Sometimes, cash grabs by companies are subtle, you’re not aware until after you’ve given them your hard earned money that they were making a play for it all along. Other times, it’s so obvious they might as well have a sign painted on their product saying “We Only Want Your Money, We Don’t Care About the Product.” Unfortunately, Disney’s latest collaboration with EA Games, The Sims 4: Journey to Batuu Game Pack, is of the second variety.
The latest in a long line of questionable collaborations between the two companies, Journey to Batuu ostensibly aims to bring the Star Wars universe, or at least the newest trilogy, to the world of The Sims. Your very own Sim can not only dress up in various Star Wars themed outfits but can also go to Batuu, join the Resistance, the First Order or the Scoundrels and help their faction pave a path to victory by completing missions and leveling up. You can also have them craft a lightsaber or a custom droid and bring souvenirs from their trip back to their regular Sims neighborhood.
At first, Journey to Batuu is fun. The Star Wars inspired outfits and hairstyles in Create a Sim are great fun, and there’s also two aspirations you can choose for your Sims; one is oriented toward the Resistance and First Order struggle and the other steers towards the Scoundrel faction, letting you play the board however you choose.
Batuu itself is a pleasant enough vacation destination in the game, but is quick to lose its appeal. The pack appears to be designed more like a themepark walkthrough than an interactive game, with few buildings that you can actually go inside and explore, except for (of course) the Cantina. Out in the streets of Batuu, when you’re zoomed in on your Sim at ground level everything looks great, but try and take in an aerial view and massive amounts of fog roll in instantaneously. Presumably this is to keep the “mystery” of the three factions’ locations separate – you can’t see the First Order bases from the Resistance encampment or the Black Spire Outpost, and vice versa. However, the air of secrecy loses its appeal real quick and gives way to annoyance at “Why is there SO MUCH fog!?”
Each faction has different missions to play which give your side a leg up in the ongoing conflict. The first few were fun, but with no real skills required for any of them, missions quickly became tedious. Additionally, Rey and Kylo Ren aren’t available when you first join a side and you need to acquire enough personal status and faction status to meet either of them. Also, no, while you can build a lightsaber once you collect enough parts for it, you cannot become a Jedi or a Sith.
What irked me more than false buildings was the pack’s complete lack of content for those who aren’t fans of the new trilogy. If you’re looking for much content from the prequels or the original trilogy, you’re out of luck. Again, this is except for the Cantina, which by now I’m fairly certain is some sort of enormous Tardis, traveling through time and space to be wherever it needs to for the center of the action. I understand that the new movies are what Disney is trying to market now, but a few additional nods would have gone a long way. At least there is the appearance of Hondo Ohnaka as the leader of the Scoundrel Faction for fans of The Clone Wars TV show.
The best way to describe The Sims 4: Journey to Batuu is shallow. Content is mostly cosmetic and missions quickly become tedious, with a lack of actual buildings and locations to explore in the world. Aimed mainly at fans of the most recent movies, it’s enough to have fun with for a few hours but even the most diehard of Star Wars fans will soon find themselves bored. If you’re looking for a Star Wars game with customized characters, you’re better off sticking with Lego Star Wars.
TechRaptor reviewed The Sims 4: Journey to Batuu on PC 4 using a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.