The Best (and Worst) "The Sims 4" Game Packs!
The “Game Pack” DLC category was introduced in The Sims franchise for the first time with The Sims 4. Game Packs are add-ons to The Sims 4 base game which retails at $14.99 (USD). You can add additional content to the game, usually with a specific theme (i.e., “vampires”). They add more content than The Sims 4’s Stuff Packs (which generally only add new “Buy Mode” and “Create-A-Sim” options), but less content than a traditional Expansion Pack (which are designed to greatly change the overall gameplay). Game Packs include Build/Buy Mode objects, new CAS content, new gameplay and occasionally a new world, which ties in with the theme of the pack.
In general, I’d say Game Packs are completely optional for your The Sims 4 gameplay; similar to Stuff Packs, if you’re not interested in the main theme, you don’t necessarily need to purchase the Game Pack.
That being said, there’s been seven Game Packs released to date, and it might be hard to choose which one to buy (if any). Since I own and have played with all of them, I’ve ranked them from worst to best for you!
Note: This article is based on the Mac/PC version of the game. Not all of the below Game Packs have been released on the console versions of The Sims 4.
7. "Spa Day" (July 2015)
As its title suggests, Spa Day allows your Sims to have a day at the spa. From the moment this pack was released I thought it didn’t have enough content to warrant it being released as a Game Pack, and have always felt like it was more of a Stuff Pack, instead.
The pack adds on a new lot type: Spa, which you can either build from scratch, or plop down one of the included premade ones (or download a free one made by other players in The Sims 4 gallery). While at the spa, your Sims can relax in the sauna, get a massage, or focus on the new Wellness Skill, which allows them to practice yoga or meditation.
While the new skills (particularly the yoga mat, which your Sim can take everywhere) are really useful, I’d say I use this game pack the least of all of them. Going to the spa isn’t terribly exciting, and the moodlets your Sims get from going are hardly worth the time out of their day lounging at the spa. I also thought it was a huge missed opportunity to not allow players to work as a massage therapist (it could’ve been another active career in the game) or own their own spas. The game boasts 100 new buy and build mode objects, but most of them are just lights and stuff specifically for the spa (sauna seats, massage chairs, etc.), which you can’t really find a use for outside of the spa.
Spa Day isn’t a terrible idea or a bad pack, but it’s really the least necessary of them all, and the one you’ll likely find the least day-to-day use for in your game (again, apart from the yoga mat, which really is a great way for your Sim to change their mood, or get into shape).
6. "Jungle Adventure" (February 2018)
Jungle Adventure adds a “destination” world to the game, Selvadorada. Your Sims can travel there for a vacation, meet with locals and learn their customs, dress in new tropical clothes (over 50 new CAS items), shop for souvenirs and décor, explore the jungle, look for artifacts and discover a hidden temple.
This pack is the second “vacation” type pack in The Sims 4, but it’s really reminiscent of World Adventures; in fact, it seems almost identical to travelling to Al Simhara in The Sims 3 and exploring pyramids. Truly, the gameplay for exploring the jungle and discovering the hidden temple is pretty much identical to the gameplay in World Adventures; exploration is done through a series of interactions, which will succeed or fail depending on your Sims’ related skills.
Part of the reason this pack is at the bottom of the list is due to the fact that the gameplay is so similar—there’s a very been there/done that feeling to it all- but also because there’s no real incentive to go to the jungle. The new world is relatively small (mostly comprised of rental lots and a few areas to shop and explore), and just doesn’t feel unique or interesting enough to warrant a visit. After my first vacation there, I felt no need to return. Exploring the temples is tedious (it took a whole Sim day to even make through the jungle and to the entrance, and it wasn’t really fun getting there; most of the action happens off-screen through pop-up notifications), and out of the two vacation packs, I still prefer camping in Outdoor Retreat.
I suppose if you’ve never played World Adventures, and haven’t become familiar with the exploration gameplay mechanic from that game, this pack might feel a bit more fresh and exciting. I’d recommend this pack if you’re really just desperate for a new vacation word, really love the jungle, or just really love Mediterranean-themed build/buy/CAS mode objects.
5. "StrangerVille" (February 2019)
StrangerVille is the latest game pack in the series, and is one of the first in The Sims’ history to include a linear storyline. The game pack allows your Sim to move into a new world, StrangerVille, and investigate a dark mystery and a “sickness” which has been infecting the people around town.
This pack is another that you can take-or-leave; due to the linear storyline (which sadly has zero replay value), it’s only really worth buying if you’re really interested in sci-fi or Stranger Things (which the storyline is a spoof of) and want to replay it in The Sims.
The pack does come with a new career (Military) and some nice build/buy and CAS objects (I honestly bought the pack solely for the inclusion of laptops—finally—and the “boxer braid”/cornrows hairstyle), but the gameplay is extremely limited otherwise.
4. "Outdoor Retreat" (January 2015)
"Outdoor Retreat" allows your Sims to book a vacation and go camping! They can either do it the rugged way with a tent in the great outdoors, or they can rent a small (or even luxury) cabin. Sims can also partake in a variety of outdoor activities, like cloud or stargazing, playing horseshoes, roasting marshmallows and telling stories around a campfire, or work on the new Herbalism Skill, which allows them to create herbal medicines that can improve moods, or repel insects.
This was the first Game Pack released for The Sims 4 and it’s still one of my favourites. I enjoy camping in the real world, but it’s also a ton of fun in the game; there’s something great about taking my Sims out of their busy worlds, gathering around a campfire and playing camp songs, stargazing, and going for hikes. The new world that’s included in the pack—Granite Falls—is also absolutely beautiful, with lush, green fields, waterfalls, and rivers for your Sims to fish at.
To compare this pack to Jungle Adventure (detailed above), I’d say this is the better of the two; part of it is definitely due to the fact that Sims haven’t been able to go camping since the days of The Sims 2: Bon Voyage, and it’s nice to have the ability back. There’s also a lovely selection of “rustic” build/buy mode objects and hiking gear in CAS mode.
I only wish the game had added on the option for your Sims to buy and decorate RVs, but I suppose RVs weren’t included since The Sims 4 doesn’t have cars at all.
3. "Vampires" (January 2017)
Create and live as a Vampire in The Sims 4: Vampire Game Pack! The pack adds on a new life state: vampire, and you can either create a new one, or play as one of the pre-made ones who live in Forgotten Hollow, a new fog-laden world included in the pack.
Vampires aren’t new to The Sims franchise, but the way they’re done in The Sims 4 is completely new! For the first time, you can choose a “dark form” for your vampire (basically, what they turn into when they’re hunting humans or hanging with other vampires) and choose their fang type, giving them glowing eyes and dress them in gothic vampire-y clothing. There’s also a very in-depth skill tree in which you can assign special powers for your vampires. They can take on skills like “Bat Form” (which will allow them to turn into a bat and fly anywhere) or “Eternally Welcome” (which allows them to visit any Sims’ house at night without permission). Vampires can also levitate, feed off of humans or Plasmafruit (fake blood), and essentially choose to either be a good or evil vampire through gameplay.
I really love this pack, despite the fact that I don’t usually enjoy playing with supernatural states in my games. The vampires are really in-depth and it almost feels like a spin-off game considering how much you can do with them and how many details there are in terms of their skills and abilities. Even if you don’t play as a vampire, human Sims can read up on vampire lore, or try to seek vampires out and befriend them (and even ask to be “turned,” or let vampires drink from them).
I’m really hoping EA continues with this sort of in-depth treatment for future supernatural Sims in the game; I’d love a wizard/witch pack that’s just as detailed!
2. "Dine Out" (June 2016)
The Dine Out game pack gives you the ability to create and run your own restaurant! I’ve personally always loved restaurant management and simulation games, so this pack really appeals to me based on that, especially due to just how detailed running your restaurant can get!
Like any other lot in the game, you can build a restaurant from scratch and decorate it with tables, booths, and a huge selection of themed décor. You can also hire staff, choose their uniforms, and set the menus by choosing from the food options in the game. Mark up prices, run advertisements, manage staff, tend to patrons, and more! Owning a restaurant is definitely a full-time job, and, like the vampire pack, feels more like a spin-off than part of your regular The Sims game.
You can really get caught up in working in the restaurant; making sure customers are satisfied, tables are served in time, the staff is well-trained and happy, etc. I probably spent the most time playing this game pack on its own than all of them combined; I owned my own Starbucks-knock off and a burger restaurant, and had a lot of fun managing both and raking in the Simoleons.
If you don’t really enjoy running a restaurant you can certainly just buy the pack and drop-down premade restaurants in your game. Your Sims can then visit restaurants for meals, have dates, or even throw parties at them. There are also a few cute touches—like the ability for your Sims to take a photo of their meal and post it to “Simstagram”—and plenty of new objects and clothing options that you can use outside of the restaurants.
The Parenthood Game Pack is The Sims 4’s equivalent to The Sims 3: Generations expansion pack. Parenthood adds a new Parenting Skill to the game, which your sim can improve on by interacting and caring for children in the game. Sims with a higher Parenting Skill will have an easier job raising children; there’s now the ability to discipline bad behaviours (the pack adds on the ability for your Sims to use “bad” language, for example) or encourage good ones (like doing chores).
The pack mainly focuses on gameplay for toddler, children, and teens. Children can bring home school projects, which adult Sims can help them complete to get a boost in their grades. Families can volunteer together; Sims can ask and give advice, comfort one another, talk about their moods, write in their diaries, and more.
I really enjoy this pack because of how many things it adds to the gameplay, and the gameplay really changes in significant ways due to it. You can completely shape your child Sims’ futures with the pack; the way you parent them will directly reflect on their adult personality, and they can receive special traits when aging up to young adults depending on how your Sim raised them and how they developed their “character values” (a new metric in the game that monitors children Sims in their manners, responsibility, empathy, conflict resolution, and emotional control). Toddlers, children, and teens can go through phases—similar to the mood swings that teens could have in The Sims 3—except now, even toddlers can go through phases, like picky eating, for example.
There’s also a ton of new buy and build model objects that you can use to make your house feel more like a home, and new clothing and hairstyles. The little touches mean a lot too; with the pack, your Sims can “set” a table for the first time in the franchise (directing them to do so allows them to place down a placemat and cutlery), or pack lunches for school or work with leftovers.
Between the small touches and the big changes, The Sims 4: Parenthood Game Pack really changes the way the game is played, particularly for households with a family. It allows for more of a role in raising children in the game, and as a player, allows you to feel as though you can really mould and develop them into unique individuals, something that The Sims franchise has always lacked when playing with child Sims.
What's Your Favourite?
Do you have a favourite The Sims 4 Game Pack? What about a least favourite? Let me know in the comments section below!
© 2019 Brittany Brown