The Sims 3: University Life review 
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Abigail Holden
March 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm

The first Sims 3 expansion pack of 2013 has arrived. If you played The Sims 2 University, you’ll know more or less what to expect from The Sims 3 University Life. And if you liked that expansion pack, you’ll really love this one.

As the name suggests, University Life adds the ability for Sims, young adult and older, to attend university and potentially earn a degree that will give them a bit of an advantage over less educated Sims. When you first start up your household, a university mascot will bring you a welcome kit. Among other goodies, this kit contains an aptitude test that Sims can complete. It analyses their personality, skills and job experience, and awards credit for appropriate degrees. For instance, an artistic Sim with a high painting skills will receive credits towards a Fine Art degree. They may even earn a scholarship to reduce study fees.

SimsUni3

A Sim may enrol in university at any time, choosing the degree they wish to study for, how many terms they wish to stay, and how heavy their workload should be. A degree is 48 credits, and a term is one week. A Sim can only stay at university for two weeks at a time, and there is a limit to the number of credits they can earn in a term, so it is unlikely that they will complete their degree in one visit. If they are overworked (or they goof off in class), it is possible they will fail their final exam! Either way, once they enrol, the Sims head off to the university ‘sub town’, which is much like the World Adventures holiday towns. The rest of your family is suspended while you load the university town.

SimsUni2

Sims University is a rather attractive little town, complete with English style university departments, as well as a number of community lots, dormitories, sororities, fraternities, and small houses. Once they’ve decided where they’ll be staying for the term, Sims can start exploring the town, attend the meet and greet for new students, or start studying (or partying) right away.

Like a real-life university experience, Sim students can decide to slack off and spend their time socialising, or to hit the books and do well, or they might stay somewhere in-between. Sims have to study, attend lectures and write exams at the end of every term. The harder a Sim works (and the better their mood), the higher their final grade will be, giving them access to better benefits when they graduate. Benefits include starting a career related to their major at a higher salary and a little higher up the corporate ladder.

SimsUni1

There are several new skills in University Life, including the science skill, which allows Sims to conduct gene splicing and other amusing experiments. There is also the street art skill, which involves spraying graffiti around the place. Finally, there is the social networking skill, which Sims can access using their new smartphone, where they can start a blog and perhaps eventually earn a bit of money through sharing their opinions.

A completely new feature is the addition of social groups. Sims can be rebels, jocks, or nerds (or even all three), and they can ‘level up’ in these social groups to gain access to new benefits, additional traits and even unique job opportunities. Doing ‘nerdy’ activities like science experiments, reading comic books or playing chess will all increase your nerd status. Rebels can become more rebellious by holding protests, spraying street art around the place and daring other Sims to do things like ‘divide by zero’. Finally, jocks can engage in sporty activities, throwing parties and winning at games like pool or bowling. Socialising with other members of these groups can also increase your standing with the group. This is a fun new mechanic that offers some entertaining and unique interactions.

SimsUni4

There is also a supernatural Sim in University Life, the PlantSim, which returns from The Sims 2 Seasons. Like other supernatural Sims, PlantSims look different from ‘human’ Sims (namely green and leafy) and have a few ‘planty’ special abilities, and as such are great gardeners. As with any expansion pack, there are many new items of furniture, many of which are skill objects relating to the various degrees and social groups. There is also ‘dorm’ style furniture. There are a number of new hairstyles for both men and women, and plenty of clothing items that just scream ‘student.’


  • Sir Captain Rincethis

    What happens when the internet drops and your Sim in in finals? :)

    • HvR

      EA gives you free game, like Sims: Pets or Sims 1.

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Hahahah that’s funny!

      • Sir Captain Rincethis

        So no free degree? #cheaperthanIexpectedbastards

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Strangely, this is actually my favourite Sims expac so far. I just wish they had included post-graduate degrees. The research mechanic seems to be perfect for that. So for instance, your Sim gets his first undergraduate degree, enrols for a SimMasters or a SimDoctorate and while on holiday in Egypt or in France (the holiday expac), you can use research in the tombs, or out collecting ore etc, or do other relevant mini-tasks. That would have been cool though.

    One of my sims, Launchpad McSwatchwick, a notorious recluse, loner, sub-genius and terrible guitar player managed to get into varsity (as a middle-aged slob, previously unemployed but now… selling bulk toys). Obviously, he failed to get a scholarship, but paid for his below-average degree by selling plasma. He also only went to class once or twice, but still managed to pass the finals. Now… he’s in a strange romantic relationship with an alien.

    But I fear his future does not look good, for a meteorite shower will soon claim his life. Here’s to you Launchpad, you smelly sock. #SipsTea

    • Sir Captain Rincethis

      Wow, nicely planned, almost to the level of Patrician in Ankh Morpork. I still need to see what these games are like. My memories are of a whole bunch of people, none of whom you could control.

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Yeah, Sims 3 is vastly different beast to the static “poppie-huisie” crap of Sims 1. I primarily play it to create the most vile Sims and track how they suffer through life. Yes… I have problems. That and there’s nothing more creepy to show your beloved significant other, your version of them living in a recreation of your home… in Sims 3… heheheheh

        heheheheh
        hehheheh

        hehehehe

        • Sir Captain Rincethis

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Brilliant sir! I could get very addicted to that…

  • Admiral Chief Erwin

    Is this university life like Van Wilder? :P

    • HvR

      They are all BA students

  • Deon Steyn

    I hope they plan a GOTY edition or a discount bundle version version. All nine expansion packs comes to R1824.77. Then there is still the stuff packs.

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Yeah, if you were to buy all of the expacs now… you’re looking at an insane amount of dough. And, the next expac, something about an island/boat holiday is already planned for release some time in the next 4 or so months.

    • TriangularRoom

      O.O

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=799146981 Nico Swanepoel

      I got and installed every single one of the stuff and expansion packs, plus a bit of stuff I bought from the Sims shop. Now it is nearly unplayable – it is slow and clumsy in the design and build areas. And PS I got a nice new gaming PC that rocks! So yeah, nice idea, but don;t know how workable that is.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Remember way back to Sims 2, how you could build a custom neigbourhood for your sims via SimCity 4. You could even terraform this little town to perfection, import it into Sims 2, and then carry on with your Sim Soapie? The new SimCity could have done the same for Sims 3, or you could have had this weird symbiotic relationship between the titles, where a bunch of sims in SimCity could be played in Sims 3, or your sims from Sims 3 could be imported into a suburb… or even your whole Sims 3 town could be a suburb or burrough in a bigger city…

    Man.. they really missed out on that… huh? I really miss when Maxis was about creating these incredible games that innovated and tried new things. Now it’s a DLC-churning crackhouse for EA.

    • Deon Steyn

      Found a picture where the held a discussion about the release for SimCity.

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        To perfection, my good man!

      • Sir Captain Rincethis

        A thumbs up for you. I was going to put another Gordon in, but 2 Gordons in one day may be going full retard.

    • TriangularRoom

      There is a world builder for Sims 3 that you can download… I found it way too complicated though!

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Create a World? Yeah, it’s a very odd little app. Whenever I started it, it crashed to the desktop. I suppose, LazyEyetown will never be fully realised. lol.

        Anyway, I’m still holding out for the Sims reboot that also does a concurrent reboot of Sims medieval. The goal? The actions of your medieval sims has an impact on the wealth and social standing of any Sim born or created under that family name (in the proper Sims game).

        But I think the path they took for SimCity is probably going to be the same for Sims 4, which I fear will be an attempt to recreate Sims Online… (ugh what a dreadful creation that was).

        • TriangularRoom

          Yeah, it will be interesting to see what (and when!) they do Sims 4… Not sure what online features they would include, but I’m sure there will be some… :/

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            I hope not, as I said, my sim stories are goofy, and most of the time, it’s just me messing around with the game, relaxing while my sims suffer in life. I’ve said it before the Sims is the greatest RPG/sandbox game ever created.

            If it becomes a social affair, where your neighbours are controlled by other people and the whole town is essentially part of a massive MMO, then I think I’ll just stick with Sims 3 and the McSwatchwick clan (incidentally, they’re all kung-fu masters :P).

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