God help me I’ve gotten back into The Sims this year. Sure it doesn’t completely make up for a lack of regular Sim-verse games (can we get another SimAnt please?), but Sims 4 has come a long way since its launch, which includes oodles of DLC to choose from.
That ever-growing list gets a little bigger this week with the Realm of Magic pack.
As a follow-up to Island Living, the spell-slinging Realm of Magic couldn’t be any more different. Macabre mansion furniture might populate the build mode component, but the cosmetics/dress-up aspect is rooted in a modern teen horror-drama pastiche (can I trademark the style “CW chic?”). The Sims has always had a WB network/CW feel to it, and the series is no stranger to spooky packs, but this one feels extremely 2019 in a good way.
The whole “spellcaster bloodline” thing is probably the deadest giveaway and biggest draw. Similar to previous life states you can either graduate into a spell-user (allowing you to utilize familiar companions, brewing, and magic in the process, with a whole skill tree to boot) or be born into the life of magic, then pass it down to your posterity. This whole process has been a long time coming, and for folks who enjoy making generations of Sims, this should help spice up future runs. Spellcasters kind of round out vampires (which are already in Sims 4) to bring balance to the witchy force.
Realm of Magic is a smaller DLC (it’s a $20 pack as opposed to a $40 expansion), so therefore its neighborhood of Glimmerbrook is a smaller location. That said, you can head to the portal near the northwest edge to transport yourself to “The Magic Realm,” which houses several activities (a garden, diagon caster’s alley, and a dueling ground). The former locale is by far the most significant, as it allows easy access to familiar and wand purchases: the lifeblood of the pack.
It’s pretty easy to immerse yourself in the DLC from the get-go, from making a spell-sensitive sim, to moving directly into Glimmerbrook, to buying equipment in the new realm. The ability to create M.C. Escher stairs couldn’t have come at a better time, and the “not-so-scary-but-scary” theme is spot-on for the series.
Realm of Magic isn’t as game-changing as Island Living, which is expected given that it’s half the price. That said if you’ve been craving more of the occult in Sims 4, it’s a decent way to indulge that craving given that “Vampires” is one of the only substantial offerings in that department since 2015.
[This assessment is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]