Surprise, The Sims 3 will soon shed its PC exclusivity by gracing not one, not two, but all three of the major consoles and a handheld to boot. Publisher Electronic Arts just revealed that The Sims 3 (PCW Score: 4.5 out of 5) is in the mixer for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, and Nintendo DS. It's been secretly churning for some time too, apparently, since EA says it'll be available for those four already this fall.
Worried it won't transition comfortably from keyboard-mouse to couch-and-gamepad? Stay skeptical, but EA claims it "tailored each platform [version] of The Sims 3 with exclusive features to allow for even more control, creativity, and connectivity." (I know, a little silly with the alliterative sunshine...and we're not even to the part where they trot out shelf-syntax like "rich," "immersive," and "seamlessly integrated.")
New to the console versions, "Karma Powers" let you fiddle more directly with your Sims' well-being, and EA says you can employ them to help your Sim "get lucky," offer them an "instant beauty" makeover, or slap them down with an "epic fail." It sounds like the powers have flip-sides, too, and EA says using them "may have unexpected results and karma may come back to bite."
Of the lot, it looks like the Wii and DS versions are the ones to beat. The PS3 and Xbox 360 ports will share the PC version's option to share custom content with others. They'll also include an option to automatically annoy--I mean "notify" Facebook friends of your in-game achievements.
But it's the Wii and DS that have with the coolest-sounding new content.
For instance, the Wii gets a brand new beach town, with "unique residents, traits, careers and lifetime wishes." You'll be able to square off with friends in a new "Life Moments" mode (no explanation how it works) to earn rewards. And it sounds like EA's added exclusive "adventure quests" designed to flesh out each area and break up stretches of needs-juggling monotony.
The DS version, by comparison, gets a "never before seen" feature where players can use the device's stylus to "build their Sims' homes with tools, draw walls and floors, and customize virtually everything from décor objects, textures, and more." The Create-a-Sim aspect's also reportedly been finessed to play to the DS's strengths, allowing you to literally sculpt your Sims' attributes and wardrobe. And while I'm not sure what this next bit means exactly, you can "for the first time ever on the Nintendo DS...enjoy a complete life simulation." I'll just read that as "notably less emasculated" overall gameplay than previous handheld ports.
Conspicuously absent from the lineup of supported devices? Sony's PlayStation Portable, whose monthly unit sales are in the toilet. That's a shame, considering how well the PSP version of The Sims 2 sold (tepid critical reaction notwithstanding) when it shipped back in December 2005.
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