I started playing The Sims 4 for the first time earlier this week, after not playing any game in the series for almost a decade. I would have gotten this fourth game at release at full price, but I wasn’t overly pleased with what I was hearing about it, and after how EA destroyed SimCity, after such a great game like SimCity 4 was created, I was afraid they had done the same to The Sims. I managed to get it on sale, and the game’s just as strangely addicting as all the other games, ever since the very first one. It’s amazing how a game all about micromanaging the lives of little virtual people, telling them when to eat and sleep, causes the player to miss out on meals and sleep .
So, funny story about the game, my sim met someone, gave birth to a daughter, and I bought the kid a dollhouse once she became a toddler. One of our neighbors visited the house, and he kept destroying the toy house I just bought all because he hated children. Every time I’d repair the house and he was around, he’d break it again. Enough was enough, something needed to be done. The little bastard needed to be taught a lesson in manners, in respecting the rules of the households that allowed him to visit and feel at home.
So my sinister plan was set into motion. I destroyed my family by making my sim cheat with the child-hating sim’s mother, and eventually got the prompt to ask her to move in with me. That allowed me to move in with them, into their house, granting me complete control over the household and the dollhouse-destroying teen actions. I first locked him in a small building behind the house, starving him and depriving him of all other resources. Once I showed mercy and let him out, I locked the bathroom door specifically for him. He was unable to take a shower or use the toilet for about two weeks in game. I made the guy skip school for about a week so that his grades would fail, and even forced him to sleep outside on a wooden park bench instead of in a bed.
Finally, I forced him to prepare a bunch of tofu hot dogs (something I’d make my worst enemy eat, because they sound terrible and disgusting) on a grill in a park nearby the house, and I wouldn’t allow him to eat any until after they had spoiled. For two straight days in game, I commanded him to eat every single rotten hot dog he prepared, amounting to three plates of food. His mother was perfectly fine with all of things I made him do by the way, and that’s when I realized I’m a pretty evil person, but also that she was a really crappy mother, so I cheated on her a short while later and moved out of there lol.
I also replayed Splinter Cell Conviction just a few days ago. I was one of the people who actually really liked Conviction at release, and I played the older games. But now, eight years later, I think I like it less. However, I still find it mindlessly fun in its own right. Leading up to its release though in 2010, I was disappointed that they turned away from the concept of what the game was originally planned to be (the cat and mouse with the cops, where all your surroundings could be made into weapons, thing it was going for seemed like a fairly unique concept most games hadn’t tried, and that made me dream of a game based on that Harrison Ford movie, The Fugitive, think of a modern, better version of Assassin’s Creed with a much greater emphasis on social stealth. Io Interactive could make a good game from this concept, that is if the company moves away from Hitman in the future. I’d love to see them try something like this.).
If Conviction couldn’t be what it was originally planned to be, I hoped it would at least feel like one of the first four games, which it did not. Deniable Ops mode seems far more enjoyable than the main story mode, I’m slowly realizing, and I think that’s because there is a stealth element there. The stealth isn’t forced or ignored, the two extremes provided by gameplay in the campaign. It is naturally encouraged and rewarded that you avoid being detected, but it doesn’t spell game over. The story itself is fine, but the gameplay is where the story loses some quality.
Here’s one thing that cracked me up in Conviction that I hadn’t picked up on before: Vic Coste, Sam’s friend and squadmate in Iraq who didn’t exist until this game, says after Sam destroys Third Echelon that “wading in and beating answers out of people” was “pure Sam,” and I’m just like…What? “Pure Sam” based on what? Did the developers even play the previous games? Did they even know there were previous games? The point was to avoid attacking anybody and to stick to the shadows!? Hello?! That’s when I remembered that Vic couldn’t know Sam because he wasn’t around to know the “pure Sam” of olden days, the one we knew and loved. He was only there to see Sam when he was “mad” and murderous (Conviction), and after he discovered the fountain of youth (Blacklist).
On the bright side, Double Agent and Blacklist are backwards compatible now, and I’d argue they’re much better games, so I guess I have great timing replaying this one right now. I’ll probably be going back to them pretty soon too.