University was an extremely fun time for me. I spent six months there before I realised I wasted my father’s money. It is with regret that I look back at that time. Maybe I should have tried harder. Maybe there is a lesson here for the rest of you. So when I was given the opportunity to fill some very big shoes (a size 13, Oltman, really?) and continue the legacy of The Sims reviews with the University Life expansion pack, I literally jumped at the chance. Mainly because Lisa’s dogs tried to get me.
With very good intentions I set out to create a Sim that can go to University. I made her a young adult and gave her great aspirations. I also felt every girl needs good looks to succeed in life, but to be more realistic I made her quite average. She inherited a Mother Lode of money (Sims fans will know what I did there) and settled into her new home. Things were off to a good start!
My Sim joined the police force and trained hard every day to improve her physicality and logic. But money was tight after she blew her inheritance on her kitted out crib. A new feature in University Life is the addition of Roommates. Using a new upgraded smartphone (no more Blackberry look-a-likes, this is all touch screen!), she let the agency know she is looking for up to seven roommates, and they must be all girls…and thus began the mess. Eight girls in one house equals a sorority, and a big mess. Cat fights broke out and dirty clothes were everywhere. Their combined rental income barely covered the cleaning service.
Thankfully you can now set bed ownership for each bed and roommate, ensuring nobody slept in my Sims bed. Putting a new lock on the door also ensured nobody even came into her room and read her secret diary. The layout to furnish all the rooms with bunk beds set my Sim back more than expected. Thankfully her great aunt also died and left her a Mother Lode.
My Sim decided her foundations were now solid and it was time to go to university. She took an aptitude test that suggested she is suited for a science degree. When she enrolled she was a bit shocked to realise that the University is in fact in a different town. So her roommates got to enjoy her well-furnished home while she is away being smarter.
On campus my Sim chose a residence (this time a co-ed dormitory) and chose the biggest room with the best view. Luckily she seems to be able to choose the whole dorm’s bed assignments. Very quickly, after a single night of mingling, she was off to class. With a tight schedule of lectures and practical tests, every week ends in exams. Your performance during the lectures and the amount of studying has a direct effect on your marks.
The first week went well. My Sim spent most of her time in class, studying, or taking a break with her new roommates in the dorm. I thought she was doing really well. However, after the exams when her lecturer told her she can do so much better, and then proceeded to make a move on her, she had had enough. She made new friends with a couple of jocks and thoroughly enjoyed her time at their house party. She did keg stands, streaked around the house, and then promptly kissed most of the boys in the house.
When she woke up on the couch, she met an all new kind of Sim: a Plant Sim. These creatures look like humans made out of trees, and since they are mostly trees they don’t need to use a toilet. Efficiency with their bladders and abilities to gain nutrients from their environment makes these the perfect low maintenance Sims. Becoming one is much harder though.
At the end of the second week, just before final exams, my Sim decided to beg the lecturer for a good mark. It seems to have paid off as she received a B average. She also got to wear a robe and received a very nice degree to hang on her wall.
When my Sim returned home she noticed that the world stood still for two whole weeks, similar to when she goes on holiday overseas. Her house was still overrun by rowdy roommates. Now that she is smart she decided to kick everyone out and then go back to University for another term. It was much more fun over there.
A few points have to be made of this expansion that my little tale does not include. Firstly, the campus and normal towns are totally separate. Friends made in one are not available in the other. This includes lovers and partners. The studying can become very tedious, but thankfully there are ways around it like cheating and begging for better marks. Unlike real life, these pay off.
Friends are now split into four separate groups. The first is your normal vanilla flavoured friends. Then you get other friends who belong to one of three groups: jocks, nerds and rebels. The jocks are very sporty, party hard, and love to dive into dumpsters. The nerds are all quiet folk who do well with computers and games. Making new friends here is easy, they love pretty girls. The rebels are the ones who organise protests and are often quite moody. Gaining more reputation with these groups will give you perks that allow you more life experience.
New items are, as per usual, included in the pack. These vary from new furniture to your sporting team’s colours. Nothing really stands out but it all ties in well with the University Life theme. This is one of the better expansions in recent times, and fleshes out the young adult’s life nicely. Any Sims fan should give this a good look!
The Good: Have the life you never had; fun new activities on campus.
The Bad: Home towns go into stasis in your absence; becoming a PlantSim is too hard.
The Ugly: Just like real life, my varsity days descended into partying 24-7!