It’s been nearly eight years since the release of The Sims 4. Back in 2014, the beloved life simulation franchise received its fourth installment from EA that promised a new world of possibilities complete with making new families, building homes, and reuniting with familiar faces like the Goths and Landgraabs. Aside from those, well, that was about it.
A mere few days after its release, it became clear that The Sims 4 was lacking a lot of the features that made previous Sims games enjoyable. The most obvious ones? A conspicuously absent pool tool. But the game has come a long way since then thanks to the release of several expansion packs designed to add new features to the game.
So far, we’ve gotten mermaids, cows, vampires, skiing, and plenty more. With years of expansion packs, however, it’s time we sit down to consider which ones have actually been worth the $40 price tag and which ones should have stayed a bit longer in development.
11. Sims 4: Get Famous
Get Famous was released on November 16, 2018 as the sixth expansion pack for The Sims 4. The whole idea behind it, as you can probably tell, is that you can turn your Sims into famous celebrities.
While the trailers mainly advertised the actor or singer side of fame, the expansion pack offers a variety of entertainment-related arts that your sim could be famous for. Players could make Sim Salvador Dali, a Pulitzer winner, or even a celebrity chef if they felt like it. The pack also came with a new trait, Self-Absorbed, and the world of Del Sol Valley which was basically Sim Hollywood.
But man did Get Famous make the rest of the game unplayable. If you thought Sims 4: Dine Out was buggy, you could make it even buggier by adding Get Famous to the mix.
While the game does allow you to control how your fame affects other Sims to a degree, the amount of paparazzi your celeb Sim attracts would make going to public lots a nightmare unless you’re playing on a supercomputer.
Even if your PC could handle it, you’d have to deal with the stress of trying to order food during a date while dozens of other Sims inserted themselves into your conversations. Also, the tacky furniture that came with this pack was not it.
10. Sims 4: Get Together
If there’s one thing that needs to be said about Get Together, it’s that it came with one of, if not the most beautiful world in The Sims 4. The Windenburg map is massive compared to the other worlds in the following Sims 4 expansions.
Its zones were so different from each other that the place actually felt like a real-life European city with a storied past and a bright future ahead of it. Builders especially enjoyed this expansion for the gift of medieval era style build mode items and the gorgeous neighborhoods where it easily fits in.
As for the gameplay aspect, Get Together gave players the option to group their Sims into clubs that shared interests, hobbies, and hangout spaces. While the club system itself is fairly lackluster, players who love making big families will find it useful for getting your Sims’ kids to actually do their homework.
9. Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle
Eco Lifestyle promised us the world but it just couldn’t deliver. Its entire gimmick was that you could influence your environment by supporting eco-friendly policies and adopting sustainable habits.
Sounds cool, does not translate well into the actual game.
Most of the time, the actual policy change aspect of it just involved you clicking through the interactions menu to influence other Sims to vote either green or industrial. If you choose not to campaign for your chosen camp, you could be a civil designer that wielded tools that were just reskinned versions of that blaster thing the aliens in the game already have.
Other than the candle-making and solar energy items, Eco Lifestyle doesn’t have much going for it. The worms you take care of may as well just be bees and, let’s be real here, do you really play The Sims 4 because you want to go around dumpster diving?
The world that came with Eco Lifestyle is similarly boring. Once you’ve changed your environment enough, there’s not a lot of fun to be had from going through the process again. The set itself isn’t that attractive either and just gives Brindleton Bay-but-dirtier vibes.
8. Sims 4: Island Living
Island Living often finds itself at the end of lists like this, but it’s a little higher up on this one for a single reason: it isn’t redundant. Other than Island Living‘s Sulani map, there are no tropical beaches anywhere else in the game.
Though Brindleton Bay has some coastal areas, none of them let you take a dip in the sea like Sulani does. Aside from the one-of-a-kind neighborhood, Island Living brought us mermaids, boat rides, jet skis, tropical clothing, and build mode items that will give anyone who grew up in the tropics a nostalgia trip.
Unfortunately, Island Living‘s oceans left a lot of players wanting. Unlike The Sims 3‘s Island Paradise expansion, Island Living didn’t have boathouses or underwater diving adventures.
7. Sims 4: City Living
Raise a glass to the only Sims 4 expansion pack to give us a map that had apartments. The Sims 4 may be heavily suburban, but San Myshuno is packed with skyscrapers, rundown apartments, and penthouse suites that make for a city life experience that’s so believable you can almost smell car exhaust.
City Living came with a lot of new features. The pack included multicultural clothes, street food stands, and sci-fi conventions that let your Sims take a rocket to space.
Of course, that was just a rabbit hole, but you have to hand it to City Living for being able to recreate the feel of living in an urban center so well. The game even remembers to have an endless stream of headlights along the highways visible from your apartment so you never forget that you’re living in a city.
6. Sims 4: Snowy Escape
The Japanophiles and builders had a field day with The Sims 4‘s Snowy Escape expansion pack. This addition to the game plops your Sims in a sleepy Japanese-inspired town at the foot of Mt. Komorebi.
If you’ve been to Kyoto, you’ll likely notice how heavily the map draws inspiration from it. The expansion pack comes with a ton of recreation features like skiing and relaxing in hot springs. It also featured an all-new Lifestyles and Sentiments system that gave players an extra dimension for customizing Sims.
What’s really worth writing home about, though, is the build mode options in this game. Snowy Escape gives you every item you need to build your very own Japanese machiya home complete with sliding doors, zen gardens, and tatami flooring. Players who love the game for its building features will get a lot out of their money with Snowy Escape.
5. Sims 4: Discover University
Discover University is a Sims 4 expansion pack for players looking for a gameplay challenge. If you thought the 100 Baby Challenge wasn’t challenging enough, add an extra headache to your plate by trying to get your Sim to graduate at the same time.
I’m not insane enough to do that, but this expansion still ran me ragged. Even with just two Sims going to school at the same time, it was hard to have them work, study, and do chores at a competent level. Most of the time, I ended up sending Sims to university without any sleep and if that’s not an advertisement for Discover University‘s realism, I don’t know what is.
If you liked the Windenburg world, you’ll enjoy Discover University‘s college town which is filled with pubs and grand-looking libraries. If you know where to look, you can even join a secret society. Just remember not to play too much juice pong or you might not graduate on time.
4. Sims 4: Cats and Dogs
Why is Cats and Dogs such a favorite among The Sims 4 players? Well, it’s in the title: it’s got cats and dogs. What more do you want? Okay, there is a lot Cats and Dogs could have had.
When it comes to game franchises like The Sims, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to previous expansions. Cats and Dogs left a lot of fans disappointed because that was all it had, unlike The Sims 3 Pets which featured horses as a pet option.
Having said that, Cats and Dogs wasn’t a bad expansion back on its own. It added the veterinarian career to the game and the gorgeous coastal town of Brindleton Bay. The pets are also realistic to the point of being a nuisance. Pet owners out there know what I mean.
Cats and Dogs‘ pets could be just as lovable as they can be annoyingly needy. If there’s one complaint to be had about the expansion pack, though, it would be how often the pets got sick because if you have more than one of them at a time, you could expect to live at a vet clinic.
3. Sims 4: Cottage Living
And the crowd goes wild! Few Sims 4 expansion packs had as much excitement about them as Sims 4: Cottage Living. The expansion pack couldn’t have come at a better time since it managed to line up with the pandemic era popularity of the cottagecore aesthetic.
Speaking of cottagecore, the expansion is just cottages and countryside for as far as the eye can see. All of the build mode options are catered to creating your vision of a country paradise.
The pack doesn’t lack for gameplay options either. This addition to The Sims 4 allowed players to take care of chickens, cows, and even the game’s signature animal, llamas.
Unlike the worms we got in Eco Living, you get a ton of interaction options with this expansion’s pack animals. Have your Sims caress some baby chicks or milk a cow with a Cottagecore Sim in a pinafore dress.
2. Sims 4: Seasons
If there’s one single word that can be used to describe Sims 4: Seasons, it’s “gorgeous.” Just look at the photo above and you’ll likely agree.
While Sims 4: Seasons doesn’t seem like a game-changing expansion, given that all it does is add seasons to the game, it breathes life into The Sims 4′s maps the way no other single expansion can. If you have a good chunk of the other expansions, this one is definitely worth getting.
Seasons isn’t just about spring, summer, fall, and winter, though. The expansion pack introduces holidays to the game that you can change, add, and subtract from. Yup, that’s right.
You can make your own holidays for your Sims to celebrate. This opens up some wacky roleplaying options like making a club with Get Together that’s really a cult of Cthulhu and having them celebrate the Lovecraftian lord on a custom holiday.
1. Sims 4: Get To Work
Get to Work may have been the first Sims 4 expansion pack to be released, but it’s far from being outdated. Get to Work was the first expansion pack to bring us careers. Far from being just a collection of rabbit holes, Get to Work lets you accompany your Sim to their workplace if they happen to be a doctor, scientist, or detective.
Once delivering babies and investigating crime scenes starts to get boring, you can send Sims to work on their own and make a retail business instead. If you only plan on getting one Sims 4 expansion pack ever, this is the one to get.