The eagerly awaited first expansion for The Sims 4 hit shelves (virtual or otherwise) last week, bringing with it the promise of new stuff, new gameplay, and new experiences for Simmers everywhere. Get to Work takes elements from The Sims 2 expansion pack Open for Business, and The Sims 3 expansion pack Ambitions, providing an experience that feels both fresh and familiar to longtime Simmers.
Get to Work adds three ‘active careers’ for Sims to join. These give the player the opportunity to go to work with their Sim – as opposed to normal Sim jobs, where the Sim simply goes to work for several hours, leaving the player to entertain herself in the meantime. Three active careers are included with this expansion: doctor, detective, and scientist. Each follows the same pattern: at the start of your Sim’s work shift, you can either send the Sim off to work alone, or you can join them at their place of work. This does mean the rest of your household will have to fend for themselves in the meantime, as the player can only be in one place at a time. Going to work with your Sim also means you’ll have to endure a number of loading screens, but the drastically reduced loading times of The Sims 4 makes this bearable at least.
Once at work with your Sim, you are given a timed progress bar with objectives, much like the event timer for birthday parties and such. If you complete the objectives, your Sim’s job performance for the day improves. Like normal jobs, your Sim needs to meet certain criteria in order to have a chance of getting a promotion.
The detective career takes place mostly at the police station, where your Sim can start a new case, analyse evidence and put together clues. She will also be able to interrogate suspects, and take mugshots and fingerprints. Once your Sim has a case, she’ll need to travel to the scene of the crime to collect evidence, take photos of the scene, and talk to witnesses. This was exciting at first, but got a bit weird when every single crime seemed to occur at the same house, though this was possibly some kind of bug. There is also no indication that I could find of what the crime actually was. And although there is never a shortage of new criminal cases for your detective to take on, there doesn’t seem to be any crime in the game – not even late night burglaries like in previous versions of The Sims franchise.
Nevertheless, once your Sim has enough information, she can return to the police station to figure out what it all means. At lower levels, she’ll pass the evidence onto a senior detective who will deal with the case. At higher levels, your Sim can chat with her co-workers or even head out on patrol to clear her head and chat to civilians. With enough evidence and analysis, your Sim will put together a list of attributes describing the perpetrator of this particular crime. Once you have enough clues – all conveniently stored in your Sim’s notebook for easy reference – you can issue an APB and head to the criminal’s last known location. Here you’ll speak to civilians until you track down the suspect – it’s a bit like playing Guess Who? if you haven’t collected enough clues. If you do find the correct Sim, you can arrest them and take them back to the station for processing. Once you get a confession, your job is done and your Sim can move on to another case – and hopefully move up the ranks of the police force!
The doctor and scientist careers are very similar in the way they work – that is, you’ll be completing events to increase your Sim’s work performance. A doctor works at the hospital, where she will run tests on patients – from checking their eyes, ears and general health, to scanning them in various machines, and eventually – once she has enough experience, correctly diagnosing and curing them. Other Sims can also visit the hospital from time to time if they are ill or in labour.
The scientist works at the science lab, where she spends her days collecting materials for experimentation, experimenting and tinkering, waiting for their next breakthrough – that lightbulb moment when your Sim discovered a new invention or serum. Using high-tech equipment – not unlike the fancy contraptions you might expect to find in Tony Stark’s lab – your scientist Sim can bring these ideas to life, whether it’s in the form a cool gadgets and thingamajigs, or as serums that need to be tested on other Sims.
You can sell just about anything in your new store, though I personally enjoyed setting up mannequins and creating a variety of outfits to sell – you can store quite a number of outfits per mannequin, meaning you can rotate outfits like a real clothing store. Your store can hire employees to take care of mundane tasks while your playable Sims deal with customers and ring up sales. Or you can watch your employees bungle through these tasks. The store is family-owned rather than individual-owned, so your Sims can have normal jobs as well if you like. I quite enjoyed running my own little clothing-and-chair store, though I’ll admit it was a bit strange that I had a lot of returning customers every time I opened my store (the Grim Reaper was a regular customer too!). I’m not sure what those Sims needed all those chairs for, but they brought in profit for me, so my Sims didn’t mind too much.
This expansion brings a number of other new features to The Sims 4, most of which existed in some form or other in previous versions. This includes aliens, alien abductions and of course, alien babies. Some aliens choose to use a ‘human’ Sim disguise instead of their normal form. They also have a few mind-reading abilities that you can use to freak other Sims out.
New skills include baking, a natural choice as there is already a cupcake machine in the base game, and photography, probably the buggiest skill to exist in The Sims 3, which allows Sims to take photos with their phones or with cameras they can purchase.
If you want your Sims to run a business, or if you want to go to work with your Sims, this is the expansion pack for you, and will give you many hours of fun gameplay. If neither of these gameplay features appeal to you, you may need to think twice. Get to Work doesn’t include a new world, aside from the 4-lot neighbourhood of Magnolia Promenade, and while it does include many new items and outfits, most of these are related to the new careers as well.