A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Sims 4: City Living is the third full expansion of The Sims 4, a life-simulation game, and requires players to have already purchased the original title. Interactions with other Sims can lead to fistfights, and characters can die in a variety of ways, though there's no blood or gore. Sims do engage in romantic behavior such as kissing and giving back rubs, and there's some under-the-covers action, although nothing's seen. There are bar settings where Sims can visit and drink, as well as a hookah they can sit around and "blow bubbles" from. The Sims also offers an online community allows players to share their unique creations from houses, rooms, and furniture as well as trade tips and tricks with others, so there’s some potential for questionable online interactions.
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What's it about?
THE SIMS 4: CITY LIVING brings yet another corner to the ever-expanding virtual world of The Sims 4. City Living introduces players to the city of San Myshuno, a new culturally diverse metropolitan landscape for your Sims to inhabit and explore. The apartment-living aspect is back from The Sims 3, and apartments and all other lots now have traits of their own. These traits can have positive aspects, such as the penny pincher, which allows Sims to find hidden money, or negative aspects such as hauntings or the potential for earthquakes. San Myshuno is divided into multiple culturally distinct neighborhoods such as the spice market, arts quarter, and fashion district. Similar to holidays in previous Sims games, these districts have festivals and special events that pop up at random times. Three new jobs also come along with this expansion: The job of politician returns with a fresh take on that career track, or your Sims can now be an online critic or a social media expert.
Is it any good?
This expansion brings back a lot of great features that players might have felt were long missing from the fourth installment of the franchise. Apartment living is back from The Sims 3 with a lot of great updates. Multiple families can now stay on the same apartment floor, a totally new feature that opens up more social interactions. Your Sim can work their way up from a dilapidated starter apartment complete with rats, roaches, and frequently breaking appliances to the penthouse suite. Apartment traits are probably the most exciting new feature of this expansion, and connecting your Sim with a house that has the proper traits is equally as important as actual character traits. These traits can have positive aspects, such as the penny pincher, which allows Sims to find hidden money, or negative aspects such as hauntings or the potential for earthquakes. This expansion is a must-have for fans of The Sims series. There’s a huge theme centered on getting out and adventuring, and activities such as open-air flea markets, creative festivals, and special events ensure your Sim will never get bored. The themes are great, too, with many based on events you might come across in the real world. GeekCon, for example, is a celebration of all things geek from cosplay to video game competitions.
The three new jobs in this expansion are very different, because your characters don't have to go to work in an office. Instead, you assign tasks that get your Sims to go out and do things such as drumming up donations on the political path or manage unruly forums as a social media expert. The only downside is that City Living is pretty much the gaming equivalent of empty calories. Sure, there's a lot of extra content to do stuff with, but there aren't really any new ways to do them. Visiting new venues is great, but it's not long before you realize that you could be doing pretty much the same stuff at any of the previous venues. That won't stop Sims fans from wanting to swap out last year's art deco furniture with this year's latest fad, though. After all, this is The Sims, where your world is still whatever you make of it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about character traits. What do you think are some of your good traits? What are things you think you could work on and be better at?
Discuss social interactions and relationship management. What does it take to be a good friend or to make new friends? What can games like The Sims help teach younger players about social interactions?
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Electronic Arts
- Release date: November 3, 2016
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, Violence,
- Last updated: March 16, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.