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Skyrim vs Sims 3

And some lessons for Sims 4
Last week I picked up a copy of the PC version of Skyrim on sale for only $20. I spent many hours playing it last weekend, and when you have spent as much time playing the Sims franchise as I have, inevitably the comparisons arise. 
1. Lighten up!
Everything in Skyrim is so dang serious. Lighten up, people! The #1 thing I miss from the Sims franchise is the sense of wacky humor. You don't realize how rare humor is in the gaming world until you play a game without it.
2. Limited interactions with people and objects
For the most part, everything falls into two categories: things that will do only one thing if you click on them, and things that will do nothing. There are a few cases where you can click on a person and select one of several lines of dialogue to speak. But you can't actually do anything to people other than hit them with a weapon.
This limited interaction again reveals the richness of the Sims worlds in comparison to other games. Just think about all the actions you can choose from if you click on another Sim. Depending on your situation, you get between one and three dozen options. So many that they are hidden under two tiers of sub-menu!
3. Everything is beautiful
The Sims 3 has put a lot of work into making its objects and settings look good. But nothing in The Sims 3 can compare to the work you see in Skyrim. Everything in Skyrim is beautiful, and I spent a lot of my time just wandering around taking screenshots of the gorgeous scenery, lighting, and weather effects. The Sims 4 really needs to step up its game if it wants to even come close to the beauty of Skyrim.
4. The world is huge
Coming from the world of Sims 3, where each town is so tiny, playing Skyrim feels like being released from a prison. If you see a particularly stunning set of mountains in the far distance, just start walking in their direction and eventually you will climb them. 
The size of the world in Skyrim is incredible. Why is Sims 3 so limited? And why can't your Sim walk or drive from one town to the other? When you see what they do with Skyrim, you'll never look at your Sims 3 town the same again. Here's hoping the Sims 4 worlds are considerably roomier.

Image courtesy Flickr/Etahos


Dovahkiin 's picture


Seriously now? Why would anyone compare The sims 3 (any sims in this case) to an Elder scrolls game? They're not the same genre,so it's just stupid,how can a life simulation game like The sims 4 "step up" to a fantasy rpg game?,it's impossible because those two run on different engines for different purposes.
1.Everything in the Elder scrolls game is so serious because it is a serious game,what does the dragonborn has to do,play rock paper scissors to their followers and greet the innkeepers with a "shaka bra"? .There is a different kind of humor within the game,for example one of the Daedric quests,where you earn Shaegorath's artifact,the Wabbajck which turns an enemy into completely something random.
2.Like I was saying,the Elderscrolls series and The sims are two completely different games,different genres,Skyrim wasn't meant to interact with npc's or anything else at that matter,the best you'll get is what Hearthfire can offer to you.
3.Different engines,and again the genre problem,because it's a life simulation game,the sims is too busy making more interactions,leaving the settings and objects at basic.
4.I think it's possible for the Sims 4 to achieve a bigger world.Yet,you have to take the fact that Skyrim is a RPG,you can make only one dragonborn and not a family of dragonborns,the Sims 4 is focusing on more sims intelligence and not the size of the world or the scenery.

In conclusion,this post is stupid.

No need for insults, dear.

You seem to believe that a game can either be an RPG with an expansive world, or a simulator with lots of interpersonal interactions. My point is, I don't think that's the case. I don't think we should have to settle for one of the other. 

That's why I feel it IS instructive to compare these two games, even though they are from different genres. 

Chewish's picture


Dovahkiin pretty much nailed it. Under no circumstances should you even attempt to compare the two games. It is like comparing Apples to Volkswagens. Aside from both being objects...they have no comparative value. Skyrim and the Sims franchise are indeed both games, yet share no other key factors.

Pandorita's picture


I found this yesterday, I know it's been ages since you posted this but I wanted you to know not everybody disagrees with you.
I find myself alterning between skyrim and sims 3 all the time, as those are my two current favourite games. So different from each other, yet I love them both, although from time to time I get bored with one of them and switch to the other. Why? Because each of them has what the other is lacking (for me, of course). So when I read your article, I didn't think you were crazy for comparing the two games, actually I admired you for being able to think outside of the box, which is something most people can't do. Unlike the other guys who commented, I see you're not saying one is better than the other nor are trying to turn The Sims into an RPG or Skyrim into a simulation game, but are just attempting to think what could both games take from the other to become better in their own way. That kind of thinking is what moves the modding community to make such amazing work, and what makes new games and new game concepts appear in the market, so, good for you!
About Skyrim being too serious: you have obviously not spent enough time hanging out with the khajiit XD. Seriously, those fellas are hilarious!
But Ok, I know it's way more serious than what we are used to with The Sims, but if you play it for enough time, you'll realize is full with humor. Some NPCs, some side quests, some random encounters on the road are are real funny. The entire Elders Scrolls saga has this kind of more subtle humor hidden all over their games, you'll just have to stop mainquesting for a while and interact more with the world around you, and you'll find it.
About the limited interaction with people and objects: that's true, and that's why Bethesda came out with the Heartfire expansion, and why there are so many mods around to spice things up a little. It would never have the interaction complexity The Sims has, and it doesn't need to, because Skyrim is about the adventure, but still, it would be nice is Bethesda takes the hint for their coming games. But that's more of a flavor tone, some people may not need it in an RPG.
What Skyrim lacks that is a real flaw in my eyes, are character needs and survival skills. Because not having them in the game totally breaks immersion. We have to options to eat, drink and sleep, but we don't really have to, we can be running around Skyrim for as long as we please without tending to any needs, so why are the options even there? I think it would give us more of an adventure experience if we had to stop from time to time to hunt and feed ourselves, to rest, etc. We don't need the complexity of The Sim's needs, but even a simple version of them would make the game so much more interesting. Luckily, there are mods that do that, and they are amongst the most downloaded, so that shows the gaming community in general wants a little need tending/managing in their RPG games. Also, weather mods, to be affected by Skyrim's crude weather (like we are in The Sims if we have Seasons).
So I totally agree with you about RPGs being able to improve by incorporating some features from life-simulation games.
And I couldn't agree more with you about the last point: what The Sims really lacks is the thing that makes Skyrim so great, the huge, beautiful open world where you can run around and explore at leisure. I don't know if that's even possible, and I do realize the two games are built with very different engines, which limits what they can do, but let a girl dream, I think that's the direction The Sims should evolve. Also, a changeable first-person view or at least a diffent camera set would be so nice to explore the worlds, even the current, small ones. It's so annoying to have to be turning the camera angle every time your sim turns around a corner! You can follow your sim around town from a 3rd person, god-like view, and that's fine, but I found that the real beuty of it is trying to see it from the sims eyes. Which is really hard to do with the current camera setting.
Anyway, even with its current flaws, The Sims 3 was a turning point in this matter, compared to its previous versions. I can't imagine myself playing Sims without an open world anymore. Sadly, it appears that EA is not thinking in that direction and The Sims 4 will have loading screen between lots, something I' would really hate.
So, I just wanted to say I liked your post and I think those people who pulled their hairs because you dared to insinuate two games from different genders could benefit from each other, and condemned you to gamer's hell, are just purist, narrow-minded people, and I wouldn't pay attention to them. Keep thinking out of the box, that's where all new and original ideas come from!

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