❗ DISCLOSURE: Wee Albet received an advanced review copy of The Sims 4 Parenthood. Please note that this does not influence the rating decision or opinions of in any way, shape, or form.
❗ Be sure to check out the SimsVIP Parenthood Game Guide for help with your game.
The Sims 4 Parenthood is the fifth Game Pack to be released for The Sims 4 and it focuses on enhancing family gameplay. In this review we are going to be breaking down the pack to discuss the new Create a Sim options; Build and Buy Mode additions and Gameplay before I give you my verdict. So, grab a Sippy Cup, put your feet up and get comfy – there’s a lot to discuss with The Sims 4 Parenthood!
Create a Sim Additions
The Sims 4 Parenthood comes with a great selection of Create a Sim items for all ages. Most of the items are available for Child and older Sims, with the style being a mixture of grungy and sporty looks. Toddlers (it still feels strange talking about toddlers in The Sims 4!) get a few new items, but not many. This is unfortunate as we don’t have that many items for this age group, a few new hairs for them would have been a much welcomed addition.
The grungy look of the items is a nice change to the mostly pristine items already available in the game. It’s great to have clothing and hair options that can help us better express our Sims’ personalities and Character Values (more on that later). For the children, it looks like their clothes have been ripped, torn and worn during play, while the older clothing options look like they have been well worn but much loved. I think everyone has a slightly ripped pair of jeans that are looking a little worse for wear, but we love them and refuse to part with them. Well, that’s kind of what these items look like.
For the Teen and older Sims, I am impressed that the developers were able to make clothes that look like something teenagers would wear, but still make them look acceptable for Young Adults and older to wear. The items also work great with content already in the game and released from previous packs, so while there is a distinct look to the new additions, you won’t feel like you can only use the new items only.
There’s also several new hair options for Children and up. The hair styles all look great and fit in well with the overall style of the pack. I especially love the curly hair for Female Teens and up! My only dislike about one of the new hairs is the lack of a plain colour style. There are two variations available in CAS, but both are full of highlights and colours. I’d have liked to have seen a style with standard hair colours too.
Build and Buy Mode Additions
In Build and Buy Mode, we have a substantial number of new items to add to our Sims home, whether it be a new kitchen, an update to your Teens room or just sprucing up the living room, there’s something for every room. Most of the items have a certain charm to them that make them seem perfect for family homes, or for Grandma and Grandpa to make use out of.
I especially love the new kitchen we have got, it is a strange mix of modern and country. There’s even a new kitchen sink that’s oversized (it’s not a normal kitchen sink that sits in a counter top, it’s a standalone item), and it blends in seamlessly with the kitchen counters. Unfortunately though, the back of the kitchen sink does not sit flush with the back of counters and island counters, which limits it to being placed only against the wall instead of in a central island.
For people who like clutter, this pack has you covered! There’s so much for you to throw around the place to make a house a home. Whether it’s the new bread bin and dish rack for the kitchen, books and clothes strewn around on the bedroom floor, or new bathroom clutter, there’s a lot here.
We’ve also got a number of new gameplay objects, mostly orientated for Children and Teens, which is a much welcomed addition to the game. There are items like school projects, journals, brick building tables and a few more toys.
The brick building table is probably one of my favourite new additions, I’m an AFOL (Adult Fan Of Lego) in real life, so having my Sims be able to build things (Young Adults and older too!) is great fun to watch! Even better is that once the build is complete, Sims can play with the finished item. I do wish we could remove the completed build from the table and place it on the floor though, it’d be fun for Children and Toddlers to play with them together as Toddlers can’t use the table.
Gameplay is going to be a hard topic to cover for this review as there’s so much to talk about with The Sims 4 Parenthood. Pretty much every aspect of family life in The Sims 4 has been impacted by this Game Pack, which is fantastic. What I am loving about Parenthood is that the pack has been seamlessly integrated with the core gameplay that you don’t need to do anything to use the new features.
The new gameplay systems are also designed for players who have generational games. The major mechanics (such as Character Traits, improved relationships and more) are constantly changing and adapting to how the player is playing out their Sims’ family life.
There’s a lot of new systems in place now, including the Character Values, temporary Traits, improved family relationships, and school projects. To make it a little easier to discuss, I’m going to talk about these systems individually, but then give an example of how they all come together to have a huge impact on the game.
Character Values is a new system which impacts a Sims day-to-day life in a variety of different ways. All Toddler to Teen Sims will have a new Simology panel and various actions they perform on a daily basis can positively or negatively impact the five Values. The five Character Values are Manners, Responsibility, Conflict Resolution, Empathy and Emotional Control.
Each of these Values has a scale which is constantly changing from one side to the other and can be directly influenced by the player. Where a Sim sits in this scale will have subtle impacts on how the Sim behaves. For example, Sims who are further along the green scale of Manners won’t burp or fart and will be appalled by Sims who perform these actions. The opposite is true for Sims who are more into the red.
As Sims develop these Character Values, new options may appear in the game. For example, Sims with negative Emotions and who have a good level of Emotional Control can perform certain interactions to relieve some of these issues. Once a Sim has filled up enough red or green in the gauge, they are eligible to unlock a new Trait when they age up from Teen to Young Adult.
These new Character Value traits can impact many areas of a Sims life, whether it be Responsible Sims performing better at their jobs or Sims with Bad Manners unintentionally putting their foot in their mouth during social interactions, the effects of these Traits are noticeable and really help to enhance a Sims personality.
Improved Family Relationships
Another area which has received an update with The Sims 4 Parenthood is the way familial Sims relate and interact with each other. An update to the Relationship Panel now gives further information on the state of a Sims relationship with their family member. However, even the way Sims can interact with each other has been upgraded.
Teens and younger who are going through a Phase may exhibit certain behaviours which could be somewhat undesirable for the “perfect” family. A Teen going through an emotional stage may wish to avoid family members and get snappy with them when they try talking to them. Parents who have advanced their new Parenting Skill can sit down and talk to their child about their problems, which presents the player with a hint on how you can help get the child out of the phase. It’s a small, subtle change, but it really helps enforce those family bonds.
I’ve spoken a lot during this review of The Sims 4 Parenthood about things that are new for the children of a family, but a large part of this pack also focuses on the parents too. New to The Sims 4 is new ways to be a parent. Your parent Sims (or any caregiver) are able to influence their childs actions in many different ways, with outcomes that are far-reaching in the game.
New to the social interaction menu is a new Parenting section with a variety of interactions available. Several factors are at play here which help determine what options are available including the age of a child, the Parenting Skill level and many recent interactions recently performed by the child. These interactions could be to ask a Sim to set the table or take out the trash. The Parenting Skill level determines how likely a child is to perform the task, as well as how the child is feeling at the time.
If the child performs these interactions, then they often receive a change to their Character Values. For example, a Sim who is asked to set the table will see an increase in their Manners Character Value. If a child recently performed an interaction, say completing their homework, the parent is able to encourage this behaviour, which sees a positive increase in their Responsibility Character Value. The same is true when a certain action is performed which requires a punishment, this will also impact their Character Values.
Over the course of a Sims childhood years, the response from their parents will have a huge impact on what sort of adult they will become, and thus, how the child will influence their offspring. A parent with Bad Manners will likely result in a child with Bad Manners as they encourage that type of behaviour.
Other Gameplay Additions
But wait! There’s MORE! So, as well as everything I’ve already discussed, there’s even more included in this Game Pack. So, you may recall earlier I mentioned School Projects? Well, schools have also been tweaked a bit too. When a child goes to school, they make come home (typically on a Monday) with a School Project to work on. These are very useful gameplay items as they not only help improve school performance, but will also help build skills (related to the age of the child).
How these projects get completed is up to you. Will your Sim rush it and get a lower quality item, or will they work carefully and produce a fantastic project? What about if they start it, but ignore it and their parents finish it instead? Heck, you can even treat it as a group project and have several Sims work on it together. The good thing about the completed school projects is that the final product becomes a decor item to place around you Sims’ house, several of them even offer interactions too. Also, watch out for siblings who don’t get along…
Also added for schools are Character Trait events which will have an impact on the child. During school hours, a parent may receive a phone call from the school alerting them of something (causing problems in class, playing kiss chase, leaving love letter for teachers etc). The school phones to ask the parent on how they would like the situation to be handled. Depending on the response from the parent, two Character Traits will be effected. One will receive a positive boost, while the other will receive a negative decline.
The same also happens when children are at home, they’ll randomly approach a parent and ask their advice for a problem. How the parent responds will impact two Character Traits. Depending on the Parenting Skill level of the parent, you’ll be able to see which traits will be effected and how.
There’s also a new family notice board, which acts as a sort of “family hub”. This board is where curfews are set and family members can even leave little notes for each other too. Child Sims who draw pictures on the Activity Table can leave a picture on the board for another Sim, and when that Sim views it, you will see relationship changes. I actually love this item, I’ve been using the Postcard Cork Board from the Base Game as a pretend notice board, but with this notice board, I don’t need to pretend any longer!
Now, on the subject of curfews, our children Sims can have them. An adult can set a curfew for 7pm, 9pm or 11pm. While the child is off the lot boundaries, and the time for their curfew to start draws near they’ll receive a text from a parent reminding them to come home. You can either take the child home, or not. Sims who ignore their curfew will see their Responsibility Character Trait take a constant hit as a result, and probably receive a stern lecture from their parents when they finally get home.
Another great addition is the introduction of the punishment system. Children who misbehave can now be sent for a Time Out or can be banned from certain activities for a period of time. Being grounded doesn’t mean the child can’t perform those activities though, but they’ll have to be sneaky about it.
The Sims 4 Parenthood Game Pack retails at $19.99 USD on Origin and contains a plethora of new additions which will impact the game in almost every way.
This Game Pack is one which offers so much to the core game that it’s actually difficult to discuss each thing individually. Everything in this pack has been designed to work as a whole. It completely changes the way the game plays without you having to do anything to get use out of it (compared to running a restaurant, working as a Doctor or visiting the Spa).
Instead of The Sims 4 Parenthood offering short, instantaneous bursts of gameplay, everything is designed to work over the course of several age spans and generations. It’s one of those packs which is fundamentally going to change the way people enjoy and experience The Sims 4. I’ve not even covered everything this pack has to offer as there’s just so much included in it.
Now, those of you who are familiar with my reviews will be aware that I am a huge family player in The Sims 4. I’m so happy to say that this Game Pack completely took my expectations and ran with them. It offers so much more to the game than I thought it would do that I don’t think I could ever play the game without it now. If you were to only ever purchase a single pack for The Sims 4, this is the pack to get, you will not be disappointed.
The Sims 4 Parenthood Game Pack will be available worldwide from May 30th 2017. Thank you for taking the time to read this review and I hope it has helped you make a decision about the Game Pack Pack. Take care and have an amazing day!