That has definitely been the question on my mind for the past few months! I was really hoping for some revolutionary changes with the next version of The Sims, and as news about TS4 started filtering out, it was disappointing. The graphics had not evolved the way I’d hoped, and features that we’ve come to take for granted were not being implemented. Thus, I was on the fence and leaning pretty heavily toward staying on The Sims 3 side of it. There are still builds and stories I have in progress in TS3, but truthfully, I haven’t done much with the game for many months, so I hadn’t written off TS4 completely. Then, finally, the TS4 CAS demo became available, and I have to admit I’ve been having a good deal of fun with it.
I definitely miss CAST functionality. It’s hard to comprehend that we aren’t even given a color wheel for at least a minimum of customization beyond the template colors available. Also, when it comes to the templates, a lot of the colors are way more garish than I care for where others are more muted. It makes it tough to set up a good matching outfit sometimes, and the hair and particularly eye color choices are poor if you prefer more natural, realistic colors. The hairs are very blocky, which seems like something of a step backwards. However, I think there is a pretty good selection of hairstyles and clothing for a new base game, and I’ve heard that there will be more that we’re not seeing in the demo.
The real star of the demo is the ability to more intuitively shape your sim’s face and body with push/pull techniques as opposed to the prior format of presets and sliders. However, there are still limits to what you can do as you must still select (or accept) a preset for each feature that can be morphed from there to a certain extent. It isn’t always easy to know exactly what you’re manipulating when you grab part of a feature; you might think you’re going to tilt the nose up, but instead you make the tip larger, things like that. With trial and error, you get used to it. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely a step up from sim creation in TS3.
I’ve been working on creating some of the cast from the Veronica Mars TV show. I just finished watching the series and movie, so the characters are fresh on my mind, and I thought it would be fun to set up my own “Neptune.” I feel like I’m definitely putting CAS through its paces as I try to generate sims that can be easily recognized as their celebrity counterparts. It’s definitely a challenge, although some come easier than others. My Weevil practically sprang to life from the random generator. Here’s what he looks like – it’s not perfect, but I think it’s probably as close as I’m going to get:
Lilly and Dick are coming along nicely too:
I am having a really tough time with Logan and Veronica. It’s weird, but it seems like even though I can approximate their features, they’re missing something that would make for a strong resemblance. I may just need to get more extreme; it seems like you almost have to draw a caricature to make it work. I’ve also got Mac, Wallace, and Duncan in progress. Hope to have them all finished and uploaded by go live! You’ll be able to find them in the gallery by searching for hashtag #bryscreations or my Origin ID, BryonyRae.
Looking beyond CAS and the sims themselves, I am still concerned about building. From what I understand, we are restricted to completely flat lots, no split levels, no CFE or MOO cheats, only 3 story structures, etc. From an advanced building perspective, it seems like much is lost. However, I didn’t originally get into the Sims to build; that evolved in the Sims 3 and in no small part due to the wooden nature of the sims, which made it difficult for me to enjoy the gameplay that much. I am hoping that gameplay itself will have more staying power in TS4. I will also give building a try, but if it fails to hold my interest, oh well. I will take The Sims 4 as a brand-new game and try to judge it on its own merits (but they do need to add toddlers and pools ASAP!).