The Sims 4 Get to Work is the first major Expansion Pack to 2014’s The Sims 4. I’m here today to review the expansion and let you know if I recommend it to you. I do, you should go out and buy it, it’s very fun to play. Thanks for reading the review and enjoy The Sims 4 Get to Work! Oh, you want more information? Very well, let’s get reviewing!!
Get to Work is, as the name suggests, about taking your Sims off to work! There are three major “Active Careers” included and a fully fleshed out retail experience to enhance your Sims’ lives and your game. The new careers are Detective, Doctor and Scientist. But Get to Work isn’t only about your Sims’ 9 to 5 daily grind, there is so much more to this expansion pack. I’m going to break down the review a little into easier to digest sections as there is a LOT to cover!
Besides the three new Active Careers and the ability to run a retail store, Get to Work seamlessly introduces many new features to The Sims 4. Enhance your Kitchen Master’s culinary skills with the introduction of the new Baking skill. Have your Sims suddenly started vomiting and feeling dizzy? They could be sick with the new Sickness system! Capture all of life’s greatest (and not so greatest) moments with the Photography skill. Want to go experience the retail system but not own a shop? The game has you covered! Just head down to the shopping district and shop ’til your Sims drop!
With the Baking skill your Sims can now bake a lot of new tasty treats from brownies (yum!), cookies, bread, pies and more! What I particularly like about the new foods is that they don’t fully satisfy your Sims’ Hunger need. Given that they are just snacks I didn’t want my Sim to eat a cookie at breakfast and not need to eat again until dinner. Continue building your Sims Baking skill and start decorating the tasty treats in different styles. I personally see the Baking skill as more of a hobby than the standard Cooking and Gourmet Cooking skills. You can bake several dishes and leave them on the side for when your Sim is peckish (they have a longer time until they spoil).
The Photography skill is one I wasn’t that interested in much when it was first announced, photography in The Sims has never been something I’ve enjoyed all that much for some reason. Given that I’m reviewing Get to Work, I figured I’d at least have to dabble with the skill a little to have something to say on the subject. So, I purchase my Sim a camera and start taking pictures, then it happened. I fell in love with the photography skill! Using the cameras is fun and simple! You simply select the camera in your Sims’ personal inventory and select “Take Photo”. This then pulls up a new interface (very similar to the upgraded Painting feature in the recent patch) with a bunch of new options. Choose a filter (because it’s all about the filters!), choose an image size! Zoom in or out, change the orientation of the picture. It’s very involved, but most importantly, it’s easy and fun to use! I found myself liking the scenery my Sim was in and having her whip out her camera for that perfect shot. I’d see a Sim walking down the road looking sad and take a photo using the Sepia filter to give the image a more dramatic look.
You will also notice a new addition to your Sims’ cell phone – Take Selfie. We’ve all seen our Sims randomly pull out their phone and start taking snaps of themselves. Well, now we can make them do that and actually hang their snaps on the wall! And it’s not just a simple case of selecting Take Selfie and an image is put in your Sims’ inventory. Oooooh no, it’s so much better! In a similar way to the camera interface, you will get a screen interface with the same settings as a camera (minus image size). To add to the Selfie, your Sims’ current Emotion also seems to influence what pose they are in. You can also rotate your Sims position by 360 degrees so you can get the backdrop you really want!
Poses have to be where the Photography skill lacks a little. Unless I missed something, you aren’t able to select a pose or expression for your Sim. Instead a pose is randomly selected for you. You can just close the interface and try taking a different picture, but I think that some form of button to change the pose/ expression would have been a good feature to have.
Not limited to the Doctor’s career, Sims of Child age and older can start showing symptoms of an illness. You may notice that your Sim occasionally coughs, sneezes, vomits (where they stand too, it’s very gross) to list but a few symptoms. It also seems that some motives decrease more when they are ill too. If you have been worried about the sickness system taking over your game and you are having to constantly take care of a sick Sim, fear not! While your Sim will show symptoms of being sick and get moodlets (both positive and negative ones), the system won’t stop you from enjoying the game. Instead it is just another layer added to the Sims tapestry.
There are several ways to help your Sim get better. One of the more obvious remedy’s is ordering some medicine online and having your Sim take it. But I also found that having your Sim drink Orange Juice and tea helps them recover too. While my review Sim was ill a few times (I’d been playing for several in-game weeks), it was never to the point I was annoyed with the system.
While you can build and run your own shop, what about Sims and players who just want to send a Sim shopping? Well, Maxis has you covered! Get to Work ships with 3 premade retail lots in Magnolia Promenade, the new retail district. One of the shops is set up like a clothing store and has various mannequins dotted around along with perfume bottles (decor) and folded clothes among other little trinkets for sale. The second store is more of a department store selling sporting clothes and furniture. The final store is set up to be a childrens toy and collectable store. The process for purchasing items is simple, if something is for sale you simply click it and select “Buy”. Funds are automatically deducted from your Sims account and the item is placed in either your Household Inventory or your Sims Personal Inventory depending on the item. One thing about this system I wasn’t too happy about was that a retail employee doesn’t come over with their tablet to take the money, nor can I go to the cash register to pay for items. It’s a bit of an immersion breaker I found. However, I was very happy to see other Townies purchasing items and having their sale rung up by an NPC retail worker.
Setting up a retail store for all your Sims to visit and shop from is a bit of a hassle though. You need to have a Sim purchase the shop to set what items are for sale and how much they are on sale for, then (if you don’t want to keep it owned), sell it again. I had a look in Build Mode to see if there was something I was missing for marking items for sale but it doesn’t seem like there is anything for that. If it is possible for something like this to be patched into the game in the future, I think it would make it a lot more straight forward for people who just want to enjoy the retail experience. I’m also not sure if items marked for sale will transfer with lots uploaded to the Gallery. At the time of this writing Get to Work isn’t publicly available so I can’t test this out. I will update you on this when it is possible. Overall though I am very happy with the retail experience, I’ve missed taking my Sims out shopping, especially for clothes! I am very excited to see what the community will come up with for shops!!
Aliens are back! And better yet, you can play with them right away by making them in Create a Sim! Aliens in The Sims 4 have a number of abilities you can use, including setting up a human disguise! I create a brother-sister Alien household and set them loose in Oasis Springs. Everett was a curious Alien wanting to learn more about humans, while Dannara was wanting to romance as many humans as she could! For Everett it was a bit of a no brainer that he would join the Scientist career, while Dannara opted for the life of leisure.
One morning, Eliza Pancakes happened to stop by and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the new Alien Powers. He tried to analyse Eliza’s personality. While it was successful in telling him about her traits, it also revealed to her that he was an Alien. She didn’t seem to mind though and when he let his true form out, she still stuck around. Everett started to tease Eliza with a probing device! While she was terrified at first, she soon found it hilarious!
Occult Sims have never been something I’ve experimented with much in The Sims, but the Aliens in The Sims 4 Get to Work do seem interesting. I particularly like that we can alter a human disguise for the aliens making them blend in with human Sims. Because of this disguise feature I think I may play around with Aliens a bit more. As I spoke about in my The Sims 4 Get to Work UK Community Event post, I am wanting to create a household of aliens who try to live normal lives while performing experiments on Sims with potions. While Aliens aren’t my sort of thing, I’m happy that they have returned as I know there are many Simmers out there who wanted to see them return.
The New Careers
Get to Work comes with three new Active Careers and the ability for your Sims to make it in the world of retail. The three Active Careers are all entered into and follow the same sort of pattern, but each is different in its own way. Your Sim will apply for the job on their cell phone or computer just like any other career. But that’s where the similarity to other careers ends. When the time comes for your Sim to go to work you are presented with a dialogue box asking if you would like to follow your Sim to work or if you want to stay on the lot and send them off by themselves. Chose the latter and the Sim goes off to work and you can “influence” their day just like any other job. Follow them to work and that’s where the real fun begins! When you follow your Sim to any of the three new careers you will find that you have “tasks” to perform while on the clock. Complete enough of these and you will find your Sims daily goal meter increase.
When you first start the medical career, you are charged with ensuring that patients are cared for, beds are made and the hospital is clean and tidy. When the Doctor career works, it’s very enjoyable to play, but I did encounter a few issues while playing that made it a bit frustrating. As you begin taking patient details and running the early tests one of your task is often to refer that patient on to a higher up member of staff. This sounds simple enough, only it wasn’t. For some reason this staff member would leave the hospital at 9am while you are still completing the early tests. This meant that there was no way for you to complete this job task, leaving you with only two other job tasks to carry out in order to gain job performance. But the problem didn’t end there.
Another common task was to greet patients. Again, this sounds simple, but it wasn’t always possible to complete this. The game will pull in random Sims who are sick and make them wait at the reception desk for you to take them to a bed for tests. But the problem is that these Sims are often the same Sims. Eventually you have greeted all the same Sims and you are not able to complete this job task either.
This left me with only one job task to complete. This could often be cleaning, feeding a patient or running tests. My Sims’ job performance too a serious hit at the end of the day and she wasn’t paid that much either (pay is calculated based on daily performance). This made the medical career feel more like a grind than it was enjoyable. I wanted to stick at the job and see if it improved and eventually it did. The higher staff member left work early on Monday’s and Tuesday’s but seemed to stay later later on in the week. I was then able to fulfil the patient referral tasks. Eventually the pool of patients got changed too and the “greet” requirement eventually stopped showing up.
Once these issues solved themselves I found the medical career a very fun one to play, but I do wish that there was an option to cancel a task and have another take it’s place (much like how we can cancel a “Whim”) so you can continue doing the job without being punished for the game mechanics.
The detective career is probably my favourite career out of the three included in Get to Work. Once you complete the mandatory “Training Days” the job opens up a lot and you are granted a lot of freedom with it. You’ll start a case by searching on the computer for a crime. You then click on the Crime Board to be taken to a randomly generated crime scene. So far I’ve seen arson, burglary and graffiti as a crime. When at the crime scene you look for different clues, normally in the form of transparent items that have been stolen, random graffiti, things lying on the floor etc. Depending on the type of clue it will require fingerprinting, photographing or the taking of samples. You’ll then interview any witnesses around too. You can also find extra clues by searching the scene using a sonar styled interaction that highlights any items of interest. Collecting as much evidence as possible is really helpful too, while you may only get a few “Collect Evidence” job tasks appear, collecting many more will make the rest of the case easier and will actually net you more job bonus further down the investigation.
Once you are back at the station you need to analyse the evidence. This could be on the computer or the science lab. Each successful analysis will give you more clues. You will then put these clues on the Crime Map. For maximum job performance I highly recommend you only analyse and put clues on the Crime Map when your Job Task says so. It will show up for each bit of evidence and will grant extra performance when you complete it. Eventually you will have enough clues to issue an APB about the suspect. The more evidence you collect, the better the suspect description is. I’ve had 9 details about one of the suspects of a crime and it certainly makes spotting them easier!
Once the APB has been issued you will be taken to a random lot to search for the suspect. You can ask other Sims for help if you have any issues finding the suspect. Once you’ve found the right suspect you can arrest them and be taken back to the police station. Here you will need to fingerprint them, search them and take their mugshot. After then you can interrogate them.
The interrogation is like a mini-game. You have to build up the “confession meter” at the top of the screen (it replaces the conversation tab at the top center). To fill this meter you will show off evidence and you can play “Good Cop/Bad Cop” with interactions that can fill or empty the meter. Once the meter is full the suspect will want to make a confession. Take their confession then lock them in a jail cell and throw away the key! Case closed and it’s on to the next one!!
Being a Scientist is all about the science! You start the career just like the other Active Careers and at the start of your shift you are whisked away to a super-secret lab somewhere in the desert! Here you perform experiments, research, chat with other scientists and occasionally set yourself on fire. The science lab itself actually looks like a crazy lab! It has large decor items that really add to the feel of the lot. Better yet, a lot of these items animate bringing more life to the lot!
Before my Sims first shift, he had a “Eureka” moment while washing some dishes, I was then told to check his notebook (accessed via the cell phone) for information. He had suddenly discovered how to make a contraption. At the start of his shift he went to the large invention device and started to make this contraption while chatting to the machine. All was going well until the machine backfired and my Sim was set on fire! Thankfully there was a decontamination chamber (shower) down in the basement and my Sim was able to extinguish himself.
He decided that it was a bit too dangerous to build things straight away and went around the other machines to do research. After a while he plucked up the courage to repair the invention machine and talk with it, this seemed to have helped and he then went about constructing his device from his Eureka moment. While my time spent with the Scientist career was only a few hours long, I enjoyed what I played. I particularly like the idea of crafting new, random items too! The scientist lot also seems more appropriate for the overly large microscope and telescope from The Sims 4.
The owning of a retail store in Get to Work was probably an area I was both most excited for and also most worried about. The Sims 2 Open for Business is still among one one my most favourite expansion packs in the entire The Sims franchise. I have to admit that I was worried about retail businesses returning in an EP with other jobs (similar to The Sims 3 Ambitions) as I felt it might have been less fleshed out that I’d like. I’m happy to say that what I experienced with the running of a store completely blew my expectations away.
Starting a store is as simple as purchasing a lot. You can buy a lot in Magnolia Promenade or in any of the other main worlds. You won’t be able to purchase a lot in Granite Falls, the world which came with The Sims 4 Outdoor Retreat Gameplay Pack though. If a lot is designated as a non-retail lot and you want to purchase it, you can do so easily. The game will tell you it’s not a Retail Lot and ask if you wish to convert it to one. Agree and hey presto, you have a retail lot!
Upon purchasing the lot you will be instantly taken there to set up a business. You will also notice that your Sim has two bank accounts now too – one for everyday life and one for the business. You can easily transfer funds between them too. This small addition will mean that you can always set aside a certain amount of money for your Sim and ensure you don’t make your Sims completely broke. Building a store is the same as building anything else in the game, all the same items and tools are available for you to use.
How you want your store to run is also up to you. You can sell anything from the Buy Mode catalogue, items your Sims craft (such as paintings, photo’s, sculptures etc), collectables, harvestables, food and clothing. You aren’t limited to selling a single theme either, so if you want a Sim who sells paintings as well as toilets, go right ahead! Marking an item for sale is easy too, you simply click on it and select “Set for Sale” and customers will buy it. You can set prices on the cash register, but you can’t set the mark-up on individual items, everything marked for sale will go at the sale price.
How you decorate your shop will impact the customer traffic too, if you have a nicely decorated exterior you will attract more customers to buy your wares. Customers will act appropriately while shopping too so you don’t need to worry about them sitting down and using the television in the staff break room. They tend to stay on the shop floor browsing and chatting. I do feel that customers are a bit too social while shopping though, I hope that something can be changed in a patch to stop Sims from talking so much while shopping.
What I really liked about the running of a shop was just how challenging it is! I tried making a successful bakery but it was difficult making a solid profit. I had to fire the only employee as her wages were seriously impacting the profits. While Sims are browsing your wares a Buy Bar appears above their head so you can gauge their level of interest. You can help push this bar up (or down) with interactions such as Answering Questions, Asking About Spending Limit etc. I did notice that the Buy Bar stops showing occasionally and I haven’t been able to figure out a way to get it to stay there all the time while the Sim is shopping. This stops you (the player) from working out which customer needs attention (i.e. their bar is low) and who you should focus your attention on more. Again, I hope that this can be updated to keep the bar visible at all times while a Sim is shopping.
I am not a believer in giving something a “score” out of a number. I’ve never seen the logic behind how something can be graded up or down or what the grading scale should be based on enjoyment factors. So you won’t get a score for The Sims 4 Get to Work from me. I value information more than a number so I will summarise what I enjoy and didn’t quite enjoy about the first Expansion Pack for The Sims 4.
The first expansion pack in a new The Sims series is often the weakest I have found over the years. This doesn’t seem to be the case with Get to Work. There is no end to the content and possibilities with this expansion pack. While jobs are the main focus of the expansion pack, it doesn’t shy away from enhancing your normal gameplay either. You could comfortably play a non-retail owner, non-Active Career household and still enjoy many of the features. I found myself constantly taking random Selfies of my Sim and hanging them up on the wall for no reason other than it was funny. I’m looking forward to setting up stores and boutiques that all my Sims can use. I’m most excited to set up a grocery store and a clothing store, but I have so many other ideas too! The Active Careers are also very fun to play with too, during the time I’ve spent playing them I’ve not felt bored of performing the random tasks and there are often humorous moments too.
Areas where I feel could be further refined to make the already fun expansion pack more fun would be the tasks in the Active Careers. As mentioned previously, some tasks can become impossible to complete which impacts on your ability to gain Daily Job Performance. I think either having the ability to cancel Job Tasks or to gain Daily Job Performance from non-tasks would stop any annoyance for this. I also feel that customers in shops talk far too much instead of shopping, this should be toned down a bit. The Buy Bar should also remain visible at all times so that the player can decide which customer requires attention more.
There are so many new additions with this pack that it would be impossible to list everything. I loved taking my pregnant Sim to the hospital and having the baby delivered (the arms on the machine also had a fight which I found hilarious!). I feel like this adds a whole new level of “closeness” between the player and their Sims as you can actually be there at the hospital while a new bundle of joy is born. Add in the new birth certificate you get and the cuteness value is multiplied by a thousand! The sickness system also adds a new level of care between the player and their Sims. It is already far too easy to become attached to your Sims in The Sims 4, so when they are ill you want them to get better quicker.
Overall, if you are looking for new ways to play with your Sims, I would recommend The Sims 4 Get to Work. It isn’t all solely about having a new career. There are new ways to play the game and new hobbies for your Sims to take up. It really has something for all kinds of players. The standard has been set for future Expansion Packs for The Sims 4 and Get to Work has set that standard to be a very high one. I’m excited to see what else can be added to the game while enjoying the content we already have!
The Sims 4 Get to Work releases tomorrow in the US and Thursday, April 2nd in Europe. Thank you for taking the time to read this review and I hope it has helped you make a decision about the expansion pack.
Take care and have an amazing day!
Peter (Wee Albet).