A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The goal of Sims games is always to simulate life. In the case of this expansion, the focus is on work life. There are no overt messages, no explicit attempts to force players' into engaging in either good or unsavory activities. That said, both types are there for players to find should they look for them. Sims can be good or slothful workers. They can design and build up their neighborhoods or steal from the places they visit. They can try to invent wonderful new machines that will make life easier or become mad scientists and blow things up. Put simply, players will extract from this game what they want. Shopping for newer, better items for your home can become a big part of the game, though it's not the focus of this expansion.
Positive Role Models
Our Sims have a wide range of potential emotions and actions. They can be perfectly good little virtual people, striving for the good of their families and neighborhood, or evil and mean, hurting others verbally and physically. It's all up to the player.
Ease of Play
Assuming you've played The Sims 3 -- which is likely since this is an expansion and the original game is required in order to play -- you won't find many stumbling blocks here. The interface is identical; all you need do is learn how the new professions and hobbies work.
Violence & Scariness
Sims can get electrocuted, drown, and die of old age. They can also get into fights with one another, though these conflicts don't result in death or serious injury.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Players can dress up their Sims in sexy and revealing outfits, from skimpy underwear to little dresses. Players also have the ability to make their Sims flirt, make out, and jump into bed to have sex (under the covers -- it's not explicit; there's just some moaning and laughing). When Sims go to the bathroom or have a shower their midsections are obscured by a blur effect.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Sims 3: Ambitions is an expansion pack to The Sims 3 (the original game is required to play), and that it contains the same sort of violence, sexuality, and questionable behavior as its forebear. New professions provide fresh opportunities for getting into fights, stealing, and flirting, but the depictions of these activities are no more graphic than they were in the original game. As usual, players have the freedom to mold their Sims however they like, which means they can turn them into good little la- abiding creatures or lead them towards a more devious life of evil or crime.
Is It Any Good?
As Sims expansions go, Ambitions offers a fair bit of content. The ability to fully explore, take part in, and direct your Sims' careers fills a pretty big void in previous games, and the extra hobbies and skills provide interesting new ways to fill our Sims' leisure time.
However, it may not be for people who enjoy working with large households or big families of Sims. The professions we explore are involved enough that it can make trying to effectively and successfully manage multiple Sims difficult. But that's a fairly small tradeoff for the ability to head out into the world and have a more meaningful career. There's no question that Ambitions is one of the better expansions to the world's most popular PC game franchise.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.