Also changed from past Sims is a much lessened emphasis on managing a Sims' "needs" (such as when you used to order your Sims to go to the bathroom, to eat, to bath, etc). They are still there, but their impact is lessened due to the new "mood lets" system. Basically, mood lets are "buffs" or "debuffs" (to use RPG terms) that can positively or negatively affects a Sims' moods. Some of them are "timed" in that they will last a given duration, others are "environmental" in that they will last as long as the Sim is close to the source of the mood let (an example is the "disgusted" mood let which you get when surrounded by filth and other such trash). They can also be acquired from needs, but will only negatively affect you when in a "critical" state for that need (such as when starving) and will often be preceded by a neutral mood let which won't affect your mood but serves as a warning that the need should be fulfilled soon... though Sims are apt at answering such neutral mood lets on their own often. Conversely, you'll even get a positive mood let such as when a Sim is satisfied after a full meal giving him a "well fed" mood lets that'll improve his mood for 6 hours more than if he had just taken a quick snack. Despite how this sounds, this actually makes managing a Sim easier since the focus is to generally keep them happy. With enough different mood lets, you probably could even offset the negative effects of the mood lets from a need that has to be addressed.
Of course, it wouldn't be the Sims if you didn't get to build your own houses. And though on first look the Sims 3 don't seem to offer that much that is new, some players have complained about there being seemingly less furniture and such than in the Sims 2, what additions that were made are far to be scoffed at.
Though, there might not seem to be as many items than one could expect, the great majority of them are fully customizable. Meaning that, thanks to the new "create-a-style" mode, you can design the exact range of colours, materials and patterns of an object to your utmost liking, which is definitely something that is very easy and satisfying to do. Not only that, but if you have a Sim that is in a room mainly decorated with elements of his favourite colour, he would get a mood let called "well decorated" improving his mood whenever he was in the room. I found this to be a very nice touch and it is a nice way of giving a reason to improve houses as well on putting an emphasis on how every Sim is even more unique than in previous games.Graphics and Sounds
The graphics in the Sims 3 are decent. They are not trying to push any benchmark but will still remain relatively stylized in a nice and pleasant way, giving the game a style of its own even with the customability. Similarly, sounds and music do their jobs quite decently, the new music actually even helping to set the Sims 3 as separate from the rest of the series.Final comments
As a bit of a final note, one of the things often talked about concerning the Sims 3 is the new "Sims stores" where players can buy new furniture models and other varied objects and clothes to import into their game. Using "sims points" which are bought with real dollars, this store has been criticized by members of the community as an attempt by EA to introduce paid DLCs into the Sims. This is far from being that "new" because even the Sims 2 prior to this had included their own "Sims store" and even before that Maxis already was selling "Stuff packs" on cds, which contained only groups of themed furniture without adding new gameplay mechanics or elements other than these. And, in fact, towards the end of the Sims 2's lifespan, EA had released a dozen of such "stuff packs" which included likes of "IKEA Stuff" and "H&M Stuff" packs. In the light of this, the Sims 3 store seems like a natural evolution of things, and ones that permits you to pay a mere 75 points (barely 75 cents in Canada where I come from) for an item, compared to a full-blown stuff pack that could be sold between $25 and $30 that might contain a few dozen items, most of which you probably didnít even want. Some might agree, some might disagree, though with myriad of "stuff packs" released for the Sims 2, one must assume there must have been a market for it.
Also, as has often been discussed by many, there were great worries surrounding the Sims 3 in regard to the DRM it would make use of. Many players, many of them Sims fans, worried that the game would be straddled with a limited activation type of DRM as was seen on Mass Effect and Spore. You'll be glad to hear that this is not the case with the Sims 3, in fact a couple of groups have gone to great lengths to check what sort of DRM the game contained and have yet to find anything dire. EA seem to be taking a cue from Stardock and taking the "carrot" approach with players who owns legitimate copies of the game by giving them 1000 Sims points to spend in the Sims Store along with a free new town (including many exclusives items and a small background story) called Riverview, all for free by registering the game online on EA's website.
All in all, I would consider the Sims 3 a great purchase for anyone who is a fan of the Sims already or those wanting to take their first steps in the Sims universe, in what is probably the best game so far in the series.
On a more personal thought, there is so much in the Sims 3 already that I can only imagine what kind of themed expansions will come out for this game (this reviewer digging for a purely hypothetical "horrorville" pack adding a new town with a vampire castle, forested areas where werewolves could hang out and varied mad scientist gears and tricks. It is probably wishful thinking, but one can dream, and if the Sims 3 does offer something, it is certainly dreaming about the possibilities the future will offer).