TS3: From Best to Worst

Although I don’t mention it much, I love The Sims 3. It is my absolute favorite PC game. I like some other versions, but the PC version is the very best in my opinion. Probably because the original Sims series was made for PC to begin with.

While I didn’t pay full price for every expansion and stuff pack, the entire series has probably cost me at least $500, more if I count the content I’ve purchased from the online store. Altogether, there are twenty packs and I don’t regret any of them. Money may not grow on trees, but if I enjoy what I’ve bought, then I say it’s money well-spent, even if it won’t help me in the long-term. You can have hard times ahead and still be happy for the past. At least, I think so.

While I’m glad my game is full, I don’t use every single feature of every expansion. I’d even say I’m bored of some, although I’d refrain from calling them useless because they are not. Let me tell you what I think of each expansion. I’m going to go from my most favorite to my least. Remember, these are my opinions, so I’m speaking of personal preferences, not all players in general. Everyone’s different, so I can’t speak for everyone. Why am I doing this? One, I’m bored. Two, I get enjoyment out of making lists. Yeah, I know, Strange hobby.

SupernaturalSupernatural is my most favorite expansion of them all. I like for TS3 to mimic real life, but I am also a lover of fiction, fantasy, and fairytales. Emphasis on fairy. Moonlight Falls, the town that comes with this expansion, is teeming with fairies to my liking. I have way too much fun with the tricks fairies can pull and the spells witches can cast. Honestly, I expected being a mischief maker to get old with some time, but nope. I’m still having fun. My witch may not be the town firebug anymore (becoming a firefighter fulfilled my pyromaniac needs), but having a random day of her and my fairy casting tricks on unsuspecting townies never fails to amuse me. I just mastered the alchemy skill with her. Ooh, that’s not good.

I admit I haven’t played much with werewolves and vampires, but that’s not out of dislike. It’s more because I prefer magic and pixie dust to blood, hunting, and overgrown dogs (which is essentially what I see the werewolves as). Yeah, typical “girlishness”, but if I like cute, I like cute. Don’t fault me.

The only complaint I have – and it’s a rather minor one – is that the ratio with the supernatural sims is uneven. Granted, I doubt I’ve met every sim in the town, but most of the sims I encounter seem to be human sims. Of the ones who are supernatural, I’ve only seen one werewolf, one vampire, and I had to manually add a witch. I’ve only seen three other fairies, one of which I made in another household, so make that two. There’s a cheat for the population controls, so I could probably fix this, but it’s not a huge deal, so I’d rather leave it alone.

Oh, and zombies are also included and while they are a nuisance, they’re really not much to gripe about. If you stay indoors, they can’t even hurt you. They’ll eat garden plants, but just put a wall or something around it and you should be safe. The limited edition gave buyers cute little peashooters to defend your house. They do a great job most of the time and you can play catch with the cute little guys. Aww!

SeasonsAlthough the lack of weather never bothered me in TS3 – seriously, it was to the point I never even noticed it was always sunny – Seasons is second on my list of favorite. What I like most is the festivals in this EP. My favorite season is spring (just as in real life), thus I like the spring festival and Love Day the most, but I try to have my sims attend all the festivals at some point. They really are fun, although I admit trying to win tickets can be a slight pain, especially if you’re aiming for a certain prize to redeem in exchange for them.

A minor thing I really love in this EP is that the sims have those aqua lounges they can use in the ocean or in a pool. Being able to take a nap on the water is pretty cool! I’ve also really taken to skating, both rollerblading and ice skating.

The only issues I have with this EP are the aliens and the weather itself, sort of. I don’t care for alien abductions and I wish I could turn those off, but I guess since they don’t happen often, it’s not much to whine about. As for the weather, it rains too darn much, at least in my game. I know I could just turn it off in the options, but I get rain more than snow and hail, except in winter. If I turn the rain off, what’s the point of having Seasons installed?

I bought Ambitions with the base game, so in my mind, I’ve always had this EP. In fact, it was an accident! I only saw the text “The Sims 3 Deluxe” and missed the smaller print. I found out later it was a separate expansion all on its own.

I tend to have very career-oriented sims, so this EP is practically perfect in regards to that since it’s essentially the entire point. The rabbit holes never bothered me, but it gets pretty boring waiting for my sim to finish work, especially if there’s only one sim in the household. It’s much more fun to be involved with helping the sims do their jobs. Also, unlike the jobs, each profession is always available on the computer or in the newspaper. My personal favorite is the ghost hunter profession. It really did spook me a few times, especially when I played at night. Hey, I love a little scare every once in a while.

The skill careers are the best, however. That may have something to do with the fact that I myself want to be self-employed someday and I’d be a liar if I said my own life and desires didn’t occasionally factor into how I play this game. I only wish it was possible to officially retire from these careers, but I guess since sims can technically stop at any time without penalty, “official” retirement doesn’t make much sense. I also think the skill careers are the most lucrative if you allow them to be. Back in 2011, I think, I had a writer and a painter in one household. They eventually became so rich, I got bored with them. When I finally stopped playing with them, they had over $400,000 and that’s the money that was left over after I had them purchase an expensive house in Hidden Springs. I later moved them to Bridgeport and they still had more than enough money left, despite that I had stopped having them write and paint after the first move to Hidden Springs. I guess one could argue that’s possible with any career, but I never got that much with a job or profession. Maybe I was impatient?

I really don’t have any complaints for Ambitions. The game adds many more options for jobs, as well as skills and some other things I can’t remember right now. I think the professions may be less lucrative than jobs, but that’s not really a problem because any income at the top is good enough for me. So no issues with this one.

PetsI love animals in real life. Give me one reason I shouldn’t love the Pets expansion. Save your breath. There aren’t any. In fact, the only thing that upsets me with this one is that there are no rabbits. I want a bunny!

I think what I like most about the pets is that they are useful. Seriously. If your sim has a cat or a dog, they can almost literally live off their pets. Cats can find valuable critters and dogs can find valuable gems. It’ll take a while, but it’s possible. If you like horses, you’re really in for it, as you get money for entering and competing in equestrian competitions. Besides that, the pets are just plain adorable and fun to have around the house. And I can say that with both virtual and real life experience.

There are also minor pets in the game, which are a better option if you don’t want to be bothered with watching over cats, dogs, or horses. All you have to do is remember to feed them every so often. They can quickly turn into a collection if you’re not careful, though. I had a sim collect six of them and even had to add a whole new room to the house to make space for their tanks and cages because I didn’t want to let them go.

Unicorns are also included in this pack, but I don’t really care much for them. I’ve only seen a unicorn once in the whole game.

As I said, all that upsets me about this EP is the lack of rabbits, which isn’t really much of a complaint. Besides that, I have nothing to gripe about. I know there some people who have a problem with pets scratching up the furniture and such, but I have never had that problem.

Late NightLate Night is what I like to call a “partier” expansion pack. That is, it centers around partying, social activities, and as the name may imply, hitting up the town during the night. I am not a party girl, and my sims usually aren’t either, but I love this EP. Mostly because of the town that comes with it, Bridgeport, and I am a city girl all around. I happen to live right outside New York City, which was my first thought when I first played in Bridgeport. The apartments were a really nice change of pace from the houses of the other towns, and I also like how full the city is. With how I grew up, apartments hit closer to home than houses. But let’s not get into that.

I did find myself spending a fair amount of time in the clubs and bars because they are somewhat nice, especially the exclusive ones. I went there more just to get out of the apartment than socialize, so few people being around didn’t bother me. Sometimes, funnily, the clubs would be empty.

This pack introduced vampires, which I didn’t pay much attention to at the time because all they seemed to do was hunt. Celebrity status was also introduced here and I have to say it got on my nerves. The option to disable it wasn’t available yet, so becoming a celebrity was practically a given. It also takes a long time to get to five stars. Maybe others have it easier, but I find it difficult. The perk of being recognized was nice, but I soon was wishing the feature could be turned off or controlled because I’d had it with celebrities. Of course, now that the option is available, the point is moot. The last thing I can think of that Late Night introduced was bands, but I never utilized that feature, so I don’t really care.

Showtime Showtime is another expansion I consider to be a “partier” pack, although not in the same sense as Late Night. The focus of this EP is becoming a celebrity, whereas in Late Night, the idea is just hanging around late at night. Showtime brought along three professions: singer, magician, and acrobat. It also brought along new social features, which I never even tried to pay attention to.

Starlight Shores, the town that comes with Showtime, is also another city, which I was happy about, although it irked me slightly that the cities are about celebrity status. Forgive me for getting personal, but if you grew up as an inner city kid, you’ll get it. Anyway, the professions in Showtime essentially work the same way as the ones in Ambitions, but with a little twist. You choose the jobs. You may get requests every now and then, but you choose who and where to perform. The better you get, the more venues you’ll be able to perform in.

This EP is not as flashy as it seems. I’ll tell you that now. In fact, chances are your performances will be downright dull, even at the big venues. Also, it seems bad performances affect your relationships with some sims. My singer had a friend who became an enemy over time and someone told me bad performances could possibly be the reason. I watched her next performance and I did see her lose a few points with a sim. That just seems ridiculous to me. She also had the “That Was Deliberate” LTR and never had a bad review, so I’m even more confused as to what was going on.

I really don’t have much to say for this EP in terms of praise or criticism. I can’t say I dislike it because I don’t. You can live your sim life without embarking on the path of a singer, magician, or acrobat, so it’s not like the idea is forced. I also do like the professions because going onto bigger and better venues is a nice, little achievement. The experience I mentioned above was just a bad experience. I can’t toss the whole EP out over that. So I guess I can say I’m indifferent to this one, although even that’s not entirely accurate.

GenerationsGenerations is kind of a toss-up for me. The expansion isn’t bad by any means, but I had some trouble seeing the point in it. The idea of this EP is living life to the fullest, but what the heck does that even mean? Ask a thousand people and you’ll get a thousand answers, few, if any, of them alike.

This EP added certain themes to each stage, mainly children and teens. While it’s a good idea in itself, I personally find the themes kind of limiting, so to speak. For example, the child stage centers around playing pretend and make-believe, which is cute to an extent, but I hated dressing up as a kid. Playing pretend wasn’t my thing. Reading a book was. For teens, the theme is rebellion and causing trouble. The most “rebellion” I made as a teen was pouting because there was too much noise and I wanted quiet. For young adults and adults, the theme is relationships, especially marriage and parenthood. For elders, it’s enjoying their golden years and watching their grandchildren grow up. That’s nice, I guess.

In case you don’t see where I’m going with this, the themes of each stage are too stereotypical. Yes, I know you don’t have to follow the themes and I like all of the new additions to the stages, but the stereotypes bug me. There’s more to life than any of that, depending on who you ask, and everyone just getting married and having kids is boring to me.

However, that is where my complaints stop. My favorite thing in this EP are the boarding schools. Makes it easy to have lots of kids. Send all of them away! Haha! Of course, that begs the question of what’s the point in having them? I’m also amused by the punishments in the game, especially the time-out one. I don’t know why, but seeing my child or teen sim quietly crying while facing the wall is laughable. This EP also brought the chemistry set, which is great because I don’t have to save up 70,000 lifetime points for a Young Again potion. Then, there are bunk beds (something I miss from my childhood; don’t laugh), spiral staircases, treehouses, and some more stuff I can’t think of right now. Basically, I like this EP more for what’s on the side than the main focus.

University LifeI was thrilled when University Life came out because I wanted to see what all the excitement was about. I never played with University in TS2, so I didn’t see why this pack was such a big deal. School is boring, although I’m not ungrateful because I found my friends.

Anyway, UL didn’t disappoint me, but it also didn’t excite me as much as I was hoping. I attended Sims University twice and found it to be repetitive. Now, that may have to do with the fact that UL has a slight party theme and, as I’ve already said, I am not a partier. The point is to succeed at college, but also party, get drunk, riot and protest, experience romance, and all the other typical stuff. Basically, stuff I don’t care to do in real life. I did have one sim sign up for a college sport, but mostly, my sims just went bowling for fun. That was enough, and I was very happy to see that return.

I also think there could’ve been more than six degrees. The ones given are not bad by any means, but I think more could’ve fit in. Criminal Justice is one I can think of. That could’ve helped with the Law Enforcement career.

I don’t really have any complaints about UL. There is nothing I find wrong with the pack. It’s just not my thing. Attending university is entirely optional. It gives you a head start on some careers, but you’d eventually reach the top anyway. An aptitude test could win you some aid, but tuition is rather cheap. About the price of the boarding schools in Generations. In short, UL is effortless, and that is definitely a great thing because I have enough challenges with school in real life, but it’s also just not my cup of cocoa outside of succeeding academically.

Island ParadiseIsland Paradise has little to gripe about. This EP brought a new town, a new skill, new careers, new residences, and more stuff I can’t think of right now. My favorite that it brought is the new life state: mermaids. No, I will not create a sim version of Princess Ariel, although it’s tempting.

So why is it so low on my list? For starters, one thing there is to gripe about is that most of its features are exclusive to Isla Paradiso. Not strictly exclusive in the sense that they literally can’t be used in other towns, but in the sense that’s it’s almost pointless to. It’s like trying to become a vocal legend in Appaloosa Plains. That’s a big disappointment when it comes to the underwater worlds. The houseboats, even if you place multiple ones, look out of place in other towns, except maybe Sunlit Tides, although I don’t know if placing them elsewhere is possible because I haven’t tried it. Even the lifeguard career is out of place outside of Isla Paradiso.

I didn’t spend much time playing with IP because I didn’t want a new saved game at the minute. The additions it brings are undoubtedly great, but with the theme being vacation, IP seems more like a distraction than a part of central gameplay.

Into the FutureI haven’t played much with Into the Future, I admit, but I don’t think I’ll be using it much. Like Island Paradise, it seems more like a fun distraction for an amount of time. The premise of it is cool and going by content, you could say EA saved the best for last. The idea is that what you do in the present affects the future and it can either be a dystopia, neutral, or a utopia. However, unless you really get into this EP, you’ll likely forget to be concerned with that. It also seems you can’t bring any of the future from Oasis Landing back with you to the present, save for items purchased straight from buy mode, so travelling back and forth seems like a timewaster.

At the start of your game, whether it’s a new one or a saved one, almost as soon as your household loads up, the time travel portal with spring up from your lot. You can move it, put it in your inventory, and even sell it, so I guess they considered the small annoyance factor, which is good. I was very happy to discover that.

There is really nothing bad to say about this EP. I like technology (as evidenced by the fact that I’m using the internet), modern-ness, and the like, but I don’t think much about the distant future. And yes, it technically is a distant future. At least, I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be.

World AdventuresAt the bottom of my list is World Adventures. At one time, I really did have a lot of fun with this, but it’s been so long since I travelled to one of the destinations, I genuinely can’t remember when I did it. The scenery of the destinations is awesome, but I’m not kidding when I say scenery was the most enjoyable part. I rarely found anything worthy of calling treasure in the tombs to take back. I was so bored, I never considered returning to increase my visa level further. Well, maybe bored isn’t the right word. I just didn’t want to do a dozen or however many puzzles. It does get tedious after a while. I think there are different kinds of quests, but I’m not certain, although I am sure most of them involve going into a tomb.

Basically, I quickly lost interest in travelling. In fact, unless you are a scenery fanatic, want the skills available in the locations (photography in Al Simhara, martial arts in Shang Simla, and Nectar Making in Champs Les Sims), or just like challenges, I’d say this EP isn’t much. That doesn’t make it worthless, but it would appeal more to someone who likes travelling or art, I guess (in reference to scenery).

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