I have been the biggest fan of The Sims series for as long as I can remember. It should be no surprise then that I got excited when the spin-off game, The Sims Medieval, was announced. I mean, it’s a Sims game set in the medieval times; how cool is that?!? I went ahead, preordered the game, and impatiently waited for its arrival. When The Sims Medieval finally came in the mail, I frantically ripped open the box, open the game case, popped the game right into my PC, and started playing. Unfortunately, the game ended up disappointing me. While I did find The Sims Medieval fun, it was not as good as I hoped it would be.
The basic premise of The Sims Medieval is to build a kingdom and meet your kingdom’s ambition. An ambition is basically the ultimate goal you want your kingdom to achieve. These goals range from maximizing your kingdom’s renown (reputation), to annexing as many foreign territories as possible. You work to achieve this goal by doing quests and expanding your kingdom. While most of the quests have you playing just as one hero, some of them require you to play multiple heroes at one. Some quests require you to use a particular hero, so you’ll have to unlock that hero first before you can do the quest. When you complete a quest, you receive a medal and resource points based on your performance. Resource points are used to build things in your kingdom, such as a knight’s barracks, a town square or a marketplace. Expanding your kingdom not only improves its status but also unlocks other heroes for you to play as.
When you first build your kingdom, the only hero you can play as is the Monarch, but as I said before, expanding your kingdom gives you more heroes to choose from. Besides the Monarch, you can play as a Knight, a Spy, a Wizard, a Priest, a Bard, a Blacksmith, a Doctor, and a Merchant. Each hero has their own unique abilities and interactions. The Sims Medieval features an experience system in which heroes gain experience and level up as they complete quests and duties throughout the game. Leveling up improves a heroes abilities and makes it easier to complete certain tasks. Some of these tasks include crafting items from ingredients found in the kingdom, or sparring with other heroes in a sword fight. While these things don’t make The Sims Medieval a fully-fledged roleplaying game, they do help add a little sustenance to the game’s medieval setting.
Aside from its roleplaying elements, The Sims Medieval sports the simulation aspects that The Sims series is known for. Heroes can develop relationships with the Kingdom’s NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) and end up becoming friends, enemies, or even lovers with them. They can even get married and have children if you so desire. The needs system also makes a return; requiring you to make sure your Hero’s daily needs are met. The only difference in The Sims Medieval is that your Heroes must fulfill their needs using medieval technology. The game is set in the medieval times after all. Finally, The Sims Medieval has a Create-a-Hero mode that let’s’ you make your own Heroes to use in the game. With this, you can put yourself in the game or just about anybody else you can imagine. Of course if you’re not in the mood, you can just use the pre-made heroes the game offers.
Despite its attempt at offering the “official” medieval experience, The Sims Medieval ends up falling short. Rather than offering you the tools to build the kingdom of your dreams, the game takes the reins and places buildings for you in the exact same place every time you play. You don’t even get to choose how the buildings look like either. The only thing the game lets you customize is the interior of the buildings. Another problem I had with The Sims Medieval is that the game kind of cheats you out of the action. Let me give you an example. Rather than get to fight a dragon yourself, the game will show you a “slideshow” of your hero killing the dragon. That’s right; you see a picture of somebody fighting a dragon instead of fighting it yourself. Kind of a rip off if you ask me.
In the end, The Sims Medieval is fun to play, but doesn’t offer you the full medieval experience. The game also has a hard time appealing to its target audience. It doesn’t have enough RPG elements to satisfy the RPG fan and it doesn’t have the simulation aspects that The Sims series is known for. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give the game a try. The Sims Medieval is still fun despite its flaws and there’s defiantly plenty of humor as well. If you’re expecting a game that features in-depth customization and action-packed adventure, however, you’re better off looking elsewhere.