What makes a good sequel: improving core features or adding new content?
A perfect sequel would do both, but developers often prioritize one over the other. Even a giant like Electronic Arts had to choose with The Sims 4, and the company chose the first route, even going so far as to leave out popular features from previous games.
Compared to its predecessor, The Sims 4 offers better customization, interaction and depth while sacrificing an open world and leaving some obvious content holes that, in typical Sims fashion, will inevitably be patched with expansion packs.
As a base game, The Sims 4 is the best installment in the series despite lacking some features as pools or toddlers. Here’s the thing: every games in the series has used expansions to complement the first release. Every Sims game is guilty of it, so it’s unfair to hold it against The Sims 4 more so than another installment. However, it’s a valid criticism of the entire series.
Where The Sims 4 shines is with its core features. Overall, they’re a strong improvement over The Sims 3. Most notable are improvements to the dialogue and emotion systems, which have undergone a complete overhaul to include various mood states for each Sim.