The Sims is a long-lived series not only because of its history - it was born almost 20 years ago - but also due to the great support that Electronic Arts and Maxis have given each iteration through the years. The Sims 4 was released in September 2014 and since then, as was the case with its predecessors, the game has enjoyed the release of several expansions and the last one, called Seasons, was officially released on June 22. Considered by many as one of the best expansions of the series, it introduces the four different seasons to the game and they bring with them a series of related activities, changing climates, and even new work activities that the Sims can dedicate themselves to. Although there are no major changes when compared to the Seasons expansions released for previous games, The Sims 4 version has a more focused approach when it comes to the mood of the characters, as the changing seasons influence more than just the weather.
Once the expansion is installed on your PC (or Mac), you can start your own save-game by choosing your favourite season (autumn, winter, spring or summer), and then you can change the duration for up to 28 days for each season, as well as enable or disable certain atmospheric effects. To be able to fully enjoy this expansion, our advice is to keep all of these effects on, in order to discover the many differences that each season is able to offer during its cycle. As in the past, each season is characterised by the presence of special themed events and specific activities that further enrich the actions of our Sims. Each of these activities has certain objectives to be achieved throughout their duration (usually a few hours), the completion of which allows us to drastically improve the mood of our Sim.
During the spring, for example, players have the option to organise a small party at home during a specific event called Love Feast. For this party, you can invite the Sim with which your avatar has been flirting or having a relationship with and then work towards achieving certain objectives. In order for the Love Feast to end in a positive way for your Sim (and therefore enjoy a boost to his or her mood), it's extremely important that your avatar meets certain goals, such as having a hug or kiss with the Sim you invited to the party. If these mini-missions are completed and fulfilled by the end of the feast, they can further improve the mood of your Sim and contribute positively to the rest of their day.
One holiday already present in The Sims but which is given much more attention in The Sims 4: Seasons is Christmas, which this time is accompanied by lots of accessories and decorations to embellish the different houses of the Sims with really interesting festive items. Next to each of the events scheduled for each season, there are obviously a number of very fun side activities, such as building snowmen or throwing snowballs, swimming in the pool and sunbathing during the summer, and so on and so forth. There are many activities available for players and these, even more than in the past, have an important effect on the mood of your avatar. A beautiful sunny day or a gloomy evening can have implications on the mood of your Sims, especially if they are optimistic or pessimistic. We found this feature very interesting and gave more depth and intrigue to the overall experience.
Alongside new activities and festivities that Seasons brings with it, this new expansion also adds an entertaining new career: the botanist/gardener. Players can explore their passion for plants and develop their own green thumb, creating beautiful flower arrangements that can then be sold. Even for the smaller Sims, there are several interesting activities, such as the Scout activity which lets them ear badges by completing certain tasks given to them. Last but not least are the effects that climate and weather changes have on the health of our Sims. Wrapping up warm during the winter allows the Sims to stay well. During the summer you need to make sure that you don't overheat, and if you're not careful during the hottest hours you risk getting a terrible sunburn! To avoid unpleasant incidents, Seasons also brings with it new clothes with which to customise your character, as well as a series of new accessories to decorate your home, as well as objects such as the new umbrella, making our experience even more realistic.
One of the limits that The Sims 4 brings with it - and that is magnified in Seasons - is your inability to wander freely around the city's different neighbourhoods on foot. While in The Sims 3 we could walk to certain points of interest, enjoying snowball fights with friends or jumping in puddles after a violent summer storm, The Sims 4 remains limited in terms of exploring the world, and you're limited to areas nearer to home or to the various locations or parks scattered around the city. Although the loading times are pretty rapid, it breaks the rhythm and continuity of the game. Another element that we didn't like much is the price, which is particularly high in view of the content it offers. Although this is still an interesting expansion, paying £35 / €40 for a package is quite expensive in our humble opinion.
While on the one hand, it's undeniable that The Sims 4: Seasons offers numerous activities, distinctive festivals for each season and new professions/careers, it's an expansion that, in light of its price, doesn't offer enough content to justify an immediate purchase. It's fun and allows you to play with the mood of your Sims more significantly, but its current pricing could well persuade fans of the series to wait for a price drop before adding it to their collection.