LGR – The Sims 3 University Life Review

LGR – The Sims 3 University Life Review

October 3, 2019 100 By Kody Olson


[typing] You know, you could probably sum up each
of the previous Sims 3 expansion packs with one word, if you really try. Puzzles. Terrorism. Skyscrapers. Creepy. Cocaine. Wub-wub-wub. Hypothermia. And now: streaking. Aw, yeah, it’s about friggin’ time! The Sims 3 University is finally here. Well, University “Life,” so as not to confuse it
with The Sims 2 University, though you still could confuse it with
The Sims 2: University Life Collection. But don’t. Because it’s not. It’s The Sims 3! And that means it’s totally not
just a rehash that they had to do to prevent the fans from
revolting until the end of time. “Experience the excitement of university.” Keg parties, making out, sleeping through class, and experimentation with strange
new activities and social groups. Well, that’s just–heh… A-actually, that sounds about right. Oh, yeah, and books and studying, too, as implied by this over-simplified loading screen featuring stenciled textbook binders
and an orange-to-green color gradient that makes me think of mangos. Once you start the game up, just choose
an old neighborhood or begin a new one, since you don’t get a new town in this expansion. Well, not exactly, since you get Sims University, a college campus that’s
accessible from any existing town. If you have Sims aged
young adult or older, the university’s llama mascot
will show up uninvited bearing gifts with school logos as well as an aptitude test
for your Sims to take. If your Sims did well enough in high school, or have other qualifications, they may earn a scholarship or something awesome like that. If not, whatever. You can just use any
phone or computer and sign up for college. There are six majors to choose from: Communications, Business, Science and Medicine, Technology, Physical Education, and Fine Arts. Each can provide appropriate
career and lifestyle opportunities if you happen to earn a degree in it, which is kind of the goal. Choose your destiny, and you’re off to Sims University by way of a moving truck and a lengthy loading screen. You can think of going off to college as similar to how Sims visit other countries in
the World Adventures expansion pack. So, you leave your town in limbo
and head to a standalone area that’s entirely separate from the
regular neighborhood experience. You won’t be getting any visitors or anything, so you better hope you got your
physical contact quota in before you left. Sims U is a pretty sweet-looking little campus with several living accommodations to choose from, depending on your preferences and wallet fatness. You’ll probably want to grab a dormitory at first, though if you’ve got the cash,
you can just go for a nicer apartment. Or there are fraternities and sororities, if you feel like dealing with
excess pranks and shenanigans. Once you’ve claimed a room, poked around and made snap judgments about which of your roommates you’re
totally going to hate in two weeks time, there’s a meet and greet at the student union, where you’re free to greet… and meet… the union of students. Go ahead and grab some refreshments,
play some ping-pong, stand awkwardly in a corner, or make fun of the school llama’s painting skills. Haha, he doesn’t have real hands! Then you’re free to do whatever the nuts you want. From frolicking around campus naked to frolicking around your dorm naked, to frolicking around naked people naked. That’s a lotta dongs. Yes, it seems like everyone
publicly exposes themselves at some point in University Life, and no one really seems to care. And I never ran across
any serious consequences, so everyone does it, and it becomes so commonplace
that it loses its effect. One might think that a bunch of young, fit Sims flaunting their birthday suits would never get old. But when you’ve had a long day and just
want to eat your Ramen noodles in peace, it wouldn’t matter if it were Ryan Reynolds
and Mila Kunis running around. Okay, it might. But, you get my drift. And if after all that, your Sim still hasn’t
gotten enough exhibitionism in around campus, they can get *paid* to show themselves off by posing nude for art classes. But other than sporadic naturism, most of a Sim’s time is spent doing the stuff they would normally do in The Sims 3. Eating, sleeping, crapping, socializing, woohoo-ing, setting on fire. The difference here is that you’re
living in closer proximity to other Sims and you have that whole “higher
education” thing to worry about. Instead of a town, you’ve got a college campus. Instead of a job, you’ve got classes. So it’s a bit like playing a more
condensed version of the main game, just with *slightly* less responsibilities and a bit more freeform debauchery. Anyway, the driving forces behind everything here – at least, in theory – are the classes themselves. You’ve got a schedule to keep up with, so planning ahead is pretty vital
to actually earning a degree. Though, this being The Sims,
that’s entirely optional. Once it’s time for one to start, just throw your Sim in that direction, watch them frantically try to get there in time, and they’ll enter whatever rabbit
hole pertains to their class. And, yes, classes are just rabbit
holes here, which kinda sucks. You can at least choose what they
do in class, just like you can with jobs, so things like working harder,
sucking up, sleeping, and even cheating on a test are available. You do have other class-related activities
that are a bit more hands-on, though. Like lectures. Which are… actually pretty boring, so maybe it’s *not* so bad that we can’t see the actual classes happening after all. You also have some items that
help your Sim out with their major and any required skills, and these are given to them free of charge on arrival. Communications majors
get a mobile radio station. Business gets a business
planner made by Tony Stark. Science and Physical Education
get a robotic skeleton of some kind. Technology gets a sci-fi
brain enhancement machine. And Fine Arts gets a Plain Jane sketchbook, ripe for producing artwork
that possibly tries too hard. While these are nice to have, and definitely help your Sims get
a jumpstart on some useful skills, it looks friggin’ ridiculous
when you see Sims all over town just whip out their toys and
start piddling away at random. Of course, that’s not the *only* way to get ahead, since there’s this thing called “studying.” This consists of staring at words
long enough to drive you insane, although it can be remedied
somewhat by studying in groups, since misery loves company. Actually, it’s quite possible
your Sim will *love* studying, but of course that depends on the Sim and possibly how lacking
they are in social adeptness. What it comes down to
should be pretty obvious: study hard, apply yourself,
and reap the rewards in the form of GPA, dean’s list
and decreased party time. It normally takes about 16
Sim days to get a degree and you can’t adjust this
in the options or anything, so it’s not a quick task. But once it’s all over, your Sims
will have a jumpstart on life ready to head back to the real world with a fancy sheet of paper that is
no guarantee of a job whatsoever, but is probably better than
not having one, probably. You know, it’s actually quite somber, returning to the harsh reality of Sim life after all that dicking around and drinking. I mean, where do you go? What do you do? How are you gonna pay for things now and provide for people you care about? And is it worth taking a soulless career just for a solid bank account? What’s it all really for? And why are we here anyway?
[wind blowing] [sigh] I miss my friends. If only
I realized how good I had it at the time. [wind blows louder] But that’s getting incredibly disheartening and a little too close to home, so back to the streakers and beer pong! Yes, in addition to the old bars, you’ve got new ways to
drink and be merry now. Although the stuff is still just called “juice” for ratings reasons. You’ve got kegs and kegger parties, which can be used normally, or can be used to perform
the always amusing keg stand. You also get bonfires and bonfire parties, which combined with kegs
and a deleterious nature make for interesting times indeed. Sims can not only poke
the fire and add logs to it, but they can throw things in
there that cause it to flare up and arouse budding arsonists. And if you have the limited edition of the pack, you get to enjoy masquerade parties and Delta-approved toga parties. Because college! Now what you *do* at these parties, or really any other time, can have notable consequences around campus. Not only do you have to worry
about gaining a certain reputation, but you now have three social groups that your Sim can end up a part of: the Jocks, the Nerds, and the Rebels. You’re going to end up affiliated with
*some* part of these social groups no matter what, so listen up! Jocks. They’re your classic dude-bros. They play to win. They work out. They got passion in their pants
and they ain’t afraid to show it. They’re sexy *and* they know it. You’ll often find them with a
red Solo cup in hand one minute, and a ball or Frisbee in hand the next. They’re also more likely to
throw out-of-control parties and join a university sports team, all while trying to one-up each
other in an endless charade of bro-fisting and rabid school pride. [Simlish megaphone yelling] While jocks even lift, Nerds are all about working out the brain. If it’s technical, scientific, logical, or arguably trivial,
they’re bound to be on the scent. You’ll often find them wandering
around the local comic book shop which features all sorts of geekery, from graphic novels to books
to computer and arcade games. It’s also not uncommon to see them
putting in extra hours at the science labs, where various high-end equipment is available for throwing science at the
wall and seeing what sticks. They may not always be the
most sociable Sims around, but chances are you’ll end up
working for one of them one day, so it’s not a bad idea to befriend a few. Then you’ve got the Rebels, which aren’t necessarily as
rebellious as you might think. This group encompasses
everything from artists to hipsters to punks to those that just like to live
a little differently from the rest. They like to display their individuality by grouping together at
hangouts like The Grotto, where they can organize
protests and talk about talking about talking and… wh-what does it all really matter, man? Some are just fine whiling away
the hours painting on canvas. Others are more inclined to
pick up a [Banksy] street art kit and make the *world* their canvas. Yes, even if that means
being taken down by The Man, because the rest an excuse to
grab their soap box and megaphone and speak out against all that
is authoritarian and mainstream. They’re also fine with opening their minds and ingesting some nifty things, like organic coffees, exotic teas, and even growing and collecting various herbs. Yeah, dude, you haven’t seen life for all it is until you’ve at least tried Buzzberry,
Bumbleleaf and Wonderpetals, man. Also, dumpster diving, because waste not, want not. And you probably already stink. Naturally, there is some crossover
between all of these social groups, but stinking to one to max out
your influence in said group is highly advantageous, since you can unlock new career
opportunities out of college by following them. Jocks can become a sports agent, Nerds a video game developer, and Rebels an art appraiser. But of course, what would
all these new social groups be without some appropriate attire to
properly stereotype them from the crowd? University Life comes with
six hairstyles for women, five hairstyles for men, a couple dozen clothing items and outfits, a few shoes and accessories for each gender, as well as a handful of new
tattoos and facial hair options. And, like, one or two random things for children
and toddlers because why the crap not? You get some new Lifetime Wishes too, along with traits that have been added
to further flesh out social groups, with Irresistible, Socially
Awkward, and Avant Garde. And I’m sure you can guess which is which. Beyond this, Uni Life introduces a slew of other new tweaks, objects and activities. With the campus being a haven for
young Sims gushing with hormones, romantic interactions have now been increased. Take more chances than ever
with the Catch of the Day, with a Heat of the Moment Kiss, Cinnamon Kiss, Juiced Kiss, Romantic Shot Cell Phone Shot Kiss and more. Frick, find a way into
the frat house or sorority, play your cards right, and chances are you’ll end up getting lucky just because you’re there and have a pulse. And do it again the next night! And the next. And the next, because University is your orchard, and the fruit is ripe for the picking. You get a new place to do it as well: the fold-out Murphy bed, returning from The Sims 2: Apartment Life. Though if you’re unlucky, it may just
team up with gravity and murder you. Also a risk are the new vending machines which may look bright and
cheery and full of candy, but are actually quite heavy
and homicidal, so beware. Another place Sims can grab
some balls is the bowling alley, which makes a prime dating spot, as well as place to get owned by The Jesus. Though, you know, that’s just,
like, your opinion, man. If you want some more ways to
brag about your perfect 300 game, this expansion’s got you covered with an array of new social
networking options for Sims. The old dumb phone has been
upgraded to a smartphone, complete with texting, web browsing,
video streaming, blogging, extra photography options,
ringtones, skins, and more. In fact, there’s a new social
networking skill to go along with it, so your Sim can totally become the next
big mouth with a keyboard in no time. And you also get a bunch of
extra Build and Buy Mode options that are more or less
appropriate for college life. Everything from Hacky Sacks to whiteboards, beat-up chairs to new variations on old electronics. And lastly, you get a new Life State with the return of Plant Sims. These are brought about by contracting
Botanitis Minorous in some way, like volunteering as a science test subject or using gene splicing to
discover forbidden fruit. Yeah, Plant Sims, they’re odd creatures. And as you might imagine, they’re plants. They don’t need food, but they do need water and they can absorb water from their surroundings and even photosynthesize to regain energy. They also have some unique
interactions like special romantic options and the ability to temporarily poison other Sims. Being a plant also makes things a bit odd
when they give flowers to each other, since that seems kind of like the
equivalent of giving another human being a finger or an earlobe or something. Freakin’ freaks! So is The Sims 3: University Life worth buying? Well, here’s the price: 40 US dollars, same as previously. And like all previous expansions,
there’s really quite a lot on offer here. And of course it comes down to whether
or not this matches up with your play style. Personally, the more this game mimics
real life while staying entertaining, the better. And as such, I think it’s pretty awesome. While it reminds me of the
premise of World Adventures with your Sims temporarily
going off to another land in search of new experiences and the like, it doesn’t change around the
game formula substantially like World Adventures did. University Life basically gives you a cut-down version
of adulthood in a more controlled environment, which is what it comes
down to in real life as well. Of course, your Sims can still do quite well in life without attending the university at all, which is good, because it
makes all of this optional. And I like me some optional options. So, yes, if you ask me,
University Life is worth grabbing if you find the price agreeable and you want a fun new
stage in life for your Sims. And if you don’t, well, I guess you could always take up streaking.