On the 13th of January, EA released the first bit of downloadable content for the Sims 4 – Outdoor retreat. This should have been an exciting time, but for me, Outdoor Retreat only brought with it disappointment after disappointment (sigh). Here’s why:
- Granite Falls is tiny.
Despite being very beautiful to look at, the new ‘world’ (if you can call it that) is very small. In total it consists of two lots. One big lot that contain lodges and a camping ground, and then a forest. That’s it. You can’t even live there, it’s purely a vacation destination – a mediocre one at that. One of my main issues with the Sims 4 base game is that its worlds are too small and constricting. On this issue – Granite Falls is not a step in the right direction. In fact, it’s one big fat backwards step. ‘Aint nobody got time for that.
- There’s nothing to do.
The only thing you can do in Granite Falls is frolic through the woods and find herbs for the new skill ‘Herbalism’. Which I haven’t really explored to the full yet because I found It quite boring. You collect herbs that you either find on the ground, buy or grow and then create ‘potions’ with them. This feature in itself is quite like the Alchemy in The Sims 3 Supernatural – just minus the witches which makes it instantly not as cool. Also, like I said in my previous point, there are only two lots. There are no hunting lodge inspired bars or swimming pools or even a spa type lot to explore – which is a major waste of potential in my book. They could have done so much more with this content.
- The Bears aren’t real.
If you saw the trailer for the game, you will have noticed several bears chilling in the forest. I for one got pretty excited and assumed we would be getting back to our Sims 1 roots. In the Sims 1, you could make honey – but if you left it out too long, a bear would invade your lot and steal it. Quite entertaining the first few times. Sadly, unlike the bear in the Sims 1, the Sims 4 bear isn’t real – It’s just a Sim in a bear costume. Yes, that’s right, A BEAR COSTUME. Lame. Because I’m sure fans of the Sims franchise really wanted another costume for their game, forget toddlers WE WANT MORE COSTUMES. Said nobody. Ever.
- The clothes are rubbish.
The content the game comes with sucks. And as usual, there’s far more content for female Sims. SEXISM. The hairstyles are nothing special and the outfits are plain and boring. I can’t see myself using any of it – not even when living out my ‘camping fantasies’.
- Where was the build up?
Usually, when a new Expansion Pack comes out, there’s MAJOR build up. I worked it out once (don’t judge), there’s usually two months between announcing an Expansion Pack to its release, and during this time the Sims team do live streams to show off features and get everyone excited. They didn’t do this for Outdoor Retreat. Probably because they didn’t want everyone to see how little there was to do on it until AFTER we’d bought it. The only interesting feature is the ‘tent woohoo’, however this is extremely hard to achieve because random Sims always seem to interfere and try to get into your tent. Not cool.
All in all, I don’t really think Outdoor Retreat was worth purchasing.Its fun if you like camping and you want to explore that idea in your game, but if you’re expecting the quality of previous Expansion Packs – you’ll be disappointed. Outdoor Retreat is classed as a ‘Game Pack’ which for me is a strange hybrid of the ‘Stuff Pack’ and the Expansion pack. It doesn’t have enough content in it to be classed as a Stuff Pack, and it doesn’t have enough new gameplay features to be classed as an Expansion Pack. It also doesn’t come on a physical disk – which in my mind places it more in the ‘Downloadable content’ category than Expansion Pack. Personally, I would rather we went back to the Sims 1 and recieved a handful of really awesome expansions, rather than lots of bits of content.
Outdoor retreat to me is a waste of an idea. The whole camping thing could have been done so much better if it was done as an expansion pack and I haven’t particularly enjoyed any of the features it brought (except the tent woohoo).
However, with this in mind, I don’t totally shun the idea of the Game Pack. I think it’ll be quite refreshing to be able to add new experiences into your game for £14 rather than shelling out for a full expansion pack you might not enjoy. But for it to work, there has to be more of them and often – each one exploring different miniature bites of gameplay.
Let me know what you think of Outdoor Retreat in the comments below or send me a tweet to @indigogreene 🙂