Getting into The Sims 4 can be a daunting experience, thanks to the sheer number of stuff, game, and expansion packs available for purchase. Each adds one particular aspect to the base game – new creatures, new gameplay features, new areas – but some are more valuable than others. With each expanding and modernising the game, they’ve helped The Sims 4 become an enduring hit, and one of the best life simulator games around.
If you’re somebody who’s a beginner in the Sims universe, or a returnee from past games, you may want to know which packs will expand your gameplay in the biggest and best ways. While everyone will have their own opinions, there’s no denying that some expansion packs have more game-changing content than others.
Here are all the best expansion packs for The Sims 4, and what you should consider diving in with as a first-time player.
The Sims 4: City Living
Realism is key when jumping into The Sims 4. You want a colourful, cartoonish world that reflects reality – from its diversity, to its hangout spots, and even living circumstances. To that end, City Living is a great expansion. This pack adds in a new inner-city locale, San Myshuno, which boasts a number of fun activities in a community square (including cute festivals), and the ability for Sims to purchase and live in apartments.
Not only are these more cost-effective places to live, they also allow Sims to interact with neighbours, and ‘enter’ the property market without the need for cheats. While this lack of escapism may not attract everyone, having the option to live in an apartment is a great change, and really shakes up how your Sims will go about their day.
Apartment living also encourages the growth of the San Myshuno community. You’ll be able to see your neighbours out on the streets, celebrate with them, and even participate in cultural festivals that let you get to know them better. If you want to play The Sims 4 with mates by your side, City Living is a great expansion pack to liven up the game’s atmosphere.
Vampires & Werewolves
If realism isn’t what you’re looking for, then The Sims 4 caters to you, as well. Vampires and Werewolves are two separate game packs that expand the supernatural aspect of Sims lore. While these packs aren’t fully-fledged expansions, the content they pack in is impressive, from new Sim types to new clothes, locales, lore, and items. The Werewolves pack has a rustic, woodland feel, while the Vampires pack has a regal red-and-purple aesthetic (as well as plenty of cobwebs). Importantly, these two packs are also paired, with some Werewolves lore crossing over with the world of Vampires.
Get both, and you can create the spooky, haunted town of your dreams, filled with epic vampire and werewolf battles – or even a star-crossed romance, if you’re keen. Both game packs include new horror-themed worlds, plenty of iconic characters (vampire Caleb Vatore is a very judgy standout), and a host of new gameplay challenges.
They also give the game a sense of progression, with each supernatural Sim gaining points for performing special acts. Level them up enough, and you’ll be able to unlock a bunch of new in-game interactions, including hypnosis spells for vampires, and the ability to… pee outside for werewolves. The possibilities are endless.
Get Together is a party-themed game expansion that introduces the idea of clubs and hangouts, with players able to get to know their friends better by forming ‘groups’ to go out and explore the night. By forming a club, you can gather mates for exclusive parties – and even lay ground rules for how they’ll behave. If you choose, you can also join any one of the game’s many prestigious clubs, and earn new interactions by levelling up your friendships.
Much of the content of Get Together is focussed on having fun, with clubs being just the tip of the new gameplay features. A number of activities are introduced in this pack – darts, foosball, DJ-ing – and dancing becomes a skill you can master.
This pack also introduces one of the best towns in the game, Windenburg, which features explorable landscapes including strange ruins, and a semi-haunted mansion. There’s always some mystery or other to find in this pack, which features deep rabbit holes, and plenty of intrigue.
If you purchase one expansion pack to spice up your Sims 4 experience, make it Seasons. This pack sounds basic – it adds the four seasons into gameplay, so that weather changes every few hours in the game – it comes with an avalanche of content. With Seasons, each year of Sim life is split up into recognisable quarters, with seasonal events determining what activities you can do, and what exactly you can celebrate along the way.
In Winter, you can make snow angels or snowmen, and greet Father Christmas. In autumn, you can rake piles of leaves and watch as your plants change. Summer brings hot beach weather, where you can lounge in the pool or have water fights. Spring gives you chance to see flowers bloom, and participate in Love Day (Valentine’s Day).
The range of new activities in this pack is fantastic, and it also helps diversify your gaming experience. In the base version of The Sims 4, days can occasionally feel repetitive, but with seasonal changes bringing new colours and opportunities, this expansion pack consistently makes the action feel brand new.
StrangerVille is one of two unique story-based game packs that let you explore a distinct narrative and take on quests, while adding in new clothing, items, and areas. This pack is actually heavily reminiscent of The Sims 2, which was the first game to dive deeper into the world of Sim aliens, and provide a real sense of lore. Should you choose to enter the pack’s new town of StrangerVille, you’ll find a world on the brink of collapse, with alien plants seemingly taking over the minds and desires of the civilian population.
You can choose to live in StrangerVille and ignore these strange problems – and you’ll find yourself in a lovely, dessert-themed neighbourhood, if you do – or you can set off on a grand quest to vanquish the alien plants and save the town from madness.
The Sims 4 rarely focusses on narrative, but game packs like StrangerVille make a solid case for why it should. The mystery presented in this pack unfolds at a fantastic pace, and perfectly fits the world of the game. If you’re into alien adventures, or you just want a pack that gives The Sims 4 a bit more structure, check out StrangerVille.
The lives of toddlers and babies in The Sims 4 can be quite droll in the base game, with few activities available to help nurture them into budding adults. Luckily, the Parenthood game pack changes all that by introducing teachable lessons and child-rearing that can help kids graduate from wayward pre-teens to capable adults. ‘Parenting’ is a skill in this pack, which can be levelled up as you look after your children – and it also allows a range of discipline interactions.
If your child Sim does something naughty – draws on the furniture, makes a mess of the floor – you can scold them, which helps push lessons like ‘being kind’, ‘being safe’ and ‘being clean’. Every decision you make will change your relationship with your kids, and help guide them to a better future (or a worse one, depending on how much you neglect your duties). While this does add pressure to the game, it also adds a real sense of achievement when your naughty child Sim finally graduates, and turns out to be a pretty mature adult.
In addition to rearing interactions, this game pack also provides new activities to perform with your kids (drawing, science experiments, constructing blocks), new items for bedrooms, and much more personality for your entire family.
The Sims 4: Discover University re-introduces young adults to the world of learning, with a host of classes and activities available for any Sim who chooses to enrol in one of Britechester’s many prestigious universities. While it’s not strictly necessary to jump into classes – the game’s structure means you can get a job straight away as an adult – you can skip some career steps if you do well and complete all your homework assignments.
The gameplay in this expansion pack is pretty involving – you’ll need to keep a constant eye on your Sims and watch for any assignments that come home – but if you’re looking for a way to make your Sim new friends, or to expand your Sims’ skillsets, then Discover University is the perfect pack. Essentially, it offers a game-within-a-game as players are tasked with managing their Sims’ time, and graduating well on the other side of classes.
Skills learned feed directly into the game’s many careers, with specialisations like engineering and teaching benefitting from Sims going to university first. When you’re not going to classes, you can also jump into any number of parties in this pack, with ‘juice’ pong being a frequent feature. Plus, there’s also the matter of the odd secret society that can be found if you do really well in your Discover University travels…
If you’re a social media extraordinaire, or just somebody who enjoys the great pleasures of life, then Get Famous has exactly what you’re looking for. This star-studded pack allows your Sims to reach for fame and glory through a number of career tracks. They can become a famous novelist, an award-winning actor, or even an online blogger. The more exposure they get, the more their star will rise – until eventually, they’re shining alongside the biggest names in the Sims.
Fame is a fickle beast in this excellent expansion pack, with players required to keep each Sims’ aura present by posting to social media, visiting parties, signing autographs, or holding special events (including meet and greets with fans). Getting into this exclusive society also lets Sims access new rewards, including getting the red carpet treatment at parties.
Sure, being famous means you’ll also be harassed occasionally – and that you’ll basically have no privacy – but that’s the price of fame. Live the glamorous life of high society with this pack, and you’ll be able to indulge in riches and flights of fancy, but be aware that the spotlight can fade, with Sims forced to chase the dazzling highs to stay relevant.
The Sims 4 continues to receive major expansion packs, like the recently released Werewolves, and the upcoming school-themed pack High School Years. This list will be updated as the world of the game evolves.