The first expansion to the latest installment in The Sims franchise, The Sims 4, called ‘Get to Work’ has been released, with it aim to change the ways the sims go about their working lives.
We have the game, so what did we think?
There are two parts to this expansion, the first is the three new careers – detective, doctor, and scientist – that have been added to the game. The second is the ability to own and run a retail business.
However these three new careers though are not like any of the other careers in The Sims 4, oh no, these careers are a cut above because no longer do you have to wait around at home for your sim to finish work twiddling your thumbs staring at the walls of their digital house, now you can go to work with them and help them do their job.
In fact you will have to go to work with them and help them do their job, especially if you want them to get promoted, because they are bloody useless at it and can’t do it themselves. You may as well be the one with the job and leave them at home. It would be a lot quicker and easier.
Going to work with your sim is quite fun. At first.
To test out the new careers we created a new sim, Miss Wendy Hayes, fresh out of college, and who has always dreamed of being a police officer. The detective career then was right up her alley.
Each morning when it comes time for your sim to go to work you are offered a choice, go with them or send them alone. Off we went with her, full of excitement and anticipation for our first day on the job.
On our first day on the job we were taught how to travel to a crime scene, photograph evidence, collect evidence, walk the beat, and interact with civilians including how to issue them citations should you catch them fighting or littering, which seemed to be quite rare. Anti-social behaviour doesn’t appear to be much of a problem.
On day two we were taught how to photograph, fingerprint and search suspects at the station, and how to analyze evidence that has been collected from crime scenes. You are then told to add the evidence to the crime map to reveal clues and build a profile of the suspect, you do this before you travel to the location of where your suspect is as otherwise you could end up arresting the wrong sim, once you are at the location of where the suspect is you can ask sims if they have seen anyone matching your profile. Once you have identified your suspect, you then arrest them, bring them to the station, and interrogate them until they confess.
The interrogations are quite fun. You can have your sim play good cop or bad cop with a variety of different dialogue options for both, including dangling your handcuffs or telling a prison horror story if you go the bad cop route. There is a progress bar to let you know how far along you are to cracking your suspect and getting that all important confession. Oh and the bar can go back down.
On our third day we went into work and were told to go onto one of the computers and find a case of our own to work because well done, after just two days on the force you now know everything you need to know about being a police officer in the sims universe. It’s amazing that there world isn’t overrun with crime, although that might explain why there is always a criminal career and why they are always recruiting.
The detective career quickly becomes a dull repetitive pattern of – go to computer and find case, travel to crime scene to photograph and collect evidence, return to station and analyze evidence before adding it to the crime map, travel to suspect location and arrest suspect, return to station and interrogate suspect until they confess. Case closed. Well done. That’s it. Over and over. You don’t need to walk the beat, or photograph, search, and fingerprint suspects at all. Ever.
Even the interrogations fall into the same pattern of using the same dialogue options in roughly the same order. There is no need to switch between good cop and bad cop depending on the suspect, bad cop always works. That said prison horror stories do tend to have that effect on people.
From doing cases over and over we discovered that you can get a maximum of seven clues about your suspect but a crime scene can give you a lot more than seven pieces of evidence, which allowed us to save bits of evidence for our next case, meaning sometimes we could skip the whole process of going to a crime scene to collect evidence. It’s a useful time saving tip. It makes no sense whatsoever because the crimes aren’t connected but it’s still a useful time saver.
Also all the crimes seem to be the same. All the crime scenes are houses that are wrecked in basically identical manners, which didn’t help make it feel less repetitive.
To get promoted along the detective career depends on the number of cases solved as well as the sims overall job performance. Sims can’t solve cases by themselves, you have to go to work with them, hold their hands and basically do it for them because despite it being their chosen career, they aren’t actually good enough to do it themselves. Useless!
Oh and there’s nothing special for reaching the top of the detective career. Sure you have the title of Chief of Police but that’s it. Nothing changes. You just keep doing the same thing day after day. The Chief of Police doesn’t go out solving cases or walking the beat, they stay at the station and delegate the work load and lead the operations. It was disappointing not to get to sit in that office and be able to call in the officers and ask what is going on etc.
Eventually we got bored and felt it was time for Wendy to begin a career in medicine so we moved over to the doctor career.
The doctor career is better than the detective career, for a start there is actual progression at work. You perform different tasks and duties at work depending on your career level. You start out at the bottom mopping floors and delivering food to the patients, moving up to talking to patients and running tests for the actual doctors, then you become an actual doctor where you can diagnose and treat patients yourself, before finally being able to perform surgery and deliver babies, and earning the title of Chief of Medicine. Again nothing special for the rank.
There are also a couple of random events to respond to just to liven things up and keep you on your toes – a house call, emergency outbreak, and someone collapsing in the reception area requiring immediate treatment.
However just like the detective career after a while it all just becomes the same repetitive pattern.
Although some of the illnesses have amusing names, a particular favourite is bloaty head, a reference to one of the illnesses in ‘Theme Hospital’ (what a great game that was by the way).
The final new career is the scientist career. Again a lot of the tasks you have to perform become quite repetitive but there are some fun inventions and potions to discover and make along the way that have different effects.
We should point out that travelling from the police station to a crime or from the hospital to a house call require those dreaded loading screens, and likewise there’s loading screens to take you back again. The detective career is probably the worst for it because you have to travel to multiple locations near enough everyday on the job, with the other two careers you can pretty much stay at the hospital/lab.
The second part of the ‘Get to Work’ expansion are the retail businesses you can own and run along with the new, retail only, neighbourhood of Magnolia Promenade.
OK new neighbourhood is stretching it a bit, it has four lots, three of which have already been built on and one empty lot where you can build your own business empire from scratch.
No. No we aren’t. The businesses are a huge pain.
After testing out the three new careers we felt it was time for Wendy to start working on her baking skill – one of two new skills along with photography – in order to open up her own bakery. Who doesn’t love some yummy baked goods?
There is a pre-built bakery in the styled rooms section of the build menu (along with a photography studio and clothing boutique) to help you out and/or save you a bit of time.
Once you have your shop you need to do is stock it. No point having a shop without having anything to sell after all. You can bake everything yourself, which is cheaper but takes a lot longer, or you can buy it from a wholesaler which costs more but is a lot quicker. The wholesaler route would be the one we recommend.
Your shop is built, it’s stocked up, now it’s time to open it up and start making some money by selling those delicious baked goods. Sadly this is not as easy as it sounds, Sims are the pickiest fussiest beings in the known universe. They will stand in your shop for hours staring at your baked goods debating on what to buy and expect you to answer their million and one questions while at the same time trying to woo them and tempt them into buying something, anything. Seriously if they struggle and spend this much time over what baked good to buy you have to wonder how they get dressed in the morning.
Running a retail business in ‘Get to Work’ is incredibly difficult. Incredibly incredibly difficult.
It is a nightmare to sell anything because of how much time you need to spend talking to them which means you can’t speak to everyone in the shop causing them to leave in a huff at the “poor customer service”. Then to make things just that bit more difficult they don’t queue up at the till, so you really have to question the point of even having one, instead you have to run around the shop finding the one person who has decided on what they want to buy and check them out by going up to them and talking to them. Not a big deal in a small shop but a real pain in a larger one. On top of that you need to clean the shop and restock items as they are sold, all of which take up more precious time you could spend helping these idiots make up their minds on what sugary treat they want to stuff in their stupid mouths.
You can hire employees to help you out around the shop, even assigning them specific tasks – re-stocking, cleaning the shop, talking to customers, and checking out customers – which means you no longer have to worry about that task. Just be warned that if you tell them to deal with customers they have a habit of getting caught up in conversations with them and start slacking.
There are retail perks that can be unlocked by spending time in your open retail business and selling goods. These perk’s allow for things like quicker checkout times and quicker restocking times, cheaper restocking, and extra employees (up to a maximum of three).
All somewhat helpful but they don’t address or help with the key issue that the customers are indecisive idiots who takes up hours of your time just to decide to buy some doughnuts!
Another annoyance with the retail businesses is that they can only run when you are there. You can’t own one, hire some staff, set opening hours, and then leave it to run and generate profits that you can pick up every couple of days. It only works so long as you are in the shop.
The retail businesses are a big let down. It doesn’t feel they have moved the business idea further on from the Sims 2 in may respects.
There are a bunch of new clothes, hairstyles, make-up styles, outfits, and objects that is to be expected with any sims expansion pack. Although we have to say that some of the new outfits are quite nice, it’s beginning to feel like there is a decent amount of choice here now.
And then there is of course the return of the aliens. There are aliens disguised as humans (not very well we might add), alien abductions (which happened to Wendy one night and gave her a sad mood after her return), alien impregnations, and a whole alien world/dimension.
Overall ‘Get to Work’ is a good first expansion. It makes The Sims 4 feel less bare, less empty, with there finally a bit of choice. While the three new careers become repetitive after a while they are actually fun at first and made us look forward to going into work with our sim. It’s also nice to have the choice of being able to go in with them instead of sitting around all day at home. The businesses are a big let down which was disappointing because they were the main thing we were looking forward to. It’s made The Sims 4 more enjoyable for us but it’s not worth the full asking price of £30, try half that.