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I've noticed that the Current Battle is between The Sims, The Sims 2, and The Sims 3. Now, despite my having a definite favorite of those three games, I like them all for their own reasons. One of the more significant reasons is the expansions. With that in mind, I felt like ranking my favorite expansions for The Sims and The Sims 2 (I only have three expansions for The Sims 3 so I don't feel I can be a good judge of those games). Feel free to weigh in on your favorite expansions in the comments below.
- The Sims
I played the original The Sims since very early 2000, shortly after its release. I presently own The Sims Complete Collection but at one time or another, I individually acquired every one of the expansions and have played them all extensively. With all that experience, I rank them as such:
1 - The Sims: Superstar - Superstar was my favorite expansion for The Sims, if only because of the interaction that was possible with the Sim's career. For the first time, decisions you made at that moment could help or hurt your Sim. It was challenging to make sure your Sim was in a good mood and ready to go to Studio Town to perform, but I enjoyed that aspect of the expansion as well.
2 - The Sims: Unleashed - Those who know my views towards The Sims 2: Pets or The Sims 3: Pets might be surprised that I've picked Unleashed as my second favorite. But even aside from the pets aspect (which was original, at the time), Unleashed made a lot of contributions to The Sims - a larger neighborhood, new families and houses, and different features like community lots in the neighborhood make this a good expansion and one of my top favorites.
3 - The Sims: Hot Date - In the theme of introducing new play features, Hot Date is definitely worth mentioning. For the first time, you could take your Sims out of the house, and that opened up a whole new world of gameplay. Plus, I love the music in this expansion!
Honorable mentions: I'm also a fan of The Sims: Vacation, though it didn't make my top three. The magic aspect of The Sims: Makin' Magic didn't appeal to me as much as the other features, and since it was the last expansion the original game was starting to feel crowded and weighed-down by this point. The Sims: Livin' Large and The Sims: House Party brought their own features to the game, but compared to later expansion packs they are significantly lacking in content; I still like those expansions, however.
- The Sims 2
I obtained The Sims 2 within a few days of its release in 2004, and have individually obtained all the expansions, as well as a few stuff packs. Here's my ranking:
1 - The Sims 2: Open for Business - OfB brought a feature into the game that had not been seen before, and hasn't been seen since, unfortunately. In line with my views on Superstar, one main reason I enjoy this expansion is the amount of control you have over your Sim's business and their success. It's a challenging expansion to master, but very enjoyable.
2 - The Sims 2: Apartment Life - I must admit that I've played AL a lot less than most other expansions; I didn't buy it until just a couple years ago, after The Sims 3 was released. That being said, I like the new 'neighborhood within a neighborhood' dynamic that is possible for the first time in AL. Ultimately I think it's a solid expansion and one whose main idea - apartments - I hope returns to the series in the future.
3 - The Sims 2: Seasons - I love weather and the changing seasons, so this expansion was a welcome addition to the game. The introduction of a gardening system, among other features, also makes this expansion one of my favorites.
Honorable mentions: The Sims 2: University definitely would be number 4 on this list; my only significant criticism of the expansion is that it takes so long to move a young adult through college, and that it is a bit light on features outside of the college theme. I also enjoyed The Sims 2: Bon Voyage despite it being more-or-less a Vacation remake.