Hear ye! Hear ye! EA's The Sims has gone medieval on your PC.
Bucking any notions that The Sims Medieval is nothing more than just a re-skinned make-a-buck version of The Sims 3, Medieval is a pleasant video game take on fictional life the middle ages.
Where Sims games are typically a direction-less sandbox, Medieval tidies things up a bit by making the game mission-driven. Also, instead of creating blank-slate sims to "live" and work in the area the game has players create class-defined sims such as a knight, priests and the kingdom's reigning monarch. The player, too, has a role to fill: the ever-present Watcher. In other words the player is the deity that all of the sims worship and/or fear.
Those who have ever played The Sims 3 should find the sim creator tool very familiar. This is where each sim is (of course) created and allows the player to choose how skinny/fat, young/old, and so on each sim is. While a few more creation options a-la Second Life would have been nice, it still works adequately. A new item of note in the sim creation mode is the addition of a fatal flaw. These include evil and drunkard and prove to make each sim a little more relatable to players.
Controlling whatever sim(s) are active for the current quest, the player controls said sim much like one would for a standard Sims title, except that these new sims seem to have a better sense of free will and don't need to be told when to go to the bathroom. They do have daily duties to be filled alongside the overall quest's requirements but these rarely get in the way of the game and actually work towards the betterment of the title's overall enjoyment. These tasks vary depending on the sim's class and role but include such activities as patrolling the outlying forests, writing royal decrees and worshipping the Watcher/player.
The Sims Medieval will have an extensive amount of playtime, which is to be expected for a Sims title. The problem, though, is that the quests seem to repeat (at least a few of them do) once you're a few Kingdom Ambitions (think of them as storyline chapters for your kingdom) in. Hopefully new quests will become available via download from the official Sims community website much like official mods are. Odds are, though, that they'll be a part of paid DLC and/or retail expansions.
One final thing of note, which might be unique to the play experience used in the writing of this review, is that the game isn't shy when it comes to crashing. Twice during gameplay the game errored-out, causing Windows to close it without save. While quite frustrating, this could be an issue with either Windows 7 or the laptop used to play the game. While this is an issue worth mentioning, it's occurrence was not used in the review grading process.
Final Game Guys grade: A-
- Game Guy Barry White firstname.lastname@example.org