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The Sims 3: Medieval Review

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The Sims get medieval

★★★★

For anyone who's never seen the point of a Sims game, Medieval is a beautifully structured, slyly compelling way to sample the series' gentle humour and quirky characters, and lord it over a gang of virtual folk who are completely at your mercy.

Ditching the clean-cut modern towns and nuclear families familiar to most Sims players, Medieval is set in the grimy Dark Ages and allows players to control a variety of different characters during their time as overlord, including knights, blacksmiths and wizards. So while the action in most Sims games to date has involved making a digital person happy and ensuring they don't piss their pants, Medieval takes a more structured, almost RPG-style approach. It challenges players to take part in missions with a variety of outcomes that depend on the choices they make, in turn driving the plot ever forwards and creating an experience that'll make sense to habitual role-players and console swashbucklers.

Uniquely, Medieval also challenges players to look beyond their homeland and play politics with surrounding kingdoms, bringing diplomacy and strategy to the traditional structure and lengthening the lifespan of the game. Medieval also tinkers with fan expectations by exposing your Sims to a huge variety of dangers such as rabid chinchillas, rampaging goblins and a hungry monster that lives in a pit in the centre of town, again reaching out to the haters who've always steered clear of EA's cash-cow.

For those who get their kicks from gritty adventures such as Dead Space 2 and Call Of Duty: Black Ops, there's nothing in Medieval's hammy jokes, wacky villagers or family-friendly tasks to convince you to change your mind. But for players who've stuck with the series from the get-go, this new approach to a much-loved franchise will rekindle your passion for all things Sims.

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