The Sims 4 is a single-player life simulation game. Players can customize their characters and houses. Players can also control the life of the characters and explore the worlds in the game. Game-play includes household development, careers, emotions, traits, aspirations and more.
Lens of Story Machine: The Sims was especially mentioned in the Lens of Story Machine, and for good reason. There was no fixed architect of story line which could be a negative for the game as it can get mundane playing the game. However, the sims being a long time game has a huge community of players who will come up with stories or challenges for other players to try. An example will be the rags to riches challenge where the player will have no money and residence for the character, wherein the player will have to figure a way to get their character rich. These player induced stories add more potential and fun for the players in the community.
However, The Sims 4 itself does not have a story arc. The game does not impose conflict and character development is minimal. There is little repercussions for actions in the game. For example, characters that have a bad relationship can still chat amicably. The lack of a story makes the game boring and “too easy”. This results in a heavy dependency on player induced stories when playing.
The Sims 4 has a rich pool of mechanics incorporated into the game as it was big scale life simulation game. For example, there are friendship and romance level for relationships between characters, there are career paths and aspiration with defined tasks to complete to get a pay rise or a promotion. Other than these, there are many more interesting mechanics.
Lens of Essential Experience: The Sims 4 also brought mechanics for University into the game through the Discover University expansion pack. The game focused on the dormitory and roommates, where players are most excited about. They made attending classes a rabbit hole as these are the repetitive and mundane aspect of university that do not add much value to the experience. Focusing on the roommate aspect can also be extended to other areas of the game as the game can now have roommates not just in the University pack but also in other residences of the game world.
Lens of the Toy: Other than mechanic for story making, there are also different ways the sims can be played with: Character creation and house building. As The Sims 4 provide a well-defined mechanism for character creation, many players spend their game-play on making their characters. Challenges like creating characters to suit a color series or to create a character similar to a celebrity spun from these mechanisms. Similarly, for building lots, the players can not only build residential lots but also public lots. With the addition of the latest Tiny Living stuff pack, many players tried to challenge building a small lot.
The visuals of The Sims 4 is hugely made up of the characters and builds in game. In every released expansion packs, the developer team spent a great effort in creating new styles of clothes, hair, accessories for characters; and furniture, wallpapers for builds. They also tried to express diversity by adding different skin tones and religious clothing like hijabs. As with story and mechanics, the Sims community also created custom character and build content for the aesthetics of the game, some with a different art style. The art style of The Sims 4 is a huge improvement from its 3 predecessors. However, some players find the art style too cartoonish and prefer custom contents with more textures for more realism.
Lens of Imagination: The Sims 4 has its own made up language that players call “Simlish”. Whenever the characters communicate, they speak gibberish and have dramatic expressions and movement. This leaves the players space to imagine the conversation the characters are having. In a lot of Let’s play videos, the players make up the conversation themselves from the characters’ body language. However, some Simlish phrases appear often that players can guess the meaning, making the game more immersive.
Having so much content, The Sims 4 will have to consider how to allow the game to run on different hardware. The Sims 4 releases expansion packs with different content, users buy the content they are interested in. This keeps the game-play and content of each player simple and efficient enough to meet their needs; also keeping the game profitable. The pre-built characters and builds are also kept as simple as possible to ensure smooth run of the game for more hardware.