Game Review: "The Sims 4: Realm of Magic"
by Ren Clough | published Nov. 25th, 2019
Among those who enjoy life simulator style games, “The Sims 4” reigns supreme. With more features than most slice-of-life simulators and endless opportunities for personalization and creation of custom content, Electronic Arts creates a timeless classic life simulator.
"The Sims" is the perfect game to watch a miniature version of yourself live a life that is somehow infinitely more amusing than your own. However, as time goes on, the new game packs released seem to get less and less appealing. In contrast, the announcement of the newest game pack seemed like a spot of genius among other game packs released by Electronic Arts in recent years.
As all avid “Sims” fans know, a new game pack is a smaller expansion pack upon the base game that is usually a must-play. For this most recent game pack, titled “The Realm of Magic,” I’d have to give it a score of 3.5/5. “The Realm of Magic” is a fun game pack that can be enjoyed regardless if you play with modifications or custom content.
“The Realm of Magic” game pack, released for PC on Sept. 10, 2019, introduces a new class of Sim to the base game. These new Sims are called Spellcaster Sims or Occult Sims. The role can be passed on genetically through parent Sims or it can be unlocked via a special quest.
“The Realm of Magic” game pack is like every other game pack in that it introduces plenty of new objects, a plethora of new furniture, other building items and new theme-appropriate features. Many of these additions are extremely adaptable to a player’s favored style of gameplay.
The game pack adds 24 magic spells which a Sim can learn alongside 15 potions. It also adds 54 new pack-specific items, including familiars as pets and items such as brooms, wands and decor. The new magical items can also be used in some wacky ways, such as making a whole cauldron of mac and cheese.
EA also scored a hit in the visual portion of this game pack, including several new animations and Create-A-Sim features. The extravagant witchy aesthetic that was previously only achievable based on custom content is now available for those who prefer to work only with the game-provided content. This game pack included eight hairstyles, three makeup options, 11 accessories, 14 tops, six bottoms, five shoes and 12 premade outfits. The outfits were surprisingly pleasant and match the theme of the game pack well, which is something EA has shown difficulty with in the past.
Beyond the physical character design, the game pack also introduced two new Aspirations and eight new character traits. Character traits can heavily affect how a certain Sim will use their magic. Sims with different traits will use their magic in different ways, such as possibly setting the kitchen on fire instead of putting a fire out. New traits have different qualities, including reward traits which are earned versus bloodline traits that are inherited. There are also temporary traits, which can be caused by Spell Experimentation — an action Spellcaster Sims can take — going horribly wrong or by being cursed by another Spellcaster Sim. For those who like to wind their Sims up and let them go, the new game pack might lead to some more interesting interactions between Sims, especially if one Sim decides to practice their magic on another.
One big perk of the pack is the new realm that is added onto the Sims world, which can be accessed by either a portal found in the new town of Glimmerbrook or by a spell your Sim can learn. The realm is essentially one huge magical lot split among several floating islands in what seems to be a purple dimension. Each island features its own attraction, including a shopping market for magical items, an expansive garden and dueling grounds. Featured on the main island is a large building with gothic architecture, wherein one can find many Sims and rooms for all sorts of magical learning and activities.
Unfortunately, some of the new features included with this magic-themed pack come across as lackluster. While they could be useful for some players, one of the game's most well-known features is the ability to add gameplay modifications and custom content to the game. This means that many of the features added are less novel to the game then was likely intended. However, it does bear noting that the game pack will make it easier to create mods for similar things in the future, such as more spells, potions or even traits.
The Final Judgement
Personally, as a more casual player of Sims, I found the "Realm of Magic" to be entertaining and creative. Playing both with and without mods, and with my Sims let loose or controlled, the new features continued to reveal new uses as my Sims explored the world around them. The town of Glimmerbrook was charming, cozy and visually appealing. Not to mention, the way Glimmerbrook is obviously designed with magical themes made it especially amusing to travel to other locations, such as the city from the "City Living" expansion pack, in order to perform magic.
Adding magic to the Sims allowed me to play like I was using mods while the mods were turned off. It also gave me some ideas for how to modify existing fantasy-themed mods to make them smoother given the new game features that are available to build off of. I also had a great time designing a new house for my Sim made entirely with new furniture and design options offered in the game pack.
Overall, “The Sims 4: Realm of Magic” as a game pack is entertaining and very well designed visually. The idea might not be the most original, but it is new to the Sims and magic is a game element that has been long-awaited in the Sims. The “Realm of Magic” game pack has something fun for every Sims player and lends to the idea that we still have more fun expansions to expect from Electronic Arts in the Sims game series.