LGR – The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs Review

After three years of waiting, it’s finally
here: The Sims 4 not-Pets pack! Aka, Cats & Dogs, the fourth expansion pack
to the The Sims 4, arriving at a suggested price of $40 USD. And this time around I was not provided a
review code by EA, so it’s back to me buying the pack myself. Not gonna stop me so let’s get right to
it! As the pack title suggests, Cats & Dogs isn’t
as broad of an expansion theme as older, similar packs, like The Sims 3: Pets. While that one included cats, dogs, horses,
birds, rodents, reptiles, turtles, deer, raccoons, and unsettling ice cream trucks, Cats & Dogs
features… cats. And dogs. Oh and raccoons once again, as well as foxes,
each of which are respectively classified as a cat and a dog for some reason. Anyway, the whole idea of the pack is that
your sims can now own and care for various fuzzy critters, of which there are over 170
premade breeds to choose from. Not only that but you can make a completely
custom breed or crossbreed existing ones, making for some truly inspiring combinations. Say hello to the hottest new designer dog,
the Greyhound Pug! Scientists were so preoccupied with whether
they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should. And yes, since in this case raccoons are cats
and foxes are dogs, they can be crossbred with rather odd results. Foxes and dogs I can somewhat believe since
there have been Canid hybrids reported, but domestic cats and raccoons? Biology! EA definitely knows it. And don’t even bother bringing up the Maine
Coon cat; despite the suggestive name it didn’t descend from raccoons. Besides, I’m mostly joking here anyway,
because I think this kind of open-ended absurdity is what makes The Sims games great. Cats & Dogs provides the highest degree of
customization we’ve seen in the game thus far, well beyond what can be accomplished
with humanoid sims. For example, the color wheel and pattern tools
have returned from The Sims 3, although unfortunately it’s only for pets right now. Whether or not that’ll ever change I can’t
be certain, but what I do know is that I was seriously cracking up while creating dogs
and cats that look like they were painted by a group of dangerously-caffeinated preschoolers. And it’s true, I’ve always wanted a taco
cat covered in spray-painted goldfish with its head stuck in a grilled cheese sandwich. I guess you could call him “inbread,” ha ha. And of course, there are a number of traits
and voices to further personalize each animal, just like you’d expect with any other sim. You can also choose whether or not they’ve
been spayed or neutered, so if you wanna role-play as Bob Barker from the word go then that’s
your prerogative. And finally, there are a good number of new
hairstyles, accessories, shoes, outfits, and clothing options for your existing sims both
young and old, including a healthy dosage of crazy cat person attire, and uh… This. This right here. Oh my. All right so now that you have you furry friends
where are you gonna play with ‘em? Why not try out the new map location: a seaside
town with four neighborhoods known as Brindleton Bay! It’s a pretty attractive-looking, cozy little
place in my opinion, although its inclusion of more autumnal trees makes me yearn for
a Seasons pack even more. Sigh! Yeah I guess I’ll wait another year for
that if I have to, and until then there are places like this where I can pretend fall
has arrived. And to populate these new lots there are over
300 new objects available for your sims to buy in build mode, many of which are expectedly
pet-themed with paw prints and dog bones, but most notably among them are no fewer than
eight new chairs. I’m sure there are other objects of note,
but as a wise man once said: “When you’ve got chairs who cares!” Okay actually, one new thing I’m happy to
have are robot vacuums. Not only do pets introduce more messes to
clean up than ever, but they provide extracurricular activities for your strange felines to casually
enjoy… *sounds of strange feline enjoying SimRoomba* In addition to the expected litany of broad-use
furniture, lights, signs, and various clutter objects, there are plenty of pet necessities on offer. Piles of toys, beds, feeders, litter boxes,
and treats of all kinds have been added to the game to make it feasible to fully care
for your pet and give them a pleasant home. Speaking of which, how do you get them home
in the first place? Well, other than just rolling your own critter
in Create A Sim, your other option is to adopt a pet on the Sim Internet or waltz on out
into the world and befriend a stray. Sims with cat- and dog-loving traits will
find it especially hard to say no to strays, and in all likelihood so will you with how
instantly cute and playful every animal can be. Just keep in mind that a pet takes up a sim
slot in your home, so if your household is already full then, well, I’m sure you’ll
come up with ways to free up some space. *sounds of creative space-freeing… burning, mostly* Once that’s sorted, great! Whether you adopt through a service or through
the wild, getting a pet is a surefire way to keep things interesting. For example, each pet has a number of traits,
and those traits affect what they’ll able to do. Things like affectionate, clever, lazy, aggressive,
and hairy are more passive, self-explanatory traits that determine their overall personality. More active traits like hunter or prowler
will give pets a separate set of actions they can perform, either on their own or if your
sim asks them to do so. If they decide to obey, that is. Your pets are such appealing little floofballs
that even when they’re being stubborn uncooperative punks it’s hard to be critical of them. But let’s do it anyway! Pets in this pack cannot be controlled directly,
at all. You can click their icon at the bottom of
the screen, but all it’ll do it center the camera on them. And you know what? I like it this way. Not only is it a more realistic approach than
being able to control them directly, but it provides a little more of a challenge in taking
care of them. And as someone who’s been yearning for a
bit more challenge and unpredictability in The Sims 4, I welcome the change. What I don’t quite agree with is the fact
that there is no way to quickly and precisely check the current status of your pet. There is a total lack of a dedicated user interface
for pets, meaning that things like hunger level, tiredness, or bladder status are a
mystery on a moment to moment basis. Which, okay, that’s fine if you’re going
for realism. I don’t know the precise status of my cat’s
bladder in real life either and frankly I don’t want to. Like I said, I appreciate some extra challenge here and there, and I don’t mind having to pay extra attention to my pet to find out what their bodily needs are. But the part that really bothers me about
this is that you also can’t even do something so simple as look up how old your pet is! Assuming that the interface in The Sims 4
is a representation of what your current sim is aware of at any given moment, this infers
that my sims don’t care enough about their own pets to remember their birthday or what
kind of personality they have. Even The Sims 2 had this as a standard feature,
along with plenty of other useful information that I’d expect a pet owner to keep up with,
like what skills they have or who they’ve met. But nope, in The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs, you’re
left with a lot of guesswork for everything from learned skills to their current freaking
age. Another reason I wish there was an information
interface of some kind is due to the addition of quirks, which go beyond the traits that
you can see in Create A Sim. Quirks are charming little behavioral habits
that range from being afraid of computers to being enamored watching TV. Sometimes you’ll have a dog that’s just
obsessed with the pool. They swim in the pool, they dream of the pool,
they are at one with the pool. Other times you’ll have a cat that flips
his lid every time someone opens the oven, which is entirely believable as a lifelong
cat owner. While it’s nice to be reminded of these
quirks as they happen, I’d really like some way to look at them in a list of some sort,
but again: nope, not an option. Another thing that would be useful would be
to be able to check your pets’ training level and habits, both of which can be addressed by sims with or without the new pet training skill. Whether by specific training exercises, on-the-spot
scolding, or positive reinforcement, pets can be taught to do things like roll over,
stop scratching furniture, and stay out of fights. You can also put your pets to the test by
creating obstacle courses, pitting them against each other for a fast time and tasty treats. Speaking of tasty, I also like that sims skilled
in cooking can opt out of store-bought kibbles and bits and whip up their own special meals,
from squishy bone casseroles to fishy carcass treats. You’ll need all the pet fuel you can get
too, because dogs and cats can go into heat and start feverishly looking for a mate at
a moment’s notice. When they find one either by chance or by
you guiding their gonads, a quick nose rub and some floating hearts can lead to a pregnancy. Now remember kids: always wear a muzzle. Before long you’ll have fresh new mouths
to feed and the whole adorable process starts all over again. And finally, there is the veterinarian. A new career in the
Cats & Dogs pack that isn’t actually a “career” at all. What I mean by that is that it’s not a job
you earn a salary for, like a doctor or a cop, but instead it’s more like owning a
restaurant in the Dine Out pack. So if you have enough money to buy your own
vet’s office, then presto: you’re an instant vet! No experience needed, just open up the doors
and let the sick animals waltz on in to get treated by your complete inadequacy. Granted, the more you heal pets the more experience
you’ll earn in the veterinary skill, but it still seems a bit silly to me. But whatever it’s The Sims 4, things are
dumb and dumb can be fun, and man can this be dumb fun. For example, a cat comes in with a runny nose? Time for surgery! Yep, nothing’s stopping you from neutering
the entire world against their will, or for some real chaos UN-neutering the entire world, so go for it if you feel inclined. Or hey, maybe you actually want to play it
how it wants you to, and in that case it’s pretty similar to the doctor career from Get
To Work. Pets come in with an unknown ailment, so you
inspect their symptoms and come up with a diagnosis that it hands to you on a silver
platter without much effort at all. Sometimes you’ll need to take a pet into
the surgery chamber or mix up a special serum, but yeah, since pets can’t die from this
stuff it never feels like it holds much weight. And that is The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs expansion
pack. Or at least the stuff that I find most noteworthy and interesting contained within. So the question remains: Is it completely worth the $40 asking price? I mean, this game has been out for three years now, is the addition of pets enough to keep it fresh? I don’t know. I mean… It’s a fun pack and I enjoyed
it well enough, but that price tag is steep for the actual new content on offer. A lot of it only slightly rehashes what we’ve
already seen, or falls short of providing what we’ve seen in previous pet packs. And then the legit improvements are sometimes held back by things like the lack of player feedback for pet statuses. On the other hand I’m entirely aware that
for many simmers, having animals in the game *at all* will be enough for you to hand over your money. If having cats and dogs that you can pimp
out for Simstagram followers is your thing, then this is the pack for you. It provides plenty of enjoyable gameplay,
cute moments, and happy sims. And personally, it’s tough to explain the
ability to bring back a lost childhood pet in some way. Somewhat recently I lost my cat of 17 years
and… well, just seeing her again in virtual form is enough to make me uncontrollably wistful. The Sims games have always had a special way of bringing
about wish fulfillment, making them really something special, unique, and awesome in that respect, and the Cats & Dogs pack makes that clearer than ever to me. But in an objective sense, I still think the
initial asking price should be slashed in half for what you actually get. The
more I played it, the more it felt like a bite-sized Game Pack than a fully-fledged
expansion. And that largely has to do with my expectations
coming from having played the larger Pets packs of the past. But even more than that I miss having
an easy way to look at simple information like when my pet will age up. If this was a $20
game pack I’d recommend it completely, no doubt about it. But, as a $40 expansion, I think your mileage
may vary depending on expectations. And yet I also truly understand if those expectations
don’t go beyond wanting to have some fun with an animal friend one more time, even if it’s just virtually. And if you enjoyed this look at this pack from this thing, then perhaps you’d like to see some of my other videos here on LGR. Or you maybe wanna stick around, there are new videos every Monday and Friday so subscribe if you would like. And as always, thank you very much for petting LGR! … Actually maybe don’t do that, that’s a little weird.

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