Gaming Reviews

GameByte Reviews: The Sims 4 Discover University Expansion Pack

When it comes to The Sims games, University is considered a staple. How does The Sims 4 Discover University stack up?

Credit: EA

The Sims 4 Discover University has been a long time coming. University DLC packs have been a series staple since The Sims 2, and lots of people – including me – consider Uni packs to offer up the best in new gameplay and fun mechanics. Does The Sims 4 Discover University live up to its predecessors, or is this a flunk for EA and Maxis?

First of all, Discover University adds in a new game world that’s pretty much the size you’d expect. Britechester is bigger than a Game Pack world but still not exactly teeming with playable lots, offering up 13 new lots across three areas of the world. Britechester offers two choices for your Sims’ higher education: Foxbury Institute and University of Britechester. Each school has its own strengths, but courses are fully available no matter which school you choose.

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Credit: EA

Before we get too stuck into the game itself, let’s take a look at Create A Sim and its new items. Discover University has what is hands down some of the best CAS content of any Sims 4 pack to date. From preppy outfits for both males and females, to grungy relaxed looks, to facial piercings, new tattoos, accessories, Doc Marten-style boots, make-up…there’s so many new offerings to go through here, and I had an absolute blast trying to pick out a new look for my Sim. I haven’t yet come across a Sims 4 pack that’s provided as many awesome CAS options as University does, but I guess that comes down to your personal fashion taste.

In a similar vein, the new Build and Buy items are also very impressive. The University decorations turn even the most boring room into something straight out of a teen movie, making an authentic Uni experience even if you’re terrible at decorating (like I am). There is just one slightly huge flaw when it comes to Build and Buy: you can’t move items in your dormitory or house share, unless they’re items you own.

This is infuriating, and it’s a marvel that I haven’t heard anyone else complaining about it. After a Thanksgiving holiday I was stuck with two gnomes in front of my sink that I couldn’t remove without using cheats. Annoying.

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There’s actually no way for you to access Build and Buy mode if you’re on a Uni lot – even if it’s one you live in. Again this is massively annoying. I left dorms assuming that if my Sim rented a student house, I’d then be able to use BaB. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case, and I moved into a house that didn’t – and still doesn’t – have a cooker. My Sim is spending her Uni days eating bowls of Peas or feeling Uncomfortable about having another microwaved meal. My life – and my Sim’s – would be so much better with a usable BaB mode.

Speaking of strangeness in the game, my Sim spent her first term in Uni dorms. I was expecting a Sims 2-like experience and when my Sim found herself in a dorm without a kitchen, I wasn’t best pleased. I found a common room in separate building (Foxbury Commons), but this building happened to be closed for such a long period, that I assumed it couldn’t possibly contain a kitchen. This led to a few in-game days of massive discomfort for my Sims. Sorry hun. At least she got to enjoy strange moments like this one:

To get the ins-and-outs out of the way: your Sim must complete 12 classes to graduate. You can select up to four classic a term, or three and an elective. I’m British so this didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I’m sure to most people it will. The options for classes are pretty much endless, and each class will allow you to develop basic skills like Writing and Charisma. It’s a win-win.

My Sim wants to be an artist, so she studied Art History and took an elective Video Games course. This was all well and good for our first term. She went to each class (often early!), got her homework done on time and managed to get term papers in (fully drafted and without cheating!) When we decided to leave the dormitory for a private house share…that’s when my game got decidedly unhappy.

When sending my Sim to class the notifications would tell me she’d left, only to tell me a short time later that she’d not attended. This happened so often she was soon in danger of flunking and got put On Probation. I also experienced a similar issue with doing Homework. She could work for hours, have her skill bar increase, but the completion level would still state “Just Started.” Sigh. At the time of writing, this is still a problem.

Credit: EA

Aside from the expected new gameplay, there’s also a lot – and I mean a lot – of new features. Everything from bicycles you can actually ride, to ‘Juice Pong’ matches, this Expansion is packed to the brim with fun new activities. Unfortunately the amount of effort I was having to put into studying to stop my Sim from flunking meant I didn’t have the time spare to join any cool groups, but if I had, she would have become a cheerleader. Or a robot-builder. Because why not.

The Sims 4 Discover University is an absolutely massive pack that’s less linear than previous University expansions. No longer is it as straightforward as going to class and writing a paper. Now you can start a rivalry with your opposing Uni, you can skip class and cause mischief, you can be a straight-A student or a party animal. You can choose to be more social or more studious, and you can amp up the difficulty with a fully-packed timetable plus a part-time job. Out of the Sims 4 DLC, I don’t think a pack has offered up this much additional gameplay since the likes of City Living.

Where the previous Expansion, Island Living, was criticised for its gameplay, Discover University more than makes up for it. In typical EA fashion, I’m expected the bugs I’m experiencing to be a temporary launch glitch, but the jury’s still out on that one.

If you’re a Sims 4 fanatic then The Sims 4 Discover University is nothing short of a must-buy pack, despite its bugs.

Featured Image Credit: EA

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