It's no secret among The Sims 3 players that there was some excitement in anticipation of the Showtime expansion. Unfortunately for this expansion, sometimes lofty expectations can lead to a (mild) let-down.
First, the good:
The Sims 3 Showtime adds not only a few new professions, but a new town as well. The town is probably the biggest attraction for Showtime owners. Its pre-fabricated houses all seem to be well-designed and large (for what they are), with no awkward spaces within. Showtime also has one of the more "alive" towns to date in a Sims 3 expansion with plenty of AI-controlled sims and entertainment venues -- this is an entertainment-oriented expansion, after all. Add to this the fact that Showtime's jobs actually take you around town to earn your keep makes things even more appealing.
Another plus for this expansion are the careers themselves. Finally, Maxis gives Sims 3 players jobs they'll actually want to have. Between the acrobat, magician, and musician, players will find themselves enjoying most of what this expansion offers by way of actually doing the work. Musicians work their way up from a singing telegram performer to pop god, magicians turn their parlour tricks into something you'd see David Copperfield doing, and acrobats...well...do acrobatics. The interactivity that players will find with each make those who like doing (rather than building) like this expansion very much. Builders aren't left out, though, with a number of new items and such, but this expansion really isn't fully geared towards construction.
Now, the bad (or, at least, the mediocre):
Create-a-Sim always gets new clothing items, meshes, and so on with new expansions. While that carries on through Showtime, this latest expansion feels a bit light on the new inventory. While it might just be an illusion after a two-plus years worth of The Sims 3 expansions, the addition of seemingly just three traits is simply not enough. Sure, there are new hairstyles and outfits for one's Sim, but personality goes a long way and Showtime simply doesn't take enough advantage of its own premise here.
The expansion also puts too heavy an emphasis on social interactivity; not only from Sim to Sim, but also from player to player. Sims seem to need more social interaction in this game and, depending on how the player plays his Sim's job, this requirement can be harder than expected to satisfy. Also, the actual social networking aspects of the game on a player level are a bit much. Between the player's Facebook-inspired wall and the (initially interesting but ultimately unnecessary) ability for players to invite other players' Sims over game-to-game, it feels like the developers just tried too hard to make this game more than what needs to be.
Finally, Showime feels a bit like it's an expansion to Late Night (an early The Sims 3 expansion) more than it does to the core game itself. Much of what comes included with Showtime would have fit very well within it and, in the end, it just feels too similar after a few hours of playing with this newest expansion from EA.
So, is The Sims 3 Showtime worth getting after all of that? Well, yes it is. It gives just enough to the player to make it worth picking up and the new jobs, as well as their play mechanics, are a good addition. The social aspects do feel a bit much, but it's up to the player as whether or not to actually do much about them. It's not the be-all-end-all of The Sims 3 expansions, but it's still a good supplement to the core game.
Final Game Guys grade: B
(EA provided a copy of this game software for review.)