The past couple of weeks have sent the Sims community into a frenzy. First they announced Vampires, a new game pack featuring one of the supernatural staples of the franchise. People were pretty excited about that. But then, in a free update, they released the most requested feature since the release of the Sims 4 base game: toddlers. This update has brought people back to the game in droves, with some of the highest simultaneous player counts in the game’s two-year history.
I won’t go into too much detail about toddlers, as they’re a free update, and anyone with the game can go check them out right now. But I will say, as someone who wasn’t bothered by the lack of toddlers, I am really impressed with the amount of time and effort that clearly went into bringing this life stage into Sims 4. The objects, interactions and animations associated with Sims 4 toddlers are impressive, and they are really fun to play with. And that’s saying something, because I kinda hated toddlers in The Sims 3!
But enough about toddlers. This review is actually about the new game pack, Vampires!
Welcome to Forgotten Hollow
The Sims 4 Vampires game pack includes a brand new residential world, Forgotten Hollow. Surrounded by misty woods, this small neighbourhood includes five lots surrounding a central plaza. The town and the existing homes there have an old-fashioned, almost gothic feel to them, especially the Straud mansion at the far end of town. This creepy house just happens to be adjacent to a mist-filled cemetery.
The new decor included in the pack fits in perfectly with the spooky vibe of Forgotten Hollow. There are new floor and wall coverings, windows, doors and even some creepy plants. As you would expect, there is plenty of new furniture to use in your new vampire lair, including luxurious chairs, couches, coffins and beds, as well as the new pipe organ and a new baby bassinette. Where this pack really shines in terms of new decor, however, is in an entirely new category of decor. This includes wall cracks, torn wallpaper, and cobwebs: everything you need to make a building look a little more realistic – or to really push the haunted mansion theme! I think a lot of Simmers will be very happy with these new additions.
Creating the Perfect Vampire
The Sims 4 design team continues to outdo themselves with each new pack, and Vampires is no different. The new clothing and hair options are beautiful, and include several old-fashioned dresses and suits, and some really gorgeous hairs. But these are not even the best part of the new CAS assets included in this game pack.
When you create or edit a vampire in CAS, you get a whole host of extra options for customising their face, including glowing eyes and different fang styles. There is also a variety of facial details, including brow, eye socket, cheek and mouth options. These are like the wrinkles or beauty spots you can add to normal Sims. With these options, you can recreate the extreme forehead effects of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or that veiny eye effect of the Vampire Diaries, and just about everything in-between.
In case you’re worried about your vampire Sim looking like a monster all the time, you have the option to give them a ‘dark form’. Vampires can choose to show this form whenever they like, otherwise, it stays hidden until they drink from another Sim or otherwise give away the fact that they’re actually a vampire. There’s even a handy copy function so you don’t have to recreate their outfits and makeup – unless you want to, of course! Your vampire Sim’s dark form can be similar to their normal form, or it can be completely different, with different skin and eye colours. Children can be born as vampires, but their powers and dark form won’t be available until they hit their teens.
I Want to Suck Your… Plasma?
As you might expect, playing a vampire in The Sims 4 is quite different from playing a normal Sim. They can still get a job, learn new skills and do all of that normal stuff, but they have a whole world of other options available to them as well. Vampire Sims have a different set of needs to normal Sims. They no longer get hungry, but they do get thirsty for plasma, in whatever form they can get it, be it plasma fruit, plasma packs, or straight from the vein of a willing, or unwilling, donor.
Vampire Sims also have a dark energy bar instead of normal energy. They need dark energy to use their vampire powers, which can take a number of different forms. (This does mean that vampires can stay awake almost indefinitely if they aren’t doing anything vampiric.) Your vampire Sim will need to increase their power and knowledge about vampires in order to gain access to more powerful abilities.
Gaining vampiric power is a matter of studying vampire lore, interacting or sparring with other vampires, and using their existing powers. They can even ask more powerful vampires to train them. The powers available include all the iconic vampire powers you’d expect: turning into a bat, running super fast, mind reading, super strength, the ability to turn other Sims into vampires, immunity to garlic and sunlight, and many more. As a vampire gains power, however, they will be forced to take a few weaknesses as well: they might hiss at random, or only be able to sleep in a coffin, or be particularly lethargic during the day. The number of powers means that each of your vampires will be slightly different, unless you play them for ages and manage to unlock every single power. Vampires don’t age at all after they hit their teens (though you can manually age them up), so it is certainly possible to eventually reach that level of power.
Watching vampires use their powers on other Sims can be quite entertaining, and things like super speed and bat form are pretty cool, but I think my favourite was the vampire sparring. It reminded me a lot of Twilight with the way the vampires will leap into the air and slam back into the ground. The weaknesses are not too much of an issue, except for the sun. It’s quite amusing to watch them slowly sizzle before they catch fire, but it’s also extremely easy to kill them this way. I lost a vampire in my first hour of play because they just stand in the sun until you give them something else to do – so if you forget about them when they return from work, for instance, you might find yourself with one less vampire. With free will enabled, I would have expected them to at least attempt to seek shelter and save themselves!
I am really impressed with this pack. The new decor and clothing look great and follow a cohesive theme. There’s nothing that feels really out of place. Forgotten Hollow is nice little town and adds a nice change of scenery. The vampires themselves are where this pack really shines, from their animations to their facial customisation options to the wide variety of powers they can acquire. It’s great to have vampires back in the game, and it makes me hopeful that we’ll see new incarnations of other supernatural Sims added in the future.
Check out the official trailer:
EA provided me with a review code for this game pack, however, this review reflects my honest thoughts about this game pack.