The fifth game pack for The Sims 4 arrives tomorrow, in the form of The Sims 4 Parenthood. The name suggests the highly-requested family play features many Sims fans have been waiting for, but how does Parenthood measure up?
I can’t say I’m a fan of the clothing styles introduced with this pack, but they do add some nice options for more casual kid and teen clothing. There’s also some lovely items like jeans with flower patterns, or a gorgeous dress for little girls. Toddlers also get to expand their wardrobes as well (though sadly not their hairstyles). There are pimply skin features that you can add to give Sims less flawless faces. There are also several new hairstyles, including a grown up version of the big curly hair available to toddlers, and two variations of multicoloured hair, which are definite winners for me. Oh, and there’s some new bear suit designs, including… wait for it… avocado bear!
This game pack includes an impressive array of new furniture objects. There’s a full kitchen set, living room furniture, and kid’s room stuff in a nice, simple style with plenty of colours to choose from. What I really liked, though, is the large array of clutter objects. From new kitchen knick-knacks to overflowing toyboxes to flower pots that look like they were made by kids, there’s plenty here to make your Sims’ houses look lived in. Combine these with the objects from Kids Room Stuff, and you’ve got a lot of options for kid-friendly homes.
There are several new gameplay objects in Parenthood, including a bulletin board that your Sims can use to leave notes or drawings for other members of the household. My favourite objects, however, are the school projects. You can buy these, or wait for your kids (or teens) to come home from school with one. Your Sim can work hard on the project and earn extra credit and better grades, or… less hard, and face the consequences. There are quite a few projects to choose from (I counted six in Buy Mode), from volcanoes to bottle rockets. The best part, though? The whole family can help out with the project (or smash it!), from siblings to parents, making it a fun group activity that might have you reminiscing about projects from your childhood.
Parenthood is packed with new social interactions for Sims of all ages, from loving hugs between family members, to age-specific interactions, like teens whispering about crushes, kids mocking each other about their grades, or siblings accusing one another of touching their stuff. Then there’s the new parenting skill that adult Sims can learn. It’s a full 10-level skill that Sims can learn from parenting books and forums, or from, well, parenting. Skilled parents will learn new ways to discipline their children, become more influential in guiding their children’s actions, and be more aware of how their advice will affect their child. Eventually they can do things like ground unruly teens, or learn what a baby needs when it’s crying. Whether your parenting style is calm but firm, or crazy and ruthless, there’s something here for everyone. I might fall into the latter category… I took away my teen’s phone privileges because she was out past curfew, conveniently ignoring the fact that she had been returning from her part-time job.
If your child earns enough points (either positive or negative), they’ll gain an extra trait when they become a young adult, so your parenting has lifelong effects.
Part of the parenting skill is giving your children advice and taking advantage of ‘teaching moments’. Sometimes the school will call to inform you of your kid’s behaviour, other times the kid will come to you with an important question. Your decision here will affect the character values your child is developing. This new system affects your Sims’ future traits, and include values like responsibility, empathy, emotional control and manners. Many decisions will positively influence one value while negatively impacting another. Being considerate of others may affect empathy, and doing homework affects responsibility, while throwing a tantrum will impact emotional control. If your child earns enough points (either positive or negative), they’ll gain an extra trait when they become a young adult, so your parenting has lifelong effects.
Phases and mood swings
One of the aspects of this pack that I really enjoyed was the new behaviour that young Sims have. For example, teens will roll their eyes when scolded, and they have a great new sulky walk, making them feel a lot more like real teens. Young Sims also go through phases, like the clingy child phase, or being a picky eater. While in these phases, Sims gain temporary traits that affect the moodlets they receive. A teen in the ‘my family sucks’ phase will get tense when forced to be around other family members.
The Sims 4 Parenthood game pack is likely to remind you of The Sims 3 Generations expansion pack, and it has a lot in common with Generations. Parenthood adds a lot of new social interactions and generally enriches the day-to-day life of your Sims, which was what I loved about Generations. The new parenting skill adds a new level of involvement in young Sims’ lives that I really enjoyed. No longer am I just waiting several long (Sim) weeks for my Sims finally age up into ‘useful’ young adults. Now I can actually shape their future personalities and engage with them in interesting and new ways as they grow up. The Sims 4 Parenthood adds what I think of as ‘quality of life’ improvements, giving me more things to do in normal day-to-day play, giving Sims more personality, and generally adding depth to their interactions with one another.
Parenthood is among my favourite Sims 4 packs released to date, adding family play features that many in the Sims community have been waiting for since The Sims 4 released.
Parenthood is among my favourite Sims 4 packs released to date, adding family play features that many in the Sims community have been waiting for since The Sims 4 released. There’s a lot of depth here: in many packs, I find myself trying out everything the pack has to offer in only a few hours of play. With Parenthood, I kept discovering new things the longer I played. If you’re going to pick up any DLC for The Sims 4, I’d highly recommend this one.