The Sims 4: Which expansion pack to buy – gameplay and general overview guide

Can't decide which Sims 4 Expansion Pack to buy? Here's a quick guide looking at all the key features of all the packs.

With The Sims 4 base game (Deluxe Edition) on a massive sale and all Expansion Packs discounted by 55% on Origin, you might be wondering which Sims 4 Expansion Pack is the best one to buy.

The answer to that question will depend greatly on what sort of gamer you are. Do you like playing The Sims because of the building or do you prefer the storytelling? Perhaps you blend a bit of both.

That said, it helps to know as much as possible about the packs before making a decision. In this guide, we’ll take a quick overview at some of the key features of all eight Sims 4 Expansion Packs to help make your decision a bit easier… or so we hope.

These are designed to offer a quick snapshot of all the packs to help you make an informed decision – the final decision will remain with you. While we endeavour to ensure our guide is as clear as possible, we apologise should there be any ommissions.

Cats and Dogs

Sims 4 Cats And Dogs Quick Expansion Guide

Overview

The most obvious appeal with this pack is being able to create cats and dogs. There’s also a new career and new aspirations to complement the vet career. The pack also features new collectables and new skills for pet-loving Sims.

New career

Become a vet with an active career where you can build and run your own clinic.

New world

Brindleton Bay which comes with  four neighbourhoods—Sable Square, Whiskerman’s Wharf, Cavalier Cove and Deadgrass Isle and 16 lots in total.

New traits for Sims and lots

  • Cat lover (Sims)
  • Dog lover (Sims)

Lot traits

  • Breeding Ground
  • Cat Friendly
  • Cat Hangout
  • Dog Friendly
  • Dog Hangout
  • Training Ground

New gameplay features

  • Stray pets
  • Gourmet pet food
  • Pet treats
  • Simstagram accounts for pets
  • Mystery boxes found by pets
  • New WooHoo location: Brindleton Bay’s lighthouse

New objects

  • Cat condos
  • Food bowls
  • Food stalls
  • Litter boxes
  • Medicine vending machine
  • Mouse hole
  • Pet exam table
  • Pet obstacle courses
  • Pet surgery station
  • Pet toy box
  • Robot vacuum
  • Scratching posts
  • Vet crafting table

Verdict: If you love pets then it’s a no brainer. It’s pretty much entirely pet focussed, though, so if you’re looking for something that will offer a bit more on the gameplay front and not just pets, maybe give it pass. The world is beautiful, though, with some really great debug objects for builders, even if the pack itself doesn’t add anything new for them.

City Living

Sims 4 City Living Expansion Quick Guide

Overview

A solid expansion pack overall, which adds a bit of something for both builders and storytellers. Possibly one of the biggest expansions of all those released to date.

New world

San Myshuno has four neighbourhoods: The Spice Market, Arts Quarter, Fashion District, and Uptown. There are 18 lots in total with 21 apartment units.

New gameplay features

The biggest change to gameplay is the addition of apartments. It adds features like landlords, paying rent, pests and annoying neighbours.  The downside is that Apartment buildings cannot be added to San Myshuno, and apartments aren’t available elsewhere. The exterior of apartments can’t be edited either.

Penthouses, however, offer far more scope for builders since can be demolished and rebuilt. Penthouses are also not available in other worlds and are only found in San Myshuno.

City Living also adds festivals: Geekcon, Humor and Hijinks Festival, Romance Festival, Spice Festival and Flea Market for your Sims to visit.

New careers

  • Critic
  • Politician
  • Social Media

These careers offer players the chance to choose to either “Go to Work”, “Work from Home” or “Take the Day Off”. Work from home will require your Sim to complete random tasks to keep their performance up.

There are also new aspirations, new skills, new TV channels, new collectables and a new death – Death by Pufferfish.

City Living also adds street performing, spices, Vendor NPCs and visits to rabbit hole venues.

New objects

  • Basketball court
  • Bubble bar
  • Bubble bottles
  • Busking area
  • Fireworks
  • Food stalls
  • Game consoles
  • Karaoke machine
  • Keyboard
  • Podium
  • Street gallery
  • Street vendor table
  • Talking toilet
  • Wall and ground murals

New lot traits

  • Chef’s Kitchen
  • Quake Zone
  • Good Schools
  • Mean Vibe
  • Home Studio
  • Sunny Aspect
  • Cursed
  • Grody
  • Gremlins
  • Penny Pixies
  • Party Place
  • Filthy
  • Haunted
  • Romantic Aura
  • Great Soil
  • Child’s Play
  • On Ley Line
  • Gnomes

Verdict: An excellent all-round pack that’s great value for money which offers something everyone will enjoy. Do remember the world restrictions for the building, though.

Get Famous

Sims 4 Get Famous Expansion Quick Guide

Overview

For players who enjoy the storytelling aspect of the game and like to immerse themselves in the lives of their Sims.

This expansion introduced several new pre-made townies, new skills to complement the acting career, new aspirations and new gameplay features like reputation, scars and gold teeth in CAS, blind dates, giving residence keys to good friends and romantic interests and new woohoo locations in the sleeping pod and the money vault.

This expansion’s biggest selling point is the new active actor career. Players can follow their Sim to set and help them sink or shine.

New neighbourhood

Del Sol Valley includes three neighbourhoods—Mirage Park, The Pinnacles and Starlight Boulevard, along with the hidden Plumbob Pictures movie studio related to the Acting career. It has a total of 11 lots.

New Objects

  • Bouncer doors
  • Celestial Crystal Crown
  • Drones
  • Green screens
  • Money vault
  • Music station
  • Styling station
  • Sleeping pods
  • Stage props
  • Vault door
  • Video station
  • Wardrobe platform
  • Water garden

New NPCs

  • Bouncers
  • Make-up artists
  • Directors
  • Actors
  • A-Listers
  • Fans
  • Paparazzi

Verdict: If celebs are your thing, you’ll have a lot of fun with this expansion. If you aren’t into the whole celeb hullabaloo, though, some of the gameplay features form this pack can actually be quite annoying.

Get Together

Sims 4 Get Together Quick Expansion Pack Guide

Overview

Party time with this expansion which adds the ability to create unique clubs where players set the rules, members and pick the exclusive meeting spots. Players can choose everything from the club logo to the requirements to join and which activities the club partakes in. Running club, book club, fight club… oh, wait. It features several new radio stations to complement the DJ Booth,  new skills, aspirations and traits.

It also adds new gameplay features which allows your Sim to pick a nude outfit, send emotional texts, special bar nights and happy hour, new foods and drinks you can only find in bars, the dance party social event, natural pool colours, barista and DJ NPCs and two new whoohoo locations: closet and the whoohoo bush.

New world

Windenburg includes four neighbourhoods – The Island, Countryside, Modern District and Old Town District. There are 27 lots in total.    It’s a beautiful world if building is your thing and there sure is a lot of space to build.

New Objects

  • Bonfire
  • Closet
  • Dance floor
  • Dartboard
  • Diving platform
  • DJ booth
  • Don’t Wake the Llama!
  • Espresso bar
  • Foosball
  • Multiplayer arcade machine
  • WooHoo bush

Verdict: Geared for gameplay, it’s a very beautiful world, though, with plenty of building potential considering how expansive it is. Pairs will with Discover University for players who like to combine building and gameplay and like creating townhouse-style stories.

Get To Work

Sims 4 Get To Work Expansion Quick Guide

Overview

Another expansion pack which game players will love. You can follow your Sim in their active career as a doctor, scientist or detective. It’s quite fun, adding a sort of in-game challenge if you’re looking for something to “win”.

You can also create your own business,  bakeries, clothing boutiques, art galleries, bookstores, and others. Great for builders who want to go beyond residential lots, you can customise every part of your business.

Get To Work also sees the return of aliens and adds the baking skill, new collectables, an illness system and the ability for your Sim to give birth at a hospital.

New world

Get To Work comes with a new independent neighbourhood – Magnolia Promenade. It’s not a full world, but contains four pre-built lots with stores. There’s also a secret lot  “Sixam” (which is “Maxis” spelt backwards), which is accessible through the wormhole generator after reaching level ten of the Scientists career.

New Objects

  • Cash register
  • Chemical analyzer
  • Chemistry lab
  • Cloning machine
  • Invention Constructor
  • Mannequins
  • Photo studio
  • Satellite dish
  • SimRay
  • Vending machine
  • Wormhole generator
  • X-ray machine

Verdict: An interesting pack which a heavy gameplay appeal for players who prefer to take a much more active part in their Sims’ lives. It does offer some great potential for builders too, though, especially those who like getting creative through the debug cheat and who don’t just want to build residential lots.

Seasons

Sims 4 Seasons Expansion Quick Guide

Overview

If you guessed that this adds temperatures and changing weather, you’d be correct. From heatwaves to blizzards and getting struck by lightning, Seasons was one of the most request expansions. It also adds the ability to celebrate holidays (customizable) and the calendar feature – which offers more than just a basic object but actually extends the UI.

It also adds new TV channels (Weather Forecast and Countdown to Midnight – you get the theme, right?), new aspirations, collectables and several new deaths.

It also adds a lot of gameplay like having mud or snowball fights, holiday crafts, grand meals, making snow angels, playing in the rain and all those fun things you’d expect from changing weather. It also adds whoohooing in a leaf pile as an option and adds hot weather and warm weather clothing options in CAS.

New careers and skills

  • Gardener (career)
  • Flower arranging (skill)
  • Skating (secret skill)

New Objects

  • Beekeeper box
  • Christmas tree
  • Flower arranging table
  • Food stalls
  • Holiday decorations box
  • Kiddie pool
  • Money tree
  • Patchy the Straw Man
  • Presents
  • Scouting board
  • Skating rinks
  • Snowpals
  • Sprinklers
  • Swingsets
  • Thermostat
  • Umbrella racks
  • Water balloon bucket
  • Weather-controlling machine

New deaths

  • Death by Flowers
  • Death by Freezing
  • Death by Lightning
  • Death by Overheating

Verdict: Another great all-rounder, even if its biggest appeal is cantered around gameplay, buildings just look so much better in the snow. For builders who like going beyond residential lots, there’s a lot of fun to be had with winter parks and it pairs perfectly with the Get To Work expansion if you want to run a retail business with a difference.

Island Living

Island Living Sims 4 Expansion Quick Guide

Overview

The much-anticipated pack which sees the return of mermaids and adds open water swimming as well as some great new building options, amongst many other features. The pack was a bit buggy on release, however, but the worst ones have since been fixed.

It comes with new traits and aspirations and adds lot traits like “Island Spirits” and “Volcanic Activity”.

Some other notable features are the pier ladders, building sandcastles, the sea life – which includes dolphins and sharks – the ability to float int he open water, suntanning and burning, volcanic eruptions, elemental spirits and  Kava parties.

It also added off the grid as a lot trait, for the eco-conscious Sim and Simmer.

New world

Sulani is divided into three islands,  Ohan’ali Town, Lani St. Taz and Mua Pel’am. The latter is located near the active volcano.

The island also requires Sims to actively take care of it, picking up litter and rubbish and so on. The more you look after the island, the more biodiverse it will become.

New careers and part-time jobs

  • Conservationist (career)
  • Diver (part-time job)
  • Fisherman (part-time job)
  • Lifeguard (part-time job)

New Objects

  • Beach supplies vending machine
  • Beach towels
  • Bonfire
  • Canoes
  • Fish traps
  • Float loungers
  • Food stalls
  • Swings
  • Water scooters

Verdict: Somewhat specific in terms of gameplay, but builders can have a lot of fun in this world and get really creative with building over the water on stilts. Upon release, the pack did feel somewhat… incomplete. For no particular reason, it just felt a bit… meh.

Discover University

The Sims 4 Discover University Expansion Quick Overview

Overview

An Expansion Pack that adds… yep, you guessed it… a University. Well, two actually.

The University of Britechester and Foxbury Institute are rival universities which can make it fun for gameplay and storytelling. Romeo and Juliet in The Sims anyone?

The key feature guiding your Sims through college, choosing from 13 different degrees. Sims can take four classes in a semester and you have to hustle to keep your performance up or risk being put on academic probation.

There are additions to CAS, too, with facial piercings and minimalist tattoos. Repo men, scholarships, secret society, shower whoohoo, completely unrealistic student loans and student organisations are some of the other key gameplay features.

No Murphy Beds, though… they were reserved for the Tiny Living Stuff Pack.

Servo does make a return as a life state, though, but watch out for a catastrophic meltdown death.

The pack does add roommates as an option, which allows you to earn some extra cash from your lodger. The system is a bit awkward, though. However, it does mean all those townhouses you’ve built in Get Together can now actually function as townhouses, sort of.

New careers

  • Education
  • Engineer
  • E-Sports Competitor (afterschool activity)
  • Law
  • Soccer Team Player (afterschool activity)

Your Sims’ degree will help them advance in these careers. There are also two new skills: research and debate and robotics.

New Objects

  • Bathroom stalls
  • Bicycles
  • Cafeteria station
  • Communal shower
  • Juice keg
  • Mini-fridge
  • Personal storage chest
  • Ping-pong table
  • Quadcopter
  • Soccer ball

Verdict: Despite the bugginess of some of the gameplay features, this pack is another great all-rounder. While the specificity of university might not appeal to all players, the roommate system is a really useful addition. For builders, this is is an absolute goldmine for beautiful architecture and has the added challenge of building student housing and commons or the perfect townhouse for roomies.

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Antoinette Muller
Antoinette is a recovering journalist. She's a multi-award winner and thinks it's strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she's playing as herself in The Sims.