I know this is the internet and everything, but there is something I need to get off my chest: I absolutely hate cats.
Any ‘domesticated’ animal that feels it has a right to waltz through neighbours garden, defecate in said gardens, bump into other ‘domestic’ cats during the night and then do that thing where they stare at each other making God awful noises waiting for the other one to make a move (which never happens) so they can have a fight, can politely, do one. They are the worst. The absolute worst.
Dogs on the other hand, I’ve never met a dog I didn’t like. I would rather spend the day with a dog than with most humans.
So, in this next whistle-stop tour of Expansion packs for The Sims 4 is the Cats and Dogs expansion. And in an attempt to remain impartial in the eternal struggle between cats and dogs, we created Vincent the dog – previously seen in the Island Living review – and a cat. Called Shit.
Me, puerile? Never.
The Create-a-Sim introduction is also used for creating your animal companions and is a whole lot easier than creating a human counterpart. This could be down to this being a lot watered down when creating pets as there aren’t as many different options to choose from, but it feels a lot more intuitive, and far less stressful.
That isn’t to say there isn’t a lot of customisation, far from it. You can choose to create a pets’ parents and then let science and genetics take over, or you can fine tune your four-legged friend to be exactly how you want them to be. You can even dress them up: if you are insistent on creating a cat, then there is an option to put a dog outfit on them so that they at least look like the superior animal. There are even unique designs, so your pet can look like a patchwork quilt, and many more unusual choices.
This new expansion also brings yet another location, specifically catering for felines and canines. Brindleton Bay takes its’ inspiration from the US state of New England. Boasting a rich maritime history, it is split into several suburbs. Cavalier Cove has hiking trails for long dog walks and views on the Eastern seaboard, Deadgrass Isle may or may not have a haunted lighthouse but definitely features the largest population of stray animals, Whiskerman’s Wharf is the resident feline hotspot where they can be found scavenging for scraps of fish discarded at the docks, and Sable Square confirms this area has a love of pets by having a monument built right in the middle to celebrate all things four-legged.
Moving my cat and her owner straight into Brindleton Bay one thing immediately caught my attention, you cannot control your pets like you would do a normal Sim. They are fully interactable, but in the sense that a Sim can tell them what to do rather than you pick an action for them directly. It has to be said that this came as a bit of a surprise for me. In a way, it makes sense, but I was half expecting/hoping to be able to send my cat to cause havoc to the neighbourhood. You know, like in real-life.
My cat and her owner/glorified slave took a trip over to Whiskerman’s Wharf to see what there was to do. Having purposefully made Shit territorial, any human trying to interact with the cat was instantly hissed at and turned the other way. This was fun for about five minutes watching people try and fail but sadly this was the most fun to be had in the wharf, there wasn’t much else to do there really.
In a last-ditch effort to appease the cat, we headed somewhere where there would be a lack of people to hiss at: Deadgrass Museum.
Even here though we struggled to find much to do. Sure, there are exhibits to view and walk around (and thankfully a much-needed toilet according to my Sims parameters) but again it felt like there was a lack of activities to be shared amongst cat and owner.
This venture away from the home really was a sign for the rest of the DLC. There really is not that much to do, especially in comparison to other expansion packs in The Sims 4. Or maybe it’s because cats just don’t do that much anyways (one final dig there I promise.)
The only other addition really appears to be a new career of veterinarian which makes absolute sense considering there is a clinic in Sable Square.
Brindleton Bay is a well-designed area to visit, and you can feel at ease as you wander around the place, but on the whole it is lacking. This DLC is more about the Create-a-Sim features for cats and dogs, and then the day-to-day interactions with your pets – stroking, playing, feeding, exercising – rather than getting involved with any outlandish activities for you and your pet to enjoy together. Which is fine, but when considered with other expansions that have added vampires, mystery towns, island getaways and jungles, The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs expansion on Xbox One does feel a bit empty by comparison.