The Sims 4: Hands-on preview with Discover University

The Sims 4 is going back to school with its next expansion, Discover University. Shacknews hits the books with our hands-on preview.


For The Sims, day-to-day life is a big challenge. Beyond providing the bare necessities for themselves, one of the most daunting tasks in the game involves finding a way to make a living. Maybe a college degree can help out in this department. So it's time to head back to school. The Sims are getting into the world of higher learning in The Sims 4: Discover University, and Shacknews recently had the opportunity to jump into this expansion for the first time.

For Discover University, Sims 4 players will look to settle their Sims into different aspects of college life. This includes enrolling into their higher learning institute of choice. Typical Sims will start out in the University of Britechester, where they go through all the trials and tribulations of college life. They need to settle into their personal living situation, select a major, make sure to keep up on their studies, and get the most out of their college experience.

The Sims 4 Discover University

Yes, learning is important. Discover University will see young Sims attend various classes and select different majors, whether it's in law, art, engineering, villainy (sadly, Shacknews did not have enough time to dive into this specific major), or any variety of different fields. Studies will go beyond what's in the classroom. Players will need to remember to hit the books, complete their assignments, dive into term papers and theses, and everything else that's involved in getting a four-year degree.

Now that we've gotten the boring aspects of college out of the way, it's time to get to the fun stuff. The college experience is like nothing else and Maxis is looking to capture it fully. This includes making friends in orientation, meeting classmates, hanging out by the quad, joining a fraternity or sorority, grabbing some drinks at the campus bar, and partying like there's no tomorrow. Campus life is a big element in Discover University and while the game is still rated T, there's still opportunity to get into some debauchery. Be careful when playing juice pong and doing keg stands, because you'd hate to get yourself into trouble. Of course, if college life does go all the way sideways, there's always the option to transfer to Foxbury Institute, where all of the same career options will be offered. In our case, there wasn't enough time to get into that level of trouble, but there was enough time to make friends and get friendly with a classmate. Study dates will indeed be a thing and courtship in college is possible, but it can also get just as awkward in college as it does during any other point in life. Remember to keep your hygiene meter up.

While I didn't have quite enough time to invest in getting the full-blown Discover University experience, this expansion looks to be a fairly deep Sims experience. I spent most of my time living off-campus, but the option will be there to live in the campus dorms. Better yet, the campus dorms can be decorated to fit your own style. Just make sure you get along with your roommate, otherwise college life can get a little tense.

Likewise, I didn't have enough time to explore the various extracurricular activities that are being promised for Discover University. This means finding a campus job, engaging in sports (whether it's as an athlete, a mascot, or even just a super fan), and joining various campus clubs. Campus clubs can include something related to your major or something that piques your interest. There's even an esports club.

There's a lot more to dive into with Discover University, so if you're a seasoned Sims 4 player, there's going to be plenty to like here. It won't be long before players can get the full college experience. The Sims 4: Discover University is set to come to PC this Thursday, November 14. In the meantime, we'll have an interview with franchise GM Lyndsay Pearson that's set to go up later this week. Stay tuned to Shacknews.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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