For almost as long as The Sims franchise has been in existence, the core games in the series have been supported by expansion packs. While the add-ons for the first Sims always introduced new gameplay elements to the title, The Sims 2 introduced the concept of “stuff packs”, which add a few dozen new items to the main game without implementing any real changes. While they’re not as substantial as an expansion, stuff packs are typically less expensive, and serve only to add some more variety to the building and furnishing of your Sims’ homes. The Sims 3: High-End Loft Stuff is the first of these packs for the third game in the series, and adds expensive-looking furniture, building objects, outfits, decorations, and hairstyles to the game. There are more items for twenty dollars than you would get from The Sims 3 website, but this may not be enough to draw you back in if you’ve already grown bored with The Sims 3.
Most of the content from High-End Loft Stuff comes in the form of home furnishings. These include plenty of objects for the living room, bathroom, bedroom, and outdoors. Two new televisions, a new computer, and a new stereo have been added to the electronics section, as have two additional video game systems. It would have been nice if these items brought extra channels or music genres to the game, but they do add a lot of style to the Sims’ media centers. Couches, bookshelves, tables, lights, and a new bed round out the furnishings for the main rooms of the house. Your Sims can now also bathe in style with a new tub, new shower, and new toilet. Additionally, extra decorative items can help make each room more distinctive.
If you like building your house from scratch, there are some new options there as well, though not as many. The extra staircase and railing, as well as doors and windows, help give the home a classy, upscale Manhattan loft look, which is exactly what this pack is going for. Though High-End Loft Stuff also adds a couple of outfits and hairstyles, it still feels like The Sims 3 is lacking in the hair department. Overall, there is a good amount of content here, but not exactly an overwhelming number of new options.
To celebrate the tenth year of the successful franchise, High-End Loft Stuff also comes with three anniversary gifts, which are returning items from previous games. While I definitely appreciated the return of the vibrating bed, electric guitar, and aquarium, I can’t help but wonder why these things weren’t included in the game to begin with. As stated, they’re not actually new, and with such a robust fishing system and extended music career, the aquarium and guitar would have been a perfect fit. Also, while it’s amusing to use the vibrating bed, it doesn’t serve the same purpose that it used to, and I would have rather seen another notable absence—the hot tub. This would have been a great place to throw that in, since it would have added a touch of class to outdoor areas and given Sims a new place to woohoo. Yes, that’s very important.
With The Sims 2, stuff packs were important because there weren’t very many ways to get brand new items in your game. There were a few sites that offered downloads, but not at the same level that exists today with The Sims 3. New items are made available every day, both from EA and gamers themselves, and while most of them cost money, you have the option to pick and choose what you want and what you don’t. This makes stuff packs less necessary, and it seems as though EA should have added a little bit more to make this one really stand out. That being said, High-End Loft Stuff did revitalize my interest in the addictive game, though I’m not sure if it’s enough to tide me over until the next expansion pack comes out.
If you're a fan of The Sims 3, High-End Loft Stuff is a no-brainer. It adds enough new items to build and decorate homes with a completely distinctive style, and brings back a few objects that were missing. It’s not a game-changer, nor was it intended to be, though I still found myself wishing for a little something extra. Hot tub or not, High-End Loft Stuff should provide hours of building and decorating the perfect home for your rich, classy Sims.