Ive been playing a lot recently, but losing the motivation to stick with any one family or sim or group of sims long term. The issue is, there's no such thing as the "perfect" sims game and it's because they all have issues which can't be circumvented (as far as I can tell). Most franchises take aspects of the prior games and improve on them. The Sims randomly takes things away, on the other hand, and each game has positives and negatives which makes choosing what to play difficult.
The Sims 2:
-can't visit a sim's friend's house without the use of mods. The mod that used to exist for this, as far as I know, isn't available to download anymore. This makes doing certain stories and scenarios hard. If I want two sims to know each other for story purposes, I either have to edit them in SimPE (a hassle) or pray that they happen to stumble upon each other in a community lot, usually flooded with townies.
-Occults just plainly suck, especially vampires, no pun intended.
**these next two are relevant now, but not upon the games release, so they may be an unfair judgement, but I'm basing this upon deciding which game to play now, in 2020**
-Skills and aspirations are fairly shallow compared to later installments but Freetime helped with this
-limited cas and build mode compared to later installments
The Sims 3
-No option to turn off aging for currently unplayed sims. Not great for rotational players. To top this off, story progression sucks, and sims spawn babies from thin air or just die without achieving anything.
-Ugly, ugly sims. Nothing you do makes them look nice. They're just uncanny, very hard to make unique and have really weird puffy facial features. Alpha CC only makes them worse imo.
-The Sims 3, whilst full of content, most just isn't applicable to daily life. I like every pack in TS3 except Island Paradise, which includes Into the Future, World Adventures, Showtime and Supernatural but they're all so niche and aimed at specific scenarios and playstyles, and in family play I tend to turn them off. Whereas no Freetime equivalent (ambitions/generations are closest), no open for business and no real holiday pack even though they're all much more normal day to day things? Weird choice, EA.
The Sims 4
-the absolute ton of features missing that were available in prior installments of the franchise
-lack of world customisation and small neighborhoods you can't even really do anything with
-boring kids with only the 4 base game aspirations and 4 base game skills and next to nothing to do 6 years on.
-speaking of 6 years on, still less content than the other games despite having a longer development cycle thus far.
-story progression still sucks by default. I made a child of mine marry Johnny Zest and I left the two of them with the played check OFF. Even with that, the two never did anything. They never had children or improved in their careers. They just slowly aged and died off. story progression is supposed to be something unique and interesting about The Sims 3 and 4 that's not in 2, but it doesn't function at all without mods. I just end up playing them myself rotational style now.
-most if not all of the systems feel shallow and worse than their predecessors, but emotions are the epitome of this.
-if you have Island Living or City Living installed, expect random white blonde townies with Asian, Polynesian or Middle Eastern names to flood your save!
If all of these issues were fixed in one sims game, it would be just about perfect. The Sims 4 has build mode down. Just wish it had everything else down.