reviews\ Sep 24, 2012 at 10:37 am

The Sims 3: Supernatural review


For as long as The Sims franchise has been around, it's amazing that EA hasn't run out of ideas for this game. From "Stuff Packs" to expansions, Sims players have had plenty to keep them busy over the years — particularly with The Sims 3, which has received countless add-ons since its launch.

The most recent is The Sims 3: Supernatural, a new expansion pack that introduces the all-new world of Moonlight Falls. Filled with peculiar objects and strange happenings, this mysterious town offers all sorts of spooky surprises ranging from supernatural beings to new skills and careers.

Inspired by the lush landscape of the Pacific Northwest, Moonlight Falls is clearly EA's take on Forks, Washington, the setting of Twilight. Moonlight Falls is an intriguing new town filled with gothic-style housing and all sorts of interesting creatures like fairies, vampires, witches and zombies.

If I had to sum up the Supernatural expansion in one word, it'd be "simplification." The main appeal is the ability to create supernatural beings from the start of the game. From the "Create a Sim" screen, you can now create and live as werewolves, fairies and witches from the very beginning of the game, rather than having to wait around for death or a magical transformation. This is particularly useful for those who prefer to play as vampires. Whereas in The Sims 3 Late Night, Sims could only transform into vampires by getting bitten, now you can just create one from the beginning.

Each supernatural being offers a unique gameplay experience which, harking back to the "simplification" of the game, lets you quickly perform mundane tasks depending on which being you create. Witches learn spells that simplify activities like cleaning the house or eating. Other supernatural beings, like the fairy for instance, are there for the enjoyment of pulling pranks on other Sims.

The Sims 3 Supernatural witch

If you're not into creating supernatural beings, The Sims 3: Supernatural does offer some alternative gameplay choices. You still have your obvious expansion stuff like new decorations, new clothes, new hairstyles and furniture.

The Sims 3: Supernatural is about more than just creating a magical Sim, however. It also adds a ton of traits and abilities that make The Sims 3 a more enjoyable experience. A new alchemy skill lets you experiment with locating hidden ingredients and mixing them together to create magical concoctions that have mysterious effects on Sims. Once again, some of the elixirs accelerate gameplay elements like career and relationship boosting and weight loss.

There's also a new fortune teller career. With this, you can choose one of two routs: a true mystic who can look into the future or, like most real life fortune tellers, a scam artist. I personally opt for the latter of the two, just because it's hilarious giving Sims bogus readings. The only downside to this career is that it's one of the old-school types where your Sim actually disappears from the world while at work. It's unfortunate that as far as The Sims has gone with in-depth professions in Ambitions, that fortune teller seems like a step backwards.

My least favorite of all the supernatural beings are zombies. These mindless creatures can do a number to your landscaping, and if you have spent a lot of time crafting a beautiful outdoor area, this can be incredibly frustrating. While I'm normally a fan of all things zombie-related, Supernatural makes them more a nuisance than enjoyable experience.

The Sims 3 Supernatural

The last thing I'll touch on is the overall state of The Sims 3 game itself. I've noticed, with the last few expansions, The Sims 3 is getting more and more demanding — from a technical standpoint. There's just so much going on now in the game that it's a lot for lower-end PCs to process.

Whereas The Sims used to be enjoyable for those on all types of PCs, it's almost at the point where you need a good amount of RAM just to get the game to function properly. Having tested the game on both low and high-end PCs, I have to warn you that you should save frequently. The game on the lower-end PC, which has 4GB of RAM, often suffered from game crashes and memory leaks.

While I personally enjoyed this expansion, traditional Sims fans may find themselves turned off by all of the supernatural elements. The Sims 3 has come a long way since the original "life simulator" it was meant to be, and for many, this jump to the supernatural realm can be seen as a negative. EA has created this expansion with a clear target audience in mind and, for that group, they will find this to be an enjoyable play. 


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