This week the most anticipated Sims 4 pack EVER is releasing and Gamespace was generously invited by Maxis: Electronic Arts to jump in early and take a look at the Realm of Magic! Since it’s the Sims 4 I have to go ALL in so it’s been a whirlwind few days of mysticism, drama, siblings and style creating the Dawn family – two sisters Alcyone & Lumeria with Alcyone’s twin toddlers Jasper and Opal. Alcyone – a logically minded wealthy investor ready to summon ALL the spells. Lumeria, a passionate, celebrity mixologist prepared even before magic to brew ALL the liquid surprises. What would it really be like being a “Spellcaster” in today’s world, just out there living life to the fullest? This was my chance to find out on a digital level and have fun in Sims 4: Realm of Magic.
Briefly sharing the first three hours creating my spellcaster, over the weekend that time got extended because Maxis have gone out of their way with this pack supporting all possibilities of the style of magic you might be drawn to. From wiccan to neo-paganism/shamanism – even satanism (just to name a few,) you can achieve all of your magical dreams. The Dawn family was created to try everything I possibly could in a house I thought would match their “magi-vibe” also, automatically assigning traits to their ” Raven Dusk Homestead” as a place of peace and quiet that’s inspiring when the sun goes down and of course a cat hangout. Too cliche? Maybe, however that’s the beauty of the Sims 4 – you can be as obvious or as subtle as you like.
So much is jammed into this Game Pack! In the clothing department every Realm of Magic item is quite literally magical especially the boots; sending me joyfully back down memory lane to my Dr Marten days! Hair and make up choices add mysticism and allure as we most expect but its the modern touches that really tug at my customization heart strings so I can blend old and new with pizzazz.
WHAT GLIMMERS, ALSO SHINES
Speaking of old and new, Glimmerbrook is the perfect stepping stone to the Magic Realm (no pun intended.) Winding roads, babbling brooks, lush greens and butterflies galore you can’t help but just want to curl up with a good book inside this setting or build a house, which is exactly what I did! Now this is where my preview goes a little awry because we also got new base game assets just last week to celebrate Sims 4: 5th Birthday so let me tell you – toddlers and configured stairways are the bane of my existence! Actually not just toddlers, young adults also.
It didn’t help I naturally built a spellcasters dungeon in my basement – as all “wanting-to-be-an-awesome” Spellcaster folks would do! So I was delayed hour after hour with buggy game-play because Sim-pathing needs some refining in homes with configured stairways but as usual I stubbornly refused to give up building this modern farmhouse perfect for my magikal family, taking advantage of teleport with the adults whenever possible and itching to age up the toddlers so they can too.
What shines for me in build and buy is the lighting, not just in lights themselves but also the wands, brooms, crystals, potions and cauldrons etc The Maxis team’s VFX artists have spoiled our “gamers-love-shiny-things” eyes! I particularly love the lavenders and blues that also come with the stained glass effects. The new windows and doors are incredible! The vials/bottles of potions are also available in build and buy mode which is fantastic and have me already predicting a 10 thousand potion challenge or something equally as mind boggling!
There is definitely a Druid or High Elf feel to many of the furniture pieces which is extra sweet for those who want to extent their magical reach to build the likes of something as grand as Rivendell for example. Yes, there is also very much a Harry Potter vibe and almost any magical setting you can think of so I have no doubt we will see many versions of Hogwarts especially with those new “bane-of-my-existence” stairs.
For me however I instantly thought of Practical Magic (Starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock) when I heard of this pack. That is my favorite witch family, I was also raised on television series like “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Genie.” In a bid to consider mimicking these styles in the Sims 4 I celebrated the Sims 4: Realm of Magic by purchasing the last of the Sims packs I did not own so now I have them all to support building with the amazing art assets in Realm of Magic! I am still so excited days later!
A HOP, SKIP AND BUMP
Equipped with all the art assets I can have as someone who likes to play without using mods or cc I was also excited that I really wanted to enjoy Realm of Magic progressing content via game play instead of cheats which is super rare!
Teleporting and brooms are a highlight, adoring the teleport animations along with the portals which seem a little ironic considering we just finally got configurable stairs! Taking screenshots while flying on a broom turned out to be harder than I thought also but I persevered while exploring the Magic Realm which is a visual masterpiece, different from any other zone worthy of catering to all the mystical mischief magical folk can create. Gemma Clarke was my first duel which is a lot similar to a dance battle BUT shiner! You can also have a friendly or heated duel, be aware that you lose reputation with whomever you duel should it be heated. I appreciate that they have a portal to an outdoor platform specifically for dueling however you can duel anywhere.
Casters Alley is a whimsical, eclectic market place for all your Spellcaster needs. Here you can collect familiars, tomes, wands and brooms along with ingredients needed in potions but its the Garden that has me curious. I can’t help but feel like there should be more there besides fishing, frogs, collecting samples or harvesting plants. The atrium seems sad and lonely, like it has a story but no one can find it, it’s also disappointing you can’t enter it or get rid of it to use the lot to build though I look forward to seeing what building mischief we can get up to in Casters Alley.
SOMETHING NOT SO FAMILIAR
At first I was shocked the Sims 4: Realm of Magic was a Game pack and not a full expansion.
The fresh “Needs” and “Perks” UI that supports being a Spellcaster (which is found under the Occult selection when creating a character along with Mermaid, Vampire and Alien) plus the addition of a new Spellbook for you to accumulate progression points as you level your Spellcaster – along with the spectacular artwork found in every nook and cranny of Glimmerbrook and The Magical Realm are just so incredibly potent to your Sims 4 experience. Put these factors on top of the content you learn to adapt to and it just seems like the Sims 4: Realm of Magic is worth so much more until you also learn fairly quickly that you can skip everything or focus so hard on your Sim being overpowered that it seems a little mundane more than magical without this being an MMO (or just MO) experience.
After spending the last few days focusing friendships with the Sages of the four traits of Magic available, hogging the cauldrons, dueling everyone I can, befriending every neighborhood cat, cleaning toddler potties using “scrubbero” spells (etc,) collecting Familiars, wands, brooms plus recipes I am anticipating wrapping this preview up anxiously just so I can get in my building zone and cherish those minute details needed to complete the “Raven Dusk Homestead” knowing I’ll day dream some of my precious Sims 4 time away wondering what this pack would have been like had it been a full expansion instead of a Game pack. Days after teleporting my sims Spellcaster all over the magical place it makes perfect sense that the Sims 4: Realm of Magic is a Game pack so kudos to the Sim Guru’s for nailing cost even amidst all the hype and hopes from simmers craving more magic in their Sims 4 experience.
The Sims4: Realm of Magic will be enjoyed by anyone looking to create fancy mayhem, as well as stylish magic knowing the building art assets alone are worth investing in but for the love of flying mops – if you can muster the patience – please play this content as natural progression at least once to get the full enjoyment and if you are wondering what other Sims 4 packs are essential to have with this one I would highly recommend Cats and Dogs because you can make your pets, your familiars. Spooky Stuff and Vampire Game pack also round off those wardrobe styles and magical domain building. I personally get maximum enjoyment from every pack with the Get Famous and Seasons expansions and right now I also cannot wait to explore how magic is influenced by Island Living or how spellcasting will go down in Strangeville town if I use it out and about among the townsfolk away from current magical boundaries.
Now I heard a rumor that children can have Familiars so I am off to finish our homestead and age up my toddlers to see exactly how this all works plus I simply need to learn every spell to use them on other Sims especially the one that lights other Sims on fire because I am curious if they can die or I can revive them?! I also heard Familiars can stop my Sims from dying which sounds like a challenge I simply can not refuse! Maxis really keep my pixel toes curled, over the moon that my gaming library has become so much more shiny since meeting the Sims 4 Realm of Magic. First things first though, anyone have a spell IRL to help me narrow down 86 screenshots for this preview? Help!