Review: The Sims 3: Late Night

By Kelly West 2010-10-26 06:04:00 discussion comments
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As far as The Sims 3 expansion packs go, I never really know what to expect. I didnít care much for the World Adventures concept and ended up loving that EP when I finally got to play it. I thought Ambitions was going to be really great and found myself losing interest in some of the bigger features in that EP not long after Iíd discovered and mastered them. So I didnít want to get my hopes up that Late Night would be amazing. Having spent hours following my Sim through the packed downtown area of Bridgeport, I feel my interest in the game renewed and am excited to explore the expansion pack further.

Just to be clear, before we get into the details of the game, the expansion pack requires that you have The Sims 3 base game installed on your computer. Like the base game, Late Night is PC and Mac compatible.

I took more screenshots than I needed to illustrate the main points of the EP, however I thought you might appreciate a better look. Youíll find additional screenshots in the gallery below the review.

Welcome To Bridgeport

Late Night comes with a new neighborhood. Bridgeport features a few clusters of suburban areas, which surround the bustling downtown city. Downtown includes the job locations, night clubs and bars, parks, restaurants and high-rise apartment buildings. Public transportation is a welcome addition as Sims now have the option to take the subway. Stations are set up around the city. The actual train ride isnít shown, however it is an extremely fast way to commute (about as quick as teleporting if you donít count the time it takes for your Sim to get to the actual station.)





Create-A-Sim Additions

In addition to plenty of new outfits (to suit all occasions, including some sexy new lingerie among the sleepwear), Create-A-Sim now features two new sliders. For those who wish they could control the chest-size of their females or the muscle-tone of their Sims, youíre all set! You now have more control over your Simís bodies, though it should be said that while the maximum level of muscle tone gives your Sim a sort of chiseled look, the maximum level of bust-size delves into ridiculously unnatural territory.







You can also choose your Simís astrological sign. Some signs are compatible with others.

Settling In

I created a Sim named Gemma Glitters and moved her into Bridgeport. An aspiring actor from Riverview, Gemma set out to improve her charisma and gain a bit of celebrity status in the big city while climbing her way to the top of the Actor Branch of the Film Career. Initially I put her in a house, but she quickly drew the want to move to a high rise. The apartments in the high-rises are affordable and come furnished.



I wasnít able to figure out how to move more than one family into the same high rise and Iím not sure thatís an option. They appear in the Map View like houses (occupied by a family or vacant), however Gemma moved to a number of different high rises as she advanced in her career and some of them had other doors with the grayed out ďRing BellĒ option, which makes me think other people should be able to move in. She never got any neighbors though and I wasnít able to move her into a building when there was already a family living in it, which limited her selection somewhat. Still, the convenience of living downtown and having a quaint little apartment is a nice touch.

Celebrity

Gemma quickly learned the tricks of the trade to improve her celebrity status. She went out to clubs, met people and accepted the opportunities that popped up to earn her celebrity points. Opportunities included tasks such as eating at a certain restaurant and promoting it, or purchasing a drink at a specific bar or club.

The more points she earned, the higher her ďCelebrity Star LevelĒ got. Higher Star levels allow for benefits such as access to certain clubs or VIP rooms, discounts on drinks and the occasional freebie. She received a number of free beds, as well as a very fancy TV thatís not available to buy in Buy Mode.



I noted later that when Gemma married, her husband Ericís Celebrity Star Level went from three to five, which is where Gemmaís was at that point, so if you want to quickly boost your Simís celeb-status, it seems marrying a celebrity (or even getting engaged to) will do the trick.

Celebrities are often photographed either by fans or paparazzi, or asked for autographs.

Activities, Skills and Wishes

It would take me quite a while to fully explore all of the added Wishes, Lifetime Rewards, and Skills/Activities. This EP really goes above and beyond to give your Sims new things to do, most of which are great if you find more enjoyment in the social aspect of the game as opposed to jobs and tasks (Ambitions) or puzzles and adventures (World Adventures).

Gemmaís lifetime goal was Superstar Actor. Getting to the top of the Acting branch of the film career means improving your charisma and celebrity status. Itís a rabbit hole job, which is fine as I was focusing most of my actual game-playing energy on the hours that followed work.

Sims can also form a band and perform at gigs (there are new instruments, including a piano, a bass and drums), or master Mixology and tend bar.

There are a number of new Lifetime Rewards, most of which seem to aid in socializing (seeing where the celebs live, being the life of the party, having better success at seducing people, being better at bar games, etc).

New Skills and activities include the Mixology skill (which involves throwing bottles and glasses around Cocktail-style), playing various instruments, skinny-dipping (the hot tub is back!), forming a band, dancing on counters and tables, getting into a bar fight and finding the local hot-spots.

Vampires

Sims can become vampires! When I heard about this feature, I thought back to the Sims 2 version of vampires. They were fun at first but once the novelty wore off, I grew tired of having to rush to get my Sim back into their coffin before the sun came up, lest they burn up and die. In Late Night, Sim vampires donít like the sun but it wonít kill them right away and being up and about in the daytime is fine.

I had Gemma befriend a vampire that she met at one of the bars. She requested to be turned and the woman obliged. Becoming friends with her was really all it took to get the vampire to bite Gemma. She itched for a day or so afterward and then, when she was taking time to practice her charisma skill in the mirror, she stopped and transformed into a vampire. Her skin-tone changed slightly, she grew fangs and had a mark on her neck.




I changed her hair color in the second photo as I thought she needed a new look to go with her new nature.

Remembering what a drag it was to be a vampire in Sims 2, I thought Iíd play around with this feature for a Sim-day or so, then send Gemma to the Science facility to purchase the antidote, however I ended up leaving her as a vampire. Itís really not so difficult to play her that way. She stays out of the sun, though going into the sun for a few hours is fine. Food does nothing for her. Iíve watched her wander into the kitchen and grab a plate of whateverís on the counter but when she eats it, it doesnít satisfy her at all. She has to drink from other Sims (ones sheís friends with or they wonít let her), or she can drink plasma juice from the fridge or purchase plasma fruit from the grocery story (this can also be grown if the Sim has a high enough gardening skill). There are also food trucks that sell it (as well as actual, edible food for regular Sims), and the bars sell plasma-filled drinks too, so thereís really no shortage of places she can eat.

Drinking from another Sim in public is a no-no, even if the Sim consents. As a celebrity, bad behavior like that will get a Sim treated like a social outcast for a few days (no one will come visit and some people will be actively afraid of them). That wears off eventually, as does the negative moodlet that comes with it.

Vampires get the option to turn other people, drink from people and ďhunt,Ē which briefly creates a sort of heat-sensor look to the living Sims so the vampire can determine whoís alive on the lot. You can pretty much spot the vampires even without that though as their eyes are weird colors (almost glowy) and their skin has a sort of palid hue to it.



Vampires can have babies. Gemma and her husband non-vampire husband Eric had a baby boy who was born human but had vampire skin and eyes. He ate normally and didnít have the option to ďdrink.Ē This applied all the way through his teen years. When he aged up to Young Adult, a red flurry of bats surrounded him and he got his fangs and vampire abilities, so vampires do pass along the gene to their children but there are no children or teen vampires.

Vampires zoom around when they run, which is actually pretty funny to watch.



I also noted that vampires donít appear to be able to ďdrinkĒ from their family members. Gemmaís son Derek couldnít drink from his father, who is human but he could drink from the butler.

Butler

The butler situation is awesome. When Gemma and Eric moved into a house, they hired a Butler, which costs them a hefty 1200/week. She lives in the house, so she has her own bedroom, however sheís not a playable member of the family. Gemma befriended her, and went to her for advice and massages. The butler also automatically cleaned up, cooked randomly and repaired the clogged toilet (without being asked!).

Glitches

I came across a couple of things that didnít work right for me. I noticed that thereís some clustering going on at the elevators, which often makes it take forever for the Sims to leave a lot. The elevators are a great addition to the game and move extremely quickly when the Sim gets on them but sometimes thatís an issue. This happens the most at closing time at the bars and clubs. All of the Sims rush for the elevators and then get in each othersí way (or mash together as shown in the photo above).

I also had an issue with Gemmaís job. Sheís nearly at level 10 of the film career and has been receiving off-site job opportunities, however when she goes to do them, her performance meter no longer increases even though sheís on the job. So itís basically a waste of time in terms of career advancement. She also had an issue with actually going to work as the action kept disappearing for no apparent reason (I would send her to work, the icon would appear at the top of the screen and then disappear right away). I couldnít get her to go into the backlot location. I ended up using the Shift-mailbox cheat code to reset her job and that seemed to fix it (though it reset the performance meter).

I donít have any mods or custom content installed, so Iím guessing these are just some kinks that may be affecting some games.
Final Thoughts

I think Late Night may be the best Sims 3 expansion pack yet in terms of refreshing the game and building on to what already makes The Sims so great. For people who are looking for a new way to play the game, much like how World Adventures was with the added puzzles and adventures, you wonít find it here but I donít consider that a shortcoming of the EP.

The celebrity aspect is the biggest game-changer here and it really only gives your Sims a little more incentive to leave the house (especially if they have so much money that they usually prefer stay home and play with all of their stuff as opposed to going out and meeting people). However, unlike Ambitions and World Adventures, which are very hands-on in terms of what they add to the game, I think Late Night meshes more with the original style of playing. Late Night enhances the base game with new ways for Sims to socialize and spend their free time, which will make your game feel new again without feeling all that different in terms of the way you play it.

Late Night gives us new and interesting ways to let our Sims improve their quality of life. The added objects, hairstyles, and outfits, which are plentiful, can be seen in a bit more detail in the photos in the gallery below.
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