Sims 3 Island Paradise – Review

Electronic Arts’ Maxis has just released their newest expansion for the Sims 3, Island Paradise. With the Sims 4 on the horizon in 2014 this promises to be one of the last expansions for the Sims 3 franchise. It offers many new activities, and amenities to get the most out of the Sims 3 game. Besides the Isla Paradiso map, this expansion gives players the chance to run their own island resort, go snorkeling and scuba diving, own houseboats, meet mermaids, discover islands, and own all sorts of waterborne craft. There are new outfits, new traits, lifetime rewards and even a new career with this latest installment.

A free patch about a week before this expansion was released gives players the ability to expand their home lot over water, move to a different town, and even own multiple lots in their hometown. This patch nicely set the stage for what looks to be the largest expansion yet for the Sims 3.

Sims 3 Island Image 01

From the beautiful blue waters of Isla Paradiso, Sims can now partake in many island-themed festivities, or even settle into a new career as a lifeguard to protect the swimmers in and around the Islands. With cloud-covered islands scattered around the horizon to explore, there are numerous ways enterprising sims can find and even own them.

From befriending mermaids, a new race for the Sims 3, to finding treasure maps from diving expeditions the new islands promise adventurous sims new land to setup an island resort or even move their family to as a private lot.

Although much of the core gameplay remains the same, with a click bringing up a selection dial and another click allowing the player to choose the sims’ action, the one exception to this is resort management.

Sims 3 Island Image 03

Maxis has cleverly offered blueprints which can be used to layout a player’s dream resort or house before committing to anything. These blueprints offer a myriad of choices from swimming pools to bars for giving the lots in this new world an island feel. Once the blueprints are laid out, a handy tool to preview your choices allows the player to double check to make sure everything is the way they want it. Then your changes can be applied to your map and the resort opened with one click of your mouse button. Blueprints were long overdue for the franchise, but now that they are here they offer the player who isn’t quite the best architect going to become a star in their own right. It’s a great addition to the series to be sure.

Once the blueprints are used to set up a new resort, players are in charge of running it with their sims, deciding who they hire to staff it, what the staffers wear, and even what meal is served at the buffet tables around the luxury getaway. Resorts can be brought up to 5 star status with the right combination of management, staffing and planning.

Sims 3 Island Image 04

As always, players who have purchased a previous expansion will find them working on this new map. For instance, a player who owns Seasons and its’ weather-changing effects find a winter snowfall on their island paradise in the winter. Maxis has built in an option to disallow certain seasons on your island, so some of the seasons can always be turned off if you fancy a warmer climate. Those who own the Pets expansion will find their favorite housepets can go on the new houseboats, or to the new islands as well. With all the expansions released so far, this gives Sims 3 players a tremendous amount of options to use in enhancing their game.

With so much waterborne activity in this new installment, players will find everything from jet-skis to sailboats and speedboats in addition to houseboats they can live on. Even the services offered will still have a way of finding your waterborne sims. For example, if you order a pizza the pizza guy now shows up on his own boat to deliver your meal.

Sims 3 Island Image 06

New items like an all-in-one bathroom LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Pop star pleaded no contest to misdemeanor vandalism on Wednesday for pelting a neighbour’s home with eggs and was sentenced to two years probation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney said. and a ladder to traverse levels in your houseboat are huge space savers and welcome additions to the franchise as a whole, not just for the smaller houseboat lots.

Once a player purchases or builds their houseboat, they can set a course for the other islands on the new map. An auto-pilot feature enables sims to do other things as the houseboat continues on its course for the area designated by your captain sim. Putting down anchor allows fishing, swimming, and snorkeling, which later leads to scuba-diving.

Sims 3 Island Image 07

Scattered around the new island map are dive lots, so once a player sends their sim into the dive lot they can go snorkelling until they reach a certain skill level, and then proceed onto the scuba-diving portions, and deep areas of each lot. Contained within the deep portions of the lot are underwater caves, treasure chests, sea-life, and even sharks. Not all of this marine life is friendly however, monsters dwell in underwater caves, evil mermaids can summon sharks, and sharks can attack swimming sims. There is even a huge Kraken that swims about, and devours the boats that get close to it. With a new lifetime reward, players can now choose to befriend the Kraken so it will leave their boats alone, that is, if they have accrued enough lifetime points to afford it.  The underwater lots are simply beautiful on high graphics settings and serve to really draw the player in and make them want to keep exploring.

Sims 3 Island Image 08

Be warned however, as with most new releases there are issues that keep this expansion from receiving top reviewer marks. There are numerous pathing issues, so even meeting another sim can result in a long walk to an area where they can converse. In some cases sims cannot fish from the back of their houseboats, and this has primarily been seen in instances where a basement was added to the houseboat, but make sure there’s plenty of clear space on the back deck if you plan on doing this activity. In the Lifeguard career there are issues with the chosen sim gaining levels in the career just by sitting on the beach long after their workday has ended. My lifeguard also has overlapping rescues where you are being thanked for one and another person needs rescuing right away. At other times the beach is vacant and in some cases, the career skill doesn’t go up even after fulfilling the objectives necessary. Hopefully Maxis will address some of the issues in a future patch.

Sims 3 Island Image 05

Numerous forum posters have noted varied issues which I had no problem with. Many Sims 3 players have modded their game with some of the excellent mods available online, to alter the nine previous expansions for the series. Before installing Island Paradise, disabling those mods should be the first step, or at least moving them to a safe folder on your desktop. The modding community is very good about timely updates for the Sims series and it won’t be long before they update their mods for this new expansion. Once they give the all clear it should be fine to add the mods back into your game. Always keep a saved, clean copy just in case.

While Island Paradise may not have the depth present in a prior expansion like University Life with its’ 6 scholastic degrees, 3 social groups, and additional trait slots, this tropical expansion does have a lot of new activities and rewards to check out.

Sims 3 Island Image 02

The seagulls and wave noises set a relaxing tone, and the underwater bubbles when scuba diving are also a nice touch that add to the tropical atmosphere present here. Island tunes on the radio and stereos throughout the map add to the island feel as well. As always, these can be adjusted by your sims to your liking throughout the islands.

All in all, the Island Paradise expansion offers Sims 3 players plenty to do and will keep them busy for a long time to come. Especially since the new additions can be used in other worlds created not only by EAs’ Maxis but also by users around the globe. Although some of these options need tutorials, these are springing up around the internet daily, pictorially, and in videos. For long-time Sims 3 players this expansion lands squarely in the must-have category. For those new to the series, it’s definitely worth a look and most likely one of the first expansions they will want to add to their collection.

Rating Breakdown:

Singleplayer: [xrr rating=8/10]
Replayability: [xrr rating=8/10]
Graphics: [xrr rating=7.5/10]
Sound Effects: [xrr rating=7/10]






Game Details:

Developer: The Sims Studio
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Reviewed Platform: PC

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