After over six years of frequent DLC releases, The Sims 4 can feel completely overwhelming to anyone just getting into the franchise. At the time of writing, there are ten expansion packs, nine game packs, and a whopping 18 stuff packs. That’s 37 different packs of additional content.
With so much content on offer and the cost of purchasing it all well into four figures, even with frequent sales, it’s no wonder that players are seeking lists of ‘the best’ expansions, game packs, and stuff packs. However, these lists are actually completely useless, and I say this as someone who has written some of them. Here’s why.
The Best Expansion Packs Will Vary
Expansions are the most expensive DLC, and they offer a huge amount of extra content right across the board. You’ll find new worlds, gameplay features, skills, careers, traits, aspirations, and collections alongside a wide range of clothing, furniture, and other build items. Often the gameplay elements are quite literally game-changing; for example, the addition of weather in Seasons, and the eco-footprint system from Eco Lifestyle, both of which affect your everyday gameplay experience. This means that many players prioritize expansions and want to make sure they are getting the best value.
Searching for “best Sims 4 expansions” seems like a great idea. After all, if you’re spending money on DLC surely you want the best? The problem is ‘the best’ is completely and utterly variable. A list of the best value expansions from someone who is all about gameplay will be completely different from that of a player who focuses on building.
How you play the game and which aspect of it you enjoy the most has a huge effect on which DLC you prefer. This doesn’t just apply to expansions either, but also to game and stuff packs. Opinions are naturally variable but adding in the sandbox element of The Sims franchise, increases this variation hugely.
The Sims 4 Can Be Enjoyed In Different Ways
The beauty of The Sims 4 is that there is no ‘right’ way to play the game. Due to its sandbox nature, players gain enjoyment from the franchise in a huge range of ways. Some spend hours in create a sim, editing and styling their perfect family, while others prefer to put their time into making their house just right. There are also players who focus entirely on gameplay, often using the gallery or save files released by other players to find Sims and builds that catch their eye. Finally, some players enjoy a mix of different aspects of the game, maybe taking on player-created challenges.
Natural variations in opinion combined with different gameplay styles mean that there’s no real way to narrow down what you’ll enjoy based on someone else’s best list. As a long-term fan of the franchise, I’ve found that my opinions differ wildly from others. Expansions I adore and feel contain huge depth, such as Island Living, others have deemed lacking in meaningful content or uninteresting.
To expand on that example I can tell you exactly why I still stand by my high rating of Island Living. Quite simply, it offers a unique gameplay experience I really enjoy. The island of Sulani is beautiful and I often play with Sims who live there even now. The experience of playing a family in Sulani is very different from that of playing in other worlds and it’s this that gives it depth for me.
The clothing items and furniture are unique and showcase the island vibe. They compliment each other perfectly and allow me to create buildings and Sims that match Sulani’s mood. Neighbors behave differently and community events are frequent, just popping up at random intervals. Then there’s also a new career and part-time job revamp, the island’s environment to clean up, and mermaids to play with.
While I can happily play for hours just with the base game and Island Living, others felt the content lacked depth and there was nothing concrete to do once they’d explored the new aspirations and activities. At the end of the day, neither opinion is wrong, the difference is in how we play the game.
Finding The Best Packs
So does this mean it’s impossible to figure out what to prioritize if you want some new DLC? Not at all. It just means that you need to think about how you play the game and what your interests are.
Extra content for The Sims 4 follows themes and this is the best way to narrow things down initially. For example; Get To Work, Vampires, Island Living, and Paranormal Stuff introduce occults and supernatural gameplay. If you love this aspect of the game these packs should be bumped up your list and vice versa. Players who prefer family gameplay will want to take a look at the Parenthood game pack or the stuff packs that focus on toddlers and kids.
Once you’ve found a theme that interests you, take a look at a range of opinions and maybe even some gameplay videos. Another good resource is articles that focus on content, rather than opinion. Something like our ‘Know Before You Buy’ series can help here. It pulls out different aspects of gameplay as well as offering an overview of the create a sim and build and buy content for all the expansion and game packs. For stuff packs we have a ‘Things You Can Only Get’ series, which pulls out and highlights some of the stand-out clothing and items.
Finding the best DLC can feel overwhelming but by working out what you look for in new content and the themes that appeal to you, it’s not impossible. Make sure to check a range of opinions and information and keep an eye out for the frequent sales on Origin, as well as competitions run by EA Game Changers.
The Sims 4 can feel overwhelming but its depth is the reason it’s still around after so many years. So figure out your wants, find the perfect pack and then get in the queue with the rest of us still waiting for bunk beds.
Next: The Sims 4 Paranormal: These Hauntings Are Making Us Happy
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Helen began playing games at an early age with her first computer being a hand-me-down Sinclair ZX Spectrum. It didn’t put her off… She is all grown up now but is still a gamer at heart, especially when it comes to The Sims and other strategy and simulation games.
She juggles the daily demands of life with a family and somehow still finds the time to indulge her two passions in life, writing and gaming; sometimes both at the same time.
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