Review: The Sims 4 Outdoor Retreat (PC)
Since The Sims 4 was released a few months ago, several free update patches have been released, fixing bugs and adding features that the community really wanted, like pools and ghosts. Last week, they released the first paid-for DLC in the form of what they are calling a “game pack”. This game pack is somewhere between a stuff pack (which only contain items/clothing) and an expansion pack (which includes new gameplay), providing a little bit of both and focused on a specific theme – this one is centered around camping. Let’s have a look at what Outdoor Retreat has to offer.
As one might expect, there is new clothing, all outdoor-themed, for children, teens and adults, with a couple of new hairstyles as well. In addition to the new items of clothing, there is a rather impressive selection of outdoor shoes and boots that fit well with the theme. Plus, there is a bear suit, available in brown, panda, and polar bear varieties. There is also a range of new furniture in the outdoorsy theme, including ‘rustic’ beds, benches made out of logs, campfires, camping chairs, cooler boxes, and, of course, tents.
All of these items are available to Sims who don’t actually want to leave the comfort of their home to go camping, and they can pitch their tents wherever there is enough space. If your Sims actually want to get away from their every day lives, they can use their accumulated vacation days (added in a recent patch) and visit the town of Granite Falls. There are several cabins to choose from, with a cost based on their size and the length of your stay – though you can extend your stay while you’re on vacation. You can even invite friends to join you – but you’ll have to pay for them too!
Due to the way The Sims 4 works, loading only one lot at a time, load times to go on holiday (or anywhere, really) are kept to a minimum. Once your Sims reach their Granite Falls accommodation, they can explore the surrounding area, or visit the nearby park. There are park rangers on hand to help you, and other Sims on vacation as well. Granite Falls is small, but there’s quite a bit to do (if your Sims are the outdoor types, of course). Besides fishing for new types of fish, Sims can attempt to catch insects they find in the area, and they can also pick fruit from wild plants and attempt to identify it with a new skill, herbalism. With herbalism, Sims can also create remedies once they’ve identified the plants they’ve collected – and they’ll know which plants to avoid in future!
The game pack also adds a new aspiration (outdoor enthusiast) and a new trait (squeamish), and a number of new social interactions, like storytelling, and other activities for Sims to do, like telling ghost stories around the campfire, roasting marshmallows, going hiking, or cloud gazing. The original Sims game, Sims 2, and Sims 3 have each had a ‘vacation’ expansion pack, characterised by extremely long load times and a pretty buggy holiday experience. Outdoor Retreat may have fewer gameplay options than those fully-fledged expansions, but it has created a stable and enjoyable vacation experience for the player as well as their Sims. If you enjoyed previous vacataion expansions, you’ll probably like this one too. Outdoor Retreat is available through Origin for R200. Whether it is worth the money for you will depend on whether the camping/outdoors theme appeals to you.