new rooms and updating shabby exteriors for my clients. Of course, the client restricted me to a budget and gave me certain criteria for their new room, but it was up to me to decide what went where and what kind of “feel” I wanted to give the room. I found it was very important to try and find out a few of my clients’ traits before beginning a renovation, as they can often give me an idea of what my client likes. One of my clients was a couch potato and wanted a writing room that included a TV and a couch. I didn’t have a lot of space or money to work with, but I managed to give her everything she wanted, making sure I gave her a very comfy couch and a nice TV to suit her trait. The client not only approved of the items in her new writing room, but also appreciated all the extra decor I included, like window drapes and paintings.
That’s just some of the big stuff, but there are many smaller features of Ambitions that really help complete the entrepreneurial experience and give Sims a new dimension to their lives. The big one is the “Skill Careers”. Now Sims who prefer to make their living off of their creative talents can register as Self-Employed at City Hall to track their income. No more Unemployed status for writers and painters! I know all those writers and painters out there are going to love this new feature for their Sims.
One feature that may be really tiny in comparison to all the other cool stuff in Ambitions but is still one of my favourites is laundry! Yes! For the first time ever, Sims can do laundry! All you need is a washing machine and a dryer or clothesline to have your Sims take care of their laundry. Even if you don’t have the funds to purchase these appliances, if you have laundry hampers in your house, you can pay a visit to the local laundromat and do your laundry there. At first, I was afraid laundry would just be a cumbersome chore that added nothing significant to the game, but I was wrong. Sims most often change their clothes in their bedroom and the bathroom, so if you have a laundry hamper in these rooms, your Sims’ clothes will automatically dispense themselves into the hamper. All you have to do is pick them up and throw them in a washing machine when they get full. Even if your Sims do leave the occasional dirty clothes pile lying around, it’s easy to click and drag them to a hamper yourself, no action from your Sim required. Doing laundry regularly gives Sims positive moodlets and long-term, these positive moodlets can give your Sims a huge boost to their mood for less effort than brushing their teeth!
Remember partnering and buying out other businesses? Wasn’t that a cool new feature in The Sims 3? Well, EA has expanded upon this system to introduce real estate. Sims can purchase local businesses like the laundromat for a nice profit. Buying real estate is much more expensive than partnering with businesses, so I would suggest starting out with buying out businesses the old-fashioned way to generate lots of weekly income, and use that profit to purchase the much more costly real estate properties to bring in even more money.
Alright, I’ve gone through everything I really enjoy about the gameplay, but what about the cons? Well, believe it or not, this section is going to be much smaller than the pro section, but of course, there are cons… okay, well one con, but it’s a pretty significant one for me. EA heavily implied in their advertising campaign that your Sims could become tattoo artists as one of the new professions and that Tattooing would be a related skill. Well, they seem to have “duped” us. While Sims can go to the tattoo parlour to get tattoos and offer tattoos to other Sims, they are unable to choose it as a profession and make a living off of it. There is a Tattooing skill, but it’s a hidden skill, like dancing and diving. Since Tattooing is a hidden skill that you can’t document or track in your skills panel, you cannot register as a self-employed tattoo artist at City hall, either. This was a huge disappointment for me, since the tattoo artist profession was the biggest reason I got the game in the first place.
Create A Sim
While the new selection of clothing introduced in Ambitions isn’t very impressive, there are quite a few new hairstyles that are very nice. The lack of new clothing can be overlooked when you take into account the new tattoo feature. At first glance, the tattoo selection may seem limited and rather constricted, but when you take into account that a tattoo can have up to five layers of designs and you can control the size and colours of each layer, along with the opacity of the tattoo, it opens up quite a large new avenue for creativity. Still, I do wish we could have more control over where we place the tattoos and that the opacity slider didn’t affect all layers.
On the note of opacity sliders, there is a new feature introduced in the latest patch that adds an opacity slider to all the makeup. Even if you don’t own Ambitions, you can still take advantage of this cool feature and a more limited tattoo feature by patching your game. I personally love this feature. My Sims’ makeup was often too heavy and trampy-looking, no matter what colour blend I used. Now I can give more outlandish Sims wild, bold makeup and my more reserved Sims a nice light, subtle makeup style.
I would be doing the expansion a terrible injustice if I neglected to talk about the new traits and Lifetime Wishes introduced in Ambitions. We all want our Sims to have greatly diverse and unique personalities, and Ambitions gives us even more opportunity to do just that. Among the new traits are Dramatic, Eccentric, Perceptive, Born Saleswo/man, and Eco-Friendly. Eccentric Sims are lovably strange and have a keen eye for inventing. Dramatic Sims have a flair for all things over-the-top and make excellent Fashion Designers. Perceptive Sims have an eye for small clues and details and make good Private Investigators. Born Saleswo/men are very skilled in matters of Business and can develop strong relationships at the local consignment store. My personal favourite, Eco-Friendly Sims are very focused on the environment’s health. They only eat organic food, prefer to ride their bike instead of taking a car, love to recycle and conserve water by taking quick showers and hate wasting resources by driving alone and using inefficient appliances.
There are many new Lifetime Wishes geared towards the new professions in the game. Sims can now strive to be the best Stylist, Architect, Ghost Hunter, Firefighter or Private Investigator in all of Twinbrook, or wherever else you choose to have your Sims roam. My Ghost Hunter Sim wanted to reach level 10 of the Ghost Hunter career and my Firefighter Sim wanted to save the lives of 30 Sims on the job.
Ambitions introduces a new neighbourhood to our Sims: Twinbrook. As always, Twinbrook is full of job opportunities, hobby opportunities and is populated with a variety of new Sims, all with their own quirks, habits, history and personalities. The miniature city is built around a large man-made lake. The posh part of the city and the rough part of the city is separated by the large dam in the centre of the new neighbourhood. The other side of the dam is a marshy swamp, populated with a few desolate, water-damaged shacks and rubbish dumps. The nice area of town is a much more pleasing environment, but even the swamp land has its own creepy charm. I was most impressed by the architecture of the buildings in Twinbrook. The design of the homes in this neighbourhood far surpasses the quality of previous neighbourhoods. The creators obviously took advantage of the ability to create higher foundations and recolour floor edges and ceilings that was introduced in the latest patch for the game.
As a bit of a computer geek, this is something that really excites me. After a year of players complaining to EA about their lack of support for mods and custom content, they have finally listened to us and done something about it. EA has finally made The Sims 3 custom content-friendly! Those of you who used to play The Sims 2 will remember how easy it was to install custom content and mods in your game. There was a Downloads folder in your Documents under The Sims 2 and all you had to do was unpack your downloads and plop them in that folder and you were done. EA has now implemented a similar system with Ambitions.
Simmers can create a new folder called Mods in their Documents folder under The Sims 3 and put their mods and custom content there, instead of messing around with Program Files. This is a much easier way to get custom content in your game without accidentally damaging the core of your game. People who are not so computer savvy should not be messing around in Program Files as there are important files in there that, when altered, can destroy not just your game, but your entire computer. Many people DID destroy their computers by trying to install mods in their game without any advanced computer knowledge.
Putting your mods in this new folder will also add the custom content icon to all the installed items in your game, and a popup will appear on startup, informing you of what mods you have installed and warn you if you have conflicting mods, just like in The Sims 2.
Thank you for finally letting us use our mods and custom content, hassle-free, EA!
NOTE: I strongly suggest reading this article at Mod The Sims on how to install mods and custom content using the new folder. It goes through some crucial steps that are necessary to get your mods working that I have not outlined in this review.
As you can probably tell, I am quite impressed with The Sims 3 Ambitions. I have shared a mostly positive review with you here today; however, there were a few small problems and disappointments. The new professions and skill careers are a wonderfully immersive addition to the game, but EA appears to have given us false information in their advertising campaign, since some of the professions advertised aren’t actual professions in the game. The graphics are beautiful and don’t hurt my game performance, so no complaints there. I also love the new town with its Sims and architecture, along with the new options, traits, and Lifetime Wishes available in Create A Sim. The game seems extremely stable, save for one glitch concerning switching active households, but not all Simmers are experiencing this glitch.
I give The Sims 3 Ambitions 4 out of 5 plumbobs!