Three years after release on PC, "The Sims 4" finally makes it grand entrance onto consoles, and is all the better for the wait.
Buttressed with countless updates and add-ons since the initial release, the PS4/Xbox One edition coincides with the "Cats & Dogs" expansion, console players get a wealth of content to delve into.
You can customize the look, mannerisms and attitude of your feline or canine companions, dressing them up in costumes and dealing with unexpected quirks that pop up and keep things interesting. You can play with your pets, socialize them by setting them up on playdates with neighbors and friends, train them to take part in obstacle courses and bring in strays to give them siblings. The expansion also adds veterinarian as a career option, allowing you to set up your own clinic, conjuring antidotes to pet diseases and performing surgical procedures.
The game proper functions swimmingly on consoles, but never comes close to shaking the feel of being conceived for the mouse and keyboard setup. The PS4 touchpad helps streamline the pointing and clicking to an extent, but it still takes some getting used to in order to be accustomed to all the pointing and clicking required by manipulating the analog sticks and buttons. If you prefer to forego the customizations, you can auto-generate various setups, then work from there to tweak them to your liking.
Once you get into the flow, it's an effortless joy to manipulate the lives of your Sims, setting up their lives, playing virtual dollhouse and, if it's your thing, torturing them by confronting them with one ludicrous torment after another.
Live Mode is one of the most freeing additions, allowing you to hop between worlds, checking out various neighborhoods and social strata which to adapt.
An impressive achievement that successfully translates the enduring PC obsession to consoles, "The Sims 4" feels like a definitive experience. Whether it manages to keep pace with the continuous updates of its PC counterpart remains to be seen, but for now the console version is on par with the original, and is off to as impressive a start as any fan could hope.