Happy Vampires Day! The new vampire game pack releases tomorrow and I received a free copy of it from EA to review. So I hope I can give you some insights into the pack so you can decide whether you want to buy it.
The splash screen when opening up the Sims 4 vampires for the first time promises amazing vampire creation, supernatural powers, a spooky new world and the joys of the immortal, plasma-sucking life.
To check out how awesome vampire creation is, read my Sims 4 Vampires CAS review.
First, because a lot of people have asked me this: You cannot turn off Vampires in the game options. If you install the pack, you have them. However, the game will only generate very few vampires and they won’t start biting people on their own. So as long as the player doesn’t spread vampirism on purpose your sims should be safe.
From all that I have played so far, I feel like this is the most complex and unique game pack we have to date and it definitely offers a lot of the things promised and a good bang for your buck. But let’s get into details…
2. Forgotten Hollow
3. Build & Buy Mode
4. Vampire Needs
9. Turning Other Sims
10. Lot Traits
The vampire game pack comes with no new traits but a whopping 3 new aspirations.
The first one is Vampire Family. A vampire with this aspiration wants to create a family of vampires – though not necessarily through birth. He wants to bite sims, convert them to vampirism and then train his new vampire offspring. This is what I imagine to be the “evil vampire” aspiration in “teen rating” language.
A Master Vampire wants to become wise and powerful by gathering knowledge about Vampires and gaining all kinds of supernatural powers. This aspiration focuses on the power point and vampire rank system – how you level up is your choice. Basically, this is a versatile aspiration that can lead both towards good or evil.
The third one is Good Vampire, a good vampire wants to satisfy his thirst by drinking plasma packs instead of leeching on humans and wants to be friends with both vampires and humans.
I think all these three aspirations provide nice storytelling opportunities and are quite balanced. Really like this addition!
Forgotten Hollow is the new world of The Sims 4 Vampires. It comes with a spooky world icon…
…and 5 lots with is appropriate game pack world size when you compare it to Granite Falls which has 6 lots. But as opposed to Granite Falls this is a residential world and not only usable for vacation. Four of the lots come with pre-built houses but of course you can tear these down and build your own if you want to.
The pre-built houses fit well into this world that gives off a crisp but mysterious vibe during the day and a really spooky atmosphere at night.
The big mansion is the home of Count Vladislaus Straud, a master vampire who will occasionally call your played vampires on the phone and give them tips for their immortal life. The mansion itself is a normal lot that can be edited, but the entry way and the surrounding graveyards cannot be changed. Personally, I wouldn’t want to change it though because it fits very well into this world and is properly haunted but still classic.
Build & Buy Mode
I won’t be doing a full review on Build-Buy-Mode but here are a few of my thoughts.
I’ve read that Build & Buy mode combined give you about 100 new items but I wouldn’t vouch for that number as I haven’t counted them myself.
Build mode in this pack I found underwhelming as there aren’t many new items. But it fills the gap between Get Together and Vintage Glamour stuff and if you combine it with those packs it works really well. Though I have to note there are a few new wallpapers, 2 of which I like a lot. I can see myself using those regularly at least.
The thing I liked most about buy mode is the mix&max pedestal-statue system that lets you combine 5 different statues with 3 pedestals as you desire. A big plus for buy mode are the crack & tear wall decals and the cobwebs which you can place anywhere to make your house look old, abandoned and run-down. Otherwise, buy mode also doesn’t have an awful lot of new items, but I think it’s okay since the focus of this pack is clearly on gameplay and that doesn’t disappoint…
One thing that you’ll notice when diving into the game with your newly created vampires is that they have very special needs (also a cool needs icon with fangs!). Vampires have moved on from mortal needs such as having to pee and instead of craving food they will now crave blood aka plasma.
The most prominent need is vampire energy. This works similarly to normal sims energy as it get replenished by sleeping (either in a bed or in a coffin). But your vampires can also use their vampire energy to unleash their supernatural powers such as mind control or super speed (more on powers below).
Vampire energy will decrease when your vampire is exposed to sunlight but apart from sleeping in can be increased again with dark meditation which gives less energy than sleeping but is also faster. So if you just need that little burst of vampire energy to cause hallucinations to your most hated neighbor, this is your go-to interaction.
Thirst is the second most important need to keep an eye on. It decreases over time and can be replenished by drinking from other sims, drinking plasma packs, eating plasma fruit or having a plasma fruit cocktail. Some of these methods are more effective than others but it’s your choice what to use. Just be careful not to get your thirst get too low because otherwise your vampire might latch onto other sims without your doing.
The bat-meter at the bottom displays your vampires current power level (see more on powers below).
It is notable that children don’t have special vampire needs even if they are a vampire. Their thirst and powers will only form after becoming a teen, which is sad but somehow makes sense since they will develop more powers with age.
Now let’s talk about coffins. There are two different types of coffins, a bare wooden one and a fancy decorated one. Both can be used to make awesome crypts for your vamps to sleep in.
But sleeping isn’t the only thing you can do in there.
Finally a new woohoo location! And it’s pretty spectacular, too. I’ve heard there’s also woohoo in bat form but I haven’t figured that one out just yet.
The needs system is well thought-out and playing around with vampire energy is a lot of fun. I especially like that you can’t use your powers all the time, you have to keep an eye on your vampire energy to do so. This adds a bit of a challenge to the vampire gameplay and makes it feel more realistic. I’ve found that one of my vampires has enough energy to transform two other sims and perform a bit of mind control before she had to meditate. That’s decent but still adds challenge to the “convert 5 sims” milestone of the vampire family aspiration, for example.
Now vampires wouldn’t be vampires if they didn’t have an inherent fear of sunlight. And rightfully so! While exposed to its rays vampires will get gradually more uncomfortable and lose their vampire energy.
The longer they stay in the sun the worse their moodlets get and eventually they will even start to smoke and emit a few embers.
Being deprived of vampire energy also renders a vampire unable to use any of his powers, so you should be quick to return them beneath a roof because they can’t use super speed or their bat form to get there.
What I learned the hard way is that prolonged sun exposure doesn’t only zero your vampire energy, it will eventually burn you… well, to death.
I haven’t used a stopwatch but this death is fairly quick so keep an eye on your autonomous vampires or otherwise you’ll meet grim reaper sooner than you like! At least we get that super awesome vampire urn.
Now I found it a bit annoying just how fast vampires die in the sun – because either it’s very fast or I’m a horrible vampire mom. Three of my vampires died on their first day out in San Myshuno. Whelp.
At least there are a few things you can do to prevent any untimely demises.
Any kind of ceiling even without walls will do. Also, vampires of higher rank can develop higher sun resistance and even immunity to those deathly rays. Just be careful until then.
During this review, I’ve already mentioned a few vampire powers. Powers are developed through power points which you earn by performing vampiric acts, use the powers you already have, talking to other vampires, researching vampire secrets etc. There are numerous ways to earn power points. Powers are tiered by ranks which you can gradually unlock. But for each tier you unlock you will also have to choose one or two weaknesses so your vampires won’t get overly powerful.
These screenshots are only a few examples of the powers you can unlock, it’s probably best you discover them yourself. But I really like that there are as many as 25 powers many of which have multiple stages. In the end, it is possible to get them all but personally I like how ranking vampires are all unique and don’t all have the same powers and weaknesses. But of course, whether you want an all-round powerful vampire or a uniquely specialized vampire you can decide that for yourself.
Some vampire powers, such as enabling bat form can be used on yourself while others can be used on other sims.
I like the bat form but when you fly somewhere as a bat the vampire won’t actually fly across the map but will fly upwards, out of view and then instantly fly back down at the specified location so it’s more like teleporting. It’s faster than normal walking or running but I kind of would have preferred to actually see the bat fly across the map.
Vampires and even normal sims get some special interactions with this game pack that are marked with a little bat symbol. For example normal sims can enthuse about vampires or speculate about their existence.
Vampires can recall their mortal life, complain about plasma, compliment a sim’s neck and more. These interactions are really fun details that bring life (or undeath haha) to the pack.
Some powers you will find more interesting than others. While I almost always use the bat form, powers like cause hallucination seemed underwhelming to me.
I imagined some actual hallucinations showing up but no, the sim will just talk to themselves and be unable to perform any interactions for a short while. Meh. The only thing I use this power for is to level up my vampire rank quickly since you get power points by using your powers. However it’s also useful for distracting normal sims when you’re trying to get their plamsa, so that’s a nice bonus.
But all in all, most powers are quite fun or useful such as garlic immunity, super vampire speed or sunlight resistance. And it’s really fun to level up your vampire to gain more powers.
Another power that doesn’t have to be unlocked is “Vampiric duel” which replaces the fight interaction when performed between two vampires. Now this is some epic stuff.
I think on their first day I had my vampires fight 3 times just to watch these amazing animations.
At this point, I’m gonna note that vampires are indeed immortal. They will age normally until they reach young adult and then stop aging. The “days until age up” tooltip is replaced by “number of days lived” such as in elders. So vampires can’t die from old age, but I haven’t tested all the death types. Since they don’t really sleep I’m not sure if you could drown them in a pool but I’m pretty sure fire can still kill them… You’ll have to test that for yourself!
The vampire game pack adds two new skills, the pipe organ skill and the vampire lore skill.
The pipe organ skill can be leveled up at the new pipe organ (duh) up to level 10. With sufficient skill your vampires can perform typical songs with a vampiric vibe or play haunted music. This is pretty fun as it has a unique sound to it and is different from what a sim can do with a piano. In my vampire mansions, this sets a great spooky atmosphere. Nice one!
The vampire lore skill is different from other skills in a way. It can be leveled up to level 15 and while it unlocks specific interactions for your vampires it is also kind of a tutorial for you, the player.
Researching on the computer or reading vampire tomes will regularly give you tips on certain aspects of the immortal life such as how to shield yourself from the sun or to beware of garlic. With this skill vampires can also unlock purchasable plasma packs, learn how to craft plasma packs or make plasma cocktails. A normal sim leveling this skill can also learn how to cure vampires using a certain popular spice…
Of course, as a vampire, you will have to satisfy your never ending thirst for blood, or as teen rated sims call it, plasma. A vampire can drink plasma from normal sims, or plasma fruit sources but not from other vampires or aliens.
When drinking from another sim a vampire will have to use his powers to compel the sim in question to let the vampire drink. If you befriend a normal sim you can also ask them for permission to drink some plasma.
When attempting to drink plasma from a sim, a vampire will switch into their dark form which has a pretty cool animation.
However, lowly vampires might not have enough power to compel sims and they might resist which can result in… awkward situations.
Drinking from other sims is easier when their needs are low so the power “deprive needs” can come in handy here. Also romantic attraction can ease a sim into the idea of being drank from.
At some point you’ll have to do something to get your vampire a drink because low thirst can be dangerous – not for other vampires but for the sims around them.
If thirst gets very low, vampires transform into their dark form and will start attacking other sims. You can stop this interaction but they’ll try again and again until they succeed. Drinking uncontrollably is always a “deep drink” and never fails which might clash with the good vampire aspiration. So be careful!
Nearby sims who witness this uncontrollable drinking will also react negatively, aka “WTF ARE YOU DOING?!”.
A pretty cool detail are the puncture marks on the victims neck after a plasma drink.
But a deep drink might also steal a lot of a sim’s energy and lead to… embarassment.
Vampires can also get neat moodlets from drinking plasma depending on how tasty their victim is. I’m not sure what defines a sim’s tastiness though.
As opposed to sunlight, low thirst won’t kill you as I learned from Count Vlad. Thanks, Vlad!
Now, what if your vampire is tired of compelling other sims for plasma drinks? What if they want to be good? Plasma packs and plasma fruit is your answer. Vampires who level up the vampire lore skill will learn how to craft various plasma supplies that work without a normal sim to drink from.
Plasma fruit grows on glowing trees throughout Forgotten Hollow so it’s easy to get a hold of. I like that your vampires don’t have to drink from other sims and can also be good. Pretty realistic!
Turning other Sims
If you’re an evil vampire or just think the vampire life is superior you can turn other sims into vampires. Or normal sims can ask vampires to turn them if they have a high friendship level with them.
However not every vampire has the power to turn sims.
Because creating other vampires is actually a “minor vampire” power which you will have to unlock.
If you unlock it, you can even turn other sims without them asking for it – which they may hate you for, be warned.
The bitten sim will be uncomfortable for a few days before they finally turn and get to live the immortal life.
I like this system since it is what I would expect in a vampire game pack and has some neat details such as the special moodlets sims get after being bitten.
The game pack comes with 3 new lot traits. Vampire Nexus will attract vampires to roam the neighborhood, a registered vampire lair will receive vampiric gifts from a mysterious vampire organization once in a while and a lot on a dark ley line will be more prone to produce vampire kids. I haven’t played around with these a lot but it sure is a nice addition to the game.
This game pack managed to be a perfect mix of the modern but often cheesy Twilight movies and classic vampire ideas such as Dracula. For example, the vampires won’t sparkle in the sun but still have a sufficient reason to stay away from it. They can sleep in creepy crypts or choose a classy sim bed. More comparisons come to mind.
The player gets a lot of freedom to customize their vampires in terms of looks and personality. You can play the good, the evil, the neutral vampire or anything in between which I really like! The Sims 4 Vampires gives good groundwork for any vampire story you want to tell while still offering compelling gameplay and a spooky atmosphere. The new world is small but still a big plus since it adds to the overall atmosphere of the game.
All in all I feel like in terms of gameplay and uniqueness this is the best game pack we had so far! I’d give the gameplay of this pack an A, there were only tiny tiny few hickups but they didn’t really influence my gameplay experience and are kind of nitpicky. I’m still having a lot of fun with this pack and if you decide to get it I hope you will too!
PS: I enjoyed this a lot more than this vampire enjoys his fruit cake, but now you can laugh about this bonus screenshot.