If you didn't hear the news, The Sims 4 now has a first-person mode. Honestly, I’m surprised Maxis didn’t create a first-person mode sooner, but good things come to those who wait, I suppose.
The new mode is by no means perfect. The image of your sim will get clipped if you look straight down or at other certain angles, but this plays into the charm of The Sims’ infamous glitches. You’ll need to use the spacebar hotkey to switch between household members in first person mode, but other than that you can interact with everything as you normally would, except for canceling actions. That you can only do in third-person mode.
You also can’t walk around with the WASD keys. It might take a moment to train your brain to point-and-click to walk, but I wish WASD movement was integrated into first-person mode to make it more efficient. You have to back out of first person mode any time you want a sim to interact with another sim in another room. You can’t control the movement of your sim’s body either, which can make first-person mode nauseating at times, but if you figure out how to control the camera in just the right way, then it’s not so bad.
But all that really doesn’t matter, because this new first-person mode means potential for cinematic gold. I wanted to know what it was like to do all the usual sim things in first person, and then some. I recently installed a few horror mods that I wanted to try, as well.
WooHoo? More like WooNope
VIDEO: [First-person WooHoo is not sexy. Not even a little. Unless you like motionless WooHoo.]
I’ll admit it, the first thing I wanted to try in first-person was WooHoo, and I’m sure that is one of the first things you want to try to if you haven’t already. I hate to break it to you, but it’s nothing like what third-person mode suggests is happening under the sheets.
Your partner just lays there the entire time with their eyes closed, while their mouth moves every so often, mumbling. Then your leg unhinges from its socket as it lifts over your head at a physically impossible angle, and after a few more seconds of pink hearts fluttering above your bodies, the deed is done. I should also mention that you are fully clothed in your pajamas the entire time, so if you want to find a mod that, ahem, changes that, go right ahead.
Death has never felt more real
VIDEO: [Watching a sim drown before was sad, but now it feels more personal.]
If WooHooing isn’t first on your list, then killing your sims in first-person definitely is. It is harder to kill your sims in The Sims 4 than in The Sims 3, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Dying by setting the stove on fire is one of the methods that's a lot harder, but one thing that hasn't changed is how easy it is to drown your sims. Sims aficionados know the drill: put sim in pool, remove ladder, build fence around pool, then have sim swim to the point of exhaustion. Result: dead.
The camera is a little shaky as you flail around trying to keep you head above water, but it’s all worth it as you see your body dip below the surface and your limp limbs gently move with the waves. The only thing you can’t see is the grim reaper standing poolside, checking his list to make sure your body is the one he is supposed to collect.
VIDEO: [Oh sure, leave your crying, starving baby in their high chair.]
An interesting thing I learned while parenting a toddler is that if you don’t own a high chair, the parent won’t give the kid solid food to eat, just hand them a sippy cup and walk away. That made this little guy really sad about his parents' ambivalence toward him, and constantly hungry. Not wanting social services to take him away just yet, I bought him a high chair, placed it in his room, and continued to watch his parents not give a shit as they walked out on him without giving him food.
To make matters worse, his parents decided to have another baby, which is an adventure in itself. Only first-time mothers don’t know of the horror that awaits them in the delivery room. There is no simple gurney with stirrups to hold your legs. There is only a cross between an MRI machine and an iron lung with robotic arms that cut into your belly and extract your baby. Thankfully, the mother is spared from watching her body get slashed in first person mode, but it doesn’t take away the noises, the screams, and the confused grunts from the doctor as she tries to make the machine work.
But that’s not the worst of it. Thanks to the Sacrificial Studio mod, I got to turn what would have been a sweet homecoming for the new baby into a total nightmare. The mod allows toddlers to stab adults in the neck or gut, or set them on fire. This kid couldn’t take out his anger on his younger brother, so he directed his rage at his parents. All he was missing was a Chuckie costume.
VIDEO: [Toddler extracts his revenge on his mother with a knife.]
What goes on in prison, stays in prison
A while ago I built a prison called Sim Quentin, mostly to entertain my friends with videos. But this environment proved to be a great testing ground for first-person mode. What would fights look like? How would it feel being behind bars? I could start a fight between two inmates, shattering the jovial atmosphere of peace and love, but they all really needed to stick together. As I figured out what to do, I gave them all full autonomy and let them go about their usual day behind bars. A few got hungry and went into the kitchen to make a sandwich. That’s when the fire started.
VIDEO: [The prisoners started yet another kitchen fire. It's like they're trying to escape or something.]
The warden wasn’t too happy. He stomped around complaining about how much money it was going to take to replace the restaurant-grade stove and prep station. The inmates just ignored him, which made the warden even more cranky. He went around cleaning up after the inmates, picking up their dishes, mopping up their messes on the floor, until one inmate who was just trying to eat his sandwich in peace couldn’t take it anymore. Thanks to another mod by Sacrificial Studio, some old-school, prison movie carnage was about to take place. The poor warden. He wasn't prepared.
VIDEO: [Your honor, I know I slapped the warden around, but he had it coming.]
Not everything is out to kill you in The Sims 4. Sometimes there are minor inconveniences, like being swarmed by exotic, electric bugs in the jungle that zap you into a daze while your wife stands there and does nothing. It was kind of my fault I sent them into the jungle unequipped with basic tools like a machete. A sleeping bag. A lantern. Water. Food. A tent. Fire foam. Antidotes. Common sense. I just sent them in without any regards for survival whatsoever. I'm amazed that the bugs were the worst that happened to any of my sims, considering they could have died from smoke poisoning. It's cool, though. They each carry a death flower in their pocket.
VIDEO: [Running around screaming while you are zapped by glow bugs will surely get them to leave you alone.]
So far, I'm having a great time playing The Sims 4 in first person. It adds such a difference experience that only that particular point of view can. Maybe I'll start making movies. Maybe I'll download more mods. Or maybe I'll just continue to play my legacy family until they hit the tenth generation instead of going on murderous sprees with children. Either way, it's clear that such a simple addition to The Sims 4 brings a whole new dynamic to the game.