There's no doubt that The Sims is a very successful franchise on both the PC and consoles, selling over 140 million copies in its lifetime. There's also no doubt that when it comes to the core franchise, fans will pick up the expansions without much question. To that end, the Pets expansion pack that was so loved in The Sims 2 is coming back for The Sims 3 as a PC expansion and a standalone console title. At E3 2011, we were given a demo of the Xbox 360 version of game that showed it does more than just add four-legged creatures to the series.
The Xbox 360 version of The Sims 3: Pets follows its predecessor rather closely, but it improves upon some things along the way. The number of dogs and cats you can create has ballooned to 100, and the customization features are still intact, so you can modify each species to your heart's content. Personalities also come into play here, so if you really want to, you can have a confused dog or a mischievous kitten as your pet of choice. New to the franchise this time around are horses, though they weren't featured during our demo presentation. As expected, these pets can grow old and pass on their traits to their kids, just like the human Sims do.
Similar to the previous expansion, pets have dreams and ambitions just like their human counterparts. They also have missions they can partake in when you tire of letting them roam around and acting on their own accord. In the demo, you take control of a dog that needs to find his master at a bar. Once there, you have to help him find a date and hope he'll get lucky in the process. Though the demo didn't go into other quests, we were promised a wide range, from the normal — a dog trying to protect a junkyard from burglars — to the ridiculous, like a cat trying to build a time machine.
For the Xbox 360 iteration, we saw how it will take advantage of the Kinect. You can use voice commands to build the type of pet you want. You can call out a pet breed and certain features, and the game will either select those features or take you to the desired feature directory. During the game, you can also call out commands for the pet to follow, and you can even queue up the commands with your voice. What was amazing was the fact that even in the noisy environment of E3, the Kinect was able to pick up those voice commands and act accordingly. While it may not make the game experience completely controller free, it is a nice alternate control scheme to show off to friends.
As said before, all Sims fans need to know is that a new expansion is coming out, and they'll immediately flock to it. The lure of both normal and off-the-wall missions should entice some players to give this game a try, especially since there may be more people out there with a soft spot for pets. Look for more info on this game as we approach its October date.
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