The fifth expansion pack to be released, Unleashed brings a significant change to The Sims, with the addition of pets, larger neighborhoods that can hold more sims and new game elements such as farming and commercial lots.
Whilst Unleashed brought new improvements, it noticeable made the game more unstable and brought some frustrating changes to the gameplay. One noticeable change is sims have issues moving and turning and will sometimes rotate multiple times when interacting with an object.
Some pets will occasionally come onto your lot and piss everywhere, leaving a bunch of puddles randomly outside your sims house, and will trash the outdoor room motive when your sim goes out for work. Also, any malicious animal that spawns will sound the burglar sound, which can startle or surprise some players, but given how frequently these will spawn the effect will eventually wear off and will become more annoying to the player as they play the game.
One of the first noticeable changes is the neighborhood screen which sees an increase of playable lots from 10 to around 48. With it is a new lot zone type, commercial. The main difference is a commercial lot is intended to be visited by multiple sims where they can shop or explore. Commercial lots cannot be visited directly from the neighborhood screen, but they can be edited which gives access to buy and build mode. To access a commercial lot, your sim will need to phone up for the Old Town bus which will arrive, and all sims on the lot will be transported to the commercial lot that you choose. These lots cannot be edited whilst sims are visiting, the Build and Buy modes are disabled.
Typically commercial lots will consist of shops, such as a pet store where pets can be adopted, along with any pet accessories. Traditional lots are renamed as residential lots and is where sims reside as they did in the previous expansion packs. Additional neighborhoods still exist as they did in previous expansion packs.
Two types of pets are featured in the game, mainly cats or dogs which can be adopted by sims themselves. Other pets exist such as budgies which are treated by the game engine as objects, similar to the fish tank that was included in the base game where sims have to feed them every so often.
Skills can be taught to your pets to make them more obedient, this is harder than expected since pets will most of the time go off and do their own thing. The best thing to do is to use the Sit n’ stay command to build the obedience skill, which will make the other skills easier to build up. This interaction only works when your sim is near your pet.
The Aviary – A bird cage to keep birds that have been purchased at the petstore, You need to frequently feed the bird in a similar manor to the fish tank to keep the pet alive.
Sims can play with their pet birds which boosts their fun and social. Two types of birds can be stored here, Love Birds and Budgies. Cats will also try to play with the cage.
Speaky Scarlet – A pet parrot that can be purchased from buy mode. Sims can talk to it to boost their charisma skill
Ceti the Happy Whale – A playground item that child sims can play on, boosts fun and can be played in groups
Squeak-EE-Clean Pet Tub – Used to wash your pets, can be used with both dogs and cats, requires regular feeding
Forgotten Jungle Terrarium – Used to house a pet iguana
Other expansion packs featured pet objects like the gerbil featured in Livin It Up (Livin Large), or the fish tank from the base game. These remain unchanged although pets may interact with them.
Commercial Lots Only
SpueakNip Pet Toys
Only for commercial lots, sims can purchase toys for their pets. Requires a nearby cash register
Giuseppi Renni and Mr McCutch
A musical duo that appears on Old Town lots and will entertain your sims, can be tipped 5 Simoleans
Appears on Old Town lots that sell seeds and vegetables, sims can buy plant tonic for their crops and get advice on how to grow their own crops
Appears on lots that have pet judging podiums, he can tell you further details on pet judging.
This sim will appear on the pet store or anywhere you can adopt a pet. Can be used to train your pet for an increasing fee, dependent on your pets skill level.
A jazz player that appears on cafe lots (any lot that has a barista/coffee or pastry stand)
Sims can grow crops by purchasing seeds from an Old Town merchant and planting them, which can be used for food, or produce can be sold in Old Town for money. Growing crops requires a certain amount of effort as sims will need to water, weed and protect the farm from animals or gophers. A buyable scarecrow or a pet cat can help with this, depending on the hunting skill of the pet. Once the crops have been harvested, they can be stored in a pantry or sold at the farmers market.
Garden plots can be found in the gardening section of build mode.
Sims can also purchase produce on certain Old Town shopping lots, if the sim has no room to farm. To store crops for cooking, you will need to purchase a pantry to store the produce in.
Unleashed also introduces a few new pre-made families to play.
- Burb: Brad and his wife Tiffany, with their son Johnny and their dog, Tucker. This family would later appear in The Sims 2.
- Charming: Consists of Claire Charming, with her pet dog Luna
- Hick: Mama Hick and her son Elden live in what appears to be a trailer, with their three dogs.
- Goth Sr: Parents of Mortimer Goth.
- Kat: A single female with four cats, Yup a spinster.
The phonebook has been expanded to a dialog box now appears when calling neighbors. Previously sims were called from the pie menu which would also include any known townies or vacation sims if those expansion packs were installed. Services remain the same as their own section in the pie menu.
Five new careers are included – Fashion, Education, Animal care, Culinary and Circus.
The game was also ported to the MacOS platform, and makes full use of the Carbon library which gives it OS X and OS 9 compatibility. As this was released in the PowerPC era, you cannot play it on modern OS X versions (10.7 Lion upwards, as these versions of OS X lack PowerPC support) On modern Mac’s it’s easier to use Boot Camp and use the Windows version of the game, but for M1 Macs you may prefer to use an emulator like QEMU or Sheepsaver to emulate an OS 9 PowerPC environment, which the game will run.
Unleashed was a dramatic upgrade to the sims engine, adding new specific to the game, expanding the neighborhood and the type of lots that can be used. I would say this was one of the more important expansions of The Sims as whilst previous expansions added features to the existing game, and expansions like Hot Date added their own expanded areas (Downtown), Unleashed dramatically replaced many game mechanics and in some ways feels like a sequel rather than an expansion. This was also one of the first expansions to ship on two CD’s, highlighting the amount of changes and value being added to the game.
Tragically this expansion never made it to the console versions, which deviated int heir own direction with the release of The Sims Bustin Out and URBZ Sims in the City.