Before heading out, The Sims 3: World Adventures should have checked its baggage at the door.
While packing new customisation options, goals, and three international environments, the gameplay in this pseudo-sequel doesn't do enough to distance itself from the original game.
Too many of the mundane domestic activities that defined The Sims 3 return in World Adventures, dominating the experience to the detriment of its worldly theme. Travel and all the excitement of discovery that comes with it is nowhere to be found in this underwhelming and often mechanical extension of the series.
Sim of the world
Experience with The Sims 3 isn't necessary to play World Adventures, since the game allows you to create a new sim of your liking with new customisation options and clothes. If you played the original, you're welcome to bring him or her along for the adventure thanks to a nifty import feature.
Either way, the aim is the same: travel the world, earn social notoriety, and build a career. You begin in your hometown by accepting employment to earn enough money to fly to three destinations: Champs Les Sims in France, Al Simhara in Egypt, and Shang SimLa of China.
Much as in real life, there's an anticipation that builds as you save enough cash from your day job to embark on a weekend jaunt to see the Eiffel Tower or walk along the base of the Great Pyramid.
Yet the day-to-day grind disappointingly mimics reality, too. World Adventures is more concerned with having you send your sim to the bathroom and cook meals at home than it is with having you jet-set and grab street food in China.
Far too much of your time is spent on domestic activities rather than exploring the new locations and accompanying goals. In other words, it carries too much of the baggage from the original game.
When you do arrive at one the game's much-hyped destinations, there are sights to see and locals to chat up. Each decently sized location has its own unique activities like visiting the Sphinx, socialising with Chinese natives, or learning French cuisine. Touring the Arc de Triomphe, for instance, involves watching a scripted slide show with superimposed images of your sim in weird poses accompanied by historical facts.
It's an opportunity lost - why not allow sightseeing in which your sim can take photos that are saved to your device's camera roll, which can then be shared with friends?
Four mini-games have been introduced that attempt to spice things up, though the excitement they provide is superficial at best. Take the air sickness mini-game. Book yourself an economy class ticket and you risk getting your sim motion sick. As the screen blurs, you're prompted to tilt your device to stave off illness.
It's completely lame. It's actually lame enough to compel you to spend the extra simoleons on a first class ticket to avoid playing the game. To be fair, the others are better, though hardly enough to make you seek them out.
That World Adventures follows from such a solid first outing and looks great only makes it harder to accept that it just isn't as enjoyable as it should be. Instead of thrilling travel adventures, it's mired in menial tasks that weigh down the fun like over-sized baggage.