The Sims’ new paranormal pack is entertaining but lacks replayability

What could have been an exciting game expansion instead leaves much to be desired.

Screenshot+taken+by+Gillian+Manning

Screenshot taken by Gillian Manning

Gillian Manning, Staff Writer

As a lover of all things spooky, I was excited for the new Paranormal stuff pack in the Sims 4, but the teaser was more thrilling than the actual gameplay.

The Sims developers periodically allow gamers to vote on what type of content they would like to see in the next supplemental pack. The winner from last summer’s vote was the Nifty Knitting stuff pack, but another fan favorite during the voting process was the paranormal theme. Sims developers surprised players earlier this month when they announced the new Paranormal stuff pack, which was released on Jan. 26.

Stuff packs can be very limited and frankly, this one should have been an expansion or game pack instead, as that would have allowed for a wider range of content. Players can experience the extent of the pack within a few hours of playing and after that, much of it becomes monotonous.

I was most excited about the séance table but its interactions quickly became repetitive.

Screenshot taken by Gillian Manning

At first, the table only offers three interactive options, but as your sim’s medium skill level increases, more options are presented. However, the majority of the interactive options result in an identical animation, making this object far less amusing than I had initially anticipated. 

The pack introduces a new lot type, haunted houses, which can be selected the same way as other lot types such as residential and tiny home residential. In the haunted house, cursed objects will appear and it’s your sims job to destroy those objects in order to minimize the haunting. These animations and objects become repetitive as well; you can only stomp on or mop the floor so many times before it gets a bit boring.

This pack introduced a new emotion, fear! The new moodlet is also included in the base game, so regardless of if you purchase the Paranormal pack, your sims will gain the moodlet.

While it’s nice to see a broader emotional range, fear became rather frustrating at times. My sim spent several in-game hours hiding in a corner or in her bed, unable to eat or do anything else, because a thunderstorm terrified her so much. 

The fear moodlet makes it more difficult to complete regular tasks and fight against cursed objects.

A new career option is introduced as well, paranormal investigator, which was another aspect that I was particularly excited about. The career falls under the freelancer option and gigs consist of easy, medium, and hard levels each with an increase in pay. 

The career differs from other career options as players can actually go with their sims to get the job done. The gigs, however, consist of the same actions within the haunted home; stomping and mopping cursed objects as well as trying to appease the new ghosts.

Screenshot taken by Gillian Manning

The ghosts will either appear green, blue, or red and each color specifies their level of friendliness, green being the most friendly. 

While the game indicates that handmade gifts are the best way to appease the ghosts, they actually were not fond of any of the gifts my sim made, which was a bit disappointing. On the plus side they are very adorable, even when they are red and angry.

The pack gives players new build mode items that are versatile and aesthetically pleasing.

Screenshot taken by Gillian Manning

The items included in the pack can be used to create a more gothic or bohemian feel depending on what players would like to do and I was really pleased with the color options!

Aside from the build mode items, my favorite part of the game are some of the characters that are introduced. This pack revives an old character for Sims 3, Bonehilda, the skeleton maid. 

You can interact with Bonehilda similarly to how you interact with other sims but she does not stay around for too long. 

Bonehilda can be summoned using the séance table once your sim has reached level 3 of the medium skill and she will hang out with your sim for a couple of in-game hours while completing any household chores. 

Bonehilda also has a fun personality, making it fun to watch her move about the house.

Screenshot taken by Gillian Manning

The next character is Guidry the ghost, who slightly resembles Johnny Depp in likeness. Using one of the new items, the decorative hand, you can turn off Guidry’s automatic visits, otherwise, he will visit your haunted house every night at sundown. 

Guidry can offer you guidance as you learn to navigate your way through the hauntings and Bonehilda protects you against the final “boss” ghost of the haunted house. Fear not, while the final ghost is given a deal of suspense in the game, she is a bit underwhelming.

The pack is certainly lacking when compared to others and this is primarily because the developers did not flesh out the interactions well enough; they lack variation and depth. The pack is fun to play through once but it isn’t one that I can see myself going back to very often due to its lack of range.

If you are a player who prefers the building function of “The Sims,” then you will likely find this pack more enjoyable than players who prefer the life simulation aspect. 

 

Gillian Manning is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email or tweet her @gillianmanning_ or email [email protected]