There has been a lack of Sims 4 content for the past few months, with the last paid content pack being Romantic Garden Stuff back in February. There have been several free updates with new content, including the return of the tragic clown NPC. Most notably, though, were the all-new gender customisation options. In a first for the Sims franchise, almost all the Create-a-Sim assets – that’s hairstyles, clothing, jewelry – were made available to both male and female Sims. In addition, both genders were given access to all body types and voice options, as well as several other customisation options, including the ability for same sex couples to have children without the need for mods.
Besides the fact that Simmers now have the ability to create just about any type of Sim they can imagine, this update gave me hope for the future of Sims 4. With no news or updates for nearly 4 months, I was beginning to worry that The Sims 4 was in trouble, despite it being the best selling PC game of 2015. This update, with over 700 assets that needed to be updated, represents a huge amount of work from the Sims team, which I hope can only mean good things for the game. There’s a new kid-themed stuff pack on the horizon as well. I just hope there’s an expansion pack planned for 2016!
Until then, we’ve got a new game pack to keep us busy. Dine Out is the third game pack for Sims 4, released almost a full year after the previous game pack, Spa Day. Like the other game packs, Dine Out adds new clothing, hairstyles and building objects and furniture. It also adds a significant amount of new gameplay that lets Sims, you guessed it, dine out. There are two main aspects to the pack: eating at restaurants, and running them.
The new clothing and objects are primarily those needed to build your own restaurants, with outfits for chefs, wait staff and hosts, as well as restaurant booths, cooking stations and related items. You may find the pack feels a little light in this area, but it makes up for it with the added gameplay.
Eating out at restaurants is straightforward enough, and pretty similar to what your Sims could do in previous Sims games. Your Sims’ friends may phone them to invite them out to eat, or they can venture out on their own. When you first load up the game after getting Dine Out, the game will prompt you to add one of the pre-built restaurants to your game. Once you’re in a game, you can add more restaurants to your game worlds just like any other lot type. Your Sims can even eat at restaurants they own, though I found this created a weird overlap with the running of the restaurant.
The real meat of this pack comes when you decide to open your own restaurant. The system works very similarly to the way businesses are run in the Get to Work expansion, with the added benefit that you can open your restaurant when your Sim is not there. However, your Sim cannot work in the restaurant; they are are there as the owner and manager of the place. You’ll hire other Sims in the chef, waitstaff and host positions, and manage them through your Sim.
Management actions include greeting customers, checking up on their tables just as they’ve taken a big bite of food, and offering them drinks or meals on the house. This last option is really helpful in smoothing over the failures of your staff. You can also criticize, praise, fire or promote staff, and send them on training to improve their skills. You get to design every detail of your restaurant, from the decor to the staff outfits, to the menu. The visual interface and new food art is a welcome addition, as are the new meals and ‘experimental dishes’ that you can try out. Sims can also take photos of these unusual dishes and post them to Simstagram.
Running a restaurant feels very similar to running a business, although you have less direct control over your establishment. However, this doesn’t mean you can sit back and let your staff do all the work – unless, of course, you want to see your business burn. Customers at your restaurant will rate their experience based on various factors, such as the decor, food, speed and friendliness of service, and attention from the owner. You’ll also collect points (much like when running a business or group outing) which you can use to unlock perks such as more chef slots, better ingredients and many more. If left to their own devices, inexperienced staff can lead your star rating to new depths as wait times get longer and longer. That’s usually the time when a food critic will show up, and you definitely to keep him happy to ensure a good review.
If you enjoyed running a business in Get to Work but have been wishing that you could serve food instead of selling random objects, then Dine Out is definitely the pack for you. If you enjoy taking your Sims out for a meal, you’ll likely want this pack. If neither of these options appeal to you, you probably won’t find much here that interests you. Dine Out is a solid game pack that provides a lot of new gameplay related to restaurants. And if you’re still not convinced, check out the official trailer below: