|Genre||Publisher||Release date||Release O.S||Available on|
|Simulation||Electronic Arts||31/10/2014||PC||Origin Store|
Well, it’s finally here! The moment countless Sim fans across the world have been waiting for. After four months since its release, following a whole bunch of free (and much needed) updates, EA has rolled out the first ever paid game pack for The Sims 4.
While the Sims are no stranger to being whisked away from the drudge of normality with previous expansion packs like Bon Voyage, World Adventures and Vacation all offering similar gameplay. Bringing us a new world and all new actions to test, it’s time to get down and dirty in Granite Falls and see if Outdoor Retreat is a fresh addition to liven up the Sims universe, (hopefully making up for all those missing features in the base game) or if it’s just a fancy name for an overused, older expansion pack?
Let me start by answering the question that I’m sure is on every Sim fan’s mind, what is a ‘Game Pack’? A game pack is EA’s way of really confusing us, at the same time as making things cheaper. It’s also the middle ground between a ‘Stuff Pack’ - containing new content mainly in the form of new furniture, wallpaper and clothing, and a full priced ‘Expansion Pack’ - containing new actions, locations, activities and the kitchen sink to boot. In my eyes a ‘Game Pack’ is really just a mini ‘Expansion Pack’. It includes a new world, new content and new actions, just on a much smaller scale…with an even smaller price tag. At only £15, (less than half the price of the usual Expansion Pack), with Outdoor Retreat you definitely get what you pay for.
For me the most important thing when looking to buy a new Sims game is its content - I expect to find something new in every category. Happily Outdoor Retreat doesn’t lack in this area, for £15 you get a whole host of new content for your Sims to use, wear and play with. Of course most of this stuff has an Outdoorsy theme to it, like camping chairs, tents and blow up beds. If you were expecting to redesign your five bed townhouse with the goods included here then think again. The game is called Outdoor Retreat for a reason. Not only is there a wealth of the outdoorsy gear available but the content itself is constructive. After only playing the ‘Game Pack’ for a few hours, I had already used most of the items at least a few times - this just proves that unlike previous packs like this, less really can mean more.
As well as new content this ‘Game Pack’ gives us a new environment…Granite Falls. This new world feels somewhat bigger than the other two in The Sims 4 base game, allowing you to explore a little further, until you eventually hit one of the many loading screens.
Within this world your Sims can choose to rough it out in the campground, or rent a cabin by the river. Sims can then pick to go hiking, cloud-gaze or tell ghost stories round the campfire (these are all new actions to the Sims franchise). My only annoyance comes arises when it comes to all this new content and a lack of a build/buy mode when in Granite Falls. This prevents you from setting up your campsite how you’d like, instead you just have to plop stuff down in an awkward, unruly fashion. Granite Falls comes with no empty plots to build custom campsites on, as well as a multitude of loading screens for each location.
For all its content and new activities, I really feel like EA have made a game that doesn’t appeal to a huge range of people. Yes! I know lots of games don’t appeal to everyone, but being the first DLC for a brand new game I thought EA would of kicked things off with a bang! I had hoped for an all time favourite to be bought back as the first Game Pack, like Seasons, a game that everyone knows and likes, which adds a huge bounty of fun to the game play. At a minimum I thought we would see an expansion pack that would fill in the gaps left by missing features, such as garages and toddlers. This pack however feels very particular, and if you’re a fan of levelling up skills and completing lifetime goals, then this ‘Game Pack’ won’t really add anything onto your game.
The Sims 4: Outdoor Retreat is a fresh idea for the long running franchise, and a nice break from skill building and city life. If you like frolicking about in the woods, sitting by a campfire or living it up in a log cabin, then Outdoor Retreat is the perfect addition to your base game. However if you don’t then the new content could get boring quite quickly, offering no actual additional game play for the player. Having said that, for its price tag, you do really feel like you are getting a decent enough deal. As a long time fan of The Sims franchise I hope to see more content at this price in the future, but with something that enhances the base game, rather than just adding onto the side.
- Interesting setting
- Range of new outdoor gear
- Reduced price
- Content all cosmetic and lacking depth
- Load times are annoying
- Core game is still missing some key features