The Sims 4 Expansion Packs, Ranked Best to Worst

When getting into video games, a lot of the time the options can be overwhelming. Nothing is more true for a game like The Sims 4, which has an overabundance of DLC available. That is why I’ve broken down the current available expansion packs into what they offer to you as a potential player and ranked them in order of my personal preference. 

 

 

  1. 1. The Sims™ 4: Seasons

    Number one on my list has to be Seasons. I remember having played the game before Seasons was released and it was extremely boring. Your Sims never get too hot or too cold, they just always live in a perfect paradise. Which is fine, but there’s just something enjoyable about knowing that if I ever long for fall in the dredges of summer I can load up the game and watch the leaves change right before my eyes. 

    Seasons comes with, you guessed it, all four seasons. Blistering heat, thunderstorms, and snowstorms can now affect your Sims while you’re playing. Also, since this pack was released, the game was patched to include a section in the Create-A-Sim mode for clothing when it’s too hot and when it’s too cold. They show up in-game regardless of whether or not you have the pack, so you might as well put them to use by buying this add-on.

    This expansion pack also comes with activities specific for each season and creates a new career that’s available to your Sims as a gardener. However, the part that I believe really adds to the overall gameplay beyond the seasons themselves is the calendar. This calendar allows for specific holidays to be created to celebrate whatever you want your Sims to celebrate. Halloween, Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Valentine’s Day — all that and more! The calendar also makes it super easy to see all of your Sims’ schedules. It shows when Sims birthdays are going to be, when they have to be at work, school, and if you have Discover University (we’ll discuss this pack later on in this article) when they have to be at their specific classes.

    Overall, this is my favorite expansion pack and if you could only buy one extra add-on, my final recommendation would be this one.

  2. 2. The Sims™: 4 City Living

    Next up we have City Living. While the expansion pack doesn’t quite expand through all of the worlds like Seasons does, it builds outwards so seamlessly that this sin can be forgiven. 

    The pack adds three new careers for your Sims, and as such they can now be a politician, critic, or social media person. All three of these careers have a branch that, once you’re promoted to level 5 of your chosen career, you can choose between one of the two tracks. These careers also have the option to “work from home” so that you don’t have to send your Sims to a rabbithole each day, instead completing tasks at home to allow them to work towards promotions while simultaneously allowing the player to spend more time with them.

    The new skill of singing has been added with this pack. Which, how sad is that — that the Sims weren’t allowed to sing before this pack? Two years of a sad life with no singing ever. (The base game for the Sims 4 was released in 2014, while this expansion pack was released in 2016).

    But on a more serious note, this expansion pack also introduces apartments! A vital part of living in a city and a welcome change to the regular lots found elsewhere throughout the game. You have to live within the restrictions of the walls pre-created and sometimes even have to deal with maintenance issues like leaking drains and rats taking up residence. Better make nice with the landlord! But also don’t forget about your neighbors. Both those NPC Sims and your Sims can cause headaches for the other. A true testament to life living in an apartment.

    And let’s not forget the various festivals and food stalls that pop up that your Sims can frequent, or the new collectibles that were added, or my favorite — the special lot Myshuno Meadows that I personally use for all my Sims weddings. All in all, this game pack adds a lot of extras to be explored, as well as new challenges of playing, and that’s why it’s ranked at number 2.

  3. 3. The Sims™ 4: Eco Lifestyle

    Eco Lifestyle is currently the newest expansion pack to be released for the Sims 4. It’s also coincidentally the pack that I’ve played with the least because of this. It’s still however an excellent pack that deserves its placement.

    The whole premise of the pack is living eco-friendly. Items are cheaper because it’s the idea of upcycled decor, there are options to use green energy to pay your bills and more options to craft items now! It also comes with the Civil Designer career, a fitting tribute to the theme.

    What I personally think sells the pack is the carbon footprint meter that can affect more than just the newly added world. When you first start in the new world there’s a good section, a neutral section, and a bad section to choose to play from. From there with Neighborhood Action Plans that you can vote on to change you can work on purposely making the world a better place, or a worse place. This idea continues into the other worlds that all start at a neutral level and have been retrofitted to work with this new mechanic.

    In general, I think the new mechanics are fun to play with and if the theme is interesting to you, I’d definitely recommend adding this expansion pack to your collection.

  4. 4. The Sims™ 4: Get Together

    At number 4 we have a potentially unpopular opinion. Get Together was only the second expansion pack ever released for the Sims 4 and because of that, it normally gets put further down below other releases. 

    However, Get Together has a mechanic that can fundamentally change gameplay, and because of that I rank it higher on my list. Clubs are introduced with this expansion pack and because of how they work they can be utilized for both storytelling and exploitation reasons. 

    Do you want your Sim to go to the gym with some buddies but you don’t want to have to go through the process of calling them? Clubs are a great way to set up a group of Sims that will automatically come hang out with you at the gym just like you want without having to manually invite them. And because of how Clubs work in the game, you can choose to make your Club gain Club Points by working out. And then you can use those Club Points to make the Sims in the Club gain the Fitness Skill faster. So as you can see, it’s extremely easy to exploit, and potentially a good go to when you’re playing a challenge that requires you to gain skills rapidly.

    The pack also comes with the gorgeous world of Windenburg that’s inspired after places like Germany and Norway. Add in some new traits, skills, and a new aspiration- this pack really has it all. So whether you just want some of that old European charm and to have your Sims join a book club for fun, or if you want to get your Sims to max level of all the skills as fast as possible, this pack is for you.

  5. 5. The Sims™ 4: Discover University

    Coming in hot at number 5 we have Discover University. If it wasn’t for the fact that this pack is more niche, this would hands down be placed above Get Together. However, because players might not be as into this pack due to its single-focused goal, it’s been placed slightly lower.

    However, with that being said- this game pack does what it does extremely well. Two universities have been added in game and depending on where you go you’ll have a different experience. One’s more old-school and offers advanced degrees in the Arts, while the other one is newer and focuses on STEM degrees. Both offer different organizations you can join that are on par with real life and regular university organizations, but if you really want to get spooky, you can join the Secret Society where you’ll find yourself at the mercy of sprites.

    Different living options are available if you choose to go to college as well. You can live in a Dorm, slightly off campus with other roommates, and completely off campus at your home. You also have to pay to get your degree and scholarships and loans are actually available in game. Luckily, your degree starts you off at a higher level and makes you more money with the degree than without so you can pay everything back with ease.

    This game pack also comes with three new careers: Law, Education, and Engineering. These careers take after the City Living pack in that you end up choosing a path at a certain promotion level and can choose to work from home every day if you so desire.

    The main issues that I have with this pack are that the UI is not great and it takes forever to complete University. The Organizations section is combined with the Clubs section and it gets annoying having to click through to get to both of them. And if you don’t have Seasons, (as stated earlier), it’s basically impossible to keep track of when your Sims have to go to class. Especially if you’re taking 4 of them at a time, causing them to be stacked in the Jobs section of the UI. And if you’re trying to work a part time job at the same time? Forget about it. The calendar remedies the issue of poor UI but, again, you only have that if you have Seasons. You shouldn’t have to buy another pack to be able to enjoy another one. 

    It also just takes forever to play through university. An in-game week is a full semester and if you take the max 4 classes a semester, it takes you 3 full in-game weeks to graduate. That’s your entire life gone on a short lifespan, your entire young adulthood gone on normal life span, and a good chunk of your young adulthood gone on a long life span. But if you don’t mind freezing aging on your playable Sims, then you should be fine. 

    In summary, if playing through a university life is something you’d be interested in, or even if the new careers sound interesting, I would also recommend this pack.

  6. 6. The Sims™ 4: Cats & Dogs

    Unfortunately, we’re heading towards the bottom of this list, as there are only 9 current expansion packs out right now. And while a decent pack, Cats & Dogs just can’t quite make the cut and break into the top 5 packs I have listed.

    First, there’s the fact that only cats and dogs are available in this expansion pack. In previous Sims releases, it was called “Pets” for a reason. You could have horses, birds, cats, dogs, and more. And then there’s the fact that you can’t control your pets in this game like you could in previous Sims games. I recognize that the developers were trying to go for “realism” but it’s extremely annoying trying to figure out what your pets' needs are when there’s not even UI showing how they’re feeling. And then add in the fact that they glitch out constantly even though they’ve been in the game since 2017 — they’re just not really worth playing with.

    Still, I will give the fact that the added world is gorgeous. Brindleton Bay is the one world in game that automatically has animals walking around the world that you can befriend and take home, which does give a nice feeling of having rescued a pet. And yet, that’s been glitched before. An NPC’s pet would show up as a stray when it’s obviously not, creating the sad story of you accidentally stealing a pet off the street.

    There is the added veterinarian skill and the ability to open a veterinarian clinic, but it’s hard to get it up and running and making actual money. There’s also not an option to work under somebody, so if your Sim wants to be a veterinarian, they have to strike out on their own from the get-go.

    I will give the pack the fact that there was an attempt made, but no amount of referencing the fun WeRateDogs account on twitter in one of the pre-made Sims families that comes with the pack makes up for the lackluster performance it holds over the long term.

  7. 7. The Sims™ 4: Island Living

    Next up we have Island Living. I remember being ecstatic when this pack came out and I desperately wanted to pre-order it. The trailer was just so gorgeous, and the ending where it was revealed mermaids would be in this pack? 10/10 Amazing.

    But unfortunately, the pack falls completely flat. The world is gorgeous and the nod to island culture is lovely, but it doesn’t go deep enough. There’s a play at some streamlined story where you can make the island cleaner but it doesn’t require a lot of work and isn’t necessary to complete to enjoy the beauty. They also added the off-the-grid lot trait, but it’s hit or miss if the items labeled as off-the-grid in the build mode are actually compatible. 

    And then the mermaids? The mermaids barely add anything to gameplay. They can swim better and if they’re hydrated enough have some minuscule powers. It’s a shame that this is the case since we’ve seen game packs that cost less do a better job at world building and creating occult sims in vampires and wizards. 

    Unless you’re super into the idea of having your sims living on an island and all that entails, I wouldn’t waste your money.

  8. 8. The Sims™ 4: Get Famous

    It might come as a surprise to some to see this pack ranks so low on my list for a couple reasons. Namely, that this pack does have a mechanic that spans through more than just the new world that was added. However, it’s a glitch fest that feels like it can break at any moment with each patch that’s added to fix something else.

    There’s been many times where I’ve wanted to play as an actress trying to work her way up through the ranks where the career itself glitches out and you have to wait multiple months to get a fix for it, when it worked previously. Or when that’s working but the skill tree for fame doesn’t work properly and you can’t actually utilize the merch perk correctly. 

    That’s not even to mention the fact that there’s just one whole section on the map of the new world that has zero lots that looks completely out of place since there’s plenty of room for them to have been added. Or how about the fact that in one of the original mansions when you first download the pack and go to the world is just completely missing a toilet? There’s just no toilet for the supposedly rich and famous sims that live there!

    Which is why, while I think the concept is good, and I like the fact that the fame mechanic expands through the whole game and when working properly works well, I can’t recommend it. You just never know when it’ll break with a new patch and you shouldn’t have to wait for months on end to have a fix for a pack that you already purchased.

  9. 9. The Sims™ 4: Get To Work

    The first Sims 4 expansion pack ever released is arguably the worst. The main selling point of the pack is also its very weakness. All three of the careers that allow you to join your Sim in what would otherwise be a rabbithole are glitched out. I’ve never been able to complete the Doctor career because not enough patients with the disease I need to cure come in so I can’t complete the tasks required to get my promotion. The Scientist career requires you to make serums with plants that never spawn because you get to work too late to trigger that in the game’s code. In the Detective career sometimes you can’t actually arrest the person who matches the description given, instead only being able to arrest somebody else, ending with you potentially losing your job. To make matters worse, this expansion pack has been out since 2015, over 5 years with this knowledge and nothing has been done about it.

    This pack also brought the ability to own and run a store, but just like the veterinarian practice, the mechanics are clunky and not particularly fun to play with. And while this pack also brought us the baking and photography skill, you can only become a Freelance Photographer in game if you have a separate stuff pack, rendering the skill almost useless.

    And if you thought the mermaids were lackluster, the aliens that have been added as occult are even more so. They have minimal powers like the mermaids, but mermaids can spend time around regular Sims in their mermaid form and be fine. Aliens can get embarrassed when their secret identity is revealed and since Sims can die of embarrassment in this game, it’s definitely a problem. 

    Granted males can now get pregnant in game because of the aliens, but it’s not when you’re playing as one of them. That’s just a cut scene where you rabbithole away when an alien spaceship shows up and you might end up with an extra family member afterwards. There is also the alien world of Sixam (Maxis, the name of the game’s developers backwards) that you can reach to explore with either your Sims via the Scientist career or by building and using a rocketship. And while beautiful, there’s not a lot to do when you get there beyond some collecting and potentially meeting an alien. 

    Between the dull gameplay and the extreme amount of bugs that still appear in this game pack today, over five years after its launch, I would say skip this one. Unless you’re a completionist or are intrigued and willing to brave the bugs, this final expansion pack is definitely one you can miss.

Overall, I hope this article was helpful and the next time Origin has a sale and you’re looking to add more DLC to your game, you’re better prepared with the knowledge presented here. The Sims can be fun, but spending your hard-earned money on packs that aren’t deserving of it is not.