The Sims Rated Greatest to Worst

Updated on September 20, 2018
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Disastrous Grape is from a dimension of sentient exploding fruit, and is author of the novels The Thieves of Nottica and Spherical Knives.

As someone who's been playing The Sims since the first installment, it's my opinion that the games became progressively worse even as Bella Goth became progressively hotter.

You can probably guess I don't have a high opinion of The Sims 4, but for the purposes of keeping things light-hearted, I will avoid working myself up into a frothing nerd rage.

So here we go. In my opinion, these are The Sims installments rated greatest to worst.

#1: The Sims 2

I have rated The Sims 2 as the best installment in the franchise because, for me, it was the most fun to play.

As someone who cares a great deal about story, I loved all the mysteries that were written into this game. From the Goth mystery to Brandy Broke to the wonderful characters of Strangetown, the premades in The Sims 2 were superb. This was Maxis at their best.

Aside from that, there was also pretty awesome gameplay. There were interactions that made playing your sims fun, such as children playing Tag and jumping rope. The romantic animations were hilarious, and playing a Romance Sim who Smooth Talked their way out of everything after getting slapped by a jilted lover never stopped being amusing. (Smooth Talk was a "power" unique to Romance Sims in the The Sims 2 after gaining a certain number of Aspiration points.)

The base game was chock-full of stuff to do because this was the pre-greed era, where we weren't expected to buy extra content because the base game was lacking but rather because the base game was so great, we craved more.

Running a business was pretty great. It was more than just interacting with the customers. You had the ability to run a business at home and have all your family members working in the restaurant, store, whathaveyou. It was just pretty awesome. Especially if you were playing an evil sim who created a bunch of robots and made them run the store for you.

Then you were able to send your sims to college in one pack. You had to actually work to get into a sorority or a fraternity. Your sims could also throw great parties, and because there were so many fun interactions and animations, this always provided a ceaseless amount of amusement.

Also, the college mechanic wasn't over complicated like in The Sims 3. You just went to college, did your work, partied, and went home with a degree. It was fun.

It was also a lot easier for your sims to die, which made the game fun and unpredictable. While in later installments, it's nearly impossible for sims to die.

Relationships were also amazing in this game. You could have one-sided crushes or sims who hated each other and it was actually reflected in the game. If your sim was romancing two sims at once and married one, the jealous sim would crash the wedding.

Sims could actually get in fights when you weren't controlling them depending on the sort of personality you gave them. For instance, making a sim who hates werewolves and then having them encounter a werewolf while you're not controlling them meant some hilarity.

In The Sims 2, the sims were alive. They had personalities and rivalries, enemies, friends, and lovers. It was pretty awesome.

I'm not pretending as if The Sims 2 had zero flaws (in fact, there were entire mods dedicated to keeping a handle on its population control, let alone other things), but flaws and all, it was a pretty fun game to play.

There was so much creativity and hilarity and fun in this game, so much character. You could really tell the developers loved creating it, and we players loved playing it.

#2: The Sims 3

As a diehard The Sims 2 fan, I was very skeptical when The Sims 3 came out. I was also very angry, as all my favorite modders transitioned over to the new game, abandoning their mods for The Sims 2.

Stubborn and annoyed, I stuck to the second game. Then Generations came out, and when I saw that, I was sold on The Sims 3.

I bought the base game, and that alone had a crap-ton of content in it. So much that I didn't bother buying an expansion for quite a while. Instead, I was content to explore Sunset Valley and its premade sims.

I believe The Sims 3 is where premade sims started to go downhill. Gone was the great writing from the previous installment. Now we had some moderately interesting premades with short, vague biographies.

The upside was the large and beautiful world we were given. There were so many awesome things about The Sims 3. Horses, the entire Supernatural expansion, the different parties such as being able to throw a funeral, the neat vacations where you could explore ancient pyramids and fight mummies, and the Island Paradise expansion where you could be a mermaid and live on a boat.

While the open world caused some unfortunate glitches and hiccoughs, it was still pretty cool for what it was.

Robots, both in Ambitions and Into the Future were pretty awesome. When Into the Future came out, I remember having a nerd-gasm.

Aliens, in my opinion, were also the best in The Sims 3. I loved that they had brain powers and didn't need sleep. I also loved their aesthetic. And not getting abducted by them was as simple as avoiding meteor rocks.

Also, for the first time, graves were handled well. Sims who died were collected in the town mausoleum and you could go and get their tomb at any time. I'm not sure why this was removed for The Sims 4, but it was pretty great in the third game.

I think my favorite world ever was Midnight Hollow, a world of eternal darkness that was hauntingly beautiful. It had some really great premades too, such as the sad clown Poirot and the premades inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas.

I loved the crap out of The Sims 3 for years. While there weren't many great stories in it, there were still great interactions, great animations, and a great many things to do. I have many happy memories of legacies that I played, stories that I played out. And true to established tradition, there was a great Creature Feature in each and every installment, just like The Sims 2.

The Sims 3 really was just made of awesome.

#3: The Sims

I recall wanting to play The Sims when it came out and feeling embarrassed because my jerk ex (who considered themselves a "hardcore gamer") made fun of me. Once I was single, I stumbled across a used copy of The Sims, bought it, and took it home, where I played it free from the fear of ridicule.

I fell in love.

To be perfectly honest, there was nothing great about the first game in comparison to what came later, but it was very amusing to play. Trying to juggle a family and keep all the sims alive, pushing them through their careers, watching their funny interactions. It was worth the time.

Later when I played The Sims 2, I would hear the music from the first game and find myself getting all nostalgic. I still get a misty smile whenever I hear the music now. I think it was included in one of the expansions for The Sims 4.

#4: The Sims 4

Which brings me to the most recent installment, The Sims 4. I consider it to be very disappointing for several reasons and probably the worst installment in the franchise.

The first thing I noticed was that the base game was pretty empty. There wasn't much to do. No swimming pools, no toddlers, no ghosts, no fun interactions, no . . . nothing. All of it had been stripped with the intention of cramming it into separate packs for more cash.

All the traditions that had been introduced over the years were taken away with the excuse that Maxis/EA didn't "mean" to make those things into traditions.

I still find it amazing that they didn't anticipate the backlash. They didn't seem to understand that the same people who had been playing since the first game were still playing the game now and had come to expect certain elements that made The Sims -- The Sims.

It was kinda like if they took the chocobos out of Final Fantasy. The chocobos are an established part of that franchise, dammit. Just like toddlers and pools and ghosts became an established part of The Sims.

To simplify things, I'll just make a list.

  • The Goths had no graveyard and lived on a tiny lot.
  • The aliens originally couldn't wear normal clothing and didn't have hair and were constantly embarrassed about being aliens.
  • The alien planet Sixam was beautiful and wasted.
  • There are no interactions that are remotely interesting. Even now, years after the game's first launch, kids still don't really play with each other. There's no Tag. The water balloon fights in the Seasons expansion don't really have interesting animations. Kids just don't feel like kids.
  • Way too much focus on young adult sims, to the point that the elders don't even have their own voices.
  • The elitist comments about your kid's grades.
  • No one can die. At least, it's really hard, so it makes the game really boring.
  • Can't be a cook in your own restaurant. Can't hire family members. Have to always be on the lot with the restaurant to make money.
  • Sims are no longer unique in personality (no likes, dislikes, favorites, or real traits). Their new fangled "emotions" don't really amount to much.
  • Don Lothario was turned into a tattooed dudebro (a result of people unfamiliar with the series working on the series).
  • Nina and Dina's mother and Cassandra Goth were whitewashed (again, a result of people unfamiliar with the series working on the series).
  • You can't sleep with the Grimreaper and have his kids.
  • No plantsims except as some temporary thing.
  • Vampires can stand in the sun a long time, which is silly. And we have to cheat in order to adjust their Dark Form if we didn't create them in CAS.
  • Also, no parasols?
  • Cats and Dogs made pets annoying again.
  • Everyone gets along. If you make two sims who hate each other, they will make up very easily and never argue.
  • Some premades are written to hate each other, but in the actual game they don't. Bob Pancakes actually adores his wife Eliza and, sadly, never really argues with her in the game. And it's like that for all the premades who are supposed to "hate" each other, including the vampires.

The Sims 4 is a shiny, happy world where nothing bad ever happens and everything's always okay. It's an expensively boring EA greed-fest.

You're probably wondering why I continue to buy content for a game that I dislike so intensely.

I don't.

Basically, everything past the toddlers and vampires update was pretty bad to me, like the game just became progressively worse with each "stuff pack," so I've opted to stop buying content from EA and just play my game with the first three expansions (Get to Work, Get Together, City Living) plus the free updates.

After four years of waiting for EA to put out something worthwhile, I have finally accepted the fact that they can not and will not. Much like Bioware in its current state, Maxis is pretty much . . . dead. EA has devoured its soul.

I could go back to older "Sims" games, but that is difficult. The first game has horrible graphics. The second game requires a lot of mods that no longer exist. The third game, while amazing, was burdensome with its routing issues and glitches.

Honestly, probably the best thing about The Sims 4 is that it's optimized well. It runs fast, the graphics are nice, CAS is now a breeze, and sims can multitask.

It's like a beautiful woman who is also soulless:

Pretty on the outside, nothing on the inside.

© 2018 Ash Gray

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