Pack your flip-flops and water purifying tablets, The Sims are off to party with the geographic glitterati in The Sims 3 World Adventures, the first expansion to EA's June-released "life simulation" game (PCW Score: 90%). Trip around the world to "famous real-world inspired destinations" in China, France, and Egypt without leaving the cushy security of your comfy chair, or paying for expensive massages in strange places to minimize pain incurred by tourist's neck.
I'm not sure how they'll handle game flow as you make plans to leave. Small town travel agency? Can you use a multi-billions discount aggregator that's secretly more expensive than booking directly? Will Sims under your tutelage back home auto-manage efficiently in your absence? Do you have to bring the whole family, or can your married forty-something Sim have a proper mid-life crisis and go hotel-hopping in "Sim Lanka" with a barely twenty-year-old Nabokov-obsessed artiste?
Just getting to-from your exotic destination could be interesting. Will your plane stall on the runway and make your Sims's stress level redline? Hang for hours in a landing pattern waiting for traffic to clear? Can you strip naked and flash the attendant staff if they lose your luggage? Can you torment foreigners by blaring Ladytron's "Ghosts" from a portable boom box? Can your Sim go in a cup if he/she gets lost in some dingy Egyptian pyramidal nether passage after tossing back a few too many mocha-lattes?
Okay, mic over to EA.
"We're thrilled with the global success of The Sims 3 over these last few months and are looking forward to expanding on the gameplay experience with one of the most robust expansion packs to The Sims yet," said Scott Evans, General Manager of The Sims at EA. "Players will be able to take their Sims on the adventure of a lifetime and explore lands outside of Sunset Valley and Riverview, pursue thrilling new life destinies in locations around the world inspired by famous destinations, and immerse themselves in the open-ended gameplay where they'll discover new cities in China, France, and Egypt, and share new stories."
Did I mention the game has ninjas? Not necessarily Ninjas, capital-N, but yep, you can actually "master martial arts" in Shang Simla, China. Don't bother Google-mapping it--or Champs Les Sims, France and Al Simhara, Egypt either. It's not just about visiting places you can't afford to in reality, it's as much about going where no one's gone before--or ever will--too.
New challenges: Search for secret treasure, learn new skills, chase down new personal opportunities, meet new Sims and share their culture, even bring them home (word up, Madonna and Angelina Jolie!). Also: Discover new styles and share your experiences with the world (the Real World, that is) via photos, movies, and stories.
If you're a budding virtual internationalist, it'll be on your hard drive (and you'll be 1,000 SimPoints richer, to spend on all the new online content) when it launches November 16, 2009.
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