by Chris Priestman
reviewed on PC
Questing Without The Adventure
Unfortunately though, this gameplay doesn’t as this is not an engaging life simulator, nor a satisfactory RPG. The only things you have to worry about for each Sim is their hunger and energy. Somehow, even those two simple things interfered with the flow of the quests for me. My wizard needed to cast a spell on a cursed person who was attacking them in their tower. However my wizard wasn’t focused enough to cast the spell at the time so I basically had to say to the attacker, “Can you wait until the morning, I am too hungry and tired to deal with you right now”. So off my wizard went to have dinner and a long sleep while the attacker waited up all night. My wizard awoke at dawn and went downstairs now fully focused and cast the spell on the attacker who hadn’t moved an inch. It was moments like this that prove combining The Sims with an RPG just was not done in the right way at all. It just feels like half of The Sims had been chopped off, and your average RPG was just super glued on to the remains and then presented with an undeserving “voila!”
All For Nothing
My main problem with the game is that it cannot decide how it wants to be played. Kingdom management is quite fun, but I would have preferred further political struggles and foreign affairs to worry about. I wanted to expand my kingdom beyond my one piece of land, and you can, but putting a flag on a piece of land on a map and saying that is mine just doesn’t contain any substance. I also wanted to design my own castle and towns, but the usual build mode is missing leaving the only flair of creation in this regard being found in furnishing the pre-determined buildings. Quests are a mixture of tasks that very much belong to typical Sims gameplay and your bog standard RPG bag of quests, but with all the fun parts taken out. The game does have some funny moments, but seeing the same thing over and over again depletes this charm.
Worst of all is the lack of accomplishment on the completion of the Ambition. Basically, each kingdom you create is tied to a certain number of quests in an Ambition. Upon completing all the quests you are given a rating on the Ambition tied to that particular kingdom. The first Ambition is to construct as many buildings as possible, so you are rated overall by how many buildings you ended up with and that’s it. No benefits for doing well, just a pat on the back. You then have a choice of what your next Ambition in the following kingdom will be. Not that it matters though, it is the exact same kingdom and quests with the only variation being the inhabitants you create. Of course there are enough quests so that you will not do them all in one kingdom, thus giving you a chance to try out the ones you left out previously. But for the most part you will be repeating yourself.
You Are The Watcher
I tried to play The Sims Medieval in as many different ways as possible to find the one that fitted, but I couldn’t find it. The game seems promising at the start as it offers adventure, political intrigue, duels to the death and medieval banquets. It soon develops into a mundane set of tasks that becomes fairly easy and unrewarding, and any deviance from this is punished until you do it the way the game wants you to do it. The game is apparently full of all this exciting content but it is held back from you and told to you post-event. The only people having fun here are your Sims, you are just their babysitter.
Worse still, the game is not typical of the series and so it cannot fall back onto the pleasure of familiarity and the usual sandbox play either. If the developers actually provided some depth in the gameplay rather than skimming over several glued-on bits, we would have the makings of a really engaging experience. Instead, you are The Watcher and your task is to watch everyone else having all the fun, occasionally making a few decisions along the way. I could go on as there are plenty of the usual problems such as Sims getting in the way of each other, but you should get the picture by now. I just didn’t think that being God could be so unsatisfactory.
Initially quite fun, overseeing your kingdom can be quite satisfying, medieval setting adds variation to the series.
Lacks depth, feels like half a game, very repetitive, not very engaging.