The Sims 4: Paranormal Stuff
Stalker ghosts, annoying plasma puddles and a surprisingly okay-priced stuff pack.
By Natalia Dec
Image courtesy of Natalia Dec
After the disappointment of Sims 4: Vampires, the even further disappointment of Journey to Batuu, and the semi-disappointment of Realm of Magic, we were long overdue for a supernatural, spooky stuff pack that gave us more than crummy lots, overly-expensive furniture pieces and weird, unusable hairstyles. Sims 4: Paranormal seems to be a step in the right direction, though maybe not an exact sprint.
The gameplay includes séances, haunted houses, some very unfriendly (and overly friendly) spirits, as well as a new career path as a paranormal investigator. While not overly fleshed-out, the pack contains plenty of new gameplay options to provide some variety, and is definitely more worth the money than some others—stay hidden, Moschino Stuff. The new Gameplay is not only limited to actions, but sims themselves; they now come attached with a new emotion—fear. Your sims can show the ‘scared’ emotion, which seems a long time coming, considering it seems to be the default emotional state nowadays.
Players also get a chance to experiment with the new medium skill, which allows you to communicate with the dead through the newly-included séance table—it caps at level 5, but for a bit of added fun, even your child sims can now dabble with the undead and ghostly. For a minor skill, it is surprisingly well-integrated into game content, and if Realm of Magic is installed and a Spellcaster sim is chosen, it also allows for faster skill improvement.
One of my only major issues with the pack is that while haunted houses are included, they are not classed as normal residential lots, and instead have their own category, along with separate spooky lot traits. There is a surprisingly well-decorated premade house which is ready to place as soon as your pack finishes installing, but this does not matter when the chance to make other haunted lots passes by—haunted restaurant or library, anyone? Within your creepy house, ghosts make it clear they are haunting you by leaving plenty of gifts, such as ectoplasm puddles, creepy vine crawlies, as well as even strange hands growing out of your wooden floorboards. These are disappointingly easy to remove with a couple of kicks or some mopping, when a ritual or two, or some exciting new animation, may have been more satisfying.
The pack also includes some old (and new) faces, with the return of Bonehilda, there to mop your aforementioned floors and do your dishes if asked nicely enough. Once your sim reaches a high-enough medium skill level, Bonehilda can be summoned—unfortunately without her coffin, unlike in the previous Sims games, which takes a bit of fun out of the whole process. A new spirit addition is Guidry, a flirty ghostly stalker who guides you through the gameplay and helpfully informs you of how you can lessen or increase the rate of hauntings around your house. He’s a fun mechanic to introduce the new options through, though he can get annoying—especially when you are already familiar with the gameplay and are not looking for constant interruptions.
As for build and buy mode, the pack provides surprisingly stylish choices, with a pseudo-boho theme that is easy to pair with more casual items. The style fluctuates between cute and creepy, with even the more malevolent resident spirits looking quite cartoonish. However, the more ominous and serious background music and effects keep you involved and aware, adding a touch of excitement to the otherwise playful style of EA.
Overall, Sims 4: Paranormal, while not the most impressive of packs, comfortably finds its middle ground and rules above other stuff packs which were total misses. The lack of options and customisability of the haunted houses brings down the gameplay, making it gradually more and more repetitive, but the variety of options and style makes up for it. It may not be for everyone, but it is guaranteed that you will find at least one or two things you find likeable for a reasonable price, which is a vast improvement over the recent stuff packs.