The Sims 3: Pets – Gamescom ’11 impression

Levensweg Event Londen

One of the biggest gaming conventions in the world is unfortunately not open for the “general” public. I’m talking about the E3 (it’s also a bit far to travel to, but that’s not the point now). Luckily we also have our very own form of the E3 here in Europe: Gamescom. We travelled all the way to Cologne, Germany to take a look at the next Sims 3 expansion: Pets. Is this expansion a biter, or will it go down like a sloppy hairball?

Two versions

First of all, Pets knows two versions of the game; the expansion pack available on PC and Mac, and a stand-alone version of the game that is available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo 3DS. Both versions were present at the convention, so we had a bit of hands-on with both of them. But due to enormous amount of people that were also at the convention, we didn’t have a lot of play-time with both games. That’s why this report is merely an impression of the games. A full blown (p)review will come later!

Pets on your PC

ts3pets_02First let’s talk about the expansion version of Pets, for PC and Apple Mac. Of course, there are some differences with the PC version of the game, compared to the console version. The most important difference in my opinion is the addition of horses in the PC version. Yes people, a feature that’s been requested by many for many years has finally made its way into the game (and there was much rejoicing). So naturally, this was also one of the things that was really highlighted at the convention.

So let’s talk a bit about how the process of creating pets goes. Basically when you enter Create-a-Sim mode, you get to choose if you want to make a Sim, a dog, a cat or a horse. That’s right, horses are just part of the family if you want, just like cats and dogs are. Creating pets works more or less the same as creating Sims. You get to choose a name, age (there are less ages to choose from of course) and set its “voice”. After that, you get to select a breed. At the time of playing there were only four different types of horses to choose from, but we hope and assume that this will be more in the final product. The selection of the breed also defines the main look of your animal. So if you choose a husky, your dog will get the type of fur and colors and such that are typical for a husky. And when you select a bulldog… Well the same thing happens but for a bulldog. After that, you can be happy with your pet, or – if you want – you can further customize it, with different fur types, colors, markings and such. The way you customize is pretty cool. When you want to apply markings, you can have multiple layers on top of each other to get a specific effect if you want, it works just like when you apply tattoos to your Sim.
In the end you give your Pet some traits and you are good to go.

ts3pets_008So are Pets the only big new addition to the game. Well yes, basically… well ok no. There is also a whole new neighborhood to play in, called Appaloosa Plains. This neighborhood has a bit of a country/farm feeling. You have horse ranches there, and the entire neighborhood has a bit of an orange glow over it. Really nicely done.

But back to pets. You might wonder if horses, dogs and cats are the only pets in the game. Well in a way, yes. These pets are the only ones that you can customize and control and that are actually added to your family. But there are other animals in the game as well, like rodents and turtles. And we have spotted a magical unicorn, so that’s also quite cool.

Pets for console

We can talk a lot about the console version, but we would actually be repeating a lot of what we just said. The console version of the game is stand-alone, so you don’t need any other Sims games to play this. One big difference with the PC version, is that horses are not included in the console version. Only cats and dogs can be added to your Sim families on consoles. But on the other hand, there are some other nice exclusive features that you can only find on the console versions of the game.

ts3pets_006So what are those you might ask? Well first of all, you have the karma powers. With these powers you can do funny things to yourself or other Sims. Both good and bad stuff can happen with karma powers, so be careful what you wish for. For instance, we saw a pet get turned into a Sim and vice versa, with karma powers… now I assume you don’t want to turn that evil dog nextdoor into your evil neighbor?!

Another thing that is exclusive to the console version are allergies. That’s right, Sims can get allergies from their pets. So if you just got a cat and you find your Sim sneezing all day, you have a big chance its from that new sofa that you also bought the other day (insert sarcasm here).

Conclusion

So to try and sum up this impression. Again we haven’t been able to play a lot with both games, because of the overwhelming amounts of people who were also at the convention, but from what we’ve seen, we think that this expansion will be pretty neat. Especially if you love animals, and you love the Sims, then there is no reason at all, why you wouldn’t love this expansion!