Kenzie needed a quick escape from real-life pressures, and found "The Sims 4." She now enjoys playing, writing, and YouTubing the game.
Sims Fans Were Not Happy
The website Digital Spy ran a poll earlier this year (no affiliation with The Sims 4 or EA). They offered a list of 21 themes, and 170,000 Sims fans voted on what kind of new downloadable content they would like to see in new the game. Star Wars was on that list, and it came in dead last with fewer than two percent of the vote.
Unfortunately for the developers of The Sims 4, a Star Wars collaboration was already well underway, and the new game pack, The Sims 4 Star Wars™: Journey to Batuu, was slated for release on September 8, 2020.
Upon the announcement in August, so many complaints came pouring in that developers responded to promise fans they're still working on other content. Even now after the game pack's release, the official trailer has twice as many thumbs down on YouTube than thumbs up.
But is The Sims 4 Star Wars™: Journey to Batuu as bad as fans feared it would be? Maybe it's not for everyone, but is it for you? Here's my review.
Send Your Sims to Batuu Right Now
The Galaxy Far, Far Away
Batuu is a remote outpost planet in the Star Wars universe. In The Sims 4, it is a destination world, which means your Sims cannot live on the planet, they can only visit. The world consists of three neighborhoods:
Black Spire Outpost: This is where your Sim's journey will begin. Here you'll find the famed cantina and can get the low-down on the different factions. You will also find your accommodations and some places to shop and eat.
First Order Outpost: This is the occupied sector of Batuu. Be careful what you do here; you don't want the First Order watching you or taking you in for questioning.
Resistance Encampment: You'll find the hidden camp deep in the forest, but if you're not part of the Resistance don't be surprised if they don't take kindly to strangers. If you draw too much attention to yourself, you may be escorted out of the camp.
Your Sims cannot bring their regular inventory to Batuu; they can only carry what they collect on Batuu and will be able to bring their Batuu items home. Even your Sim's simoleons (Sims' currency) will be left home while he is on Batuu. He will have to pay for everything with galactic credits (your Sim will get 50 of these credits to start, but will have to earn, win or steal more).
Your Sims cannot dress in their normal clothing on Batuu (not even the Star Wars costumes that were part of the game previously). Upon your first arrival, your Sims will be given a random Batuu outfit. You can go into the limited Batuu Create-a-Sim mode and choose from a few other clothing items to give your Sim a complete Batuu wardrobe (some items will be off-limits until your Sim unlocks them).
These restrictions keep this world unique and stop mundane things from normal Sims worlds from bleeding into the Star Wars theme.
Map of Batuu
Why Batuu Is Ultimately a Let Down
Yes, the artwork is quite stunning, and the way they set up and imposed restrictions on Batuu may help to keep it a separate and unique world, but as a player of a sandbox-style game, I find the limitations frustrating. I don't like that I can't dress my Sims how I want them to dress, or that I can't bring my laptop on vacation with me so my Sim can work.
The biggest problem with Batuu, however, is that there are very few places for your Sim to actually go. It's one big set animated set. The majority of the buildings and activities are rabbit holes, which means instead accompanying your Sim into a place, you're stuck outside waiting for them to do whatever they have to do.
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This holds true when your Sim goes in stores to shop, snack bars to buy food, and even when your Sim goes for a trip in the Millenium Falcon. It's a huge disappointment when your Sim takes off in the legendary vessel and you're left staring at the launching pad until the Sim returns.
Even your accommodations are a rabbit hole, which means when your Sim goes in at night to shower, sleep or relax, you're stuck waiting outside.
The few settings where you can actually go inside with your Sim and interact with things and other characters are nice, but they get old pretty quickly because there are so few of them.
Hang Out at the Cantina
One thing I do like about The Sims 4 Star Wars™: Journey to Batuu is that there are a lot of tasks that will keep your Sims occupied. Your Sim has the chance to join the First Order with Kylo Ren or to fight for The Resistance with Rey. If you prefer, your Sims can roll with the scoundrels and see how much they can profit as the others fight for control of Batuu.
Sims get a panel showing their standing with the First Order, the Resistance, and the scoundrels. They start as neutral in each group. As they work with (or against) and interact with members of each group, they can work their way up (or down) in the ranks. Your Sim can remain loyal to one group, or hop around and work with any of the three at any time.
Each group has a faction leader that will assign your Sims missions. The missions are shown in the job panel, and just like with work-at-home jobs, there will be a list of tasks to complete. When your Sim completes a mission, he'll be rewarded with status in that particular faction, credits, perhaps some useful items, or he may unlock new clothing or supplies.
According to game developers, there are over 50 missions in this game pack. Missions also increase in difficulty, so as your Sim works his way up in ranks he will be met with more challenging tasks.
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Fun Stuff in This Pack
- Lightsabers: you can purchase the items to make one, or you can scavenge for them. Once you have your own lightsaber, you can train to improve your skill, challenge others to a friendly duel or use your new weapon in battle.
- Droids: if you've ever dreamt of owning your own Star Wars style droid, you can. You can even bring your new little buddy back home with you.
- Characters: Some popular characters from Star Wars films make appearances in this game.
- Gambling: you can enjoy a game of Sabacc with other Sims at the cantina, and if you're lucky you might be able to win some credits.
- Build Mode Items: While you can't do much building on Batuu itself (and you can only do so with cheats), you can create your own Star Wars fantasy home for your Sim back in his homeworld. The build mode items for this game pack are quite stunning, and even fit in quite nicely with worlds like Oasis Springs and Strangerville.
My Final Thoughts
The Star Wars animation is pretty and the missions are kind of fun but overall this game pack is disappointing. The lovely setting becomes bland quickly when you realize you're barred from entering most of the buildings or ships. The pack offers some challenges which can be somewhat interesting, like puzzles to solve. However, the missions are not very exciting because the gameplay lacks depth.
If they had dedicated the resources to make Batuu a spin-off game, or if they made it a bigger expansion pack that actually immersed us in a fully interactive world, it probably would have been awesome. Unfortunately, as a game pack, it's all appearances with little substance.
One of the biggest problems with this pack is that it just doesn't integrate well with the rest of the worlds in The Sims 4. After I complete the missions and explore Batuu a while longer, I really can't see myself going back, bringing Sims families there for vacation, or using many items from this pack to build my Sims' homes or dress them up.
I don't hate this pack, and that's about the nicest thing I can say about it. I don't see anything to love about it, though. At first glance the animation is gorgeous, but we're not buying packs to look at pretty scenery. The gameplay is lacklustre.
If you do want to try it because you're a Star Wars fan or because you like the idea of your Sim going on missions and completing new tasks, you might like it—but keep your expectations low or you'll be disappointed.
© 2020 Kenzie Cartwright