In a quite intuitive way, the Sims 3 managed to merge those "done good" aspects of both platforms in one efficient platform. Simply said, the Sims 3 keeps all the freedom and level of detail from Sims 2 (even adding more thanks to the dynamic neighbourhood), but sees a new addition in optional goals that can now crop up once in a while. Called Opportunities, these are random mini-challenges sometimes offered to one of your Sims for them to complete. They often are tied to their current career (such as co-workers in the political career challenging them to read a book related to that career or do some other errand before the next shift) or skills (such as a handy-man Sim being asked by a friend to repair some appliance). There's also some other special opportunities that will crop up on the neighbourhood map such as chess tournaments or eating contests. No matter the origins, completing these will often yield rewards for the Sim along with providing an occasional welcomed break from the more routine of sleeping, eating, and working from managing a Sim's life.
Also tying into this are some of the new random challenges you can get when purchasing a house. These can go from buying a house that was hit by a meteor to one that was built on a haunted burial ground, always with the option to "opt out" for those who would rather do without all this. Still, it offers lots of nice and potentially fun possibilities to change from your run of the mill housekeeping. There is something to be said for your Sim as they go to get a late snack in the middle of the night and waving at the "house ghost" as they do so!
And if that isnít enough of a change for you, even the game mechanics pertaining to skills were now overhauled. Before, a Sims' skills mostly represented how good he was in a given task, and were used as requirements for work promotions. They still are, but there are many new capacities added to them. For example, "handiness" (representing the old mechanical skill from past Sims) now permits a Sim to unlock the ability to upgrade items around the house, such as making an oven fireproof or self-cleaning and so on. Or for another example, a Sim with high body skills will develop more advanced ways of working out (such as "no sweat" where the person will be able to work out indefinitely without ever getting smelly). In fact, a new addition is the "skills journal" listing which skills the Sims learned and to which level. Also included will be a list of the various requirements (termed, again, "challenges") that can be fulfilled to unlock new abilities or bonuses within a skill giving added incentives to pursue various skills on top of mere job promotions.
Also pertaining to skills are varied new skills, such as gardening and fishing alongside changes to pre-existing skills such as creativity which was now split into different new skills such as painting, writing and music.The Sims
But to speak about all the skills or objectives that Sims now have access to forgets on one big important subject: The Sims themselves.
Well, the Sims of the Sims 2 were quite a step above those of the first Sims game the Sims 3 "upgrades" them in a similar style. Where the Sims 2's Sims had Aspirations and Personality points, the Sims 3 merged the two into traits. These new traits go a great way to customizing a Sims' personality to create much more of a unique Sim than ever before. With a max of 5 different traits for a given adult Sim, you can thus create a Sim who is neurotic, kleptomaniac, overemotional, creative and athletic. All these traits, many coming with "quirks" and "abilities" of their own along with the ability for a Sim to also choose a "lifetime dream" (the new lifetime aspirations, for Sims 2 players) of their choice linked to one of their traits. These traits will also determines what types of varied "wishes" a Sim will sometimes want, which can be fulfilled for "lifetime happiness" points that can be used to purchase lifetime rewards that can give access to various perks for a Sim (one, for example, is the "Mid-life crisis" which allows you to change a Sims' original traits for new ones of your choice). Also, you can now even give your Sim a favourite type of food, now giving you reasons to cook one meal over another, type of music or even colour, which so far, seems to tie into the "create-a-style" mode which I'll talk about later.
And this doesn't stop there. On the level of visual customization alone Sims now have access to even more options than before. Not only can you choose their outfit, but you can even pinpoint the very patterns of it to your utmost wishes. And that's on top of the (finally, after the consoles had had this for so long) options to be able to customize more clothing parts than before, such as shoes/socks/jewellery and so on. Even the physical characteristics of your Sims now get more sliders to determine facial features and body build than before. All in all, this heightened level of customization is greatly appreciated in a series that is widely liked by many for its customizable experience.