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The virtual dollhouse and dictatorship simulator that is The Sims has been a staple of gaming for years now, and every now and again, they mix up the formula. Enter The Sims Medieval, the latest Sims spinoff to be put out by Electronic Arts.
I played the first two Sims games more than I'd like to admit, and I've spent way too much money on the silly expansions. Despite being tired of the formula, I really enjoyed this game. It mixes classic Sims gameplay with RPG elements to create something that feels pretty fresh. You start the game by creating and naming your Sim and his Kingdom. For obvious reasons, the character creator is very simplified. I decided to make myself a vulgar and simple-minded peasant, just like in real life. The classic Sims formula is very stripped down and streamlined here, yet it still plays just like I remember. The only difference is that taking care of your Sim now leads to Focus Points, which are basically your currency to unlock quests.
Quests consist of various objectives that result in rewards and higher levels, just like a real game. Some quests are simple tasks, like speaking to people, while others delve into special mini-games, such as going fishing. There is even an over world town map to explore and meet people on. This game has its very own combat system, except that it's nonsensical. Some animations end with your opponent on the floor with your sword at his throat, but then you back off and give him a chance to kill you for no reason. You must secretly be playing as Goku or something. I like that this game tries to bridge the gap between hardcore and casual gamers, appealing to both while introducing these RPG mechanics to casual players.
Plenty of classic Sims tropes return, such as the language of Simlish, only now it's taken on properties of Olde English and actually sounds like Elvish a lot of the time. The developers should be commended for making the controls work so smoothly on a touch device. Because it wouldn't really work, house building has been completely left out, which is a real tragedy. This obviously isn't a real Sims game if I can't build walls around annoying guests and kill them. Anyway, this game also has Origin support, and is five dollars. Check it out.