I'm currently on vacation. (from work, anyways) While hanging out with some friends yesterday and eventually crashing at the house of one, I noticed they had Sims 4 on their computer. Turns out they had Pets, something I'd never played and don't own. Friend had to go to work and offered that I could play it if I wanted to see what it was like, just be sure to lock the door on the way out. Something about it sounded so ridiculous to me, but I decided to give it a try.
I have to say I'm pretty cynical and have low expectations regarding the Sims 4, so it's not exactly like I went in with high hopes. It was really more of something I played as a joke, expecting that it would just confirm for me that I was happy I didn't buy it. I definitely got that, but the EP somehow managed to disappoint me even further than I expected. For that reason, I have to rant a bit. Here's my experience with the game after playing it for maybe 3-4 hours. Yes yes, I can already hear people saying "HA THAT'S NOT LONG ENOUGH TO FORM A CONCLUSION," but oh man sadly I think it is enough in this case, and that has everything to do with how little there is to see. Only thing I didn't get to explore was the Vet career, but I'll briefly touch on that a bit too.
First, Create-A-Pet seems insanely overrated to me. I was shocked at how few customization options there are. Making a pet felt like a six-step process:
-Pick a breed
-Pick a tail
-Pick a coat
-Pick the ears
-Pick the eyes
I feel like I now understand exactly why the colorwheel was so heavily advertised in the previews: because it's the only part of Create-a-Pet that actually feels fleshed out and finished. Breeds feel finished too, but those are just presets, and of course people wanna customize their pet. When it came to customizing noses, ears, face or eyes, there wwas probably an average of 5-6 presets to choose from (sometimes more, sometimes 2), and attempting to edit the pet's face like you would with a Sim just led me to the realization that the results I got were either hardly noticeable or just ridiculous looking. I could make my dog have abnormally huge ears for example, but it just looked dumb and unrealistic. I could drag....something....on their forehead, but I failed to see how it would even be noticeable or worth editing. To me, this meant that you were basically "stuck" with the presets and that was that. I even found breeds where I felt their brand of nose or ears wasn't even really properly represented by the nose presets.
I found myself staring at a stereotypical Golden Retriever, being bored and annoyed by how bland and ordinary it was because NONE of the preset alternatives were appealing and just made the dog look ridiculous. (or completely different, AKA a face preset of another breed) That's when the colorwheel jumped in to allow me to at least slightly play around with the color of it's fur to give it a more unique appeal. There was also a bunch of pet clothing that looked like something any of my pets would've ripped off in seconds and that I had no desire to use, and something really bothered me about realizing cats have more clothing options than tail options, or that dogs have more clothing options than collar options. It really sunk in that the design of Pets absolutely prioritized the absurd and gimmicky over the realistic or the attention-to-detail.
The big thing to realize here is that Pets are never going to get new CAS assets ever again. The two types of tails cats have are all they'll ever have. The six noses or whatever that dogs had is all that's on offer. And the ability to manually edit your dog's forehead or pupil size is not going to get any better than what's already on offer, which isn't much at all. As I said, any manual edits either felt absolutely comically ridiculous to look at, or so minor I had to ask why I was bothering. I may be mistaken here, but I could not figure out how to enlarge a Pet's pupils. What I could do was move the pupils to make them cross-eyed. As I said: the absurd got priority over the realistic, and I'm not a fan of it.
Yes, people have posted some unique looking pets before. My problem with this system is that I would argue if you removed the coat of paint from the pets that people post, you'd likely find the pet underneath all the paint is 95% similar every time. As an analogy, imagine going to an auto show and then realizing that instead of seeing a large variety of cars, you're actually just seeing the same Ford car over and over with a new coat of paint on it each time. That's what Create-a-Pet feels like. The breed mattered in making the pet different and the paintjob mattered. Anyone desiring to make your dog have unique looking eyes or ears, don't bother...unless you think having ears the size of a melon qualifies as "unique" rather than "ridiculous."
Next the gameplay itself and my attempt at playing the Aspiration. I decided that with such short amount of time, I should just follow the EP's aspiration to use as a sort of guide to the EP. I made a guy, one dog and one cat. However, I quickly ran into a problem regarding the aspiration and raising pets in general. One of the aspiration steps was to "train out 2 misbehaviours," and this made me realize it's impossible to train pets with positive reinforcement. The game itself will tell you to "WAIT UNTIL THEY DO A THING LOL, THEN PUNISH THEM." Problem is, I gave my dog and cat good traits. I made the Dog smart and loyal, I made the cat affectionate and curious. In my entire playthrough, the dog didn't misbehave once. The cat scratched some furniture and that was pretty much it. Cat peed on the floor once too since it didn't like the placement of the litter box for some reason, but that was it. Immediately my plan to follow the aspiration was dead, and it made me realize how dull and boring that aspiration is when a step of it is effectively "wait for something to happen lol," and also how poor of a design choice it was to not allow training via positive reinforcement. Had I had the ability to praise my dog when it went outside, I wouldn't've run into this problem. I have no idea why they actively removed such a feature from past games, but I definitely noticed.
After that, I attempted to try following the Pet training skill. This went better, but I immediately noticed a problem: I was spending all my time with the dog and none with the cat. This may be realistic, but it had me wondering why on earth I had the cat. What on earth do cats even offer, gameplay-wise? What can they do that dogs can't? The most I could tell, there may be a collection exclusive to cat-owners, but that's it. The dog can be trained and learn tricks, the cat cannot. I spent my time training the dog while my cat laid around doing nothing. Realistic simulation? Perhaps. Boring as all heck? Yep. I think that sums up a huge problem with this EP in that a lot of the most bland features feel like they were left as-is "because it's realistic." Yes, but this is a game. I'm here to have fun, not see a mirror-image of my cat that I see every day. In real life if I have a cat, I love my cat and it makes me happy because that's a living thing and I have a friendship with it. In the game...? I wanted to sell the cat because it seemed to be in heat and wouldn't stop meowing 24/7. It also kept coming to my Sim to complain it needed a litter box while we were at the park. What the heck man, we're at the park. Go where ever you want and stop obsessing over my sim because there's no litter box here. It did nothing but be obnoxious while offering no gameplay whatsoever.
In the 3 hours or so that I played the game, I was able to train my dog to do every single trick on the list and max the pet training skill. Being able to do something like that in less than three hours...? That's gotta be a record in terms of how small this skill is. This is all busy work too; it's not like the skill had something to offer me or like I had a goal to work towards. No, I was training the dog because I had absolutely nothing else better to do. This was the only way I could interact with the pets in some meaningful way with a "long-term" goal, and once it was done, I had absolutely nothing to do.
When I maxed the Pet Training skill, I decided to run the obstacle course to see if I could unlock something like maybe a furniture object for completing it. My dog ran the course and got a perfect score, and in typical Sims 4 fashion, I got the most mundane, dull, disappointing reward I could imagine: a happy moodlet.
Speaking of moodlets, this is a bit of a tangent, but I do wanna rant about how their own whims and emotions systems seem to be breaking right under their feet. My Sim was constantly Very Happy because simply interacting with a cat or dog respectively gave a moodlet for each one. I played with the cat using a laser pointer a grand total of once, then never did so again. Why? It gave a playful moodlet, and when I went to count, my Sim had a combined playful score of +13 thanks to all the happy moodlets. Playful seems to becoming a serious threat of death just because the Sims team can't stop spamming happy moodlets. I also got the impression my friend had basically all the packs, because during my gameplay, I didn't get ONE whim that seemed associated with my Sim's personality at all. I got plenty asking me to buy a dishwasher, try out earbuds, buy a washer or to go outside, but amidst all those whims screaming "LOOK CONSUMER, YOU HAVE NEW CONTENT AVAILABLE! GO TOUCH IT!" it completely drowned out what little personality my Sim had left. I've long complained that I feel both moodlets and whims are only gonna get worse with time, but honestly I can't remember the last time I played at home and the last pack I purchased was Parenthood. The last time I complained about these issues was last year and several packs ago! Briefly returning to the game and seeing it bogged down with ALL the packs just looked horrifying. I feel like the pack spam is actually starting to harm the experience, precisely because the Sims team cannot calm down and provide new content without attaching an overzealous whim to it, and whenever it comes time to get creative and think up a reward....?
"Hay what if we gave them a happy moodlet"
"o wow great idea u should be CEO or something"
Seriously, for the love of God, just put an embargo on those and never make another happy moodlet again. Eventually you guys are gonna have a wave of complaints of people losing their Sims to death by Hysteria, and it's all because you absolutely refuse to acknowledge the flaws of the moodlets system.
And as another aside note of pack spam? I think we're all familiar with the ridiculous cultural names that end up spammed to oblivion from City Living by now. Load up any Let's Play and you'll see blonde guys named Akira while talking to pale white dudes names "Abdhul." If I'm seeing dogs named "Alkhari Muhummad" or "Shinji Abe," there's a problem. It was funny for me since I was just briefly playing the game and didn't pay for this, but I also find it insulting they have so little care for the game or attention to detail that the name spam is that bad and even randomly generated dogs seemed to get hit by it. I would've thought the names would've been fixed by now. Little things like that, for me, are deal breakers, because I view those as great representations of how much the developers actually care. Playing Pets (and a game with a lot of packs I don't have) for the first time and seeing a dog named "Muhammad Ali" may be comical, but when I know it's because your strategy for making "cultural sims" is to feed the name generator nothing but arabic and japanese names, then no, I'm not exactly going to take the dev team seriously when they leave that in so long and to the point it's naming dogs those names. If they cannot be bothered to improve that name generator, why should I have any faith they can be bothered to make quality content...?
Throughout all of my attempts to play, it became apparent that something was off about these Pets. Pets has never been a favorite of mine, but one thing I'll hand to it is that pets add to the immersion of the world and make the world seem a little bit more realistic. After all, I can look out my window right now and see people walking their dogs or a cat in someone's window, so I kinda wanna see that in game too.
...These pets didn't fulfill that demand.
I'm not sure if it's the AI, the neighborhood programming, the lack of open-world or all of the above, but the Pets didn't feel like they made the world feel more alive. I basically didn't see Pets outside of Brindleton Bay, and I never saw a Pet casually roaming a neighborhood. It almost felt like those lot traits to attract pets were a requirement to see them. The problem this has is that pets are basically "out of sight, out of mind" and my game feels no more immersive because all pets are hidden away the moment I go to Windenburg or Oasis Springs. If they were walking the streets like Sims in Brindleton Bay, I didn't see it. This means either they just make a run from Point A to Point B much like Sims do to try and give the illusion of a busy neighborhood, or they don't walk the streets at all. Would've been nice to see them lounging around the neighborhoods. Should also mention I had an exceedingly difficult time interacting with strays. Anyone who's played in Forgotten Hollow knows Sims there have a bad habit of walking aaaaaaaaaaall the way to the exit before they react to your interaction. Strays felt like they did the same, except a thousand times worse. If I wanted to hug someone in Forgotten Hollow, I learned to queue up a hug, cancel it, THEN queue up another. That forced the sim to stop and wait for me. This method doesn't work with strays, and I have no idea what determines when a stray will stop to let me pet it and when they'll just keep doing whatever they're doing, but it made befriending animals a pain. Lots of standing around waiting to see if they accept an interaction or not.
It also feels like Sims don't really acknowledge Pets. Heck, Pets don't really acknowledge Pets. I felt like the only A.I. that Pets have is to try and resolve their needs. If the need requires the help of a Sim, they'll beg your sim. If it doesn't, they do it themselves. The only exceptions were my pets seemed obsessed with fighting some squirrel at the park, but that was it. There's just something very....off. I got the full impression that if I let the game play itself, my Sims would never interact with my pets and my pets would never interact with others unless they needed to to request food or the like. The only interaction I saw NPCs ever do is to greet or pet my dog. Never the cat, and never anything other than a pet. Not fetch, not talking to them, not anything. Just a pat on the head and then walk away. My pets didn't interact much with each other either. They played chase the first day, but then it suddenly just stopped. Something just felt very unpolished there and like the pets weren't "actually" a part of the world because nothing would ever acknowledge them. Very strange, and very disappointing.
The best comparison I can make in terms of A.I. is plumbots. I hated the plumbots in Sims 3 because their A.I. was terrible. If you left them on their own, they basically only wanted to sit around playing video games or filling their fun meter. Pets seem reminiscent of this in that the interactions they'll perform on their own are pretty bare minimum, predictable and really "soulless." People might argue they have personality, but I'd disagree. My dog was loyal for example and would hover around my sim. That's great and all, but that was his one trick attached to his trait. If each trait has only one activity attached to it, that's not good. That's very predictable, dull and soulless. It doesn't change how my dog interacts with people (aka not at all), it only changes that every two in-game hours or so (yes it feels that robotic and like he's on a timer) he drops what he's doing to come follow my Sim around. The only thing making these pets better than plumbots is that they don't run around breaking your electronics. It's still really strange to try and put into words, because the interactions are definitely there. It's just...perhaps there's so few and they trigger so rarely that Pets just hardly feel like they're a part of the world.
Brindleton Bay was expectedly tiny. Not much to say about this beyond that I don't see the appeal of the town. It seemed really bland to me like a Willow Creek 2.0, and it's quickly noticeable that there's really no motivation to visit Brindleton Bay at all. Other towns have places to go and things to do. Brindleton Bay has a dog park, and even that just serves as a reminder that Willow Creek and Oasis Springs have parks so large they count as a neighborhood. Brindleton Bay only really has that dog park, and that's not exactly the most exciting lot ever. If you don't have pets or desire to interact with them, you have no motivation to visit Brindleton Bay.
Finally, I decided to glimpse at the Vet career. I needed to leave at this point so I didn't have time to play the Vet career, but I did have time to go check the vending machines for pet treats. I was thinking "surely the vet career has all the things to do" since I'd struggled to find anything to do with the pack. I looked at the vending machine to count the treats, and two things jumped out at me. The first was that making a pet immortal is as easy as spending $150 every 30 days or so, the second was that there only seemed to be like five other treats that didn't involve aging. Five treats...? To me, I just couldn't see how the Vet career could be at all interesting if the sole reward is that you unlock a new treat recipe every second level, and all of those treats were available for insanely cheap prices. At that point I was ready to shut the game off in the belief I'd seen everything, but in disbelief of how little it was.
If you had asked me three months ago what I expected of this EP, I probably would've said it was likely a 4 out of 10, and at least better than City Living.
Now...? I actually think this might be worse. It felt like a 2 out of 10, and I feel like to City Living's credit, it has a new skill and three careers, even if they're not the most exciting skills or careers. Both are terrible, but at least with City Living I won't complete the new career in 3 hours. Within 3 hours, I feel I saw every pet social interaction in the game. I can buy Indie games for $5 that offer 10 times the playtime of this $40 EP. I was very critical of this pack because of all the features it lost: Pet careers, Pet skills, Pet competitions, Small Pets, Horses, Doghouses, etc. Now having played it...?
It honestly feels unfinished. I honestly can't help but feel this expansion was made solely because it would've been a scandal if Sims 4 lacked Pets. It would've been seen as undeniable evidence this game is not as good as it's predecessors. It feels like that was enough motivation to get them to make it, but not enough motivation to make them finish it. The Create-a-Pet assets seem to be limited by breed and color wheel: pick a breed that is basically the entire preset, then color it to make it feel unique despite using the same breed preset. (or mix breed assets and grab a pug's squished face combined with a pincher's pointed nose and just pretend it doesn't look dumb) Gameplay just honestly doesn't feel there; it feels like they were content to make the argument "ya pets are useless and just lay about in real life so look we did a great job simulating them, they're boring on purpose!" And perhaps worst and most surprising, it feels like they have the most bare minimum A.I. available. It feels like their A.I. is composed of resolving their needs, begging sims, and occassionally being pet or chasing another pet. They don't even manage to add to immersion either since you'll probably only ever see them at homes, or in a handful of specific lots of one specific neighborhood. It really just felt like they shipped this out to silence any potential argument that "Sims 4 isn't as good because it lacks pets." Now it has Pets, but wow, I really don't get the sense at all that they even cared about this product.
On that note, I'll just say....why should we continue to care about this game if the developers don't? You want me to care about a game, you show me you care about it so I'll have faith in it as a product. Stardew Valley was made by one guy with a love of Harvest Moon and a lot of passion. Fast forward to today, it's the most sold indie title on the Nintendo Switch, even beating out Minecraft, and the creator is a millionaire. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild actually saw the dev team taking extra years just to dedicate time to things like perfecting the physics engine, actively investing so much into the game that it required they sell a ridiculous amount of copies to turn a profit. It won Game of the Year for 2017 and had a 102% packaged rate with the Switch. (aka the game sold better than the console it's played on, which is unbelievable)
People notice passion products, and people buy them and play them because those are the most fun to play. Those devs showed they cared about their product, loved making it, and were willing to dedicate the time, care and/or the money to make a great product. Sims 4...? It just repeatedly sends the impression the only thing the team is passionate about is making money, so I would not be surprised if people start jumping ship to other games if this continues. I'm pretty sure the only reason I'm still around is my utter fascination with how willing they are to neglect such an iconic and profitable franchise, but playing Cats and Dogs was a wake-up call that things actually seem worse than I thought, which is impressive given that I'm already a cynic here...
"Who are you, that do not know your history?"
I feel like the pet gameplay feels really empty. In the sims 3 (sorry to compare) I felt like my sims had much more of a connection with their pets especially dogs: like playing tug of war and having your dog jump up on the bed, I just feel like there was more content than 1 reskinned ball and walking the dog. I actually prefer cats in the sims 4 because I feel like they interact with the environment more whereas dogs just lie there. I also hate how often my pets seem to get sick but maybe I’m a bad owner lol.
I can’t really comment on create a pet because I’ve adopted 90% of the time and I’ve never missed the colour wheel but that’s me.
I really, really agree with you about the whims to buy new stuff taking over. If I cancel the whim to buy a new pet ball 5 times, PLEASE assume that I do not want my sim to buy yet another of the exact same ball.
The vet career I have played with and honestly after a week it felt empty to me and for some reason I was making far more simbucks if I opened the vet when I wasn’t there. I didn’t get bored of my bakery this fast but I’ve not tried running a restraint so I’m not sure if it’s the vet clinic itself or maybe the business aspect that might bore me..
Overall I find pets to feel really empty which is the opposite I would expect from the pets pack which should be wholesome and feel like a pancake in my heart.
I just finished a challenge that involved the vet career, and while I thought it was insanely difficult to get to a 5-star rating, I enjoyed the experience.
But I would have bought this EP just for the build/buy items alone.
I have a household with 4 toddlers right now and all they do when it comes to interacting with the dog is imitate the dog, which doesn't directly involve the dog. You'd think at least one of the toddlers would want to pet or play with the dog, but NOPE. The adults occasionally talk to the dog while having dinner but I've never seen them go pet the dog unless the dog initiated it... and most of the time the dog just stands there whining in front of them because he wants a walk, but won't actually interact with the sims either.
So frustrating. If it wasn't for that, I would probably enjoy the pack, but as someone who likes letting some of my Sims run free, it's really annoying that I still have to force them to interact with their pet! And don't get me started about all the annoying whims that keep popping up (and 10 pts for a whim to take the dog for a walk when it takes so long to do is a joke).
About misbehaviors though, the dogs I get always end up drinking from puddles, knocking off trash and rolling in them, eating the food I put on the floor for my toddlers... there's plenty to choose from... I guess you got lucky.
I'm impressed you managed four hours in one sitting. My first play through I played 2 hours and was left feeling "is that it?" I went back to it after but it feels unfinished, it feels like a game pack. As a reviewer said if it was a 20 dollar game pack you could accept it but its not.
I completely agree about CAP. Its not "all that" and being able to colour your pets isn't new. Don't get me started on those darn pet costumes. As a dog breeder that just makes me angry but that's another topic.
Pets not interacting with each other or their owners is quite common. I made a thread on it I think because I was that shocked. I was and still am shocked that sims are so...cold towards their pets. What I mean is in the sims 2 and 3 sims get wishes to interact with their pet personally. I.e "stroke fide" "rub fidos tummy" "be best friends with fide" "be master of fido" "take fido on walk" etc
Now in the sims 4 a typical day consists of clicking away :
"Use cat wand"
Buy pet toy
Buy toy crate
Use cat wand
Buy cat wand
Buy pet bed (because they have sooo much choice!)
Make pet food
Buy dog ball
Go on dog walk
Use cat wand
Buy pet toy
Repeat ad naueseum.
The sad thing is none of it is personal to the pet. It's all generic and the same list stuck on a loop like a broken record. My "evil" active and outgoing single sim who has a mischief aspiration is getting spammed with requests to buy cat items despite not owning a cat.
The training system I was disappointed by. Again what happened to praising or scolding the undesired behaviour as and when it occurs? Why can't I praise my dog for going outside to potty? I would in real life. Training though is pretty redundant in game. Puppies and dogs are ridiculously unrealistic and don't have typical naughty dog behaviours found in previous games and in the real world. Fears and quirks are just annoying as they all seem to be the same. My dogs were obsessed with the fridge and oven and were scared of baths or the tv. My cats obsessed with jumping on counters and scared of the pc. Can you use this training skill to help the pet? No. Missed opportunity. In short these pets are just four legged squatters that are more for the benefit of the player than the sim. The sims don't care if they are there or not.
While I agree its weird you don't see pets in other worlds you do in public spaces if a sim has a pet arrives. I've seen cats in libraries, dogs in night clubs and bars but none oddly at a park.
I didn't keep my sims in Brindleton bay because the constant strays bothered me. I know its meant to be a rural town but all ill say is Brindleton Bay clearly needs an animal shelter. I didn't get human walkbys but I got daily stray walk bys.
I agree with the whim spam overkill. I only noticed it when I got my niece the game for console. There are many whims popping up I rarely see. I don't think its because her sims are so unique or the console is a superior port (it isn't, its just the sims 4 bugs and all) but makes me wonder if its because the game is getting bogged down by stuff that's causing it?
And I actually agree, for me cats and dogs is the worst expansion to date.
That all being said, I didn't expect it to be really exciting - and it's not really exciting (past the initial whee, look how cute they are - and they are very cute). Even Sims 3, with all the different animals, even with the horses etc. that didn't make the game exciting. I thought the horses in Sims 3 were extremely well done but I got bored with them after a short while.
However, I think my expectations are different from other people; for me it's about expanding gameplay in more subtle and immersive ways. It's also about time management. Pets make life harder for Sims. Especially the dogs, who demand to be walked nearly every day (kinda realistic there). It's more of an overall additive effect. And yes, this makes it expensive and probably not worth it to a lot of people. Still worth it to me, though. And strange but true I am enjoying Laundry Day as much as many other packs.
Sim Stuff by Pegasys
They're all only exciting on the first glance. Boring after you figure out everything in game. They're all super repetitive and dull.
Get To Work, Get Together, Vampire, City Living, Cats and Dog, etc etc. They are all the same. We probably need something like "Quest" or "Stories" to make it less repetitive. Not the kind of pop-up that you get from your kid though. That's boring, we don't even know what happen next.
In some ways Pets can get in the way and too much Pet involvement can be a problem too, so it's not as simple as "pet interaction good, no pet interaction bad." In Sims 3 I remember my annoyances were that Pets took ages to moonwalk into position for some social interactions, and Pets also had a nasty habit of canceling your Sim's queue'd actions just by being in their path and making the Sim think something was inaccessible by moonwalking back and forth.
Still, Sims 3 Pets never felt incomplete. It was clear they struggled to program the pathing for the Pets, but they had things to do. As I said with Sims 4 I couldn't quite put my finger on if it was a lack of social interactions, a lack of AI demanding interactions, the world design, a lack of A.I. changing how they act within the world when they do show up, or some combination of all of that....
All I know is that the Sims 4 Pet gave me the same vibe I sometimes get when I install a mod for a game like Fallout or Elder Scrolls: modded quests, factions etc will inevitably feel "out of place" because the mod author cannot make base game NPCs acknowledge the existence of their mod. If they add a new faction for example then it'll feel really disjointed that - outside of the faction - no one acknowledges their existence. Pets gave me a similar vibe because the interactions I saw with them just felt so barebones that I wasn't convinced they programmed in any A.I. pertaining to doing certain socials with Pets.
They had laundry, but I didn't touch it. I didn't wanna play the game all day and the only thing that kept me going was the challenge I gave myself of finding something to do. With laundry I had no hopes it'd have anything to do so I just didn't bother. Bought a washer/dryer to silence the whims (didn't work, new whim to wash clothes) and that was it. As an aside laundry also made me realize how little the Stuff packs offer. I mean I'm not exactly buying a truckload of stuffpacks here, but I filtered the catalog for laundry and realized it only had two-and-a-half rows of stuff or something like that. I wondered if this was normal and started filtering some more, and it seems that this is normal. I'd say the majority only had one and a half rows of furniture. I'll have to double-check, but I get the vibe that past stuff packs from Sims 2 and 3 offered more stuff, it's just the Sims 4 tries to give the impression it offers more because it always includes a gameplay object.
As I said, for me it was just the fact that within 30 minutes of getting into game, I had to keep an eye on my moodlets because playing with the laser pointer fed me a Playful moodlet, and when I counted up my playfulness total it was +13, all thanks to 12 happy moodlets. Off the top of my head I think I had like +2-4 for simply interacting with a dog and cat respectively, +2-3 for being outdoors, +2-3 for making a new friend, and then I have no idea what the others were. I know that if my household happened to have a great chef and my Sim had just eaten, that would've been death....or if he had family close by with good family relationships, or or or.....
They're going to have to disable hysteria as a death entirely or raise it's requirements. The problem is they're going to have to raise the severity of ALL moodlets or they'll just lose significance. I was impressed with vampires because that Eternally Sad weakness for example understood it needed to be significant to even be noticeable. It gave a +3 Sadness debuff and the Day Phobia was like a +3 tense as well. Back then, these were a big deal. Now...? I feel like if I played my vampires with all packs installed, those once-significant moodlets would now barely be noticeable. They also can't raise the frequency of embarassed or angry moodlets because they attached deaths to those. They've somehow managed to create a system where moodlets are susceptible to power creep, so now they have to go through and manually adjust the values to be balanced. If they'll actually bother to do that, that's the real mystery. I fully expect we won't see a change until there's a Hysteria-death epidemic and people's legacy founders keep dying, and even that will probably just be them either raising the requirements for Hysteria specifically or disabling the death altogether.
I explicitly remember my first few playthroughs of Sims 3. I bought the base game, hated it, and didn't return to the game until all expansions released. At that point, thanks to boredom and finding the entire game ridiculously cheap on some obscure Dutch website, I gave it another shot and was pleasantly surprised to find the expansions remedied the problems I had with the base game.
My first playthrough I wanted to make some wealthy businessman/celebrity that went to University and lived in Bridgeport.
My second playthrough, I used Apaloosa Plains and made a family using a mother that rode horses and bred horses as her job. Her entire career was built around horses, and I had plenty to do. The Horses had two (or three?) seperate skills, the Sim had a skill, both had constant aspirations to win more competitions, the top-level competitions weren't easy, and there were long-term goals built into the skills of both the Sim and the horse that involved winning a certain amount of competitions or running so many km. There was absolutely plenty to do, and I even had the household room to fit in building a family while also breeding horses. Realistic or no, horses have easily been the most gameplay-intensive usage of pets in the entire franchise. That has nothing to do with horses themselves and everything to do with them fleshing out the competitions for them. Pets in 4 could've been the same if they bothered to motivate us to teach them tricks or the like, but they just didn't care.
Sims 2 took a bit more of a passive approach but still had success. The pets in Sims 2 were fond of laying about, but between laying about, they had careers that had the typical career demands that Sims face. Tricks were tied into the careers and took longer to learn, so teaching your pet to speak was a big deal since it meant a promotion. Teach them to speak, improve on their skills or whatever, maybe get some nice wish rolls by completing basic wishes involving befriending the pet, and then the Pets would stay out of your hair and act realistic the rest of the time. Were careers realistic? No. Did they give us something to do? Yes.
Sims 4 somehow managed to be neither. Pets may as well be glorified furniture because my Sims simply have no motivation to interact with them, and often don't do so unless told to. It's why I say it honestly feels like they released Pets solely to silence any Pet-related criticism of Sims 4. I can't help but wonder if they purposefully left Pets as being decent simulations with ZERO meaningful gameplay attached, because if they do that they can argue "ya well we thought you wanted a realistic simulation." It's either that, or the Sims team has actively forgotten what gameplay is. I've used this argument before, but shotguns in real life do not behave the way they do in video games. They're far more accurate. Despite this, game developers knowingly cling to the shotgun trope that they're only good at close range. Why? Because it makes for good gameplay. It adds weapon variety and balance. Sometimes good gameplay needs to take priority over realism, and that isn't happening with the Sims 4. Whether it's not happening because it's a convenient excuse to release half-hearted products or because they've truly forgotten what gameplay is, I've no idea, but the results are terrible all the same.
The Sims 3 Pets for console is the only game where Pets can actually mean something. Because they built a system for them where Pets can complete (interesting) Opportunities, have jobs working as a Police Dog, or at the Hospital etc. Cats can also participate in active careers (like the Ghost Hunter) and the Detective profession for Dogs.
All the PC EP’s basically add some cosmetic things but for the most part, they are built to be “awwwww it’s so cute” and not much more.
SimGuruGraham even said in an interview once that the console games included specialised gameplay for the console audience, and what that *really* means is “actual game based gameplay” not just “create and watch”.
It’s why I wasn’t fussed over Pets at all. I just wanted the world.
I do like that Pets aren’t controllable thought. It gives me some purpose to have them. I never played with Pets in TS3 PC, they felt useless and annoying.
I think one of my biggest complaints are the bushes that the canines seem to be totally obsessed with. I can't take either fox or dog to the park without them plowing into a bush getting sprayed by skunks or bit by squirrels. It's seriously annoying. I even had to remove the party bush I had in the backyard for my Sims because that's all the canine pets would do is go in that. Bathing a pet five times a day times two pets is NOT how I want my Sims to spend their day.
My pets also interact with each other quite often to the point of it being quite amusing. The cat will hiss, the kittens will hiss, the cat will lick the kittens, the kittens chase each other through the house, the fox plays with the kittens, the dog grooms the fox, the dog and fox chase each other through the house...etc etc etc....Again I'm not sure if that's because of traits I give them or what, but I haven't seen any of the pets acting oblivious to one another or even the owners. As I said, only one of my Sims doesn't seem to care for any of the pets around, but then again he is too busy reading as bookworm is a trait of his.
I have no complaints with the pack other than my dog really needs to stop whining all the dang time and the bushes issue I mentioned. Other than that I think it's cute and fun and if my boys want to get away from the pets, they just leave like they always used to. I just miss their party bush in the backyard pffft....
This isn't realistic, it is a stereotype.
I had concerns this pack would be developed on stereotypes in this manner, I am disappointed that my worries were justified.
If we are suppose to rule, we should at least be able to play with in the full scope of reality, which inclueds cats that are trained and trained well.
Pet jobs are also real things. Police/sniffer dogs exist. Rescue dogs are still widely used in mountains to find people who are in areas humans can't access. Life guard dogs have also been used before. Animal actors exist. Cats and dogs can be companion animals (used in old age homes/hospitals or other areas to help people's mental health). Guard dogs exist. Some places still use cats and dogs for Vermin control.
Pet careers are realistic and a great way to add gameplay/challenge centered on pets.
Having these tricks/skills carry over in the would also help. Ie you teach a cat to use the toilet and you no longer need a litter, teach a dog to fetch and you can use him to go get collectables/items for your sim.
Animals can be so much more than just laying around, and because when playing with Sims we don't get the emotional/physical benifts animals provide, finding these things for pets to do is very important for the game not to seem shallow.
From what I saw of the trailers, reviews and others comments I'm not surprised by what you encountered, it is why I didn't buy it, and now with the price hike I will never buy it. For what I need out of a game c&d bearly looked worth it for 20$.That price increase was the final straw for me with ts4.
On another point, I also have found the amount of actual stuff in ts4 stuff packs to be comedic. I never bought sp before, and still don't, but I do think if you are going to call something a stuff pack you ought to have lots of stuff. Enough stuff to build a house in the theme or add lots of variety in how you build a room type.ie kitchen stuff should have focused way more on adding a large variety of appliences/counters paints and tile to fit in and maybe some tables and chairs. What it actually provides furniture/build wise is sad Imo.
You'd think with their obsession over pop culture and memes, we would've gotten a career where our cat can be a conducter at a Japanese train station.
At least then they'd be fusing their love of wacky stuff with something that's actually a practical gameplay mechanic.
That's probably coming in a future pack
I quite like TS4, but I'll always say that TS4 is crippled by time and Maxis' inability to comprehend that their idea of time is not relational to TS3 time BECAUSE a ton of TS3 players were/are using RELATIVITY (http://nraas.wikispaces.com/Relativity)
So, exploring the scope of TS4 - Pets or not - is kind of limited by how many Sims you have and how much time you can spare to do things. It can boil down to be simply pointless to bother having a TS4 dog that takes 4 hours a day to walk when, in addition, showering, toileting and eating can take 2-3 hours for a Sim to complete, etc, etc.
They also could have had cat politics for all those cat mayors, and a cabinet position for a Chief Mouser.
Let us accept our cat overlords peacefully.
Well then here's the problem with today's gamers. They pay 40€ for an E X P A N S I O N P A C K and they buy it for the subtlety of gameplay. This folks is what's making EA release this trash. That should be expected in a SP not EP. I haven't bought Cats and Dogs yet because I don't want to. I love animals irl especially cats but I just don't feel compelled to buy this EP. It offers less than a half of what TS2 and TS3 Pets EP had. In fact I'm surprised that this EP recycled from GTW and Dine Out, and didn't really add anything new other than lousy animations, more useless traits, one skill and a huge surprising amount of decor items. It's just sad.
This and City Living have to be the worst EP's in the Sims's history.
I don't really care how many resources were put into this, the final result isn't reflective of that in the least.
"Game packs" are there to justify priority and what EA may or may not include or due to their poor budget, but making false perception that there's a technological difference that makes them distinguishable.
Apparently it took 3 years!