The Sims 3: University Life expansion pack has been announced in the past couple of days and it sounds like it could be fun, but I only have one question- haven’t we already paid for this? If memory serves we, the fans of The Sims series, have already in the last season of games had to pay the £20 or £30 fee for a very similar sounding expansion pack- have EA begun to run out of new ideas?

I was one of those people that had 90% of the original Sims collection, I then chose to invest in the The Sims 2 which was new, had massive advances in the interactions, CAS mode as well as the life cycle and pregnancy etc. It also offered, as the years passed, some new and innovative expansion packs. Then along came The Sims 3, at this point I was most definitely old enough to appreciate the fact that I would be investing money to take a step back, I mean don’t get me wrong the graphics improved greatly but it was expansion pack free; no university, no pets and no seasons.

Now any fan of the Sims series will be aware of the fact that all three of these options are either in existence and available for The Sims 3 now, or are in the pipeline for this year. Don’t get me wrong, there are definite improvements upon the original expansions, for example The Sims : Pets allows you to have, train and keep horses not to mention make money from them BUT I ask, was that really worth £29.99?

The information on the new expansion pack has slowly been making its way onto the web and to be honest from the details I have read initially it sounds very similar to the previous expansion. New world, study for a degree, increase your initial pay and position upon completion of your studies.

One change I have heard about, is that you can now go at any age between ‘Young Adult’ and ‘Elder’, but whereas you previously had 11 majors to choose from:   Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Political science, Psychology, Art, Biology, Drama, Economics, History, and Literature, which all aimed to improve specific skill areas the new Sims 3 expansion is rumoured to have just 6, though there is no word as yet about what these are.

There are also, as is typical with expansion packs, new locations- by which I mean a bowling alley and coffee shop etc. that you will be able to visit, but again- didn’t we have a bowling alley in The Sims 2: Nightlife?

A lot of the details thus far are not direct from the horse’s mouth as it were, the only information I can see direct from EA is the brief game description on their website (http://www.ea.com/the-sims-3-university-life) so at the moment nothing is really official but the idea that I would have to shell out £29.99 in order to get something that is not that different from the previous version of this expansion pack… again, certainly leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I am sure that the new expansion pack will have its advantages over its predecessor and I will wait until its March release date to truly pass judgement, but if EA doesn’t start coming up with more innovative ideas I may have to readdress whether or not I continue to invest, as I’m sure many other people will.