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PC/Mac Game Review: The Sims 3 – Showtime

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If you play games of any sort, by now you probably have a very good idea about what The Sims (or The Sims 2 or The Sims 3) is.  The original was first released in 2000, the second arrived in 2004, and the third in 2009.  Starting with the first iteration and continuing through to the most recent core title, The Sims have offered players expansion packs.  If we have our numbers right, this week’s expansion pack, Showtime, is in fact the 11th one that has been offered for The Sims 3.

What exactly does this new expansion pack contain?  SimpleThe Sims 3 - Showtime answer – more.

Now, don’t take that as a bad thing.  The Sims franchise is incredibly well loved, and the third core game in it is an absolutely fantastic title.  It is actually a little hard to imagine how many hours one would have to play in order to truly experience everything the base title has to offer, but that doesn’t  mean that expansions can’t be fun.

So, the question then is what is the more that is being offered here in Showtime?  Most essentially, it is the opportunity to build a career in the world of entertainment (singer, acrobat, magician or DJ).   There are new skills, new wishes, and new character traits.  And, naturally, there’s new stuff (including a new town, Starlight Shores).

The game also offers up the ability to send your Sim to your friends’ games so that your Sim can perform at various venues in their town.  That is less you playing than you disappearing for some coffee while your character plays somewhere else, but it could be nifty if you’re invested in your friends’ Sims’ lives.  The traveling Sim can bring home goodies, but, again, that’s really less you playing. 

On the other hand, what is the franchise about if not building lives and communities and interacting with others (even if they’re purely virtual others)?  Sending your Sims off into the world (or accepting Sims from out in the world) is most definitely the next logical step in such an evolution even if it seems kind of weird (despite Nintendo doing it to some extent with Miis).

As for performing, the game tends (as with everything) to get down into the nitty gritty details.  You don’t just do your thing on stage, you have to appropriately decorate the venueThe Sims 3 - Showtime before you get started.  Well, you don’t have to, but you’ll perform better if you do. 

For me, so much of The Sims has always been about setting it all up, getting going on the right track.  When I create a character I want to create his house from the ground up, choose all the furnishings, and really micromanage all the little things up front.  As the Sim gets more friends and progresses in his/her career and life, I become less interested.  I don’t know that Showtime alleviates that issue entirely, but getting to do more new things with my Sim out of the house does add to the length of time I care to spend with my Sim creations. 

It is a certainly a fun addition to the franchise, but unless you’re heavily invested in the notion of having your Sim become some sort of performer or have totally exhausted everything else in the game, I’m not sure that it’s a needed add-on.  I would say that if you’re an experienced player looking for more from the game, go ahead and get it, you’ll enjoy yourself, but if you’re less experience/devoted you won’t really be missing out on all that much.

The Sims 3 – Showtime is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, Violence.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.