It's funny—I didn't set out to become an expert on the Sims but somehow it just kind of happened. I was assigned one Sims game a few years ago, then another and another... It reminds me of what I went through in college; starting with nothing more than a vague idea of what I wanted, and ending up a specialist in spite of myself. The Sims 3 University Life, EA's latest expansion for its perennial hit The Sims, takes many of us back to those wild, uncertain days of our youth—days filled with study, romance and raging “juice” keggers.
University Life starts out right by correcting some of the issues of its Sims 2 incarnation. For one thing, ageism is out the window and now Sims of any age can head to Sims U. This not only makes for some hilarious dorm room antics (nothing beats a geriatric sorority girl), it gives the term “old school” a whole new meaning. Sims co-eds can now use their smart phones to text one another and to make blog posts and savvy social networkers will gain influence with the campus's three main social groups: the Nerds, the Jocks and the Rebels.
What I like most about the new University Life is that it actually takes you to a whole other setting. When the semester starts, you're ported to the university campus which features various housing options (Dorms/sorority/frat houses or for more money, your own place. All of these can be decorated.), a number of school buildings and a handful of new recreational options. This time around you can actually attend class, where you can work hard or flirt shamelessly with your professors. Depending on how many invitations you accept and how many parties you throw, you can become a big man (or woman) on campus which unlocks various perks, including unique dream jobs.
The game features new traits (my favorite is “socially awkward”) and new skills like Street Art, Social Network, new degrees like Video Game Developer and new forms of death like Death by Murphy Bed, by Vending Machine and by Rant (because who hasn't wanted those ranting, self-righteous, clip-board-carrying college students to be struck by lightning?)
The Sims 3 University Life is one of the best expansions EA's released in some time. The previous one, Seasons, was really nothing more than a few assets sprinkled on top of the main game while University Life adds significant gameplay and a good number of laughs. It's obvious at this point, that the franchise isn't going away any time soon and as long as EA keeps cranking out quality expansions like this one, we won't want it to.