The Sims 3: Seasons is the eighth and most recent expansion pack for the popular simulation title. For those of us tired of the constant cloudless, summery weather your sims endure, the wait is finally over. With seasons come weather, and with weather comes lots of new fun for you and your sims to enjoy.
Seasons can be between three and 28 days long and can be edited in the Options menu. You can even turn off some seasons, so you can have autumn all year round if you prefer, or you can skip winter if you don't like the cold. Weather conditions can also be turned on or off, so you can create the pixelated world of your dreams.
There are four major types of weather — fog, hail, rain and snow — and what you see is based on the outside temperature; you won't see snow in the summer, obviously, but it can rain in the winter if it's still too warm to snow. They also occur in different intensities, though that's more or less random. A forecast of "snow" can mean flurries, a blizzard or anything in between. You can tell the temperature with the thermometer on your info bar next to your sim's avatar. Rain can water the plants in your garden for you; when the temperature drops too low, your garden hibernates and won't grow or be harvestable until it thaws out in spring.
To survive the coldest and hottest days in Seasons, you need the right accoutrements. For spring's showers, bring along your umbrella to stay dry. In summer, don't forget your parasol. In Create-A-Sim, a new clothing category, Outerwear, keeps you warm during the coldest winter spells. Lack of caution in the face of temperature changes can lead to serious problems for you and your sims. Failure to keep cool in the summer can lead to a nasty, painful sunburn or even spontaneous combustion! In winter, you run the risk of freezing solid until someone comes to thaw you out. Spring brings allergies, and colds or flu can strike at any time (and always at the worst possible time).
There are no new jobs or towns in Sims 3: Seasons, but there are two new skills: Soccer and Snowboarding. Both can be done all year round, though to snowboard when it's not snowy, you'll need to find a half-pipe in town or put one in your yard. Neither has a career associated, though I'm of the opinion that the Athlete career that came with the original Sims 3 should have the soccer skill associated with it since that career is, after all, a soccer star.
A single new plant has been added to your garden — pumpkins — and can be used in the Pumpkin Pie recipe. A new type of collectible, wildflowers, is also available all year round, though they are more plentiful in the spring. You can now swim in the ocean, though pets still can't, and finally, diving boards are available for your swimming pool.
There is a new occult-type sim as well. The aliens are back! They can't be created in Create-A-Sim, but they can be attracted to your lot, especially if you frequently use the telescope or collect moon rocks. It's possible for your sim to be abducted and, of course, impregnated. Half-alien children always have traits of both parents. For example, an alien-werewolf child may be green and bald, but will still change and get furry under the full moon.
If luck or abduction are not your preferred method of romance, there's a new option for that as well. Your sims now have the option to find a date online. They create a profile on the dating Web site, and it can be as honest or creative as desired. They'll be able to send messages, chat with and eventually meet other sims. If you lied on your profile, don't be surprised if they're disappointed when you finally meet.
The biggest park in town automatically converts to the Festival Grounds, which serve as the central staging grounds for the major festival held each season. For the rest of the season, it's just a normal park. Each season has one big festival, and the whole town gets involved. Participation in the festival nets you tickets, which can be used to buy seasonal decorations, lot items, or food that can't be purchased in normal Buy/Build Mode.
Spring has Love Day, a mash-up of Valentine's Day and Easter. There's an egg hunt, where your sim can win prizes by hunting for eggs hidden around town. Try your hand at a game of horseshoes or a trip around the roller rink, or stop by the kissing booth for a smooch. You can even compete for the Spring King or Spring Queen title at the dance.
With summer comes Leisure Day. It's Memorial Day and Independence Day all rolled into one and, as the name implies, your sims can have the day off work or school to enjoy it. Get your face painted, enjoy a snow cone, and have a water balloon fight with your friends. There's a soccer field set up if you think you've got the skill; if that's not up your alley, see if you have the stomach for the hot-dog-eating contest.
Fall brings cooler weather, leaves changing, and Spooky Day. Like Halloween, Spooky Day is when the whole town dons costumes for a night out. Go trick-or-treating, visit the haunted house, or bob for apples with other sims. You can also carve pumpkins or compete in the pie-eating competition.
Finally, winter snow can only mean one thing: Snowflake Day! A compilation of Thanksgiving and Christmas, Snowflake Day is about friends and family. Throw a feast to share the year's blessings or a gift-giving party to show everyone how much you care. Build snowmen and igloos, have a snowball fight, and then come back inside for a hot cocoa by the fire. You can even join the Polar Bear Club and go swimming in the winter ocean.
Most of the changes that come with Seasons are background events. Unlike Ambitions or Generations, which change the way certain major game mechanics work or make big changes around town, Seasons doesn't change much about the way you play the game. If you choose not to go to the festivals, it's easy to ignore the changes altogether. The weather, which is a fun and interesting mechanic, doesn't change much for your sims on a daily basis. Yes, winter is cold, summer is hot, and thunder is loud, but you're going to go about your business regardless. The occasional rained-out festival aside, weather doesn't change your plans or life in any meaningful way, and those who want something big and exciting with every Sims 3 expansion may not find this to be the one for them.
All in all, I found Sims 3: Seasons to be an enjoyable addition to the franchise, though it's not as exciting as some of its predecessors. The changing of the seasons has the gradualness, unpredictability and subtlety of real life and makes your sims' world that much closer to reality. It's not the biggest expansion for Sims 3, but if you're trying to build an interesting, dynamic world for your little pixel people, it may just be the most important.
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