The Sims 4
By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Complex, realistic life simulator includes sexuality, death.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids learn about responsibility, money management, relationships. Looking after Sims' needs makes players responsible for feeding, resting, cleaning, and other tasks and chores. What's more, kids will need to figure out how to wisely spend limited funds and perform well in their careers to make more money. Friendships and relationships accurately illustrate how people react when treated with love and respect ... or with lies and aggression. The Sims 4 has some mature themes and is perhaps overly concerned with materialism, but it may help teens absorb a few simple lessons about life.
Game simulates life, including aspects both positive and negative. Players can choose to focus on materialism, aggression, and selfish desires, or try to make their Sims worthy citizens with a healthy curiosity about the world, who display empathy for those around them, who persevere when the going gets tough. Players can learn some valuable lessons, encouraging them to sympathize with characters who face challenges such as pregnancy, parenthood, or trying to make ends meet while holding down a low-paying job. The experience -- and associated messages -- largely depends on what players make of it.
Positive Role Models
Playable Sims generally behave according to players' directions. They can be kind and loving, reliable parents or partners, faithful friends, good pet owners, or loyal workers, or they might cheat in relationships, get into fights, neglect pets, and slack off at their jobs. It's entirely up to players.
Players select from wide range of skin tones, body types for their avatar. Clothing options include an array of cultural and religious items such as saris and hijab, and cultural food items are available to order or cook. Characters can present as nonbinary, and clothing options aren't restricted by gender. Romantic options include same-sex relationships. Players can access and make use of inclusive items such as pride flags, and same-sex couples -- male and female -- can try to naturally conceive children. Wide variety of family structures possible.
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Ease of Play
Perhaps easiest yet, thanks to detailed tutorials and less focus on micromanagement. Rookies will still face a steep learning curve, but so long as players don't spend frivolously and attend to the Sims' basic needs, they ought to keep progressing at a healthy clip.
Violence & Scariness
Sims can get into fights with one another, resulting in an animation showing a dust cloud packed with fists and angry faces. Sims can be electrocuted, burned, even die in a variety of ways, including starvation and being set on fire, but this is rare. When Sims die, a grim reaper appears to remove their remains.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sims can wear lots of suggestive clothing, including underwear and sexy or otherwise revealing outfits, such as swim trunks without tops and low-cut dresses. Sims get naked for showers, but their bodies are hidden behind privacy screens. Many social interactions focus on flirtation, hugging, and kissing. Sims that are romantically inclined can make "woohoo" or "try for a baby," but the act of sex takes place entirely under covers. Players see only hearts floating above sheets.
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Products & Purchases
Dozens of expansions and add-on packs encourage players to spend more money. Also, a big part of the experience is simulated consumerism, which includes purchasing and accumulating products such as furniture, appliances, and electronics. Sims who can afford better-quality products with enhanced statistics are generally in better spirits, suggesting that money can indeed buy happiness.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Sims 4 is a life simulation game for Windows PCs. Players create virtual people, choosing from a wide range of skin tones, body types, and clothing items, including a variety of cultural and religious items such as saris and hijab. The object of the game is to guide Sims in their day-to-day lives as they do everything from socialize and advance their careers to preparing supper and taking care of bathroom duties (without nudity). Sims can flirt, kiss, and become romantically involved with other Sims, and eventually have sex and start families. Heterosexual and same-sex relationships are possible. Sims characters can present as nonbinary and aren't restricted to wearing gender-specific clothing. Since players guide the development and behaviors of their Sims, they can make them good citizens and caring friends, displaying character strengths such as curiosity, empathy, and perseverance, or give them overt flaws, such as a tendency to cheat, act only in their own best interest, or be aggressive toward others. Sims can get into fights and even die from events such as fire or starvation, but this is rare. Whether Sims end up being good or bad is entirely up to the player. Consumer themes run throughout the experience, with players encouraged to earn money and spend it on a variety of products, from food to home renovations. Note, too, that lots of expansions and add-on packs encourage players to spend real-world money to enhance the game.
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The Sims 4
Based on 69 parent reviews
Christian perspective. GREAT GAME
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What’s It About?
Much like its predecessors, THE SIMS 4 is concerned with providing an accurate simulation of modern human life. It allows players to create individual virtual people -- even an entire family -- and then go about managing virtually every aspect of their lives, from their hygiene and happiness to grander objectives such as career and family growth. Players have nearly complete control over their Sims' lives, striving to meet goals both short-term (going on a date or exercising) and long-term (getting married, or promoted at work). New in this edition is multitasking, which means Sims can accomplish more in less time by, say, socializing while eating or playing a game while going to the bathroom. Players can easily share their custom-made Sims and homes with other players online and choose from a wide variety of Sims and households created by other users. An array of expansion packs (purchased separately) add new areas to explore and themed activities revolving around such things as pet ownership, socializing, careers, urban living, and enjoying the holidays. Less expensive add-ons include "stuff packs," which introduce new items and products that players can use to enhance their Sims' homes, family lives, and capability to entertain guests.
Is It Any Good?
This life simulation is like its predecessor, but with better presentation, a more streamlined interface, and tweaks to social interactions, life goals, and activities. Multitasking in The Sims 4 is one of the biggest changes, if only because it means Sims can accomplish much more in less time. This makes things a bit less stressful than in previous editions, creating more free time by reducing the need to constantly micromanage. Being able to easily share and use custom content is a welcome addition, too, because it provides a quick way to experiment with different types of Sims.
Keep in mind, too, that additional features and other interesting and unusual content have been introduced in the form of post-launch expansions and add-on packs. Players interested in giving their Sims pets, for example, can purchase the Cats & Dogs expansion, which adds the ability not just to own pets but also to become a veterinarian, while those more interested in socializing can buy the Get Together expansion and create their own clubs. The Seasons expansion provides holiday-themed activities and items to buy, as well as a new gardening career. Note that some of this content is available at a discount by purchasing it bundled with the game. Bottom line, the life simulation on offer in The Sims 4 remains spookily accurate, and it feels more accessible than ever. People who want to sit at their desk playing a computer game in which their character also is sitting at a desk playing a computer game probably won't be disappointed.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about marketing to kids. With nearly two dozen pricey expansions, you could spend hundreds of dollars adding to your Sims 4 experience. So how do you decide which, if any, of the expansions are worth your money?
Did you learn anything about the difficulties and stress involved in looking after a household? What sorts of challenges do adults experience in terms of keeping themselves and their families happy and healthy?
Has The Sims 4's constantly growing selection of jobs given you any ideas about what you might want to do for a living or what you might like to study?
When considering decisions for your Sims, did you want them to be good citizens with character strengths such as curiosity, empathy, and perseverance? If so, why was this important to you?
- Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac
- Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding, Hobbies: fashion, pets
- Skills: Self-Direction: set objectives, time management, work to achieve goals, Emotional Development: empathy, perspective taking, Responsibility & Ethics: fiscal responsibility, learning from consequences, making wise decisions
- Pricing structure: Paid (Note that multiple additions, including expansions and themed add-on packs, range in price from $9.99 to $39.99. Some of these are bundled with special editions of the base game and cost $49.99.)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release date: September 2, 2014
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Holidays, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character Strengths: Curiosity, Empathy, Perseverance
- ESRB rating: T for Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, Violence
- Last updated: August 19, 2022
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