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The Sims 4’s Get Famous expansion is fun, full of choices, and a little scary

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The lifestyle of the rich and famous is all about the fun and grind of the spotlight

EA/Maxis

The Sims 4’s latest expansion pack is all about the intoxicating, intriguing lifestyle of fame. It’s a premise that’s been explored in other Sims games, but the system has been significantly refined, expanded, and elaborated upon. This is the pack that allows you to have your Sims, well, get famous, and live the life of a celebrity — whatever sort of celebrity that may be.

Getting famous is a full-time commitment, requiring enough effort and attention to significantly overhaul the basic gameplay loops of The Sims 4. There’s a new acting career, along with multiple ways to get famous: uploading videos, social media, creating music or comedy, and so on. It’s even possible to, with a lot of work and finesse, get famous for essentially nothing but being a local fixture in coffee shops and venues. The most efficient route to quick celebrity stardom is passing auditions and nailing gigs, all which require different skills. It’s acting- and charisma-centered, though some gigs will center in on other skills, like comedy and fitness.

Being an actor is an “active” job, which means that you have the choice to follow your Sims to work. It’s very similar to the Doctor, Detective and Scientist careers from Get to Work, but this time your Sim must first nail an audition, then show up to the gig. Once you’re at the gig, done your hair and make-up, and ready to proceed, you have to go through your role. You can take the “safe” route on choices, or swing for the fences and stretch skills like fitness, charisma, dancing, or so on. It’s a matter of risk and reward, and successful gambles reward you with more fame.

EA/Maxis

A traditional Sim family might want to opt out of fame altogether, as it totally monopolizes the game if even a slightly famous Sim leaves the lot. Fans and paparazzi instantly swarm you. Some of them faint. It’s really hard to befriend a Sim with celebrity status while on a community lot. Often you have to hope that one of them just passes your residence on a whim. If you want to be famous, you have to constantly perform actions that will grant you fame, otherwise your fame level will slip. In a way, its on par with actual celebrity life and how inescapable your own celebrité can be. Well, kinda — in the Sims, if you decided that having paparazzi swarm you whenever you go out is too much, you can opt out of the Fame system with a click of a button.

It’s a much more elegant system than in The Sims 3, where fame was an inescapable gravity well. In The Sims 3, you would not only collect more fame over time, but people around you also became famous just by being your family member or friend. On a long-enough timeline, an entire family could be famous, and get swarmed. Now, you have to put in time and effort to earn a full family of Kardashians, which means its easier to navigate the perils of fame, because it’s opt-in for your Sims, with an easy opt-out option.

Further rounding this out is a leveling and branching system that works a lot like the Vampire system from their expansion: You earn fame points from all sorts of things, from singing in public to posting a selfie. Since your fame and career aren’t linked, you can eventually become a famous doctor, astronaut, or video game streamer. Leveling up gives you quirks that complicate your famous life. If you get the “vain street” quirk, you get a massive confidence boost from looking into a mirror, but if you haven’t admired yourself lately, you fall into a sour mood. Another quirk involves your information being leaked to the public, and getting harassed as a result. It’s even possible to acquire one obsessive stan who stalks your home, or a “juice obsession” where you get a drinking problem.

Independent of your fame is your reputation, which works as a general alignment and allows you to unlock different fame talents. This nicely revitalizes some basic sim traits, like being evil. Now, you can pick fights in public and get admired for it. You can be super famous, but have everyone think you’re a terrible person. On the flip side, you can have a humble audience, but the people who do know you think you’re the bees knees.

Reputation and fame work on completely independent tracks, which means they’re not linked one-to-one as you advance. If you are, for instance, the best criminal in SimNation, you might have an incredibly villainous reputation, but that doesn’t make you famous. It’s a fun wrinkle to the fame system that encourages doing multiple playthroughs and taking different approaches to become famous, with different perks and outcomes. It’s a welcome change from the more linear professions, which provide occasional skill checks but eventually all end with your character at the top of their field, disappearing for several hours, and coming home with the big bucks.

Unlike the Seasons expansion, which added small-yet-robust touches that complimented the base game, Get Famous hands you a meaty chunk of content to dig your teeth into. Get Famous cleverly expands on previous parts of the game to breathe new life into them. Creating a malicious or mischievous Sim now has benefits if you choose a more salacious and outrageous public life, and remote careers like streaming, writing, or painting now have a whole new element to them.

For those actively looking for new gameplay experiences to explore, it’s a hefty addition; if you’re the kind of person just looking to continue to play day-in-the-life and get expansion packs based on what makes the Sims seem more real, you may want to opt out of this one. Get Famous is eccentric and over-the-top, and that departure from the average Sims life makes it such a wild expansion to the game.