The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle offers players the chance to transform their world through careful building, responsible living, and banding together with their neighbors. One major feature is the ability for players to create Neighborhood Action Plans. Everyone in the neighborhood votes, and once a motion gets enough support, it changes the way each Sim acts. This is very cool in theory, but unfortunately, the Sims in my neighborhood have voted to turn the city into a Caligula-style fuck fest.
Each individual world, which has a different kind of city with a unique theme, can have its own Action Plan active. As someone who plays multiple households in different cities, it’s fascinating to see how they affect gameplay. Action Plans cover a pretty wide ground. Many of them are innocuous, and encourage Sims to do things like get off their phones and spend time in nature with their friends, or carefully save water in their day-to-day activities.
Some of them are a little weirder. One of them, which is active in the university town of Brittchester, encourages Sims to brawl endlessly. Everywhere I go, I see otherwise normal Sims drop to the ground to do push-ups and tackle my university student for an old-fashioned fistfight. No one’s upset about the constant fighting; it’s just a fun new hobby for everyone to enjoy. Sharing is Caring is another Action Plan that encourages strangers to walk into my house in the ocean paradise of Sulani, pick up my coffee maker, and leave.
Then, there’s the Free Love Action Plan, which is running in my vampire dynasty’s town. Here’s how The Sims 4 explains it:
Who needs negativity when you could be drenched in love? Who needs jealousy when you could be embraced with understanding? Vote with your heart and we can transform our community into a butterfly of love for all. Whether Single, Married, or just open, we embrace loving each other in all of its beautiful forms. When Free Love reigns, you can gain Influence through Romance interactions.
Free Love sounds pretty benign as an Action Plan: It removes jealousy from Sims, and allows for a wider range of romantic encounters.
If my married vampire matriarch Sim flirts with the butler in front of her wife, that usually leads to a big conflict. The wife is jealous; she argues with the vampire; the butler feels awkward watching the blow-up play out. Since Free Love is in play, though, the wife simply doesn’t care, and looks on approvingly. The entire neighborhood becomes significantly more amorous. If two married couples meet, there are decent odds that they’ll swap partners mid-hangout.
I think the point of the Neighborhood Action Plans is to simulate community activism. Everyone comes together, and decides how to best advance their community. Sometimes, that means people start recycling, or encouraging their neighbors to come over and borrow a cup of sugar any time they’d like. Sometimes, that apparently means turning the street into an Olympic Village and just letting everyone go hog-wild.
Luckily, Sims players can vote out Action Plans by earning influence over time. Introducing yourself to neighbors, being generally social and active in the world, and participating in the theme of the current Action Plan will give the player enough influence to vote out certain Plans and put new ones on the table. If nothing else, it’s nice to see additions to the game that change the usual way Sims act in the world. After spending years building up dynasties in The Sims 4, I’m glad there are a few more backdrops and scenarios for my Sims to encounter in the world, even if some of them are weirdly horny.
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