Sims 3 vs Sims 4: Which Has Better Features That You Would Like?

When Sims 3 came on the scene, it changed the way we looked at simulations. The game sold 1.4 million copies its first week on the market and has been ranked #89 on the list of top 100 videogames of all time, even earning a 9 out of 10 from GameSpot. When Sims 4 was announced, it was clear that the game would have some big shoes to fill. Upon launch, a lot of people weren’t sure the game could live up to them. However, after seven years, The Sims 4 is thriving with a player base of over 30 million players worldwide, so now let’s check how Sims 3 vs Sims 4 compare in detail.

Main Differences Between Sims 3 vs Sims 4

The main differences between Sims 3 vs Sims 4 are:

  • Sims 3 engine is prone to glitches and performance drops or crashes more often, whereas Sims 4 has a revamped engine allowing for smoother gameplay and less glitching.
  • Sims 3 relies on sliders like its predecessor which does not allow for as much fine detailing of a Sims body and facial features, whereas Sims 4 Create-A-Sim features a massive revamp by replacing the traditional sliders with the ability to drag the body to manipulate its features.
  • Sims 3 sticks to some pretty basic building tools that don’t allow for as much customization, whereas Sims 4 revamped their building tools by adding wall heights, vaulted ceilings, and the ability to move an entire home in one go.
  • Sims 3 time pauses and when Sims return to their home neighborhood, it’s the same time and day that left, whereas Sims 4 allows Sims to travel to different neighborhoods without pausing game time, allowing for a more linear timeline.
  • Sims 3 is the main feature as it allows for objects and clothing within the game to be retextured from a variety of textures, whereas Sims 4 does not feature the popular create-a-style feature.
  • Sims 3 features an open world once you have entered a neighborhood, whereas Sims 4 does not feature an open world and requires loading screens between lots that are further away in the same neighborhood.
  • Sims 3 had less of a personality and focused more on whims, whereas Sims 4 focuses heavily on emotions and sims personalities.

Game Engine

Sims 3 vs Sims 4

Sims 4 features a new game engine that allows for smoother gameplay and fewer errors. This is a welcome change to the Sims 3 game engine that felt clunky and was prone to crashes, instability, and glitching. Sims 4 also decided to scale some parts of the game that were overloading the system.

Due to Sims 3 ambitions goals, such as having an open world, implementing create-a-style, and attempting to create a more realistic world, the performance of the game suffered massively. The more expansion and stuff packs added to the game, the more stress on the game engine, which led to problems that could make the game unusable or extremely unstable. This led to crashes and lost game hours.

The game also lagged and struggled with custom content due to the new installation method that uses an installer found within the game launcher instead of a folder system.

The installer was often laggy, crashed, or generally struggled to install large amounts of custom content. EA attempted to overcome parts of the game’s struggle by allowing players to pick and choose both the custom content, expansions, and stuff packs they choose to use while playing without uninstalling content.

However, this could be cumbersome and take away from spontaneous gameplay that makes the Sims so enjoyable. Sims 3 also suffered from extremely long loading times in between worlds due to how much content had to be loaded at one time.

The decision to scale back the features of Sims 4 to allow for smoother gameplay is a well-founded one. While it does take away parts of gameplay that are very loved and missed, it also makes for a more enjoyable game that loads faster and doesn’t crash as often. Sims 4 gets rid of the open-world style of neighborhoods but instead allows for three or four lots to be loaded in the same spot.

This allows sims who live near a park to hang out there without a loading screen, but if they wanted to go to a lot across the neighborhood, there would be a short loading screen.

Sims 4 also reverts back to the Sims 2 style of installing custom content by using a folder system and getting rid of the glitchy launcher used in Sims 3, allowing for a more straightforward launch method for the game and fewer software problems.

The graphics also changed significantly between the two games. Sims 3 favored a realistic approach, while Sims 4 is much more cartoony. While the graphics are modern, sleek, and fun, they lack the depth that Sim’s 3 graphics had.


Sims 4 features massive improvements over Sims 3 create-a-sims. Sims 3 mainly focused on using sliders to adjust features. Sims 3 did add some key features to create a style that would also be a part of sims 4. Firstly Sims 3 added the young adult lifestyle originally introduced in Sims 2 specifically for University and was not playable outside of that.

Now young adults are the main life stage of the game, with many players using that as their primary age for their Sims. Sims 3 also added the ability to put tattoos on sims, change muscle definition and breast size. It also offered more skin tones to include more players.

Sims 4 builds upon what Sims 3 created while also making some massive changes of its own. The game introduced the ability to use your mouse to shape and change the size, angle, and definition of just about everybody part that a sim possesses.

This allows players to create a wide array of body shapes, face shapes, and features. However, the game does make Sims look a lot more cartoony and less realistic. However, this can be changed using custom content with more realistic textures if that is the player’s choice.


Sims 3 vs Sims 4 building

Both Sims 3 and Sims 4 built upon what had been created by their predecessor to make a more intuitive and fun build mode. Build mode is a core part of the Sims games, as it allows players to create and customize the world around their Sims to their liking.

It’s also a feature many players enjoy immensely and, in some cases, forgo other parts of the Sims gameplay to focus on building exclusively. Sims 3 introduced a more flexible grid system allowing for objects to be placed in the middle of tiles easily. It also added the ability to save premade rooms for later use and terrain designs for manipulating the height and shape of terrain on the lot.

Sims 4 built upon what Sims 3 created with some key differences. The game introduced new wall heights allowing for three different heights of walls and the ability to have doors and windows that are also that height. Vaulted ceilings were also introduced, as well as roof and wall trim.

n later patches, the ability to have platforms and manipulate the terrain was also added. The platform was a big feature missing from Sims 3 but had been present in Sims 2. The ability to use platforms opens up a lot of design options for builders.

Even better the use of platforms used the more intuitive build controls present in Sims 4. These build controls allowed building foundations to be drug up and down and easily resize walls. Lastly, controls to manipulate the placement of rooms and the placement of the house, in general, are present.


Sims 3 vs Sims 4 travel

Sims 3 and Sims 4 take on travel in a very different way. Sims 3 focuses largely on having an open world that allows Sims to explore every aspect of that world without ever encountering a loading screen. This is great for non-immersive breaking gameplay; however, it comes at the cost of performance and long loading screens.

Loading into a Sims 3 neighborhood easily takes twice as long as loading into a Sims 4 neighborhood. It can also cause lag and occasionally crashes. This is especially true if the world is very large or extremely detailed, with some loading screens lasting upwards of 15 minutes, depending on the content. Despite the immersive open world, Sims 3 broke immersion by traveling to other neighborhoods be time linear.

For example, when Sim travels to a different neighborhood, time automatically stops and only resumes when that Sim returns home. So they never lose days at their home lot or their job. This made the life simulation part of the game feel unrealistic. Sims does have one thing over Sims 4 when it comes to travel.

Sims 3 includes the ability to use and drive cars to different places. This makes the game feel more realistic as Sims will get into their car and drive away when they go to work instead of just disappearing off the lot. Unfortunately, this feature is completely absent from Sims 4.

Sims 4 completely eliminates the open-world concept and instead structures its lots into small areas that can be explored. For example, if a lot is meant to be placed isolated from other lots, then you won’t be able to access those lots without a loading screen.

Lots that are close to others may be able to access 2 to 4 lots around them. For example, a sim can visit a park that is close to their house without a loading screen. Anything further away, like a cafe, will require a loading screen. This allows the game to load and run much smoother. Since the game isn’t required to load and support an entire neighborhood at once.

The loading screens between lots and neighborhoods are notably faster. Additionally, Sims 4 allows Sims to travel between neighborhoods easily and without freezing time. Now when a Sim is hanging out in the city with their friends for a day, they can return home that evening instead of when they had originally left.

This makes the game extremely explorable and opens the world a lot more. While the worlds may not be as large as Sims 3, there are so many to choose from and explore.


While Sims 4 CAS and Build modes easily beat out Sims 3 thanks to the versatility and small customizations. Sims 3 still wins overall thanks to one simple tool called create-a-style. Create-a-style allowed for various textures and patterns to be used across almost all clothing and objects.

This means that you could have every item in your house textured as a pink flower pattern, zebra-striped, or even wood grain. Out of everything in Sims 3, I miss this tool the most Sims 4 because that meant I could easily mix and match items from a variety of sets without worrying about different color shades, wood grains, or patterns. Outfits always looked like they were made for each other and house items always matched. It was a wonderful world of customization.

Unfortunately, it came with a huge performance loss. Looking back, I also felt like the interface was very clunky and not the most intuitive. This is true for the interface in Sims 3 in general, though. Sims 4 gets some bonus points for its ability to drag Sims’ features for extreme fine-tuning and customization. Still, the inability to change textures of items to match each other greatly takes away from the look of the game.

Open World

Sims Open World

Sims 3 also has one more thing that fails to beat Sims 4, and that includes the Open World. The Open world in Sims 3 is one of the most missed features in Sims 4 because it allowed for Sims and players alike to explore their world easily and without a loading screen. It helped the game be much more immersive. You were able to follow your Sims to their jobs and school, although you wouldn’t be able to see them inside.

You could also go to bars, restaurants, go shopping, or meet up with friends, all without encountering a loading screen within the world. Unfortunately, similar to the create-a-style tool, this type of gameplay proved too extremely resource-intensive and caused extremely long loading screens when loading the neighborhood because so much data had to be loaded all at once and then supported on the system.

While Sims 4 does away with the open world concept and introduces loading screens between lots, it allows the game to function at a much higher standard than its predecessor. As a bonus, the only long loading time you may have within the game is during startup, and that is only if you use a lot of custom content.


Question: What would make the perfect Sims game?

Answer: Combining various features from each Sims game would most likely create a more well-rounded and fun game. Sims 4 gameplay feels a lot more alive thanks to emotional features and personalities. Sims 3 has a wonderful open world and the ability to customize almost anything in the game. Sim 2 has nostalgia on its side and also some of the most enjoyed packs.

Question: What information is available about Sims 5?

Answer: Currently, we are waiting for the EA Play Live Showcase to hear official information about Sims 5. Currently, information is set to be released on June 14th at 11 am EDT. There is a likelihood of a teaser trailer and dev interview happening.

The release date is rumored to be in the Spring of 2022. There are also rumors of some sort of online competitive gameplay. Most of this information has been gathered thanks to 4chan, so the credibility is rock; however, time will tell. The CEO of EA did mention moving The Sims franchise into a cross-platform, cloud-enabled direction which would facilitate competitive gameplay.

Question: Are there any more packs in the works for Sims 4? 

Answer: EA typically focuses on an Expansion, Game, and Stuff pack a year. Recently EA introduced the paranormal stuff pack into the game, along with some skills and a career to match. EA has also released a new type of pack, called kits, which are small five-dollar packs that add a handful of items to the game. They’ve also released bunk beds as a base game update. Something simmers has been asking for since the game was released.
Information about future releases can often be found within previous packs’ item descriptions.

The most recent example being the paranormal plates that were found in the Snow Escape Expansion pack. Many of the descriptions and recent releases point to an expansion pack that focuses on family.
Something similar to Sims 3: Generations, which devs confirmed is not the same as the Parenthood game pack. So while we don’t have any specific information, we do have some clues as to what to expect. Hopefully, we’ll hear more in June at EA Play Live.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately I would say that Sims 4 is the stronger game because it’s keeping up with current tech and runs well on modern systems. It also runs smoother and crashes less frequently. While it’s not immune to performance problems, they are fewer and farther between than in Sims 3.

Unlike Sims 3, the entirety of Sims 4 features haven’t even been released with more expansion packs, game packs, and stuff packs expected to make an appearance over at least the next 2 years. With rumors swirling about the expected release of Sims 5 in 2022, the next few releases for Sims 4 will be significant in terms of content and meet fans’ expectations. I personally would like to see the introduction of cars and some general bug fixes for weird Sim behavior.

Recently bunk beds were released for the base game through a patch, which excited and satisfied many players. As the game is still growing, there is still hope that it will evolve fully into an extremely well-rounded entry into this beloved series.

Continue reading:

Sims 4 Self Employment Guide: How to Start a Career

Sims 4 Toddler Skills Guide: How to Choose the Right Skills and Activities

Sims 4 Off Grid Guide: Live a New Game Experience

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