The Sims Medieval review, First look

With The Sims Medieval, those delightful lil’Sims are going, erm, medieval in a Sim-ulation of kingdom building, quests, combat and power. We got treated to a gameplay glimpse of The Sims Medieval well ahead of its Spring 2011 release earlier this week. Does it look like being worth your gold? Or should it be sent to the stocks? Read on to discover how it’s shaping up in our The Sims Medieval review: First look.

If you thought the idea of simulating something close to real life was too depressing to contemplate, The Sims Medieval is a different world altogether. Or age, rather. Like any other The Sims title you’ll be able to play God and customise your own Sim to your own specifications. But here, as a King, should you choose to become one, your aim will be to build up a Kingdom from small beginnings into one respected (and if you like) feared across the land.

That is, if you become king. If you find yourself not taking a fancy to the current king, challenge him to a duel and assassinate him, but not before picking off his heirs to the throne first, putting you next in line to take over. We didn’t get to see a lot of it, but EA claims that combat and swordplay will be extremely approachable, but deep enough to involve a bit of strategy in choosing when to defend and attack.

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Once you’re in and have become king, you can customise all sorts: from the wallpaper in your throne room, to the flags, walls and other decor. Creativity remains a huge part of The Sims Medieval.

The kingdom is governed by four pillars: wellbeing, security, culture and knowledge, each affected by your actions and structures you place in your environment. Build a theatre and your kingdom’s culture points will tot up. Build spy quarters and you’ll increase security and knowledge points. Everything you do impacts upon your kingdom.

You can choose to be pro-active in preparing your kingdom as one to be feared by having blacksmiths craft any weapons you’ll need for your kingdoms inventory, or prep its defences and Spy quarters. Each decision impacts on the reputation of your kingdom, as you work out how to grow it. You can do so by going on adventures, or sail away on a ship to locate new areas.

Read our The Sims 3 for console review now

If being a king isn’t your thing, another big change to the template with The Sims Medieval is the addition of quests and the ability to choose, or create your own Hero Sim. Just like real humans each has their flaws. You get to choose yours. Your Sim might be tough, clever or possess magician-like skills. But it has to have a flaw. You can pick from a range of these. Pick gluttony for example, and your Sim will always be hungry, adding an element of personality to whatever character you create. You could always play as a thief, and not have to pay for your meals.

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Each Sim you create does things their own way. You can create a wizard and have them solve quests in their own way. One quest might have you locating a missing child. Each Sim has a different approach to achieving their goals. A wizard could amble around asking townsfolk for clues, but it’s much easier to use a Jedi-style mind trick to coax them into telling you where to find the child. Progress as a wizard and you’ll gain the ability to memorise spells. Then again, you can choose not to follow quests and do your own thing, or just have them mill around carrying out their daily responsibilities. This is The Sims after all.

EA says The Sims Medieval will have all the personality, customisation and involvement as previous The Sims games. The early version we saw was far from the real deal. All the AI wasn’t put in yet, so we didn’t get to see townsfolk gathering around in fascination at impromptu swordfights, or reacting to the actions going on around them. But it’s clear that EA plans to make The Sims Medieval more than a Middle-Aged add-on pack for The Sims fans.

Out March 2011 (Mac and PC) | £TBC | The Sims Medieval

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