The Sims 4: Growing Together Review – Happy Home, Happy Life
Making the wait for The Sims 5 worth it.
The Sims 4: Growing Together on PC
Despite its release in 2014, The Sims 4 continues to prosper with its numerous expansions, kits, and frequent updates. Several packs stood out amongst the rest as they broadened the game’s spectrum in terms of mechanics and fashionable items, reinvigorating my love for the franchise with each passing installment. However, there are times when these new features fall flat with content, and it causes some to wonder if certain ones are even worth the buy.
Now, that begs the question of whether or not the latest expansion pack merits a purchase, with its extension of the classic family dynamic. Fortunately, Growing Together is a change for the better due to its realistic approach to parenting and childhood. There were so many heartfelt moments between every Sim that occasionally made me blurt out an “aww” as family members reacted to each other in various ways, thanks to the new dynamic system.
While the Jokester Family Dynamic produces silly interactions, Support demonstrates a healthy parent-child bond. I enjoyed seeing the adorable occurrences from these relationships, primarily when household members would either comfort each other during bad times or exchange a few inside jokes. But, of course, not all bonds are positive, considering the Strict and Distance Family Dynamics, furthering the genuinity of the franchise where every character has their own journey.
Instead of living out the same storylines, the Growing Together pack provides more opportunities to experience divergent outcomes with distinct personality types, good/bad compatibilities, and dynamics. I saw this firsthand when I tried out the 100 Baby Challenge, as my Sims acquired dissimilar qualities based on their preferences and upbringings. While one kid had a terrible early life (I didn’t say I was a perfect parent) due to a Strict dynamic, the following child would live out the exact opposite and receive a long-lasting confidence trait that improves their social interactions.
Even if authoritarian or distant relationships produce negative milestones, it’s still intriguing to see the repercussions from it, including when a mother feels a guilty moodlet for being too harsh on their child. There are also a lot of new challenges from the compatibility feature that determines how dialogue sequences can go. In particular, when a Sim doesn’t have much in common with another, you can have difficulty leveling up their relationship, differing from the Amazing compatibilities that make the experience much more accessible.
Besides this content, the Growing Together pack features a new family-based world where every place is child-friendly, from accessible changing tables to entertainment areas. You’ll undoubtedly have some fun in San Sequoia with its relaxing Anchorpoint Abode, amusing Celebration Center, and multiple lots to customize to your heart’s content. Yet, I do think it would’ve been best for the changing table to be included in the Infant update rather than this EP, given that it isn’t available for free-to-play users.
As for Growing Together’s Build Mode and CAS items, you can expect a wide variety of content for all stages of life, such as chic outfits for adults and adorable ensembles for kids.
But, what takes the cake is the new lineup of products that genuinely make your house feel like a home, like the “Look What I Drew!” Display that showcases your child’s artwork or the expansive treehouse that can be built together as a family. The additional crib designs are also a nice touch for the latest life stage, especially the handy BlandCo Contemporary Crib, which can be upgraded to fit infants and toddlers. There are a lot of other objects you can look forward to, including children’s bikes (previously limited to older Sims) and friendship bracelets kits, demonstrating just how many features this pack has.
On the other hand, several mechanics from the EP change the workplace and the overall lifestyle of a Sim. In particular, players can now unlock midlife crises during stressful times and develop rivalries that can prevent promotions. Then, there’s the visitor system where relatives or strangers can pop in for a few days, which can sometimes be beneficial as they can help around the house. I mean, sure, it sounds bizarre to let someone you don’t know into your home, but if a random man wants to help me wash the dishes for a short time, why not?
The only downside I will say for the Growing Together pack is a loose tooth glitch that changes your children’s skin into a pitch-black design, where they basically look like a Heartless from Kingdom Hearts. Even more so, when you try to fix it in CAS, they reset back to a preset character and wipe out any genetics they may have previously inherited. I hope to see a solution to this problem, but at least some mods can temporarily address it.
In spite of the bug, Growing Together is certainly worth the buy since it gives the player a variety of options for storytelling and adds more life to relationships, dialogue, and the entire household. More specifically, I love how a Sim’s personality can gradually change rather than sticking with the same qualities, in which they can swap traits or develop new ones from specific actions.
Although many fans have been anticipating the launch of The Sims 5 (like me), this latest expansion pack makes the wait worth it as the developers continue to improve on mechanics. I already know that I’ll be spending a lot of my time building my family’s legacy with the new features, and I highly recommend joining in on the fun to experience the joys and woes of a Sim’s virtual life.
- Wide variety of content for the household and workplace.
- An improvement to the classic family dynamic.
- Adorable items in Build Mode and CAS.
- More room for storytelling.
- Tooth glitch changes a character’s appearance.
- Laggy performance issues when playing multiple Sims.
March 16, 2023
PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S
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