Sims 3: University Life, overview

Screenshot Sims 3 University Life - jogging female student

Run – don’t walk – to buy the new expansion pack for The Sims 3! OK, perhaps not, but it is a backpackload of fun.

I have to admit that University was my favorite expansion for The Sims 2, but I know this is not a universal view. So I may be biased, but hey, it is my site and my review, so. Let me say it from the start: Sims 3 University Life is my new favorite. It has pretty much all the things that made the original cool, only more of everything. It does not add quite as much to the game, in terms of careers and advantages, but still plenty enough that your sims might want to go to university even if you had no other reasons. I hope to convince you that there are plenty of reasons.

So you did not play The Sims 2: University? What’s this all about?

The Sims 3 is a “life simulator” game. Like the two previous games, it lets small imaginary people go about their lives in your computer, and you can either watch them, help them or hinder them. For each version, the sims (the simulated people) have become more intelligent and more complex. Hopefully you already haveĀ The Sims 3, since it is a requirement for all the expansion packs; this is the 9th.

The purpose of going to university in the world of the sims is much the same as in the real world: Broaden your outlook on life and become a better, wiser person. Get a better paid job. Find a cute person to share your future with, or a lot of cute persons to share your present with. Get away from mom and the neighbors and experiment with things that would give them a heart attack. Meet people who share your interests. Overcome fears and insecurities. Have fun, lots and lots of fun. Any one of these, or several of them, may seems a compelling reason to go to university.

In the real world, higher education is becoming painfully expensive, at least if you don’t live here in Norway where most of it is tax-financed (and much of the tax is on the oil industry). As usual, Sim Country is more like Norway. There is a tuition fee, but is rather moderate. If you have decent skills before you go, you could easily get more in scholarship than you pay for a semester. Be sure to take the aptitude test first to get the scholarship.

What is new from The Sims 2: University?

Much like the base game itself, University Life has expanded the details. But there are also some fundamental differences.

-University is now for adults. No more sending teens to college. All adults, even elders, can attend. In fact, it may be easier to study if you have some work experience. Skills and work experience contribute toward scholarships and study credit. Be sure to take the aptitude test before enrolling, to get these bonuses.

-You can take several majors, one after another. As a result, you can spend a considerable time in college if you want to catch them all, or if you just want to live half a century longer. (You still don’t age while in University.)

-You stay in University for one or two semesters, then return to your hometown. You need to enroll again for the next year. This breaks up the stay at Uni, lets you exchange things in your inventory at home, and allows you to stagger your University experience throughout your adult life. But if you want to return to Uni immediately, you can just enroll again. Oh, and you can also work on severalĀ  majors before you complete any of them, if you for some reason feel the urge.

(This may in part be an effect of using the same engine for University as for the vacation expansion, World Adventures. You even need to “call someone abroad” when you want to speak to your dormies from home. University really is a different country! I knew it!)

-New studying. All use of skill objects that fit your major will contribute to your final score. for instance, as an arts student you will gain study credit for sketching, painting or playing the guitar. You can also read relevant books and even study on your smartphone, or do group study, but the fun and easy way is to do what you probably want to do anyway, use skill objects. Each major gives the student a portable skill object as you start, so there is no excuse not to. But you can still use other relevant skill objects.

-New social groups: There are now 3 “castes” or social groups: Nerds, jocks and rebels. The first two should be familiar to most, but rebels are mostly art students living on the edge of the law: Painting on walls and parking lots, instigating protests, and selling cheat sheets for the exams. Fame within a social group can give benefits, included an extra personality trait. (Unfortunately you cannot pick this trait – it is either random or typical of the social group.) It is also possible to unlock one of three extra careers this way.

-There are fewer majors, and no careers that are unlocked by study alone. You just start at a higher level and advance faster in the relevant career.

-Extra personality trait when you graduate successfully! And you get to pick this one! Yess!

-Missing: Extra want slots. Sorely missed. You can never have too many of those.

-Possibly missing: Secret society. Then again, with it being secret, I may just not have found it.

-Possibly missing: Getting good grades by socializing the teachers. They seem to play much less of a role this time. But again, I may be mistaken, since I don’t play overly social sims.

-Dorms are more homelike and less prison-like. There are bedrooms with one bed, two beds and a double bed. You can assign beds to playables and non-playables alike, and program doors to allow a list of specific sims.

-Sims now have smartphones! Social networking is a new skill, and sims can surf the Internet, blog and unlock new apps as they grow more skilled.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *