Riverview is no different from Sunset Valley in that it comes with a lot of well-thought out families, who live in well-designed homes. There are twenty-seven of these families, in fact, not to mention quite a few empty properties for the prospective buyer and empty lots for the budding builders or developers.
However, I said that I would not write about them all. I have to give you, the players, something to explore for yourselves. Otherwise, I'm just providing too many spoilers. I will let you know about some of them and this will hopefully pique your interest.
The design of the homes in Riverview have a more eerie, rustic and rural feel to them than the cosy, coastal and suburban feel of Sunset Valley but nevertheless no less charming. With many of the houses built in a colonial style, most of this town would fit in quite well in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Whether it be the local militia defending Riverblossom Hill from the redcoats, the Confederates and the Union fighting it out near McDermott's farm, gangsters shooting it out with Prohibition Agents up by Lucky Perkins's shack or paranormal investigators studying ancient tomes in the Octagon House Historical Museum about secrets that "sims are not meant to know" - such as why all chimneystacks cannot be recoloured. This place let my imagination run wild in a more historical way than it did for Sunset Valley.
Remington Point is a small hill that is south of the river and has a commanding view over the rest of the town. At the top of this hill is Remington's Ruse, a mansion that is currently the home of Hannah Jones who has just moved there with her husband Nathan.
However, there are stories that the house is haunted by Hannah's relatives. The stories say that they died mysteriously and from different causes. As there are gravestones in the garden, the stories might be more than rumours.
With the town having a rural feel to it, it means that it is not out of place to have a few farmhouses and converted farm buildings.
A mysterious guy called Don Lothario lives in a coverted granary. He claims to have been teleported back fifty years in time from a town called Pleasantview, where they have hot tubs and pianos but are unable to select their own footwear. He does not go on about it too much, though, because he does not want to end up in the psychiatric ward at County General.
Although you do not see our sims ploughing, planting or harvesting the sprawling fields of the neighbourhood, there is plenty of fishing in the river, in various ponds and the hatchery. There is also gardening for the sims of Riverview. Although gardening is not quite the same thing as arable farming, at least it gives the semblance of farming. For one, I would be interested in seeing an expansion pack about farming for TS3, however, taking gardening to the next level, making an even greater use of the props that are available and also adding livestock. It could be a fusion of TS3, Sim Farm, Farm Town and Farmville, but with better graphics and animation of course.
One of these old farmhouses is occupied by Ma Bagley, a retired master thief, and her children. It is believed a lot of her ill-gotten gains from her career in crime is stashed in one of the old barns on her land. Despite the town having at least two resident policemen, one of which actually lives in a converted fire house, there have not been any police searches of the premises. It is believed Ma Bagley's daughter has followed her into the "family business" but her son has chosen a different path.
Note Any similarity between Ma Bagley and the (alleged) 1930s gangster Ma Barker is probably intentional.
There are some more recently built properties. Of the more modern properties is up on Riverblossom Hills Drive. "Rockers Retreat" was the dream of Jon Lessen, who is lead guitarist with a famous rockgroup. Firstly, it has a garage for Jon's four cars. Secondly, it has somewhere for nine of his ten guitars as he can always carry the tenth in his inventory. Normal enough. However, thirdly, he has a full-sized stage built in the back garden. Just for when he feels the need to perform. That might be bizarre enough but what makes it creepy is that, fourthly, Jon has the urn of the remains of Destry Dixon, who was Jon's mentor and muse, in the guesthouse by the front gate.
I could go on and describe all of the other families but as I said at the beginning, that would be spoiling it for you. Instead, here are some pictures of a few of the other families just to try and pique your interest a bit further.
I hope that Riverview does not become the "Veronaville of The Sims 3" and is overlooked. I find it to be a town with a completely different feel but one that is as enthralling as Sunset Valley. The families and houses are very well thought out and they all have some feel to them that makes them worth playing.
I would have liked to see completely different designs to some of the rabbit holes but I hope that will be rectified in a future expansion pack or that the community modders can find out a way to do it with the tools that are already available.
In my next report - and yes, there are only a couple left - I will be looking at death, the afterlife and the weirdness that can be found in The Sims 3.
Before I do sign off, though, there is one thing I would like to add in order to encourage those old fans of The Sims to have a look at Riverview. There is a family called Newbie and they have a teenage son called Bob, who unsurprisingly has a best friend called Betty.
Written at 03:14 on Tuesday 23 June 2009 by