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The Sims 3 Late Night
EP3 Is on its Way

The latest expansion pack for the Sims 3 heads back onto some familiar ground. The first Sims series had Hot Date, The Sims 2 had Nightlife, both of which centered around dating and going out. Besides that, Late Night also throws in a bit of The Sims Superstar in the mix, and a touch of The Sims 2 Apartment Life.

The party starts in Bridgeport, a new town that comes with the pack. This downtown area has clubs, penthouses and a celebrity hill. These locations are all to accomodate the new features of the pack. If you care too much about your existing town there is nothing to worry though: you can easily build clubs, penthouses and more in your favorite place so you too can play the new features. You can also make your town more compact, as there is now a way to get for example the book store and spa combined in a single building.

Celebrities

One of the core new features Late Night introduces is that your Sims can become celebrities. Your Sims will have a score of up to five celebrity stars. To achieve these stars, you have to gain points by socializing with more famous celebrities or working on your career. The higher up you are in the career ladder, the more famous you will be.

The celebrity theme isn't complete without a movie career, which this pack adds. You can either pursue to become a famous actor/actress or even a movie director. If you're luck you may also win some awards. The musician career is also being improved, although I am unsure in what way exactly.

Being a celebrity will give you some benefits, like random gifts from fans, but also the usual drawbacks. Papparazzi stakeout around your home stalking you. If you behave badly and it's spotted, a scandal may hunt you. You can choose to sue the papparazzi at the city hall, and hope for the best, or just bribe the papparazzi and hope nothing leaks out. The third and final option: lose some of your fame score.

On the other hand, being famous does give you VIP access to exclusive clubs and bars. Some will require you to be a 5-star celebrity, others will let all the Sim trash in.

Going out

Which brings us to another core part: going out with friends. Unlike its predecessors, Late Night does not revolve around dating. Instead it's about group outings, hanging out with friends and socializing with them. You can ring up your friends to head into town and have a good time. You have to make sure you keep the group together, though. Paying attention to just that single cute other Sim can make others feel left out. They will just abandon the group and head back home.

In the bars you will also find mixologist Sims. Mixology is a new skill which can get you some money on the side. Make sure you mix the best drinks and others will pay you good money for them. Be even better, and you'll see that some of your drinks have special effects on the drinker's mood. Those who remember The Sims 2 University will recognize the barista jobs that could get you some extra cash. That part is now advanced with the skill, rather than everybody making the same amount of money regardless of their skills.

Every night one of the clubs will be the hot spot of the night. This can be the sports bar, and Italian club, one of the luxurious bars (with bouncers kicking you out if you're not a celebrity) or any other location in town. Head there if you want to find many other Sims. Join the dancing, or even dance on the bar if that's what you like. The night is yours.

Vampires

With a title like Late Night, you can also expect some new creatures of the night to be roaming around. If you find and befriend a vampire, you can get them to bite you and turn you into one as well. Unlike NightLife, the vampires will not just randomly attack Sims, but have to be actively turned into a vampire - by you. The vampires look almost like regular Sims, but do have their own oddities. They do not get hungry, but need to drink plasma instead, either from other Sims, plasma packs or plasma fruit (for the vegetarians). You'll also want to keep your vampire Sims out of the daylight. One the plus side: vampires are able to read minds (and quickly get to know others), or force others to think about them: useful for those romantic interests. They will also build skills faster at night.

It is also possible for vampires to reproduce. A vampire and regular Sim will have a 50/50 chance of getting a vampire baby. Two vampires are more predictable: they always get vampire babies. The babies will grow up normally, and will be allowed to go out in the sun until they become a young adult. That's when they become a full vampire with all the drawbacks. They will immediately inherit the benefits though.

Objects

The pack is all over the place when it comes to features, and it's hard to pinpoint what the real focus is at. If celebrities and vampires are not your cup of tea, then the objects that this pack delivers might win you over. Many of The Sims 2 University's objects (as well as earlier games) are being reintroduced. There are new musical instruments (drums, bass and finally also a piano and keyboard). There are arcade machines and the bubble blower is back as well. An effects machine can spice up your bar with several effects like fog, bubbles, lasers, snow, fire, confetti and flashy sparkles.

Around town you will also find subway stations to quickly travel around, hot dog carts and more to make the area look like it's part of an actual city. Sims short for cash can also play music in the subway stations for tips. If you live in a penthouse, on top of an apartment building, the new digital aquarium may look nice. Don't worry about feeding the fish, they'll "live" forever. And who doesn't want to get into one of those brand new hot tubs? If you're a real big shot with cash to spare and too little time: 1200 simoleons a week will get a butler to do all your chores.

Conclusion

The Sims 3 Late Night brings back some features from earlier Sims and Sims 2 expansion packs. There isn't much that is completely new, although the main features are all slightly different and/or improved from their earlier incarnations. Unlike other packs there isn't one central feature the pack revolves around, but instead it's a collection of many smaller things - similar to The Sims 2 Nightlife. This may be a good thing, especially as it brings back a lot of items high on the wish lists of many fans. As such I expect the pack will appeal to a broad range of fans.

Late Night will be released this autumn on PC and Mac. It requires The Sims 3 to play.

Make sure you also read some of the other Late Night previews from fan sites who attended the GamesCom:

Do you know a link that's missing here? Please contact me!

Thanks to EA Netherlands and EA Germany for inviting us over, and Azure Bowie for presenting the game and answering questions from the community.

Written at 00:43 on Thursday 2 September 2010 by ChEeTaH.

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