“The Sims 4” is cool, but the “The Sims 4 – Cats & Dogs” is actually kind of lackluster.
As a long-time ‘simmer,’ I’m just being honest. The big reason why is because expansion packs have played an important part in livening up the gameplay experience with immediate, tangible changes and additions to the base game. This new expansion added cats and dogs, a new business option like those in the “Get to Work” expansion, as well as the new town. However, in my first 15 hours playing the new expansion, I didn’t get the feel that this was an expansion worth its classification – possibly even not worth the $40.
The cats and dogs are clearly the best part of the expansion – they’re the point, after all. I’m impressed by the improvements in their likeness to actual animals, in behaviors such as the cats butt-wiggling before they pounce. But overall, the other important parts of the expansion pack that make it truly worth it (the new town, the new Sims features and hidden objects) were severely subpar.
The town, Brindleton Bay, looks cool at a glance, but just like my frustrations with “Sims 4” in general, there is actually very little within the new Sims town to engage with. Sure, you can go onto the balcony of the lighthouse, but that serves no purpose whatsoever. Why even go to the lighthouse once you’ve been there once? Sure, you can go to the pet cemetery and look at all its spookiness, but there is nothing worth doing there – actually, there is absolutely nothing to do there. You can’t even click on a tombstone and read the epitaph. Ohh, spooky ghost cat? You see it once and you never care to see it again.
But wait, there’s more to critique on Brindleton Bay: So, in the whole town, the entirety of this town that came with the expansion pack, you have one starter home. And two other empty homes, and two lots. The starter home that I’ve played is actually all right – I’m picky when it comes to my Sims lots and homes, and this one is a nice skeleton to play in and build onto. But the absolute lack of options is frustrating. It’s one of the things in new Sims towns that I get most excited for.
So, game play engagement isn’t so cool.
One thing the “Cats & Dogs” expansion really impressed me with is a nice variety of new clothing, hairstyles, and buy/build-mode items. This nearly redeems the frustrations of playing in Brindleton Bay, for me. In the screenshots of my gameplay, you can see my sim donning a new hairstyle and a new outfit offered through “Cats & Dogs.”
Additionally, the wide variation in the different breeds of cats and dogs is so big that I don’t have a concept of the different combinations in breed my pets could be. I’m seeing a lot more different types of breeds in this expansion than in past pets expansions. That is redeeming by itself.
Overall, I’m on the fence. I don’t regret buying the expansion. I was excited about it for weeks, and bought it only a day after it was released. It adds great value to my game, but I only wish it were better. I’m looking forward to breeding the pets and seeing how that gameplay turns out, as it’s a completely new game detail for me.