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Publisher: Electronic Arts    Genre: Simulation
Min OS X: 10.5.8

The Sims Medieval Pirates & Nobles
November 3, 2011 | Franklin Pride

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I Need A New Bed

Mac OS X: 10.5.8 | CPU: Intel Core Duo Processor | RAM: 2 GB | HD Space: 6.3 GB Graphics: ATI X1600 or Nvidia 8600 GT with 256 MB of Video RAM | NOTE: This game will not run on PowerPC (G3/G4/G5) based Mac systems, or the GMA class of integrated video cards.

There are many thoughts that go through your head when you hear about a new expansion pack. "Will I be able to do this, have they fixed this bug, I hope this doesn't change..." and so on. No matter what ends up being done, though, the value of an expansion always comes down to the value added. What new elements are there? How long does it take to get through all the new content? Does it play any differently at all?

In this case, The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles (PnN) has few new elements, it's not long at all, and it plays exactly the same. The additions are mainly in the areas of wardrobe and new items, although there is one new gameplay element. You can now go on treasure hunts. This sadly isn't as awesome as it sounds, as it's mainly just popping from place to place following a map to get items that aren't really better than what your blacksmith can make. In the end, you'll likely find yourself ignoring this entirely.

There is a new chain of missions, though, and those give you a little more time to spend. However, like with all the missions, there's no real reason to pursue them again once you've done them once. They are of similar quality to the rest of the quests in The Sims Medieval, which is pretty good quality overall. It's just that they'll be over a lot faster than you'll expect, given that they're the meat of this full-priced expansion.

The major game-breaking bug from before appears to still be in PnN, too. For no apparent reason, after you quit and come back, NPCs will sometimes get stuck and cannot be interacted with. This also applies to your characters, which can easily break any quest they're currently in. There doesn't seem to be any way to break the NPCs free besides hoping for the best and restarting the game, so it really needs a fix.

On the graphics end, there's not much to say. The game looks just like it did before, only with the new items and wardrobe. All the new content does look quite good, but it's nothing spectacular and the areas still load through their levels of detail rather slowly. It looks beautiful when loaded, but there's nothing better than before and nothing truly new about the graphics.

Sound is in the same boat. The simlish phrases still sound emotive and do appear to have a few more usable lines, but there's no notable difference between the expansion and the core game. You'll hear the medieval tunes in the background as you wander around, listen to the screams as people line up to be fed to the pit monster, and ask your bard to fill the area with song. The boost to your character may even counteract the second character for the quest being unable to move.

Overall, this doesn't seem like a good purchase except on sale. The new content doesn't add much of anything to the game and seems more like a new skin than an expansion. There's almost nothing new on the gameplay end, the new quest chain isn't that long, the only truly major bug is still there, and the presentation hasn't been updated in any significant way. Unless you can get The Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles on sale, you should probably hold off on it for now.

• New quest line
• New items to purchase and wear

• New content doesn't last long
• Pricey for just a new skin
• Still game-breaking bugs

The Sims Medieval Pirates & Nobles
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Mac Version: TransGaming
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