The Sims 3 Preview - 09/05/2008

The first details on the sequel to the PC's epic life simulator are finally here, but how will this new title fair against its predecessors?

The original Sims game was released way back in December 2000 and then the multi-million selling Sims 2 was released 4 years after in September 2004. It's taken a surprisingly long time for the latest instalment to surface on the radar (though the cash cow of Sims expansion packs probably attributed something to this), and the first details have finally arrived.

The Sims 3 looks to out-shine it’s prequels and sustain the title as PC’s ultimate sim. This new game in the series offers many new features that are sure to put it apart form any other Sim or expansion out at the moment. Arguably most interesting feature is the ability to control your Sim and take him/her around the entire town seamlessly in an attempt to link you and your neighbours (however annoying they are!) and to go shopping and the like.

Graphical improvements and a host of new gameplay options give us plenty to look forward to.

This sounds like the series may follow in GTA’s free-roam gameplay (only without the violence!), but another feature makes The Sims 3 sound even more unique than the rest: your Sim will now have ever-changing aspiration system, almost like an RPG with your Sim being able to overcome fears and almost ‘upgrade’ and progress through all sorts of different situations. The Create-A-Sim system has also been revamped so that you can create almost any Sim you want and it will actually look realistic this time!

The aspirations and personality systems have been updated to back this up and make every Sim seem unique and be sure that you create exactly what you want. Whether you're recreating your Nan or yourself, you are sure to get a great result!

Being able to explore the whole town sounds like a great implementation, and is the logical next step for the series.

Aswell as these great additions, you will now be able to design patterns for your furniture, arrange your plants and flowers and even tint your windows so that they are just right! This is sure to add a few twists and lead the genre in an entirely new direction for future titles. No details on console iterations of this game, but I'm sure that they will squeeze into the market somehow and milk some extra cash a few months after the PC giant is released.

Maxis have also told us that there are all sorts of different expansion packs to purchase for your zany families that you will be making sometime in late 2008 or early 2009! Check out the barrage of screenshots below to see how it's shaping up.

- Sam Foster