Main Teaser: In the Sims 4: Get to Work, try your hand at contacting aliens, solving crime, and cake decorating!
Content Tease: The first full expansion pack for the Sims 4 is jam-packed with new features, including playable careers. Now you can wreak havoc at work too!
Last Word: Lots of fun, and jam-packed with new content.
Learning Curve: 15mins
The Sims 4 finally has its first full expansion pack, succinctly titled Get To Work. While some aspects hearken back to the days of the Sims 2’s Open for Business, this new expansion brings tons of new content and gameplay, worlds, objects, and even aliens.
Just listing all the features feels a bit overwhelming. There are three new “active” careers, where you can – for the first time – follow your Sim to work. Now you can actively play as a doctor, detective, or scientist. If traditional work’s not your thing, Sims can now buy retail businesses, and experience the joys of hiring and firing, stocking goods, and pricing. There are two new skills: baking and photography. We also finally have aliens, and their alien home world, Sixam, that can be visited by rocket.
The core new functionality of Get To Work introduces, funnily enough, the ability to follow your Sims to work. The general idea here is that you can now follow sims to their workplaces (in the above three careers) and help them through their daily tasks. The working day for a Sim is pretty straightforward: upon arrival at their job HQ, an ever-changing list of tasks is displayed. If your Sim completes objectives from these, their work meter starts to fill up. For someone in the Science career for example, tasks can include anything from making a specific invention to watering plants, to chatting with colleagues (or the invention robot). Detectives can hunt for clues at crime scenes, or take mug shots and fingerprints back at the station. Complete enough tasks and you’ll get your basic pay. Do poorly and Sims can actually hinder their career. The “follow your sim to work” aspect really starts to pay off however when you can max your meter, with some great leaps to your Sim’s career as a result.
The gist of this all is that you really should only follow your Sim to work if their need meters are “in the green.” If they’re tired, or cranky, you’re going to have a hard time filling up that work meter, and their work performance could drop quite a bit as a result. (Fortunately, you also have the option to not go to work with your Sim, which is handy when they’re having a bad hair day.)
When things are going well, the work aspect is a lot of fun. Otherwise, work can be a really frustrating experience. I found with my Science Sim that in the early levels, his work really could be all-consuming. With not much time apart from work and trying to cover his basic needs, it was really tricky to try and keep him happy – especially in his “starter” house with the most basic furniture.
The science career was the first one I tried, and it really was lots of fun. Sims get to go to work in a cool big lab, filled with computers, chemistry sets, and other gear. They can make inventions, try flirting serums out on their colleagues, and there’s even a cool kitchen and workout area. Sims have to collect crystals and metals in order to make these high-tech inventions, but fortunately there is also a handy new interaction to bludge these off your colleagues.
Inventions are also great, in that they have the potential to wreak the most havoc on the Sim world, from making contact with aliens, to creating the Sim Ray, a freezing ray-gun which you can then also customise with extra abilities – like mind control (mwahahaha!) or the ability to transform any object into another one. Wacky zany results abound!
Detective work is also pretty fun. You start out as a cadet working on other people’s cases. A standard day for a detective would see your Sim heading to the police station, where they would be assigned a case, and then head to the crime scene. Once there, they can look for clues, get witness statements, and take photographs of incriminating evidence. Back at HQ, they can analyse the clues and see if they can’t work up a profile of the suspect. Then they issue an APB, and head out into the field to try and catch the bad guy! Once you haul them downtown, your Sim can interrogate suspects, and even play good cop / bad cop with them. You do have to be careful to keep an eye on the time you have left during the working day however. I was cut off and sent home in the middle of interrogating a teen thug, and didn’t get to see if I successfully busted the kid or not.
As much fun as the careers were to play with, I was most excited about the retail aspect of the game (I really loved Open For Business). Unfortunately the copy of the game I was provided with didn’t seem complete in this area. Help dialogs were all blank, and I really didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. There’s a whole separate build mode for retail lots, where you indicate your pricing scheme, hire employees, and even set or design uniforms. Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to actually add things I wanted to sell, and eventually gave up when I couldn’t access the help. (I wanted to create a little bakery – to do double duty with the new baking skill.)
(The “missing text” bug appears to be relatively common, but EA have shared details on a workaround on the EA Answers HQ – Ed.)
Also on the negative side of things, I’ve noticed that loading times have definitely increased. Not hugely, but enough for me to wonder if this bodes well for future expansions. It certainly could have an effect on players’ decisions about whether they will want to go to work with their sims every day, if they have to wait for a minute or two to go anywhere.
Drawbacks aside, there is still so much here that adds to the base Sims 4 game I have to mark this as a “must have” for Sims 4 players. Like I mentioned in my first Sims 4 review, the series is a bit of a living, breathing thing that is always changing and evolving. Bugs emerge, patches are released, and that big old Sims world just keeps on turning.