The Sims 4 Game Packs: Are They Worth It?

The Sims 4 Expansion Pack
Alice Bennett

The trailer for The Sims 4 My Wedding Story was released at the beginning of February to a pleasantly surprised fanbase, with many Simmers welcoming this addition to the game. However, within the Sims community, there has been some controversy over the way that EA has released expansion packs with the creation of Game Packs. With the release of The Sims 4 Wedding Story today, Alice investigates whether The Sims 4 Game Packs are worth buying. 

Throughout the Sims franchise, players have been able to purchase extra content in the form of Expansion Packs, which usually consist of a central concept. For example, The Sims 3 Generations adds more gameplay elements, as well as Create-A-Sim and Build Mode items that relate to the concept. 

For example, The Sims 3 Generations added gameplay content related to family and milestones, such as treehouses for children, prom, learning to drive for teens and mid-life crises for adults. These packs normally come with a lot of content and can add more depth and realism to the game. Stuff Packs, on the other hand, tend to add a lot less to the game- particularly gameplay- but are much cheaper and can be a good way to add extra CAS and Build Mode items without paying £30 or £40 (they usually cost less than £10).

Game Packs were introduced to The Sims 4, the first being Outdoor Retreat, and usually cost around £15-£20. Like Stuff packs, these are typically more specific and narrow than Expansion Packs but usually add more gameplay and general content than Stuff Packs.

It arguably makes it more expensive for players to buy all of the additional content.

The price is one of the main advantages of Game Packs: players can get new content whilst spending less money. It also allows more focus on the central concept, which (in some cases) has meant more detailed and higher quality gameplay and items. A great example of a successful Game Pack is The Sims 4: Vampires. Whilst many fans were disappointed that the Sims team did not release a broader supernatural pack (as they did for The Sims 3), having a narrower focus on one occult type resulted in a very solid pack. This pack featured a detailed life state with a point system and various powers to choose from, alongside a new world and great CAS and Build Mode items.

However, by spreading content out in Game Packs as well as Stuff Packs and the new addition of Kits, it arguably makes it more expensive for players to buy all of the additional content. Having less content than expansion packs has also meant that certain Game Packs have felt limited or underwhelming. For example, The Sims 4: Realm of Magic gameplay felt lacking and restricted by only being a Game Pack. Whilst this formula worked well for vampires, magic appeared too broad of a concept to squeeze into a Game Pack. 

Some of the Expansion Packs arguably would have fared better as Game Packs, and vice versa (as seen with Realm of Magic). For example, The Sims 4: Island Living was praised for its Build Mode and CAS items as well as the new world it came with. However, the gameplay was fairly limited and did not add much to the game, especially given its focus on the environment and cleaning up the island- a concept more fully explored in The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle. It may have been better as a Game Pack with another concept being a proper Expansion like the Parenthood Game Pack. This Game Pack is useful to more Simmers as it adds a lot to family gameplay but is limited by the amount of content it can add whilst not being a full Expansion Pack.

This compromise has proved to be successful in some instances. 

Ultimately, with EA’s reputation amongst the Sims community as exploitative and profit-oriented, it’s easy to understand how spreading content out even more in Game Packs would be frustrating, particularly for Simmers who want to collect packs but cannot afford the large volumes of extra content that The Sims 4 has released. However, this compromise between expensive Expansion Packs and cheap but limited Stuff Packs has proved to be successful in some instances. 

Alice Bennett

Featured Image courtesy of Jonathan Elliot via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In-article videos courtesy of The Sims via youtube.com. No changes were made to these videos.

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