Moving its people-management play from familiar suburban settings to a fairy tale realm of knights and knaves, The Sims Medieval adds aspects of role-playing and city-building games to the series' life-simulation. Instead of focusing on the lives of individual characters, Medieval players guide the development of their own storybook kingdoms, which are driven by ambitions of their choosing. Similar to the character ambitions in earlier Sims games, a variety of kingdom ambitions is available from which to choose, with many based in desires for health, wealth, or power. Once they've established a goal, players may recruit great heroes to embark upon noble quests that will help the kingdom reach it. As the kingdom grows in power and prosperity, new ambitions lead to new quests, and new heroes become available. Unlike in previous games from the best-selling PC series, a Sims Medieval story has a beginning and ending. Players invent the adventure that takes place in between, through the characters they customize and the quests they accept.
The different tasks of a Medieval kingdom require different specialist citizens, including priests, physicians, and smiths, as well as wizards, knights, and monarchs. Most quests can be accomplished in multiple ways, however, with the particular skill set of nearly any type of Sim specialist. Some quests will call for the skills of two or three specialists, with one character serving as the leader and the others working in support. As in many city-management games and other real-time strategies, players unlock new character types for their adventures by constructing the appropriate support buildings in their town. By adding a new workshop or castle wing, for example, players may be able to invite a merchant or spy to join the realm. New buildings and rooms are acquired with points earned by completing quests. Challenges become more dangerous and rewarding as the kingdom grows in size and power.
In addition to the quests they may help complete, each specialist hero must also fulfill the everyday duties of his or her profession. In this way, much of the moment-to-moment play in Medieval is familiar to earlier Sims games. Players need to guide characters through their regular routines, ensuring that each Sim performs daily chores and gains in skill level. High skill levels in the daily tasks of his or her profession greatly improve the hero's chances of successfully completing quest objectives. Naturally, each character must take time to relax, as well. In place of a mood meter, Medieval Sims have a "focus level," which affects how well they perform their tasks at hand and react to unexpected events. Players can completely customize each hero character in their realm, choosing appearance, features, and traits. Although built on a version of the Sims 3 game engine, The Sims Medieval is a complete, stand-alone game that requires no previous editions or expansions.
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