The expansion pack brought three new “in-depth” jobs, along with the full retail experience, in case you hate your life enough that you also need to force your Sims to work retail. It also came with a price tag of $40.00. Steep, but about par for the Sims franchise. Whether it’s actually worth $40 or not we’ll find out. This expansion pack is really a reincarnation of a Sims 3 expansion pack, Ambitions, which was honestly one of my favorites. It provided new jobs, and expanded existing jobs, all with the same price tag. I’ll explore both how this expansion holds up to its predecessor and how well it stands alone.
When you and your sim arrive to work, you’ll have a list of things to do and a completion bar. There’s no time pressure (unless your Sim is ambitious, then they will get anxious if they aren’t advancing fast enough) which is nice, as you can explore the facility at your leisure.
The first couple of days act like a mini-tutorial, giving you tasks like “talk to coworker” “analyze thing” basically introducing you to all of the machinery and new things your Sims can do in their work places. There’s also a break room which is awesome, because Sims get really pissy really easily if they wet themselves and can’t take a shower. You do have the option on the progress bar to either “stay late” which is useful if the work day is coming to an end and your sim is doing something, or to “leave early” which is nice if you get bored.
For scientists you can analyze things, interact with plants and botany, in my opinion it is honestly the least involved of the three careers. From what I played you simply go from machine to machine and analyze, invent, talk to coworkers, etc. It’s something that I see getting very old very quickly. Good thing you don’t have to go to work with them. Unless things get more interesting in higher levels, which is always possible, the Scientist career falls a little flat.
The next career is the Detective career. Now, in The Sims 3 you could be a cop, and Ambitions introduced the “Detective branch” option that came around work level 5 or so. The Sims 4 option is nice because you don’t have to be a boring cop before actually getting to interact with the job. The Sims team writers made a couple of good jokes in the Detective career (Training Day was alluded to several times) and I saw some classic Maxis humor which pleased me. The work place is also one of the most interactive.
The biggest problem I have with the Detective career harkens back to the lack of the Open World. I don’t hide just how much I miss the open world, it was my favorite part of The Sims 3. I understand it was a resource suck, and honestly The Sims 4 runs way better than TS3 ever could. That said, the amount of loading screens in the Detective career is obnoxious. The main feature of the job are that you can work on cases, break-ins and the like, which requires you to go to the crime scene and collect evidence, witness statements, etc.
You can also go out in the community and patrol, break up fights, be an asshole to random citizens (or be nice, I guess). It’s pretty enjoyable once you get there. If you don’t want to leave the station and do any of that, you can always spend your time booking the randomly generated prisoners in the cell. My game generated about 4 Sims consistently, and since Sims move slow as molasses you could easily fill your day looking them up in the database, finger printing them, and taking their mugshot. The fact that this is even a feature is amusing to me, though I am not sure why.
The last career is the Doctor career. This was another career that, in The Sims 3, was a base game career that was then half-way expanded upon in Ambitions. They took that idea and ran with it, scoring hard. The doctor career is intensely satisfying toward my need to just do mundane tasks in a simulated world. Only people who already enjoy playing sandbox games would enjoy this particular career. When you follow your Sim to work you’re transported to a pretty basic hospital:
The game generates patients for you, and I typically had no less than ten waiting in the lobby at any given time, so there was always plenty to do. The receptionist is a pure prop, though, you have to admit the Sims yourself after cleaning up the bed from the previous patient (again, I find this extra step amazing. Your mileage may vary). While I haven’t played with this career as much as I’d like to, from what I’ve heard is while the game will randomly generate preggo sims for you (a much needed feature, as there have been a lot of issues with towns drying up due to sims dying and the engine not auto-generating replacements like it should) but it doesn’t generate enough. Preggo Sims seem to be somewhat of a rarity, which I am hoping is a glitch that gets patched.
This is by far my favorite career, because there are no loading screens but there is also absolutely not a lack of things to do. You can totally ignore your job too, because there are no negative effects of not getting to everyone in the lobby. I have yet to experiment if you can get fired for doing a shitty enough job. Though this job may seem a little grindy for some, if you’re really just looking to play virtual dolls it is perfect.
My only issue that is consistent with all three jobs is the lack of an open world. If you follow one sim to work, you cannot leave that sim alone until the work day ends and they go home. Similarly if you decide to not go to work with them, and then later decide you want to, there’s not really a way to do that. The “take care of self” feature that appears when you’ve left Sims behind is somewhat broken and they have trouble doing that. I will frequently return to a house full of broken everything. As someone who occasionally likes to micromanage my Sims lives, this can get really irritating.
The other section of Get To Work is a return of running a Business. This was actually not a feature of The Sims 3: Ambitions, but of The Sims 2: Open For Business, which the community has been screaming for a reincarnation of for years. Your Sim’s business can sell pretty much anything your sim can make, or you can get from Build/Buy mode. This includes furniture, paintings, food, etc. The biggest complaint I have about the business is the fact that it is incredibly involved. Where in the careers you can choose to not follow your sim to work and they’ll be fine, in the business you really have to be involved to make really any money at it. Despite this, your Sims can not live in their business. You can make a bedroom and kitchen and the likes, but without lockable doors you’ll have employees and customers sleeping on your bed and cooking instead or working or shopping. You also have to click on Sims that are ready to check out, or they won’t do it and you’ll apparently lose that sale. Making money can be difficult.
Otherwise the retail portion of Get To Work is exactly what the people who wanted that feature wanted. The complaints are mostly about things that were complaints before Get To Work, and are only minor inconveniences at best. It’s not my cup of tea, but obviously the community wanted it and has largely been thrilled with it.
A favorite feature of mine has also returned to The Sims, which is alien abductions and babies. This has been around since the TS2 base game, and I personally find it hilarious. It seems to happen at random, and none of my Sims have been kidnapped yet, but I am eagerly awaiting it. Your sim has a random chance to get pregnant from the abductions (both male and female, it seems) and when they’re born you do have an option to “return to home world” if you don’t want to keep the baby. Alien Sims can also have sim “disguises” so they can walk among the Sims undetected. I love it. There doesn’t seem to be any real purpose to aliens, except for the fact that they exist now. To anyone who hears my rants on the podcasts and thinks “why does she still play this game”???? This is why. Alien babies and cow plants. Truly incredible.
The other thing this expansion pack brought back is the photography skill (another thing to sell) which allows your Sims to take pictures and place them on walls, sell them, etc. This feature also brought about the ability to draw portraits of Sims, which is super important to Legacy players. I am saddened that I am already 5 gens in, but better late than never. The skill is pretty basic, but also something that people really seem to like it, so it was a good addition.
The new clothing and hair options left a lot to be desired. It was mostly some work clothes (fair) but as I stated in the podcast, I am super not interested in 5 different types of suit sets. I will give props to The Sims Team for actually using clothes that are in style this generation. While the Sims themselves will often look like they fell through a textile factory hitting every machine on the way, the individual pieces are (mostly) in fashion. Along with this they also brought about the ability to plan multiple outfits per sim per outfit “type” which is nice, but ultimately useless to me because they still do not cycle through these outfits at random which would be the only reason I would use it.
Another huge disappointment was the fact that there were no new aspirations or traits included in this game. I am already bored of the aspirations and traits we have, and I was looking forward to having some new options to try. I know my own playing style and I know that this kind of stagnation will only lead me to ignore this particular feature completely. This is a shame because The Sims 4 was billed as making the Sims more “relatable” with their emotions and funny walks. Their traits should also fall under that umbrella, but it seems like Maxis forgot that particular feature. The aspirations are also a bit of a joke, as there’s no perk to completing one and they are either ridiculously easy or too weird to consider realistic. Example: I had a sim with an aspiration that required her child to get to a level 10 skill. What? She died before that was completed.
In all, the actual play content of this game is fantastic. The careers are just as in depth as I wanted them to be, the retail feature is the reincarnation of Open For Business that everyone’s been desperate for, and in all I’ve really enjoyed playing Get To Work. The background stuff left a lot to be desired, but it seems like they’re leaving the items+clothes+hair overloads to the game and stuff packs. A little annoying but also very unsurprising because this is still EA Games. I would say that while $40.00 price tag is a bit steep for an expansion pack, it’s on the whole worth it. I think perhaps a $30.00 price would be better due to the lack of items, but the gameplay more than makes up for that. Plus, aliens. This amount of gameplay content makes me hopeful for future expansion packs, which is something I haven’t felt about this franchise in a while.