The Sims 3: World Adventures full review

I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t review every Sims 3 expansion pack that comes out. The Sims, as a money-making enterprise, is brilliant. An addictive simulator with millions in sales that comes out with seemingly quarterly expansion packs for people to gobble up.

As a gaming experience, the new stuff and new jobs that are available through the expansion packs usually don’t change the fundamental gameplay of the original release. Thus, my trepidation on reviewing a Sims expansion. That said, World Adventures' promise of exciting new locales to investigate was just enough to get my hopes up.

The Sims 3: World Adventures offers players the opportunity to have their Sims travel to three locations (China, Egypt, and France) and go on an adventure. According to the press materials, you can learn new skills (like martial arts), explore dungeons and collect important treasures while giving your Sim new environments to play around in. Three new sand boxes, what could be better?

The reality is that all three areas play very similarly and the adventures feels more like errand running. You’ll put on garb that bizarrely resembles Indiana Jones (sans revolver, whip, and Nazi-fighting) and then meet different locals to begin little quests for items. Almost all of them involve collection of some form, whether it be journeying to a crypt or gathering objects scattered throughout the map.

My Sim and his girlfriend (he’s thinking of asking her to marry him but is having trouble getting beyond her criminal past) traveled to Shang Simla, a vaguely racist sounding name where every major Chinese landmark is twenty minutes away.

Going into the crypt was fun the first time and really shows off the tools that have been created to build a fully interactive world. The dungeons are far from scary and are only rarely dangerous, but the customization and ability to create clever puzzles puts the tools on par with some fantasy RPGs. I’m sure there are people already out there who are creating Dungeons and Dragons maps using these tools.

Still, the dungeons are pretty generic looking, are often tiny, and don’t provide much in the way of challenge. You’ll have to dig through bones to get a key, or swim into a pool to obtain it, or stand on a certain panel to unlock a door-pretty standard stuff. The “moving an object” puzzle is common too, but not easily executed thanks to some awkward controls.

I wanted to move a large statue to the left in order for it to cover the block I needed, but routinely the Sim was only given the object of moving it the opposite directions of where I wanted to go. The small yellow directional indicator that appears during this movement interface needs to be overhauled.

NEXT: Strange Sims oversights

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