The development team at Electronic Arts have brought us a new expansion pack that focuses completely on the horse girl community. Players can saddle up and begin their journey to becoming the next riding Champion in The Sims 4 Horse Ranch Expansion Pack. This is available to buy now on Xbox, PlayStation and PC for £34.99.
Are you ready to start ‘Rootin-Tootin’?
I’ve been eager to play The Sims 4 Horse Ranch Expansion Pack since the trailer first dropped. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself a part of the “horse girl” community, however now I’ve had a taste of it, I can’t wait to have more. Watching the likes of lilsimise only solidified this more, and I could not wait to get stuck in. Let me know in the comments if you are enjoying the expansion pack so far, and why.
As this is an expansion pack, I will not bore you with the mechanics of the game. However, there is a lot to talk about in terms of what the pack brings to the overall feel of the game. Firstly, the main addition is of course the introduction of horses. There are plenty of different ways for you to get a horse, which is more than I perhaps would’ve given EA credit for. Of course, there is the CAS feature, whereby you can create your own horse with plenty of creativity. There are over 30 breeds to choose from, and you can even free-hand paint your horse! Or, if you wish, you can even buy a horse for £1000, or rescue it for £250. Rescuing comes with its own warning, as these horses come with so-called unwanted traits. This makes it difficult to train and have a good friendship with your horses. If horses are not your thing, then maybe the addition of goats and sheep will make you want to grab the game. They are certainly adorable!
Will you be the next champion rider?
It is not just the addition of horses to CAS, there are also new aspirations and clothing for your sims. The new expansion pack brings the addition of two new aspirations. This being the champion rider or the expert nectar maker. Both of these aspirations are not easy, and patience is needed to further your skills. You will of course also need to look the part. And the addition of ranch eques clothing will certainly help. There are plenty of new clothes for adult sims, however, there was certainly more that could be done for children and toddlers. One of my favourite parts of the additional clothing is the fact that some clothes have a dirty swatch option, which adds to the realism of working on a ranch.
On the topic of realism, EA has defiantly focused on this aspect for this expansion pack. This is seen through the amount of manure you have to dispose of. Even better, you can sell your manure for a small price.
How will you design your ranch?
Like with every expansion pack, there is of course the addition of build-mode items. This has shown to be an update on The Sims 3 version of this expansion pack. As you can now customize your own stables, rather than having a pre-made one. It will be your decision if you would rather spend more money updating your companion’s stable, or rather on your home. I know many will not be making the latter choice.
One of my favourite additions to the build mode items is the new kitchen cabinets. Although it may seem rather sad, designing kitchens are one of my favourite things in The Sims. I always welcome new kitchen items. And, of course, there are plenty of new doors, windows and outdoor activities. These are certainly perfect for the expansion pack. On the other hand, EA does let the community down in the swatch options. Not all windows and doors have the same swatches, making them harder to match. This seems to be a common occurrence with new packs, and although influences have raised the issue, EA has not seemed to rectify the issue.
Are you ready for a hoedown?
The new events that this expansion pack brings instantly remind me of the Hannah Montana movie. The ranch gathering event is literally a hoedown, and your sims can gather and party the night away. I really like this feature, as I think that this really highlights the ranch feel. However, if a hoedown is not for you; you can also throw a ranch animal day, which is essentially like holding a petting zoo. Again, as stated above, EA has gone above and beyond on the realism of this pack, which is not something we always see with new expansion packs. However it is not just the events that make the expansion pack fun, EA has created a beautiful and idyllic community in Chestnut Ridge. There is the addition of 3 neighbourhoods and 13 lots, including some lots that already have families in them. The best part of this is that these families already have their own stories which are intertwined with one another, and for once, I genuinely want to play with these pre-build families. However, if that is not your style, there is plenty of vacant lots ready for a new family to move into.
Graphics & Audio
In terms of graphics, I think most people know what to expect when playing The Sims, and this expansion pack is no different. However, the graphics in terms of the motions and movements of the new additions is something to admire. The animation of the horses as they gallop and jump is very well done, and certainly adds to the realism of the animals. Of course, games do not come without their issues, and I had a slight issue when it came to interacting with the goats and the sheep. One of the new features is the fact that you can milk the goats. When I tried to attempt this, the arm of my sim was going through the goat and out the other side. Although this is highly amusing, it is a slight bug with the game. Thankfully this is the only issue I had with the game.
In terms of audio, I do not often pay attention, especially considering I don’t believe it adds to the game. With the expansion pack bringing horses, of course, there is new audio from the noises that they will create. There is nothing particularly special about this, nor is there anything wrong with it; it is simply just an addition that you would expect.
The Sims as a whole is a game that has endless possibilities. Due to the type of genre, you can never “complete” the game. There are always new things to do, and new things to try out. This will always continue, especially considering EA is consistently bringing out new expansion packs. The player makes the game as fun as they wish it to be. There are always new things to discover, and I myself have put 1351 hours into the game. Although, I am sure that these are rookie numbers, and for that, I blame the fact I was playing on Mac for a while!
This is certainly one of the better expansion packs that EA has brought out, and they bring out a lot of packs. I think this pack is one that does well on all aspects of the new additions. Although I was not what the community calls a “horse girl”, I would certainly say after playing this, I would somewhat say I am swaying towards calling myself one. Lovers of The Sims will enjoy this expansion pack, and I think new people will also enjoy it too. However, I will say that I have never agreed with the fact an expansion pack is £35. But, for once, I would say that I have got my money’s worth, which is not something I can say for the other expansion packs so far from The Sims team. It is with that in mind, I am awarding The Sims 4 Horse Ranch Expansion Pack a thumb culture gold rating.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.