The Sims Medieval has successfully breathed new life into a franchise that was getting pretty stale. The Medieval setting combined with the streamlined gameplay and quests create an evolved Sims experience that feels deeper and much more fun than any of the other recent Sims games. If you’ve given up on The Sims, you’d be smart to give The Sims Medieval a try. Even with its minor flaws, The Sims Medieval mixes a great sense of humor with simple role-playing game mechanics that result in hours of fun.
I was a little unnerved by this sitting down for my review -- part of what makes the Sims fun is not having something I'm "supposed" to do -- but a Patrick Stewart voiceover in the opening cinematic convinced me that the game would be lighthearted and fun the way so many Sims games are. As this benevolent Watcher character, I could control various Hero Sims (Monarch, Knight, Spy, Wizard, Physician, Blacksmith, Bard, Merchant, two Priests) to guide the kingdom toward one of the Ambition goals selected from the main menu. Each character is playable just as I expect a Sim to be -- I can make them eat and sleep to satisfy basic needs and prod them into falling in love or starting fights with other Sim characters around them. But in addition to this traditional gameplay, The Sims Medieval also wants me to fulfill specific tasks to complete quests and "jobs" that each Hero has to fulfill as part of their role in medieval society. The Monarch, for example, might be called on to hunt boar in the forest and hear petitions from the throne for part of the day before I can send him to the Village Shoppe to pick up cheese for a beer-making quest. The Bard might have to speak to three other Sims for inspiration to write a new poem at their Scribe table before I can free-play with her a bit by seducing an Alewife.