Over the course of its history, The Sims has had many Expansion Packs released. One of the most popular Expansion Packs is probably Seasons. First appearing in The Sims 2, it later returned in The Sims 3 and The Sims 4. The concept is simple: this Expansion introduces the four seasons to the game, and weather, among other things. Each of the three games does it slightly differently though. The question we’re discussing here though: which did the Seasons Expansion best?
We’ll delve into each of the three games; The Sims 2, The Sims 3, and The Sims 4; weighing up what’s good about them, along with what could have been better, before ultimately deciding on the best of the three. They’re all pretty good, so it’ll be tough to pick!
The Sims 2 Seasons
Let’s start at the beginning, when Seasons was first introduced to The Sims series. While weather did exist in The Sims in the Vacation Expansion, it wasn’t until The Sims 2 that it appeared as a fully-blown Expansion Pack. Weather was actually supposed to be in The Sims 2 from the very start in the base game, but they decided to hold it back and release it later in its own dedicated Expansion Pack.
Before Seasons, the weather was always sunny and dry in The Sims 2. The Seasons Expansion changed all of that. It introduced the four seasons; spring, summer, fall and winter to the game. We got all kinds of weather, including rain, snow, thunderstorms and hail. When it snowed, it settled on the ground and stayed there until the snow stopped and the temperature rose. It could now get hot and cold in the game, affecting your Sims negatively if they weren’t dressed appropriately.
All in all, Seasons brought big changes to The Sims 2.
Pros of The Sims 2 Seasons
As the first game in The Sims series to have proper seasons and weather, The Sims 2 did a good job. It did well in making each season unique. Spring was warmer than winter and leaves reappeared on trees, but it also brought rain. Summer was usually very hot, a great time of year for jumping in the pool, but you had to watch out for those thunderstorms. Fall turned the leaves into gorgeous colors of red and orange and yellow, falling to the ground for your Sims to rake, as well as being a great time of year for harvesting. Winter of course brought the cold, and lots of snow, which meant fun new activities such as snowball fights and making snow angels and snowmen.
Every season brought something new, something that enticed you to embrace the season you were in. You wanted your Sims to play in the snow, or play in the autumn leaves, or take a dip in the pool. With Seasons introducing growing crops such as tomatoes and eggplants to The Sims 2, you wanted to have a go at growing some of your own. You could then use these crops to make smoothies, which had useful benefits for your Sims. You also might want to try out the new ice rink and roller skating rink. Why not? The Sims 2 Seasons made you want to try out the new activities it brought, not only for something new to do in the game, but also to get you into the mood of the season you were in.
The four seasons didn’t just have an effect on the neighborhood you were playing in, but also on your Sims. The spring made your Sims feel more flirty, increasing the success of romantic interactions. The fall got your Sims wanting to work harder, boosting their skill and homework rate. Any positive effects are greatly welcomed in The Sims, if it gives a hand in boosting skill increase or relationships.
One thing that was really great about The Sims 2 Seasons was the ability to change the seasons. From the neighborhood map, you could change the order of the seasons. By default, it went around the four seasons, starting at summer. It didn’t have to be like this though. You could have all four seasons, but in a completely different order, so you could have winter followed by summer, then spring, then fall, for example. Or, you could just have the summer season, excluding the other three, or have spring and fall twice each. It was entirely up to you how you wanted the seasons to go. This was especially great if you wanted to create a world with a climate in mind. If you wanted a tropical setting, you would go all out with summer, or if you wanted something that was always cold, you could have it as always winter, perhaps with a little fall or spring.
You could also control the weather – but you needed a special object to do that. The Sims 2 had reward objects, unique items bought with points your Sims earned by completing Wants. The weather machine was just what you needed if you wanted complete control of not just the weather, but also the seasons. Fed up of rain? Use the weather machine to make it sunny! Is it winter but you badly want it to be summer? The weather machine will sort that for you!
Cons of The Sims 2 Seasons
Seasons was probably one of the best Expansion Packs of The Sims 2. However, compared to what The Sims 3 and 4 versions of Seasons did, it could have been better.
First off, you couldn’t alter how long the seasons lasted for. In The Sims 2 Seasons, each season was set to 5 days each. There was no option to change this. The only way to make a season longer was to reset the season with the weather machine, or add that season to a slot in the season cycle. Unfortunately, the season setter only had four slots, by default one for each of the four seasons, so you were limited. If you wanted summer to last longer, you might have to sacrifice one of the other seasons.
Weather could also bring problems to the performance of your game. Snow was particularly notorious. Whenever it snowed, it caused the frame rate to drop, creating lag. The game also slowed down, or even temporarily stopped, whenever the different stages of snow changed. The game also froze for a few moments whenever it transitioned to a new season. In The Sims 2, the changing season wasn’t gradual like the later games. One minute it would be fall, and the next it would be winter; all the leaves on the trees would disappear in a puff, and the wintry wind sound effect would instantly start. The changing of the seasons was as abrupt as the day and night cycle in The Sims 2.
One other thing about The Sims 2 Seasons that was a little disappointing was the lack of holidays. Kids could get snow days if there was heavy snow, but there weren’t any holidays that would later appear in The Sims 3 and 4. There was no Halloween, or Christmas, or New Year’s Countdown. Nothing. Although the Happy Holiday Stuff Pack did give us items to help celebrate those holidays, they weren’t in Seasons, and that seemed like a missed opportunity.
The Sims 3 Seasons
A few years after The Sims 2 Seasons, The Sims 3 came out and became a big hit amongst old and new players of The Sims. It was a while though before The Sims 3 got its Seasons Expansion, being the eighth of a total of eleven Expansion Packs. It was a long time coming, and everyone was excited that seasons and weather was finally coming to The Sims 3. Just like The Sims 2 Seasons, it added a little extra something to the game.
Pros of The Sims 3 Seasons
The Sims 3 Seasons was a lot like The Sims 2 Seasons, but with a few extra enhancements when it came to the seasons and weather system. Technically, The Sims 3 had come far since The Sims 2, meaning it could go further with how it implemented weather and the seasons. The transitioning between the seasons was now much more gradual. Instead of it just swapping over from one season to another, it noticeably but subtly shuffled over. For example, if it changed from summer to fall, the leaves would slowly change from lush green to yellows, oranges, and reds. To go even further than that, as the season went on, the leaves would drop from the trees, the trees becoming barer and barer until hardly anything was left. That’s the sort of realistic touches that made The Sims 3 really step it up from The Sims 2.
New gameplay came with The Sims 3 Seasons, including proper holidays, something that was badly missing from The Sims 2 Seasons. In each of the four seasons, there’s one holiday, and this means your Sims got a whole day off work and school! This allowed them to go off and enjoy whatever holiday has been bestowed on them. They could take the opportunity to visit the local seasonal festival or throw a seasonal party. You wouldn’t want to waste a day off!
Seasons came with lots of new activities so you could fully embrace the time of year. One place that was bundled with these activities was the festival. Whichever world you were playing in The Sims 3, the main park was transformed and taken over by a festival with seasonal activities. It would look different and have different activities depending on the season. There were lots of cool things to do, like the haunted house, apple bobbing, face painting, photo booth, pie eating contest, kissing booths, the snowboarding ramp, dance floors, egg hunts, and food and beverage stalls. The festivals were a must-visit place! There were other new activities as well that were a one-up from The Sims 2, such as being able to skate on frozen ponds and decorate your Sims’ homes with festive lights.
Seasons also brought with it lots of new kinds of parties that you could throw. You could have pool parties for those hot summer days, or have costume parties if you want to celebrate Halloween. There was something for every season, and if you and your Sims were party animals, these were a lot of fun.
Let’s go back to the actual seasons and weather, more specifically the system behind it. The Sims 2 had a cycle system where you could change the seasons and their order. The Sims 3 did this too, but a little differently. For one thing, The Sims 3 allowed you to do something The Sims 2 couldn’t: changing the length of the seasons. By default, the seasons lasted 7 days each, but you could change that, and The Sims 3 was very flexible. A season could be as little as 3 days, or as long as 28 days! You could alter the length of the seasons individually as well, so if you wanted very long summers but short winters, you could. You could even banish whole seasons if you wished by unticking them in the settings!
There was more in your control as well. If you were getting fed up of weather such as rain, snow, fog and hail, you could disable these so you never have to experience them. No longer did you have to rely on a weather machine (although The Sims 3 Seasons had one if you wanted to control the weather this way).
Cons of The Sims 3 Seasons
The Sims 3 Seasons was another successful Expansion Pack, but like The Sims 2, it had a few flaws.
For a start, it lost that flexibility that The Sims 2 Seasons had with controlling the seasons. In The Sims 3, you couldn’t change the order of the seasons. They were always spring, summer, fall and winter. You couldn’t shuffle them around so summer came right after winter, or fall right after spring. While The Sims 3 Seasons offered much more control than The Sims 2, they did lose that one piece of control. It seems odd as you could totally bypass seasons in The Sims 3 by disabling them, so it wasn’t as if it wasn’t possible.
There are a few other things to note. If you weren’t interested in the festivals or holidays, it might have been hard to avoid them. Festivals took over the main park in your world, whether you wanted them to or not. If you wanted to banish the festivals, you needed to go into Edit World and replace the park with a duplicate of the original non-festival park. On the upside, at least this option was available, if you didn’t want festivals in your world. On the flipside, there was an issue sometimes where festivals wouldn’t happen for whatever reason. Fortunately, you could place the festival version of the park in your world, enabling them again.
Holidays were also a forced mechanic, but while festivals were a little more optional, holidays weren’t. You wouldn’t always want your Sim to have a day off work or school, particularly if you’re eager to get them promoted and that successful next shift will do that. You wouldn’t want to wait an extra day for that to happen, or even longer if the next day was their usual day or weekend off. Like The Sims 4 Seasons, sending your Sim to work or school should have been optional, not forced.
In my personal experience with The Sims 3 Seasons, I encountered some annoying issues. One notable one was that trick-or-treating didn’t always want to work for some reason. It would be getting near to the fall holiday, but there would be problems getting my Sims out in their costumes to get candy from their neighbors. My Sims wouldn’t change into the costume I picked for them, or the option wouldn’t be available. I also wouldn’t be able to go trick-or-treating, either because everyone was out and not at home, or because it just didn’t want to let me. It was a little temperamental. I don’t know if anyone else had this same issue.
The Sims 4 Seasons
As of now, we are in the era of The Sims 4, the current generation of The Sims. It was inevitable that a Seasons pack would be released, and sure enough, The Sims 4 Seasons became the fifth Expansion Pack to be released. Expansion Packs and other DLC are still coming out for The Sims 4, but so far, Seasons is one to have in your collection if you own The Sims 4.
Pros of The Sims 4 Seasons
We’ve discussed here the weather and seasons implemented in The Sims 2 and 3. Let’s talk about The Sims 4‘s take on it. All in all, they pull it off very well. You get all four seasons, and you also get to choose which season you want to start off in when you begin a new game or load up the game with Seasons installed for the first time. You also get all weathers, so you don’t miss out on anything that The Sims 2 and 3 offered. When it snows, it unlocks a bunch of activities such as snowball fights and making snow angels. The worlds subtly change with the seasons and the climate. When it’s blistering hot, you can actual see the haze of the heat. In the spring, flowers take over grassy patches. In the fall, you can find piles of leaves to play in. Again, it’s small touches that adds realism and immerses you into the time of year in the game.
Another added bit of realism in The Sims 4 Seasons is that certain worlds have a different climate than others. Most worlds in The Sims 4 will get snow in the winter, but understandably, other worlds have a more tropical climate. We’re specifically talking about Oasis Springs, the desert world that came with the base game, as well as places such as Selvadorada (Jungle Adventure Game Pack) and Sulani (Island Living Expansion). It’s good that the developers considered these factors. Although Sims living in those worlds will have to miss out on snow, you can at least travel easily to other worlds in The Sims 4 to see snow (one thing The Sims 4 does better than its predecessors).
The Sims 4 gave us something that The Sims 2 and 3 didn’t: the hot weather outfit category, alongside the cold weather outfit category. Previously, there was just a new outfit slot for those colder winter days. There’s now even an option for when it gets super hot in your Sim’s worlds. While your Sims typically wrapped up warm in coats, boots, hats and gloves with cold weather clothing, for those hotter days, they’ll be sporting dresses, light shirts, shorts, sandals, sunglasses, and sunhats. In real life, when it gets hotter than average, we do tend to wear looser and lighter clothing, so why not do the same in The Sims?
The Sims 4 Seasons saw the return of holidays, and it feels like a big improvement over The Sims 3. For one, holidays are now optional. If you don’t want to go through a holiday, you can cancel it. Your Sims may get a negative buff if a holiday is cancelled, but if you cancel it as soon as it appears, this shouldn’t happen. You can also send your Sims to work during a holiday, if it’s one where they can take a day off work like Harvestfest or Winterfest. However, you have to do this manually, and if your Sim is in an active career, you don’t get the option to go to work with them.
Holidays come with a bunch of activities to complete, similar to other events in The Sims 4. These activities depend on the holiday, and there’s a big range of them, from cooking a grand meal to performing festive interactions and putting up holiday decorations. Some tasks are unique to the holiday; for example, for the Countdown, two major tasks are to choose a resolution and watch the countdown to midnight.
The really great thing about holidays in The Sims 4 Seasons is that you can not only cancel them, but you can edit the existing ones and even create your own! The system to set up your own holiday couldn’t be simpler. You just go into the calendar and add a new holiday, then choose up to 5 activities to do, then give your holiday a name. The possibilities are endless!
Holidays are a really great addition to The Sims 4 Seasons because it really puts you deeper into the season you’re in, and gives you a sense of time of the years going by, particularly a holiday such as the Countdown to Midnight. My personal favorite is Winterfest, which is basically The Sims‘ take on Christmas. Even when it’s summer in the real world I enjoy this holiday, especially things like setting up a proper Christmas tree and cooking a big meal. I even like putting the Winter Holiday music station on in the game to really get me into the spirit.
Cons of The Sims 4 Seasons
We haven’t yet looked into the player’s control of weather and seasons in The Sims 4 Seasons. That’s because while there is some level of control, it’s not as good as The Sims 2 and 3. Unlike The Sims 2 Seasons, you cannot reorder the seasons. Unlike The Sims 3 Seasons, you cannot completely bypass seasons. You can, however, set the length of the seasons, but The Sims 4 is more fixed, with 3, 7, 14, and 28 days, being less flexible (7 days is the default length). You can at least switch between seasons with cheats, but it would be better to have that control in the settings. You can also disable certain weather such as rain, thunderstorms, snow and hail, if you’d rather go without. In some cases, you may want to, as we’ll go into next.
You can’t have a Seasons Expansion without weather and precipitation. However, there are times when you do want to turn it off. Luckily, you have the option to disable bad weather, and after experiencing it, you may want to. The worst weather to encounter is probably blizzards and thunderstorms. These stormy conditions can be a nuisance if you want your Sim to go outside for whatever reason. If you force your Sims outside during stormy weather, they’ll automatically run inside. During storms, your Sims also get the Scared buff, not very helpful if you need them in a certain mood to work on skills or complete other activities. Luckily, bad weather such as storms isn’t too common, so this isn’t too much of a recurring problem.
Another annoying thing comes with holidays. Like The Sims 3, they can feel a little forced. Although you can cancel them, it’s better to do it ahead of it arriving. Cancelling a holiday risks putting your Sim in a negative mood for a long time, which can be a pain. It’s also annoying when you have to do certain activities to make it a successful holiday, otherwise you risk giving your Sims a bad time. It would have been better if the activities were optional and you got a positive buff for completing at least some of them, rather than a negative for doing none of the mandatory activities.
Another thing with holidays are these extra smaller holidays that randomly pop up. Some of them are quite good, like ones that encourage your Sims to go out and get food and drink on a discount. Others feel silly though, like Prank Day and Neighborhood Brawl. I know these are meant to be in good humor and fun, but it’s not for everyone.
The Best Seasons Expansion Pack?
After analysing the Seasons Expansion Packs that came with three of the four Sims games, it really is a difficult job picking out the best. They’re all great in general and introduce fun new gameplay, and most importantly the weather and seasons systems from each of the games works well. They all have their downsides as well, so it’s hard to say which is not as good as the others. Even The Sims 2, while perhaps not as detailed or realistic as The Sims 3 and 4, does a good job of implementing seasons.
Everyone who’s reading this or has played any of the Seasons Expansions will have different opinions. In my opinion, I’d say it’s a tough call between The Sims 3 and 4. The Sims 3 does have a few imperfections, but then so does The Sims 4. The Sims 3 probably has the best control over the seasons and weather, something The Sims 4 falls short on, although seasons can be changed using cheats in The Sims 4. The Sims 4 probably does the best when it comes to seasonal activities such as holidays, but then The Sims 3 does have very enjoyable and engaging activities included in the festivals and holidays. The weather is also portrayed very well in both games, although I think The Sims 3 has that extra edge in regards to realism.
So long as all the Seasons Expansions can immerse the player deeper into the games with realistic enough weather and seasons systems, as well as the addition of fun new gameplay, each of these Expansions are great in their own right and a must-have for anyone who owns any of these games.
The Future of Seasons with The Sims 5
Although we’re reflecting on games that have already been released, it’s worth taking a moment to think about the future. More specifically, what The Sims 5 could do with a popular Expansion like Seasons. The Seasons Expansions that come with each Sims game since The Sims 2 are all great. If we want The Sims 5 Seasons to be even greater, it needs to take the best of these three existing DLC.
For one thing, we need greater control of the weather and seasons. While we’d like the weather to be unpredictable, as in real life, we should still have more control than some of the games have allowed us. We should be able to set the order of seasons as in The Sims 2. Like The Sims 3 and 4, we should be able to choose what weather we get, as well as flexible control over the length of the seasons. We shouldn’t need cheats to control the weather in The Sims 5 either.
In The Sims 5, every season should be distinguishable from one another. Winter should not only be very cold and have weather like snow, but also shorter daylight hours. Summer should be warm at least and have hot spells, perhaps even droughts, causing everything to dry up. The spring should include unique wild flowers appearing and bird song. In the fall, aside from playing in leaves and raking them, Sims could gather them and put them on display, or collect things like acorns and conkers. Each season should have its own feel, its own atmosphere. All the Seasons Expansions succeed in this, and The Sims 5 should continue that.
What about weather in The Sims 5? All the Seasons have covered pretty much every weather type. Perhaps they could take it further? Frost could develop on windows on very cold days. Rain can be seen on windows, perhaps lingering after the rain has gone a little while. What about weather we’ve never seen before in The Sims? We could have dust storms, eclipses, perhaps even more drastic weather like hurricanes and tornadoes.
One thing that must be carried over into The Sims 5 Seasons are holidays. These should be optional though rather than forced, and they should do what The Sims 4 did, allowing you to create your own holidays. We need seasonal activities as well, such as trick-or-treating and egg hunts. For the Christmas holiday, the tree should come back, but with more customization options, as well as more options for the big feast during Harvestfest. It would be great if we could get festivals like the ones in The Sims 3. These were a great addition and good fun, packed with lots of activities. The Sims 5 should be able to do something similar.
Seasons is a great addition to The Sims, one of those Expansions you should get for each game you play. We look forward to what The Sims 5 has in store for seasons, whether it’s part of the base game or released later as an Expansion. Let us know what your favorite Seasons Expansion is and what you’d like to see in The Sims 5!