Sims are always eager to expand their knowledge and expertise in skills to ensure those pursuits translate into earning more Simoleons. With the Sims 3 University Life, the ninth expansion pack, Sims now have the ability to enroll in semesters at a university to study for earning one of multiple degrees in majors ranging from the fine arts and business to science and medicine. After classes are over for the day, Sims can occupy their time attending parties, visiting coffee shops, or other activities such as studying and hanging out with roommates. In addition, three social groups have been introduced to the game including nerds, rebels, and jocks, all of which offer their own unique activities and social interactions.
Applying for college
Sims can enroll in college by either using their phone or computer to begin the application process. Before traveling to college, they must complete an aptitude test that determines the amount of financial assistance they'll receive for paying tuition costs. The amount of financial assistance earned is based upon expertise in various skills, school grades, and work experience. Lastly, Sims select a desired major in which to earn a degree that ultimately results in increased pay for future jobs and careers. They can earn a degree in communications, business, science and medicine, technology, physical education, and fine arts. A moving van drops by the Sim's house after completing the application process and then proceeds onward to the newly-added university town.
While at college, Sims can select from a variety of housing options including traditional dorms, party-centric fraternity and sorority houses, and apartments and houses for rent. The dorms and fraternity / sorority houses use the game's roommate mechanic that works to some degree in offering a semi-believable experience. However, the other Sims never feel connected to the household and they become more of a nuisance than a social benefit. The apartments and houses for rent function similarly to normal household lots and offer a less stressful experience than dealing with multiple Sims, much akin to real-life.
The university town doesn't only feature a gorgeous and expansive campus, but new locales as well including a coffee shop, bowling alley, comic store, and pub to name a few. The coffee shop in particular is a great addition to setting the atmosphere of a college town. The numerous locations around town were often more appealing than studying both before and after classes. The university's campus itself features many iconic college locations such as a student's union. The major disappointment with the campus is the fact that many of the buildings are rabbit holes for entering Sims.
Hitting the books
The majority of time at college is spent in classrooms either studying or sleeping through one course to the next. Sims are provided with a list and schedule of courses for the weekdays that function similar to jobs and careers in a normal Sims household. While many of the courses have Sims disappearing in campus building rabbit roles for extended hours, a few offer actual classrooms with interactive options such as choosing to pay attention to a lecture or sleeping through its duration. One of the interactive courses in fine arts has Sims using their sketchbook outside to practice their drawing skills, which is a nice detail.
What's unfortunate is that most of the time spent at college is spent waiting for Sims to return from a rabbit hole in one campus building to enter yet another for the next course. Fortunately, Sims can perform a variety of more entertaining activities outside the classroom to improve their grades. Other than simply reading a textbook, Sims have major-specific objects and activities such as the sketchbook for the fine arts major and a cloning machine for the science and medicine major.
The social scene
Aside from attending classes and spending time studying, the other major aspect of University Life is the addition of social groups. With the newly-added smartphone, Sims can track their advancement in each of the social groups including nerds, rebels, and jocks. Each of the groups have activities that Sims can perform to advance their progression levels, which in turn unlocks bonuses such as additional social interactions and smartphone skins. Activities range from nerds reading comic books to rebels holding protests against various issues.
Advancement in the social groups are not required for graduating from college, but offer entertaining diversions from studying and attending class. As well, Sims don't have to pick just one group to advance in social status. Sims that have the time and dedication can advance in each of the social groups at the same time.
The Sims 3 University Life is by far one of the more content rich expansion packs when taking in account not only the addition of an entire university town, but numerous objects and clothing items that can be used both during and after college. While the expansion pack might not deliver an authentic college atmosphere, the overall experience with the major-specific activities and social group interactions create for an entertaining and addictive experience. The sheer amount of activities to perform and events to attend make it rare for Sims to have any free time while at college.
The few disappointments with courses and their "rabbit hole" structure are easy to forget while juggling the stresses of studying for class and setting enough time aside for parties. The Sims 3 University Life is a great expansion pack for any individual looking to expand their game with an extensive amount of content that's both varied and worthwhile.
The Sims 3 University Life is now available for Windows and Mac.
In comparison with past expansion packs, The Sims 3 University Life provides a wide range of varied and worthwhile content that's a great addition to any fan's base game. The extensive amount of added activities and social interactions make up for the few oddities while attending class. No matter if an individual prefers to study or party, The Sims 3 University Life has something for every Sims fan.
Rating: 8.8 Class Leading
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I've been writing for Gaming Nexus since 2011 and focus primarily on PC games and hardware. I'm a strong advocate of independent developers and am always seeking the next genre-breaking and unique game release. My favorite game genres are strategy, role-playing, and massively multiplayer online, or any games that feature open worlds and survival elements. View Profile