LGR – The Sims 4 Discover University Review

LGR – The Sims 4 Discover University Review

December 2, 2019 17 By Kody Olson


We all knew this was coming. Even if you’ve ignored the rumors and leaks,
a university expansion is all but guaranteed when it comes to Sims packs, alongside seasons,
pets, vacations, and supernatural weirdness. And with those out of the way, we now have The Sims 4 Discover University: the eighth full expansion pack to The Sims 4. And despite having fun with previous incarnations, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this one at first. Not only because it’s The Sims 4 and I have,
shall we say, mixed feelings. But also because it’s been twelve years
since I was in college myself, and wow is that an unsettling realization. Time has unapologetically
marched me towards my mid-30s and my college years are rapidly losing personal relevance. That being said, I’m excited to revisit
the experience in cartoony computer game form, so let’s get to it! The Sims 4 Discover University begins with
your sims discovering university options at the mailbox. Or at the computer or on their phone, but yeah, the mailbox is the most straightforward option. What’s not so straightforward is actually
being accepted into the higher educational program of your choosing. Your chances are increased by a number of
pre-existing factors, like how high your sim’s skills are, what their grades were in high
school, what kind of extracurricular activities they participated in and so on. Or you can take the Aunt Becky approach and
try to bribe the admissions officer, or use your fame if you have Get Famous installed, and attempt to game the system by flaunting your influence. Either way, you’ll eventually receive either
a rejection or an acceptance letter in the mail, opening up attendance potential for
either one of two universities: the University of Britechester and the Foxbury Institute. U-Brite is your historic ivy league option,
with collegiate gothic architecture and a focus on the arts and humanities. And Foxbury filling the public research institute
role, with a modern and international style to its buildings and degree programs centered
on science and technology. Now, sims can go back and forth between the
two campuses at any time just to visit, and they’re both contained in the new world
of Britechester so it’s easy enough to waft between them. But you still have to enroll in either one
or the other when pursuing a particular degree in a particular field, including the Education,
Engineer, and Law careers added in this pack. Each university also offers their own “Distinguished
Degree” programs that provide additional bonuses to careers after
your sim successfully graduates. Higher wages, more vacation days, quicker
advancement, all are guaranteed so long as you graduate with a degree of distinguishment! And that’s how you know The Sims is pure
fiction. Anyway, each of the thirteen SimDegrees require twelve course credits to graduate, and sims can take on a class load of up to four credits each semester, consisting of both core classes and electives. Sims can also opt to live off-campus now,
with or without an NPC roommate to split the rent, in addition to the expected dormitory
and university housing options. Certainly a logical choice here seeing as
sims just teleport between worlds all the time anyway. And lastly, tuition!
It exists. Sims are charged for each class and for on-campus housing, with payment making use of either household funds or a student loan. [DUN-DUN-DUNNN] Ehh you might wanna avoid that if you’re
not into paying interest and being haunted by daily Repo-Men appearances, zapping away
your belongings if you miss enough payments. So seeking a scholarship may be advised. These are awarded for many of the same merits
and skills that earned your sim college acceptance in the first place. Or if your household is just straight-up poor,
that’ll likely getcha some free cash as well, though not quite enough to cover the
whole semester. Once you’ve unceremoniously signed away
your youth and financial stability, it’s time to leave your household behind and head off to the university campus! And that means commencing with classroom attendance
right off the bat. For the most part, anything of class-related
importance happens within these large buildings surrounding the central quad area, with sims
entering whenever school’s in session. And yes, these are rabbit holes, meaning you
cannot see what happens inside. Anytime there’s a class going on, sims remain
out of sight while you as the player are waiting around outside as a floating mouse cursor
with little to do, other than click through a negligible number of options found
on sims’ portraits. Afterwards you’ll be provided a snippet
of information letting you know generally how your sim performed, and that’s that. Extremely hands-off stuff with classes, unfortunately. I anticipated at least a little more face-to-face interaction with professors, kinda like how you get to know sages in the Realm of Magic pack. But nope, for the most part it’s all rabbit
hole classes and occasionally emailing professors to request a status report. You can’t even check your current progress
from the career menu where your classes are listed, which I find baffling. So attending classes is not only somewhat
boring, but rather confusing as well since indication of how you’re performing at any
given time is not clear at all. My first semester did not go as planned, despite those pop-up messages leading me to assume my sim was doing fine. Wah waah. Yeah, if this was all Discover University
provided then it would be mighty disappointing. Luckily though, we’re only getting started. [mischievous music plays] Attending classes may be at the core of your
sims’ university existence, but really it’s all the stuff between classes that make this
engaging to play. Let’s begin with dormitories, the most classic
of university living experiences. Whether you choose the dorm life or dorm life
chooses you, the first order of business is to claim yourself some personal space. Within are several beds to claim and, more
importantly, doors to lock so you can manage who can bother you at any given time. And man, playing as SimLGR in college resulted
in my own kind of personal nightmare. Due to the Get Famous pack, he’s a widely-recognized
e-celeb, meaning that without a disguise he’s constantly being barraged by college-age fans. So instead of getting anything done in terms
of studying, he’s pressured to take selfies and sign autographs all day, while also struggling with his celebrity-induced addictions to smartphones and drinking. On the one hand it’s kinda fun to have everyone
on campus think you’re the shiz. On the other hand, SimLGR just wants to finish his media studies paper and down a couple pints in peace. Heh, I have no idea how younger internet-famous
folks in real life can handle going to school and being an online personality at the same time, it seems utterly terrible and they have my sympathies. So too was my immediate connection to my sim
enduring the realities of virtual dorm life, with their hand-me-down microwaves and mini-fridges
being the most reasonable food option. There’s no kitchen in the dorm by default,
so unless you wanna deal with cafeteria food downstairs it’s all cheap ramen, all the
time. Or perhaps a pile of pizza rolls, all of which
stay unwaveringly cold in the middle because that microwave sucks. I’d order real pizza, but my cash has quickly
reached frighteningly low levels, and it’s no wonder why. Class textbooks are 700 simoleons each, dorm
room necessities certainly aren’t free, and student loan payments are seemingly always
due, with even the minimum payment pushing the limits of my poor sim’s non-existent
wallet. So my sim agreed to a blind date he honestly
didn’t have time for just so he could flirt enough to leech a couple grand, and then ran off to blow it on spiked juice and screw around on his phone all night because he’s a washed-up influencer with a mountain of unaddressed issues. Throw in the constant need to grapple with
homework, studying, social events, presentations, meet-ups, finals, and simply making it to
class on time each day and yeah! Wasn’t long before each of my university-going
sims were so sleep deprived that they kept waking up in a haze right before class, so
I had them hop on one of the new bikes right there in the dorm, so they could book it in
a desperate effort to make it across campus in the pouring rain. The drama practically writes itself and this is precisely the kind of life simulation melodrama that I love. Because when sims get desperate, it’s not
long before things break down. And when things break down, simulated life
is at its most amusing, and managing that chaotic tightrope act is where Discover University’s
strength lies. So that’s all good stuff but what’s left
to do beyond the daily grind of attending classes, studying for exams, microwaving garbage, and pushing the limits of socially-acceptable inebriation? Some of the most time-consuming options come in the form of two new skills: Research & Debate and Robotics. Research & Debate is uh — well, it’s that! Upping this skill will improve your sims’
effectiveness in finishing classwork and debating others. It’s useful for all kinds of things in college
and beyond, like convincing otherwise inhibited sims to go streaking for no apparent reason,
or for winning heated arguments at the podium during a debate organization meet-up. Yeah organizations are a thing, kinda similar
to the existing clubs from Get Together but with less freeform weirdness going on. Debate guilds, study groups, artist collectives,
university team spirit clubs. Even a secret society holding all manner of
societal secrets. Every one of these organizations presents
a unique set of goals to accomplish, items to unlock, and events taking place at certain
times throughout the week. Including an organization dedicated to electro-mechanical creations, tying into the aforementioned robotics skill. Sims can now craft and upgrade robots big
and small at the new robotics workstation, with a selection of talking toys, quadcopters, cleaner bots, even Skynet-approved android body parts. And yes, this marks the return of the Servo:
a playable cybernetic sim that can be built, customized, and upgraded using salvaged robotic
components. They may only be artificially intelligent,
but so are sims if you think about it. And as a result, servos can perform most of
the same activities as their fleshier human counterparts, and even have their own personality
traits and aspirations. Just that instead of sleeping they need to
recharge, and instead of worrying about food or hygiene they have to worry about breaking down, requiring frequent tune-ups to stay in decent shape. They’re also distinct from The Sims 3’s
SimBots and Plumbots in terms of customization, with only minor aesthetic changes being possible,
along with six behavior modules and 10 levels of ability enhancements to unlock. And yes, romance options are an optional option,
so you can have all the metallic makeout sessions and robotic woohoo you like. Though, do be careful around the new shower woohoo location cuz uh, water and servos don’t mix. And calling a repairman for your sex robot
is not a good look. Despite these hydrophobic shenanigans, I’m
happy to announce that SimLGR got married to a lovely servo named “She.” She was the only sim who didn’t freak out
and beg for a selfie before fainting in excitement upon meeting him, so it really was the perfect pairing. Although, that doesn’t mean She doesn’t
still have feelings for some of the kitchen appliances from time to time. C’mon you can do better, that microwave
is the worst. It doesn’t even cook pizza rolls all the
way through! There are also new after-school activities
to take part in, with soccer team player and eSports competitor added to the existing scouts
and drama club offerings available to kids. The latter eSports activity makes good use
of the existing video gaming skill and can be practiced at any computer or whatever plays
games, and soccer works alongside the athletics skill and can be practiced using the new soccer
ball object. And both soccer and eSports matches are held
at the on-campus arena, though just like classes, this is simply a rabbit hole so it’s not
very exciting to look at. Besides, there are more hands-on activities
happening around campus all the time. Just about anywhere with enough open space is a prime candidate for a ping pong table and a keg or two. Whip out the Solo cups, tap that keg, and
let the juice flow freely! And yes it’s still called juice because
The Sims 4 is still “rated T for teen.” Doesn’t stop sims going nuts doing keg stands while decision-making skills rapidly decrease, so you know what’s up. Besides, Basemental Mods got ya you covered if you really want a more “authentic” college experience. And if you need a good spot to lounge while
you imbibe, there are nine new chairs for your university sitting pleasure. Finally, there are a ton of new hair, clothing,
and accessory options in Create-A-Sim mode. And it’s really an impressive selection
this time around, something I can’t always say with each new pack. Lots of awesome hairstyles that we haven’t
had in The Sims before, clothes with designs and patterns that for the most part actually
look like something I’d wear myself. And a buncha new tattoos, all rather small
and made up of simple black lines. You still can’t layer them or move them
around on the body unfortunately, but I’ll take what I can get. And lastly is an increased selection of eyebrow
and nose piercings, something simmers have been asking for for a while so it’s sure
to be appreciated. And that’s the gist of The Sims 4 Discover
University! This really is a meaty expansion, and at an asking price of $40, meat is what you wanna see. While it’d be nice if the classes themselves
were more hands-on and there was an easier way to keep track of them, the overall pack
experience is one of the best so far. It’s also the first Sims 4 content pack
to require 64-bit Windows on PC and Metal on Mac OS X, with the whole game having recently
migrated away from 32-bit executables. Really makes me wonder what’s next since
the game can now theoretically take advantage of better-equipped systems. Plus, now that Discover University exists,
pretty much all the major expansions everyone expects have been released, so I’m truly
curious to see what’s cooked up going forward. In the meantime though, I’m headed back
to campus because there are a few more skill classes I should probably take since my sim keeps electrocuting himself
upgrading his booty call bots. [electrical zapping, sim freaks out] [jazzy jazz music jazzes away] If you found this review useful then do check out my others! I’ve covered all the Sims 4 stuff and upload
new things each week on a variety of topics here on LGR. As always though, thank you very much for
watching!