The Sims 3: Supernatural

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Simulation
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: The Sims Studio
Release Date: Sept. 4, 2012


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PC Review - 'The Sims 3: Supernatural'

by Rhi "StormyDawn" Mitera on Oct. 19, 2012 @ 3:00 a.m. PDT

The Sims 3: Supernatural allows players to create and live out the lives of supernatural Sims like werewolves, witches, vampires and fairies. Curse or charm your Sims’ lives with powerful spells, volatile elixirs and magical abilities in a world of strange happenings, spooky surprises and even the occasional zombie attack.

Sims 3: Supernatural is the seventh and most recent expansion to the rapidly growing Sims 3 catalogue, and as the title would suggest, it introduces many supernatural elements, such as alchemy and several new non-human lifestates. As a big fan of The Sims and of the witches from Sims 2: Apartment Life, I've been looking forward to this one for a long time. For the most part, it did not disappoint.

Supernatural adds a new town, Moonlight Falls, which is bursting with all types of Sims, human or otherwise. The town is laid out pretty well, with the shops and big businesses in the middle and places like the gypsy caravan and Criminal career base on the outskirts. It has big parks for socializing and fishing, and there are a few interesting new places, like the vampire lounge where vamps can hang and enjoy a nice cup of plasma. Another standout is the arboretum, a huge indoor forest and fairy playground. Under the light of the full moon, it gets a little foggy and the nighttime lighting changes, but it's not the whole-town transformation implied by the in-game description.

The full moon doesn't affect much, either. It happens every two to 10 days, depending on how often you want it to be. You can also set it to be a certain moon phase, if you want it to always (or never) be the full moon. It will cause some human Sims to gain the Lunacy buff, so they'll act weird, pace the room and freak out at the sight of the moon; they will even wake up in the middle of the night to do so. Pets will be more skittish, and werewolf Sims will be forced to transform to their "natural form." Unfortunately, they do not then slaughter their way across the countryside. The game's only rated "T," after all. Romantic gestures are also better received under the light of the full moon, and chances for conceiving a baby are higher. If your Sim isn't a werewolf, however, I doubt you'll even notice the moon phases after a while.

Alas, zombies are so annoying that within a week of Supernatural's release, there were mods to stop them from spawning. Between one to four will pop up in your yard for every full moon. They eat any plants in your yard and attack any Sims unlucky enough to be outside. They can open gates in fences and have no problem with stairs, though they can't seem to work the front door to your house. If they get a hold of your Sim, they'll attempt to eat his or her brains and, if the Sim is human, turn him into a zombie as well. They can't kill your Sims, thankfully. As a zombie, your Sim has only two interactions: "Arghhhh" and "Braiiiins". The first causes a drop in relationship points with whoever is at the receiving end of your Arghhh. Braiiins makes you attack them and change them into a zombie, too. Zombification only last 48 hours, and then you're human again, though it can happen again next full moon.

Zombies and mummies are the only supernatural lifestates not available in Create-A-Sim (CAS). You can make a ghost or genie Sim now, though there haven't been any changes in this expansion. If you don't have Late Night, Supernatural gives you access to vampires; if you do have Late Night, vampires have a few notable changes. They now have a Lifetime Wish to drink blood from a certain amount of other Sims, as well as the ability to hypnotize their victims to let them feed. You can now create a potion to make someone a vampire or cure him of it; a powerful witch can also cast a spell to cure your vampirism. Finally, there are Sunscreen Potions that give you temporary immunity to sunlight damage and an Immortality lifetime reward that gives you permanent sunlight immunity and immortality. The downside? Sparkles. Whenever you step into the sun, you sparkle. "Twilight" fans, you can now create the sparkly vampire boyfriend of your dreams! You won't be surprised to learn that there's also a mod to turn off the sparkles.

Last seen in Sims 2: Pets, werewolves make their first appearance in Sims 3. Both human and "natural" forms are fully customizable in CAS, though Sims who catch lycanthropy, whether by bite or potion, will have the default hairstyle and body hair; you have to go to a stylist to change it. Werewolves live longer than regular Sims and gain athletic skill faster, and they're also more likely to win fights. They can change into werewolf form whenever they want to, but they also must change on the full moon or when their mood drops dramatically; if the change is forced, you're stuck in natural form until the debuff wears off.

While in natural form, a werewolf has a lot of pet-like interactions: scratching furniture, sniffing Sims or pets, and playing fetch or getting your belly rubbed. A werewolf's howl can draw others to him, and with a high enough relationship, build a pack with them. Packs can practice fighting together and hunt together to find collectibles. Sims can also hunt collectibles on their own, but you won't find quite as many.

Witches are also making a reappearance, this time a little less "Wicked" and a little more "Harry Potter." You start with a basic wand and the ability to conjure apples, and with practice and a better wand from the Build-And-Buy shop, you can make your way to curing zombies or cursing people with pestilence — depending on if you're a good or bad witch. There's a wide array of charms or curses for whichever way you prefer to lean, and some general spells if you don't want to lean either way. The amount of spells you can cast is based on your magic bar, which drains as you cast spells and slowly refills when you're not.

Spellcraft is just the beginning, however. Witches gain the alchemy skill faster than other Sims. A witch with a cat or minor pet gets the "Animal Familiar" buff, so casting spells take less magic and your magic bar refills quicker. You can duel other witches to learn new spells, test your mettle or just for fun. Best of all is brooms. You start with a flying broom, though it doesn't show up in your inventory, which works like a car (only much more awesome) to get you from place to place. If you buy a broom rack for your house, you can upgrade to a better broom model, learn stunts and compete in broom-trick competitions. Sadly, Quidditch is not included in this expansion.

Fairies are the only lifestate that were never playable in previous Sims games. You can become a fairy either by creating one in CAS, getting an opportunity while searching for fairies in the arboretum, or by drinking the Bottled Blessing of the Fae potion. Fairies live longer than normal Sims, gain charisma skill faster and have the Green Thumb trait. You can choose from six different styles and every color of the rainbow.

Fae have a magic bar just like witches do, and they can also cast spells. They help plants grow faster, and they have several different auras that boost various skills. The Aura of Soothing, for example, gives a positive moodlet to nearby Sims as well as the Fairy herself, while the Aura of Creativity increases all creative pursuits, such as sculpting or guitar. Fairies are also natural tricksters and can prank furniture or cast annoying, though harmless, tricks on other Sims.

In addition to their full-sized form, fairies can also take a tiny, Tinkerbell-esque form. It will be the same color you chose for your wings, and you get a couple of new interactions. You can buzz around people's heads, and that can put them in a better mood or make them get out the flyswatter. You can ride around on toy trains or hang out in a tiny Fairy House with others. The camera doesn't follow your Sim into the Fairy house, like with many career buildings, but you can still control some of their actions in it.

The fun doesn't stop at new lifestates.  A new career, Fortune Telling, lets you choose the path of either a Mystic or a Scam Artist as you make your way up the ladder of success. As a Mystic, you'll need alchemy to become more powerful; as a Scam Artist, logic and charisma help you get extra simoleons out of the unsuspecting public. It's just a career, though, not one of the professions found in Ambitions, so beyond gaining the Perform Private Reading interaction, nothing much separates it from being a cop, astronaut or teacher.

Alchemy, though, does not disappoint. It's a skill introduced in Supernatural, and it's learned by reading books on the subject or researching at Aleister's Alchemy Station, which you can purchase in Buy mode. Six of the elixirs you can make require buying the recipe from the local bookstore, but the rest — all 40 of them — are learned through research. You can make good elixirs that make a Sim's energy stop dropping for six hours or make an Elder Sim a Young Adult again. Conversely, you can make very bad elixirs to cause bee attacks or turn Sims into Tragic Clowns, from The Sims: Livin' Large. To make elixirs, you'll need a variety of collectibles; just about all bugs, fish, gems, metals and plants have a purpose in alchemy.

Several types of mushroom, in addition to mandrake and wolfsbane, can be grown in your garden, and three new fish can be caught. If honey is your thing, buy a bee box in Buy mode, keep the bees fed and the box clean, and they'll produce honey once in a while. The better they like you, the better the honey quality will be.

There are new hair styles and clothing options, of course, and new decor to suit all types of supernatural Sim. Bonehilda, the skeletal maid, is back to clean your house if you can afford her coffin. If you're lonely, you can buy a Magic Mirror; he's happy to have a quick chat, though he tends to be too brutally honest.

There are a few new traits, too. Night Owl is good for those who are at their best after dark. Gatherers are great at finding collectibles and rare ingredients for potions. Proper Sims love to wear formal wear and will greet other Sims with a bow or curtsey. Brooding Sims consider the hollowness of life and feel they are misunderstood by the world. Supernatural Fans tend to kiss a lot of toads, while Supernatural Skeptics prefer their world to be neat, orderly and normal.

For a Sims 3 expansion, Supernatural is surprisingly low on bugs and glitches. I have yet to run into any. That doesn't mean it's perfect, and your mileage may vary. Fairy wings sometimes slow down the game to a nearly unplayable crawl, though it's much worse in CAS than in the game. Adding so many different lifestates at once makes the game feel cluttered, though none of them feel overpowered; they aren't better or worse than playing a human, just different. I doubt I'll ever play a normal Sim again when I have so many other options; I play a human in real life, so why not be a fairy or witch instead? The lack of hybrid options is disappointing, as ending up with a vampire-werewolf-robot was fun in Sims 2. Instead, a Sim has a 50% chance to pass on its genes to the next generation.

All in all, Supernatural may be my favorite expansion so far for The Sims 3. It gives enough options so that you really try something new, though it does border on having too many options. While it doesn't add as many new gameplay mechanics as some other expansions, the additions are interesting and well crafted. No two people look for the same thing out of The Sims, but for me, if you're only going to buy one Sims 3 expansion, it should be this one.

Score: 9.3/10

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