The Sims has always been a franchise famous for expanding upon its features through numerous expansion packs, which tend to shake up the normal gameplay with fresh mechanics and content. When The Sims 4 initially launched last year, one of its biggest criticisms was that it felt a little bare bones (you can read our full review of The Sims 4 here). So with the promise of fleshing out the core game, fans of the series (including myself) were certainly eager to welcome the release of new expansions. Get to Work is the first expansion pack for The Sims 4, and its new features have placed me firmly in The Sims 4 camp – no longer will I be straying back to The Sims 3, oh no. Get to Work has persuaded me to stay here for good.
Get to Work is sort of a hybrid of Sims 2 expansion Open for Business and The Sims 3 Ambitions expansion, taking features from both and expanding upon them, while also adding some fresh new ideas of its own. The Get to Work expansion offers three major new features, the first of which is the addition of professions. Professions are different from the standard careers in that rather than your sim going down a rabbithole when they go off to work, you actually get to visit their workplace with them, and micromanage their daily professional activities. This is by far the feature I’ve seen most requested from fans in the past, and certainly the one I’ve always wanted most, so I was ridiculously excited to now see it implemented in the game.
There are three professions to choose from – detective, scientist, and doctor. Coming straight from a couch marathon of The Mentalist, naturally I picked the detective profession. At the Police Station where detective Sims work, you’ll receive a case to work on, where you must travel to the crime scene to take evidence samples and crime scene photos, as well as talk to witnesses. Back at the station, this evidence can then be analysed and cross-referenced with the police database in order to gather clues about the suspect. When you think you’ve gathered enough clues, you can put out an All-Points Bulletin (APB) where your own detective skills will be put to the test. Your Sim will be taken to a random lot full of Sims, and you must work out which is the specific Sim you’re hoping to arrest. When the suspect is arrested and back at the station, you can then take their fingerprints and mugshots, search them, and then participate in an interrogation minigame, where you can choose between good cop and bad cop interactions in order to secure a confession.
I had shitloads of fun with this, but I worry about longevity – that the day-to-day work of the professions may quickly become repetitive and lack replayability. Unfortunately Get to Work suffers from the core fundamental issues of The Sims 4 – not being able to set other Sims in my household with tasks while at the workplace, and the many loading screens between detective activities like going to the crime scene or the APB lot, or to go out on patrol, and then the loading screen when travelling back to the police station or to go back home at the end of the day. It’s more disappointing than frustrating, but if those limitations are what is needed to provide this experience, then I will accept them. Because I’ve never been as excited about a Sims feature as I am with this one. It may not be for everyone, but it’s what I’ve always wanted.
The second major feature of Get to Work is the ability to open your own retail business. The retail system is quite deep, but at the same time, has many limitations. You have plenty of control over what goes on in the business – you get to choose all of the store’s products, design the staff uniforms, determine markup levels on stock, and manage employees. Day-to-day retail life will have your Sim completing tasks like restocking, cleaning, buttering up customers for sales, and ringing up purchases. All of these tasks are immersive but very time-consuming, but thankfully employees can be hired to lessen some of your workload. I’m glad the retail businesses are there (and I know some fans will be very glad to see their return), but outside of the odd whim to take on a business venture, I’m not sure how often I’d play with them. I wouldn’t mind reading a good tutorial or two before trying again, as there’s a lot of little aspects to understand. I’d recommend starting up your own store and growing it organically over buying the pre-made stores though, as there is initially a lot to take in and a lot of stick for no carrot. Die-hard retail business fans will find plenty to do here, as it’s quite an actively involved experience (definitely not one you can set-and-forget), but I’d say the overall lack of progression for players would turn a lot of people off pursuing their own retail business.
The third major feature of Get to Work is the introduction of aliens. Aliens are linked to the Scientist career, where scientists can generate wormholes and travel to the alien world of Sixam, which features many fascinating and exotic plants. Alien Sims can be created through Create-a-Sim or encountered out and about (perhaps disguised as a human Sim). And of course, they can be Woo-hoo’d with for cute little alien babies.
Get to Work has also added two new skills – photography and baking, the products of which can both be used in a retail business. I was also thrilled to see a range of new clothes as well as hair and makeup styles in Create-a-Sim, which is always a nice inclusion. I am a little sad at the missed opportunity to add new traits or aspirations to Create-a-Sim, as the current selection is still pretty basic. But overall, Get to Work was a worthy addition to The Sims 4.
As careers are my personal hobby in The Sims games, the careers/business expansion pack is always the one I get most excited for, and Get to Work did not disappoint. The high I received when I got to follow my Sim to work for the first time was enough to waive the lingering issues. Before Get to Work landed, I was still straying back to The Sims 3 as I found there simply wasn’t enough in The Sims 4 to keep me engaged. I’m happy to say that Get to Work has changed my mind on The Sims 4 and that it will now be my go-to Sims game. For the first time since The Sims 4 initially launched, I have experienced that classic moment when you look up at the clock after a gaming session and find that a few hours has gone by in what seemed like minutes. So thank you, Get to Work, for finally giving that classic Sims experience to me with The Sims 4.