After the better part of a year has passed, we finally have another Sims 4 expansion to look at. The Sims 4 City Living. This is the third expansion for the game and contrary to what I anticipated, it doesn’t use the “Get” prefix we’ve had up to this point. I was expecting a title like “Get Downtown” or “Get Gentrified” or something like that, but oh well. Electronic Arts has supplied me with this copy of the pack for me to review, which is handy. So let’s dive right into City Living, which dumps a whole load of new content on Simmers, divided up into five major categories. The city, the apartments, the festivals, the jobs and the other crap. First up is the city, San Myshuno, a self-proclaimed culturally diverse metropolitan landscape that your Sims can now inhabit. It looks gorgeous and brimming with activity, but in actuality it’s just a bunch of set dressing which is really no surprise. Look at all those buildings, those cars and trains and helicopters and Sims hustling and bustling all over the place.But you may as well forget all of that exists because in this particular area, for instance, all you can explore is this little plot right down here. Yep. So don’t get your hopes up for a Sims 3 Late Night-style city to walk around because the city here is mostly a facade. It is at least divided up into distinct neighborhoods this time around, although I prefer to call them districts since “neighborhoods” is a term used for other Sims things in the past. You’ve got the Spice Market, the Arts Quarter, Uptown, the Fashion District and a park called Myshuno Meadows. Each has a distinct look to it and it’s really nice to have a change of scenery from the more suburban and rural areas previously included in The Sims 4.And that brings me to the apartments, which have been reintroduced to the series here. They work a bit differently from the ones in The Sims 3 in the sense that multiple families of Sims can live in a single lot, divided up into their own apartments, similar to how it was in The Sims 2. However, it’s worth noting that unlike The Sims 2, you can’t build your own apartment buildings or interact with all of the apartments at once. You also can’t place apartment buildings in other towns that I can tell. You can only place the contents of an apartment straight onto the ground, making it a normal house. In addition to this, you are restricted to editing each apartment within the predetermined confines of each space. And if you want to see inside another apartment, you have to sit through a loading screen. However, the penthouse apartments are a little bit different. They’re more like normal home lots that you’ll find elsewhere in the game, and these can be bulldozed and built back up in any way you like. Another neat feature is the fact that apartments and all other lots now have traits of their own, both in this pack and through a free patch.These traits will apply a constant aura to all Sims on that lot and include positive things like enhanced creativity and happiness, the more negative and absurd things like hauntings, and the potential for earthquakes. Lots will either come with these traits already, some of which can’t be changed, and others you can just swap out at will. Especially awesome to me are the rundown fixer-upper apartments, which come with crappy appliances and furniture, and things are always breaking or getting infested with rodents and bugs. More stuff like this, please, because giving a location a bit of personality and challenge goes a long way. I really like this stuff when it works, but I’ve run into a few issues where the game slows down or glitches out in weird ways with these traits on lots, causing Sims’ emotions and moods to flip-flop all over the place, as the different effects conflict with each other.Anyway, next up are the festivals and special events which will pop up at certain times, kind of like holidays did in previous games. The spice festival is basically a foodie convention with all sorts of eating competitions and awesome new meals to try out in one place, including meatless offerings to go with the new vegetarian trait. And yes, these foods can also be added to your menus and restaurants if you happen to own any from other packs and whatnot. Stuff like sushi and burritos and things like that are finally here, which is great.Just be careful of that puffer fish sushi. It’s a bit risky. Another festival is GeekCon, which is a celebration of all things technological and nerdy, with Sims prancing around in cosplay and participating in things like hacking and video game competitions. The Humor and Hijinks Festival is another one. It’s a place to go for comedic and mischievous Sims to go crazy annoying everyone in the vicinity and hopefully not get shot if they’re wearing a clown costume, which these days you gotta be careful about. And the Romance Festival, hmm, that’s a bit, uh… actually less Hellenistic than I thought it would be.Uh, there may not be a bunch of public woohoo going on but I assure you there’s plenty going on behind the scenes, with like everyone just going around drinking things to get turned on. And finally there’s the Flea Market, which is probably my favorite one. This is an open-air marketplace where Sims are selling all sorts of items ranging from chairs to lamps, right back to chairs.It’s not quite thrifting but it’s kind of the same idea and I love the addition of finding used goods and haggling for bargains. And each of these festivals include a few side activities as well, like food trucks and merchandise stands that sell all sorts of neat items, some of which are exclusive to that festival, but I mean they’re still just things like t-shirts. And there’s also produce stands which are one of the better additions here, since before this, it could be a huge pain to get fresh ingredients for Sims that like to cook. One weird thing about festivals, though, is when it’s over, it’s over. It’s pretty disconcerting to see this wonderful area of vibrant activity just disappear without warning, slapping your immersion right in the nuts. Oh, well, it had to end sometime and may as well do something productive, and that’s where the new jobs come in.This time we’ve got one returning and two new ones: Politician, Social Media and Critic. Politician returns from its previously confusing absence and graces us with a refreshed take on this career, which is quite timely having released in November of 2016. And none of these are active careers like how you got in “Get To Work,” so you won’t be following your Sims to the campaign office or anything, but you do get the occasional side activity to perform, whether it be protesting in the streets for your specific cause, drumming up support and donations from potential voters, or giving speeches in public venues that are sure to be rousing and inspiring.And yeah, the stuff in this pack really is a sign of the time it came out in. A lot of your activity will be taking place online, with your politician Sims basically starting off with hashtag movements and moving on up to raising money via online donations and posting long rants on social media. And this is even more apparent with the social media career. This particular job is all about pleasing the people in one form or another online, whether that means posting status updates and pertinent Simstagram photos, managing unruly forums and comments sections, or going to conventions to meet fans and make VIP appearances. Being a critic is somewhat similar, although with an increased potential to anger Sims that just can’t take feedback on their work. You’ll be critiquing things like food and artwork, and a lot of this depends on your Sims’ writing skills, as you might imagine. But of course at first you’re pretty much just a hack with a blog and a chip on your shoulder before you eventually make enough noise for Sims to care at all what you think.Sounds about right. And finally there’s the other crap, which mostly consists of new items and skills to play with. Karaoke bars and machines are now available for Sims to improve their singing skill, or just hang around and look like a doofus. This mixes quite well with the return of bubble blowers, and yep, that’s a hookah, and yep, your Sims get high except they don’t, because rated Teen. Basketball is another new activity for Sims to participate in, with things like free throw and dunking competitions being a thing now. Proper video game consoles make a comeback as well and up to four Sims can play games together, as well as inter-online gaming tournaments. Fireworks and sparklers are back too, which I thought they’d add in some kind of seasons pack, but hey, I’ll take these whenever I can. I’ve wanted more ways to reliably start fires in The Sims 4 and these things do the trick every time. Street Art is another new thing which makes sense with the urban setting going on. And as far as I can tell, there’s no penalty for spraying graffiti, but yeah, anywhere you see these spots surrounded by painters tape, your Sims can whip up some neat stuff.And they can also deface them, which is a nice touch. And if you’re gonna be a hooligan, you gotta dress like one too, or at least change your look to fit the aesthetic of a city-dwelling millennial trust fund baby. Although there’s also some that in keeping in line with its cultural diversity goal, there’s some pretty interesting stuff here too that I’d never really seen anything like this in a Sims game, so it’s awesome. And finally, there are a whole bunch of new buy mode objects on offer, as you’d expect, including those rundown used objects I’m so fond of. And wouldn’t you know it: there are chairs. A lot of chairs, to be precise.So, is The Sims 4 City Living worth buying? Well, at $40, I’d say it is, if you’re a fan of the existing Sims 4 gameplay. There’s a nice pile of stuff here, and the atmosphere of living in a city is always a welcome option in my book. However, it’s still The Sims 4 and I’m not so fond of its overall design philosophy, as you may be aware. City Living does very little to add any further depth and most anything you can do in this pack can already be done in the game in some other form. Again, I am talking about depth, which is not to be confused with complexity. You get more actions and objects, but they aren’t providing much in the way of substance. For example, in real life there’s a huge list of pros and cons to living in the city, but in this City Living pack, those are almost non-existent. There are no drivable cars or public transit or anything, so you don’t have to worry about parking or traffic. You don’t have to worry about proximity to your job or friends since Sims just teleport there anyway. And you don’t have to worry about being close to food or entertainment since again Sims can just go wherever they want to in an instant, anywhere in the city or any of the other ones at any time.There’s almost no difference whatsoever if your Sims live in the middle of a desert or on top of a skyscraper. Other than the ambient sounds playing in the background and that overall feeling you get, it’s the same basic experience with almost no added challenges. About the closest it gets to challenge are the rundown apartments with their noisy neighbors and added potential for stuff to break.But even then the solution is the same old routine of just earning a little bit more money, which happens in no time in this game since excelling at your job is a piece of cake. And things like festivals, they may feel special at first, until you realize that they’re all more or less the same as each other and they’re just offering generally the same stuff you can get a dozen other ways. So, really what you get here is a new skin for the existing game. And don’t get me wrong, having a new skin or look for the existing gameplay is better than nothing, and I always welcome new animations and sound effects for my Sims.But like so many other things added to The Sims 4, I find this rather shallow, and the flawed skeleton underneath still needs some work. On the other hand, I know there are plenty of you who love this skeleton and wanna have its babies. And in that case, I think you’ll enjoy City Living because it’s certainly fun to screw around with while the newness lasts. And if you enjoyed this episode of LGR perhaps you’d like to check out some of my others. There’s some link to right here and there are new ones popping up every Monday and Friday here on this channel. So, you are now informed. Do with that what you will. And as always, thank you very much for watching. .