The Sims 3 review

Sims 3

In the olden days if you wanted to enjoy total control over someone you faced forming a complicated kidnap plan, investing in a costly soundproof room with wipe clean floors, and risking jail time snuggling with a six foot skinhead called Brutus. No longer!

The Sims 3, the latest version of the stupidly popular life simulation is here, and it’s got a whole load of exciting new ways to indulge your god complex. (You can let go of the wriggling sack now.)

Getting your Sims to old age and death, telling them when to eat, sleep, go to work and pee with only minor disaster is one way to play the game – but there are so many others. Make it your own private torture chamber, seeing just how long your victims can go without showering, social contact or food. Create your own fan fiction by putting Don Draper and Joan Holloway in a pretty house, then making them kiss (note: I definitely didn’t do this.)

Or create your friends and family, then freak them out by saying things like ‘I made you a never nude’ (note: I definitely didn’t do this either). Building the OPM house and filling it with my beloved colleagues was creepy, fun, and had everyone crowded round the screen asking questions – no mean feat for a bunch of jaded games journos.

The complete openness can panic those who like strong objectives and rules in games, but it’s also the game’s biggest strength. It’s designed for messing around and mischief: the new, console exclusive Karma Powers are proof of that.

Once you’ve completed the challenges to unlock them, Karma Powers deliver fast and satisfying results – perfect if your tiny virtual minions have been functioning a little too well for your liking. You can call in a poltergeist to scare everyone in the house witless, cause an earthquake, start fires, or even pick on one of them with the Epic Fail, which renders the victim a clumsy, unattractive, stinking loser for the whole day.

On the other hand, the positive powers can bestow wealth, beauty and luck or fix dodgy situations, allowing you to fulfil all a Sim’s needs instantly. It’s clearly made for impatient and drama-hungry PS3 gamers. The devs know us so well.

The creation tools have a whole new depth to them (so no more anonymous mannequin Sims), full of varied presets with an extra layer of sliders and colour wheels for the obsessives. Need to get Princess Sparklepants’ hair a specific shade of blue with lilac highlights? Not a problem. You can dress them, accessorise them, and add make-up or facial hair too.