|Preview of The Sims 3 Pets - Our impressions|
|Friday, 16 September 2011 15:00|
The event was dedicated to The Sims 3 Pets for console and PC/Mac, so there was a producer for each platform: Ken Ogasawara for the console version and, as anticipated, Graham Nardone for the PC/Macone. We'd also like to thank them for being so nice and for making themselves available to all of our questions. It was definitely a great day!
We hope you'll like our article and are looking forward to play the game again in October!
The Sims 3 Pets consoleThe event started with a short preamble of Product Manager Fabio Cerutti who introduced Ken Ogasawara, producer on The Sims 3 Pets Console. Ogasawara showed us the game on XBOX360, introducing the story of poor Tiger Boy, who was incredibly sad for the death of his beloved Tiger Dog. Tiger Boy was in the graveyard with his other pets, which were trying to cheer him up.
The location led us to see a quick overview of the new Mystery feature, which is exclusive for the console version, and some of the new Karma Powers.
Tiger Cat, in fact, was trying to solve a mystery by catching the ghost of a Sim, so we had the chance to see a few new mystery quests in the Mystery Journal: The Pirate Treasure, The Dog Says For Summer, Just 9 lives to live (for cats only), Necessity is the mother of invention.
Also, we saw a few dog tricks while the cute white puppy of Tiger Boy was trying to relief him by playing around. Eventually, with the use of the Divine Intervention Karma Power, we brought Tiger Dog back to life and everyone lived happily ever after.
If you're into console and liked The Sims 3 for this platform, you'll love this new game (which is NOT an expansion for the base game but a standalone product, which basically includes all the features of The Sims 3 Console). There are also exclusive traits and 100+ breeds (but no horses).
You can find Giuseppe's review of The Sims 3 Pets Console here (Italian only).
The Sims 3 Pets for PC/MacRight after the brief demo of The Sims 3 Pets Console, producer Graham Nardone introduced us to the quiet and lovely venues of Appaloosa Plains. The game started with a pre-made households (but we don't know if it will be available in the final game as well) which was made up of three Sims (two adults and a little girl) and four pets: a cat, a dog, a horse and a unicorn!
The wife was trying to ride her horse, but she wasn't really experienced in riding so she jumped on the animal backwards! That was really fun to see!
Meanwhile, her husband was at the dog park with their cute Scooby Doo dog (we REALLY mean Scooby Doo, same breed, same look) and their girl was in the cat jungle with Garfield (her red-striped cat) and her green bird. Last but not least, their unicorn was wandering around on the hills.
This demo quickly introduced us to some of the new features, like the Collections, the interactions between Sims and pets, some of the new skills and stuff. Then, we were allowed to play the game ourselves, while producers were available to answers any eventual question.
Appaloosa PlainsAs you will see from the many screenshots we took, the town looks very peaceful and quiet. It has this country-western feeling that fits perfectly with horses, we wished we had more time to see all the households and explore every corner of the neighborhood! Graham Nardone told us that all the venues and rabbitholes were given a new look for this town, and in fact some of them look really good (the hospital for example is very nice).
The community lots and public places of Appaloosa Plains are pretty mainly grouped together, meaning that in one lot you can find more than a rabbithole. Here's a list of some of the new arrangement of the town.
The Sims 3 Pets brings in four new pets-related community places: the dog park, the cat jungle, the Equestrian Center and the training field.
The dog park is a very little lot, with grass, flowers and a cute bone-shaped pool, where dogs can jump in and swim. Graham tried to show us the "big dog splash", that is, when the animal jumps in the pool, splashes a lot of water around that can soak a Sim. We had a good dog, so no water ;)
The cat jungle, instead, is a big place with bushes, trees and many cat objects (cat condos and other feline-related stuff). These lots are not a prerogative of each animal type, meaning that dogs can go to the cat jungle and vice-versa. They would just find getting along with each other a bit harder than usual, but they'll be fine.
As for the Equestrian Center, it is a rabbithole and your Sims can go there to enter a competition, buy a horse or "offer" it as a stallion! The training field, instead, is a playable place where you can train with your horse, if you don't have enough room to place obstacles at home.
You can get an idea of what the neighborhood looks like by giving a look at our pictures of Appaloosa Plains!
PetsPets are the big deal of this EP and basically everything introduced is for and about them. And it totally worths it. In particular, horses look amazing and are really really well-done. They look very realistic.
Cats and dogs are cute too, but maybe we're a bit used to them (they somehow resemble the pets of The Sims 2) and we find their eyes a bit too cartoonish, maybe for the huge pupil. Also the fur looks a bit too fake. Nonetheless, there are so many customization options and breeds that you can really make the pet of your dream. Really, we can't even begin to explain how rich is the Create a Pet in Advanced mode.
But before that, let's explain the basics.
There are many ways you can adopt a pet, it just depends on the animal you want. As for cats and dogs, you cannot buy them. Yep, they're not on sale, nobody trades in pets in The Sims! What you can do, instead, is adopting a stray pet by creating a relationship with the animal and gaining its trust. It's a bit tougher than the other ways but it gives much more satisfaction!
You can still adopt a pet through your phone or computer, or you can simply go to the Map view and check if one of your neighbors has kitties or puppies to give. There's a new orange tag that shows in which lot you can find pets for adoption. Graham told us that you can also receive phone calls from people who have animals up for adoption and we guess there will be something similar on the newspaper as well.
As for horses, you can adopt a wild horse (in the same way of cats and dogs) or you can buy one at the Equestrian Center. Yes, you can purchase and sell a horse (making quite a lot of money). The more your horse is trained and has good traits, the more money you'll get from selling it. Also, if your horse has foals, they can have their genetics and skills passed down, so you can get your "horse farm" with great animals to sell.
Anyway, no matter what kind of pet you buy, there's a limit to the number of animals and Sims you can have in your household. The overall number of members per family has been increased from 8 to 10, with a maximum amount of 8 Sims or 6 pets. This means that as long as you stick with that limit, you can create a household with 8 Sims and 2 pets, 4 Sims and 6 pets, and so on.
Create a PetLast but not least, you can create a new pet in the Create a Sim! In the main view, the button to launch the Create a Sim (there is no Create a Pet officially, it's just a "players way" to call the screen where you can create an animal) now shows also a little dog, and when you enter the CAS you can choose which animal to create. Remember you can only make adult or elder pets there, no kitties or puppies or foals.
NOTE: If you make a new family with one or more pets, the difficulty level will be increased as well as the funds of the household.
And here's the great part. In the CAP (let's call it this way for the sake of clarity!) you can customize your pet in every detail, from the nose to the tail, from the ears to the different eye colors (and you can choose the color of the inner part, the outer part and so on. It's richer than the Create a Sim). The main tab allows you to choose a name and a surname for your animal, gender and age. There's a name generator which gives amusing combinations, we had a great time creating random names! And this works for Sims too!
Then you can choose the breed and the body shape from the pre-made options, traits and voice. The breeds we've seen aren't the final ones, but still there were 50+ of them for cats only! As for the body areas, there are tons of sliders from the head to the ears, from the paws to the tail.
Anyway, if you find this all is not enough (and we grant it's already a lot), you can enter the Advanced Mode (see pic above) and customize whatever you want. Literally.
The advanced options reminded us of the Create a Pattern tool, as there are layers, stickers and several sliders to choose from. For example, you can edit the mane of your pet as you prefer, say if you want to put a black spot on your cat's tail, you can choose the tail area, select the spot and drag 'n drop it on the part of the tail you prefer. It's really great, you can also choose the color, opacity and so on. We were really impressed.
There are also several mane styles, like stripes, dots, skeletons...! Here's a quick overview of the different styles we saw, but it can really take hours to create the pet of your dream. It's amazing!
And now the other big news of the game, pet traits! There are 30 of them, and some are exclusive of a pet type. Each pet can have up to 3 traits, but they can also lose some. Here below the full list!
Adventurous: Adventurous Pets are very curious and love to explore.
Aggressive: Aggressive pets aren't inherently mean, they usually just have a bad attitude when interacting with other pets. A bad attitude that usually leads to fights that is...
Agile: Agile horses are nimble, strong, and love to jump. They make awesome Show Jumping competitors but get bored if they don't stay active.
Brave: Brave horses have an extra helping of courage to help them deal with the chaos of sprinklers, fireworks, burglar alarms, and other terror-inducing everyday objects.
Clueless: Clueless pets tend to forget what they're doing and are easily distracted. They don't learn skills and traits too quickly, but they do get along well with Absent-Minded Sims.
Destructive: Whether destroying furniture or digging holes in the yard Destructive Pets are sure to cause chaos wherever they are!
Fast: Fast horses are the speed demons of the animal kingdom. They love to gallop and have a natural talent for racing, but they need plenty of exercise to stay satisfied.
Friendly: Gli animali amichevoli non solo vanno piÃ¹ d'accordo con gli altri animali, ma di solito hanno una relazione migliore con i loro Sim.
Genius: Genius pets are always thinking on their paws (or hooves). They learn skills and new traits quickly and get along well with other Genius pets and Sims.
Hates jumping: Some horses prefer to keep their hooves on the ground. When a horse hates jumping, it will refuse to jump more often and do worse at Show Jumping and Cross-Country competitions. It may even take its anger out on your shiny new jump training obstacles!
Hydrophobic: Hydrophobic dogs have a natural aversion for anything that relates to water. When in the water, they are definitely not happy.
Hunter: Pets with the Hunter trait are excellent at stalking and catching prey.
Hyper: Hyper pets are super active and never like staying in one place. They are able to build energy much more quickly and have a slower energy decay.
Independent: Independent pets not only prefer to be on their own, but have more fun when playing on their own rather than in big groups or other social situations.
Lazy: Lazy pets just love to lie down or stay in one place as they get tired easily.
Likes swimming: Contrary to popular belief, not all breeds of dogs like to swim. However, when given this trait, dogs just can't get enough satisfaction from taking a dip!
Loyal: A dog is a Sim's best friend" is a saying that certainly holds true! Loyal dogs love spending time and interacting with their Sims, and even seem to learn skills faster than other dogs.
Neat: Neat Pets are naturally clean and love to be bathed.
Nervous: Nervous horses see danger everywhere and can be startled by the most insignificant things. They tend to get along well with Neurotic Sims, who have the same problem.
Noisy: Noisy Pets are very vocal and provide a special accompaniment when Sims are playing instruments.
Non Destructive: Non-Destructive Pets are very gentle, and never destroy furniture or dig holes in the yard.
Obedient: Obedient horses are more willing to do what a Sim wants than other horses. They'll usually go along with a Sim's wishes, even if they don't know that Sim very well.
Ornery: Ornery horses are stubborn and don't deal well with Sims. They don't like to be approached by Sims they don't know - or even Sims they do know, for that matter.
Piggy: Piggy Pets are voracious eaters who donÃt mind munching garbage or drinking from the toilet.
Playful: Playful Pets always want to have fun and have a happy-go-lucky attitude.
Proud: Proud pets think they're better than others and make their own image a top priority; they can't stand having low hygiene.
Quiet: Quiet Pets do not make much noise.
Shy: Pets with the Shy trait prefer and are the happiest when around their Sim. Being around other pets and Sims make them a bit nervous.
Skittish: Skittish Pets have a nervous disposition and are easily startled.
Untrained: Untrained horses aren't accustomed to having saddles and Sims on their backs. They need to spend some time saddled and being ridden by a trusted Sim to accept any rider.
Pets also have lifetime rewards but NOT aspirations.
You can edit your pet's appearance anytime, by clicking on the proper option in your pet's menu. You cannot change traits or body shape, but you can refresh their styles and colors.
Last but not least, pets can die of old age only. They will have tombstones and you can see their ghosts at night. Let's take a closer look at each kind of animal!
HorsesHorses are the most awaited pets ever. Players have asked for them and finally here they are! As we said before, they look really good, and it's great to see them in the game. Of course, they're very big and when you click somewhere when using a horse, it may look a bit weird to see such a huge head :D
As many of you already know, pets' needs are different from Sims', and each pet has their own. Here's the list of horse needs:
You can train your horse at home, if you have enough room to place obstacles, or you can go to the training field and train with your animal. As they improve their skills, they can enter competitions and win money and trophies. These take place in the Equestrian Center, so you can't see them in action but will be notified the results. There are MANY competitions and shows you can enter, and many of them are named after a popular character of the game.
There's a lot of things you can do with your horse, you can even use it to go around the town instead of your car/bike. They can also befriend other pets, even cats or dogs. They're very sweet and can be easily startled, so be careful what you do and where you take them. They also suffer from being saddled for a lot of time and if their hooves are too dirty.
You can build a stall or a barn for your horses, if you have enough room in your lot, but it's not mandatory: horses only need their hitching posts where they can drink, eat and sleep (they sleep standing of course). The post is also used by horses to woohoo and have foals.
As for the feeding part, horses eat hay and vegetables, so you'll have to keep an eye on your garden, especially on carrots (which, for the record, are the new harvestable of the game). Horses also love licking salt! And keep an eye on the hay stacks in your yard, as dogs, cats and Sims love plaing with hay and breaking stacks!
DogsDogs are a Sim's best friends. They're loyal, sweet and playful and Sims love them. They're great companions and would do anything to make their owners happy. Dogs make friends with Sims much easier than cats, and their relationship is long-lasting.
Dogs have different needs from cats and horses and there are two sizes of dogs you can create:
As for the tricks, dogs can stand, sit, roll over, shake, talk and play dead. Sims can go to the stadium and enter a trick competition with their dogs.
Also, dogs are the only pets that can swim and they love doing that! They also love walking with their owners, and they just go insane when Sims take the leash out of their pocket (yes, when they go for a walk they have a leash).
As for pets items, there are some objects that are identical for dogs and cats. We saw a doghouse and a cathouse which look exactly the same, but dogs cannot enter into a cat's and vice-versa. It may be helpful to change the color of each pet house ;)
The same thing happens for bowls, they look the same but cat will not drink or eat from a dog's and so on.
Dogs can have puppies and you can put them up for adoption if you don't want to keep them. We know there are some interactions between toddler and puppies but we didn't tried them as there weren't toddlers in our household.
Moreover, dogs can have fleas. It's also quite easy to have them if you spend a lot of time outside! Pets cannot get sick but they can have itching everywhere!
CatsFinally cats! We love them, Graham loves them, Sims love them! They come in only one size, but are fully customizable as any other "major pet". Here you can see our SimsCri catwith purple stripes and different eye colors. So sweet!
And here there are their needs:
NOTE: If your cat is particulary hungry, he can eat his pray getting a positive moodlet "Tastes like chicken".
Cats are very sweet, we saw a kitty showing some love to her owner, it was SO cute! We were all like "AAAAAAWWWWW" (Graham included, of course). They can be very clean and neat, but they can also jump on the furniture or hide under sofas and tables. We'll definitely play with them a lot! Many items for cat recall The Sims 2's, but there's a new cat carrier we really liked! There's also a cute interaction between pets and Sims, where the owner uses a laser light and the kitty tries to catch it.
Cats can have kitties and of course, you can put them up for adoption.
Minor PetsTogether with cats, dogs and horses, The Sims 3 Pets also features minor pets, that you can adopt but cannot control. There are several kinds of minor pets: snakes, birds, lizards, turtles, fishes, rodents, available in several breeds (there are spawners for them in the buydebug). We didn't have enough time to play with them actually, but we did see you can keep your birds in your inventory when you go out, for example.
Some of them can also be kept in a terrarium, here's what they look like:
And also, there's a new ant farm your kids will probably love (we find the ant size a bit creepy but whatever!). You can also watch "ant in action" here.
There are also wild animals which you cannot adopt: deers and raccoons. You can interact with them but won't be able to add to your family. We didn't meet them though. Together with them there are also stray pets like cats, dogs and wild horses.
UnicornBeautiful, shining and magical: the unicorn is the new special creature of The Sims 3 Pets. It can be considered as a wild animal but despite raccoons and deers, you can adopt it and add it to your household.
We played with a family that already had a unicorn so we cannot actually explain how you can find one, but we guess it will be similar to any other wild pet.
Being a magical creature, the unicorn has superpowers (which can also be influenced by its traits) and when it walks, it is followed by some kind of stream of rainbows and twinkles. The horn of the animal changes its color depending on the animal's action: if it's starting a fire, it will be red. If it's blessing the flora, it will be green and so on.
Unicorns have the ability to: start/extinguish a fire, bless or curse a plant, bless or curse a Sim, teleport (even with a Sim on its back).
Their motives are the same of horses, but instead of the green bars, theirs are shining white. They can also have little ones, even with horses.
We had much fun with our unicorn as it started to act quite silly during the game: the garden was on fire and guess what? It started rolling over the ground! We also had the chance to see it peeing...pets are blurred out too!
What's New For SimsAlthough this expansion pack is mainly focussed on pets, there's something new for Sims too. First off, new clothing and hairstyles! You can have an overview of the new CAS contentbelow:
Spicy news: Sims can now woohoo in the hay sheaf! Watch our video below to get an idea of what it looks like (there is also a country woohoo music that we haven't been able to record).
TraitsAlso, 4 new traits were introduced to affect the relationship between Sims and animals:
Animal lover (incompatible with Cat Person, Dog Person, Equestrian): Sims with the Animal Lover trait love all members of the animal kingdom and have special benefits when interacting with Pets.
Cat Person (incompatible with Animal Lover): Sims with the Cat Person trait are happiest when they are surrounded by multitudes of felines.
Dog Person (incompatible with Animal Lover): Sims with the Dog Person trait have a an extra special relationship with their dogs.
Equestrian (incompatible with Animal Lover): Equestrian Sims love horses, and horses love them back! The mutual equine affection makes these Sims naturals at handling and training horses.
There is no "Hates animals" trait, as people at EA didn't want something bad to happen to pets.
Lifetime AspirationsThere are also new aspirations, obviously animal-related:
Lifetime RewardsThen the lifetime rewards (too bad we forgot to check their prices):
Misc.Sims have the new Riding ability, which helps them with equestrian competition, and there are no new careers for them. Also, only teenage or older Sims can ride a horse.
Last but not least, there are new kinds of music: country, r&b, songwriters.
And oh, before it's too late! The game's icon should look like this (we don't know if it's the definitive one, we took it from collections and buymode)!
Buy/Build ModeMany things were added to the Buy/Build Mode. First of all, the new Essential for Animalscategory (this is translated from Italian), where you can find all the items your four-legged friends need. There are bowls, carriers, toys and houses, all divided into tabs for each kind of pet. There are also new building items like barn doors and other stall-related objects.
Of course, we couldn't miss the Buydebug. Since there's a new folder for the pet stuff, the buydebug's is now placed outside the grid, on the top right of the folder area. There are many items like the Pet Hygienator, minor pets generators and much more. There are also the new gnomes, amd in add to magic gnomes there are also 3 gnomes that can help you keeping wild animals or unwanted pets away from your yard.
A couple of questions to Graham NardoneDuring the event we had the chance to ask a couple of questions to producer Graham Nardone about what he thinks of the game so far. We asked for his 3 favorite (and in his own opinion fundamental) things in an expansion pack, and he replied that his main focus is always to fulfill players' requests and bring new concepts for the game.
We also asked him what, in his opinion, is still missing in The Sims 3 and his answer was that he doesn't think there's really something missing, but they always look forward to see where they can take the game, what's already in and what they can add.
Pretty politically correct, but we definitely appreciate his taking some time to answers some "no gaming" questions :)
Pros and ConsPositive things:
Credits and acknowledgementsWe'd like to thank again EA Italy, Fabio, Luciana and Liliana and our colleagues Daniela, Simone, Luca, Kat and in particular Giuseppe, for making the day so enjoyable. A special thank also goes to Ruth and Piero :)
We hope to see everyone again very soon!
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 00:33|