A new year, a new piece of Sims content.

That's just the way the world works.

As such, Maxis welcomes us to 2015 with the Sims 4 Outdoor Retreat game pack; the first piece of paid content for the Sims 4.

And yes, this is a “game” pack, not a stuff pack, not an expansion pack, but a new flavor of pack entirely.

Seems they're changing things up on us, and that's cool by me because personally I grew weary of useless stuff packs and gigantic expansions where I only used half the content.

Now we got game packs, that fall somewhere in between stuff packs and expansions in regards to content and price.

For twenty (20) US Dollars or your regional equivalent, you can log on to the Origin's store and download a good sized morsel of freshly baked Sims 4 game play.

At this point it is only sold online, not on store shelves.

Once you got it installed, just go into your game and enjoy the overbearing menu blasting you in the face with your new piece of content; start a game and whenever you feel like it you can now send your Sims on vacation.

To the bug infested bear wallow known as “Granite Falls”.

This is a woodsy area of ambiguous locale.

Reminiscent of forests and camp grounds familiar to anyone who's either seen a slasher flick in the past thirty (30) years, or has been forced by their family to be forced to visit one under dubious guise bonding and building character.

Yes, this is the realm of mosquitoes, cabins, waterfalls and taking a dump in little wooden shacks.

In short, it is a huge and welcome departure from the Sims 4 generic suburban worlds; but what does this means in regards to the Sims 4? Well, you got like sixty (60) new items, dozens of new clothing and hair styles, new skills, new activities and new newness to new over.

To start things off you choose the lot you want to vacation at and than choose the length of your stay.

Once you get there it's up to you as to what you want to do because this is an entirely new open ended world to explore.

It's about on par with the previous worlds as far as size, maybe a bit bigger; but it's got a whole different atheistic and is filled with several new things to do.

For one thing, you can now place tents and campfires and all that sort of outdoorsy camping stuff.

Tents, not only give you a place to rest, but they're fun for kids to play in and even more fun for adults to play in.



Oooo And if you forgot to bring one, there's a Ranger Station that lets you buy tents and other supplies; so you're not stuck fending for yourself and drinking your own pee.



I mean unless you just feel like it, and in that case you can do that, well without the pee.

As there are a slew of new collectibles for your survivalist inclined Sim to find, from insects, to fish, to plants.

Herbalism is a new skill as well, so you can pull a Dovahkiin and just munch everything until you find out what it is.

Then once you do, you can combine ingredients to make special elixirs.

Campfires are a lot of fun as well, especially with a group of friends around; when everyone just socializing and multitasking in a way that only the Sims 4 has let you do up to this point.

Roasting hot dogs, playing in the fire, telling ghost stories and singing terribly are all on the agenda and it's pretty great! *Sim singing horribly while playing guitar just as bad* Of course there are things to do in the day as well as kicking back with a cold one and an old friend or eating cheeseburgers in silence with a bunch of people you don't know.

*birds sing in background* And if you don't mind a loading screen, beyond the main campground there's a nearby woods you can explore; filled with other collectibles and horror movie sets.

Surely an attractive young Sim walking around here late at night wont bring out the serial killers, so don't worry about it.

What you should worry about is your Sims going crazy from boredom, uncomfortably and sleep deprivation; especially if they are not the in tuned with nature type.

In that case, it is probably a better idea to just rent a cabin, of which there are several sizes, shapes and styles to choose from.

Granted it is not the same experience as roughing it in a polyester shack in the dirt, but if you go the money and don't have the will power, then why not? Cabins can also be incredibly cosy, so if a romantic get away is on your agenda but you rather not deal with bugs chomping at your nads than it's a great alternative.

But what it comes down to is Outdoor Retreat is a really cool little pack of game.

A game pack that is, and I'm really amused that they are taking this direction with expansion content.

They've provided something akin to a full expansion without going overboard on price and things to do, but also the number of objects a stuff pack would have without skimping on the new game play.

Now is it worth buying or not? Well seeing as twenty (20) bucks got much less in the Sims 3, I'm inclined to say this is just awesome and I like it a lot.

And I know, they added things like ghosts, pools and new careers for free last year; but there is still a whole lot of stuff left that needs to be added into this game in my opinion and you can bet that not all of that will come for free.

These game packs are one other way to do so, and I think it's a step in a direction that can benefit the publisher and Simers alike.

Maybe this particular content doesn't appeal to you, but if this is a success then I can imagine fifty (50) more of these things coming along to feed all sorts of niche game play ideas.

Sooner or later one will pop up that makes you go, “Holy crap I need this!” And when you get it at least the twenty (20) dollars you've spent won't disappoint you with stupid things like lemonade you can't drink and a candy coated love seat.



Now I'm not all in favor of them nickle and diming with a ton of piecemeal content, don't get me wrong, but I do think it makes way more sense to make smaller packs that adds new items AND game play, rather then risk it all on a forty (40) dollar expansion that may or may not appeal to as many people or releasing a bunch of stuff packs nobody wants.

Chances are they'll still release proper expansions for the Sims 4, but if they've gotten rid of stuff packs entirely and replaced them with game packs like this, then I say bring it on.

I am a Simmer, and I want more fun content to Sim with.

And Outdoor Retreat delivered.

*Sim singing horribly while playing guitar just as bad* And if you enjoyed this “look at a Sims 4 thing”, you might want to check out my other Sims 4 things, The Sims 3, and 2 and 1 and spin off things, they're all in my channel.

And more are coming as I feel like doing them, and as more new stuff comes along.

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