The news of The Sims 4: Paranormal stuff pack had The Sims community a-buzz, and it wasn’t from the spine-tingling horrors that awaited. The developer introduced the ideas for a stuff pack of this caliber back when Nifty Knitting won the community vote, but the idea for “Happy Haunts” went over well with much of the community. Though the original pitch has a few elements found in the Paranormal stuff pack, this pack is also much more refined than the “Happy Haunts” idea, which works to its advantage.
It would be obtuse to say this pack is for everyone, but there’s a lot of great content from CAS (Create-a-Sim) to Build/Buy mode to Live mode. Supernatural fans will definitely have fun with this pack, but other Sims 4 players who aren’t fans of the occult will find use in the CAS and Build/Buy items as well. Although it’s only a stuff pack, there’s a little there for everyone, no matter the type of Sims player. The Sims 4: Paranormal stuff pack is by no means perfect, but it’s fun, quirky, and definitely brings the scare factor.
Being a stuff pack, there weren’t a lot of CAS items added, but what it included fulfills the bohemian vibe of the pack with flying colors. Flowy, open-chested shirts coupled with layered necklaces and patterned pants help bring boho-chic to life in The Sims 4. The new pair of chunky, open-toed boots does look a little strange with the “clay” texture of Sims’ toes, but that’s pretty much forgotten after taking a look at the gorgeous floor-length, open shirt paired with shorts. While this style isn’t for everyone, those who have been looking to create bohemian Sims will be in luck with these CAS items.
Much like CAS, the Build/Buy aspects of this pack are very niche. However, it wouldn’t be too bold to say that the Build/Buy mode items are more versatile than the CAS ones. The furniture items added are both new and old at the same time—a perfect boho vibe. The seance table is nice, especially when coupled with a crystal ball, but even if the table has a “special” chair for the Medium, Sims will randomly choose a chair each time—even if players tell their Sim to sit first and then use the table. It’s not a big deal, but can be a little annoying if there’s a certain vision players are hoping to accomplish.
Gameplay in Live mode is really where the Paranormal stuff pack shines, though. The new Haunted House lot type is positively spooky at times; full of random flickering lights, suddenly appearing dolls, and plenty of things that go bump in the night. Both players and Sims will hear unearthly voices out of nowhere and loud thumps that have no discernable origin. When playing late at night, it’s definitely a terrifying experience, even for a game like The Sims 4.
That’s not even mentioning the vengeful spirit from Guidry the (friendly) Ghost’s past who will make an appearance either while a Sim is living in a Haunted House or working as a Paranormal Investigator. We won’t reveal her name, but this ghastly ghost will be recognizable immediately and strike terror into every Sim near her. Watch out, because she likes to blow out Spirit Candles—the thing that protects Sims from bad juju.
As previously predicted, the “Medium” skill only goes up to level 5, which makes it easier for Sims to break into the Paranormal Investigator career. After chatting with Guidry or purchasing a Paranormal Investigator license from the Rewards Store, Sims are ready to begin their freelance career. The “Easy” and “Adept” levels were fairly easy to play through, but the “Expert” level was, unsurprisingly, kind of challenging.
It’s fairly monotonous per job (kick a doll here, mop up slime there, do a mobile seance here), but the game glitched when it came time for the third investigation level. It took the Sim to an apartment that was definitely haunted, but no matter how many Specters were asked to leave or how much slime was mopped up, the progress bar stayed at zero. This was disheartening and feels like an oversight that shouldn’t have been missed. It’s nice the game will randomly generate townie houses as haunted, but it should function properly for all lot types first.
There was also the return of Bonehilda, the iconic skeleton maid from The Sims: Makin’ Magic. It upset some fans that Sims can only summon her via the seance table and she “lost” her iconic coffin, but that doesn’t feel like an issue in-game. However, it seems strange that Sims must first have the “Medium” skill past level one to summon Bonehilda when there was never a skill requirement in previous games. She is also romanceable, which has never happened in past iterations of the game. Bonehilda will be an eternal girlfriend, as there is no option to marry her.
There are a few nice Easter eggs tucked away within the game, such as the “I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts” Confident mood after a successful seance. Another nice nod to previous Sims games, most notably The Sims 2, are the automatically generated names for the Specters inside their jars. When clicking the “Name” option, players will see either “Olive” or “Ophelia” in the auto-filled box—an explicit reference to The Sims 2 townies Olive Specter and her niece Ophelia Nigmos (also known as Ophelia Specter.)
Overall, The Sims 4: Paranormal stuff pack accomplishes what it sets out to do. It provides players with a new, spooky experience that hasn’t been in the game previously. There were a few bugs, like the apartment mishap and an instance where a bed had to be removed in order to get rid of a creepy doll, but these things can be fixed easily with patches. It would be a stretch to say every Sims 4 player needs this pack, but for those who enjoy occult gameplay and artsy/boho CAS and Build/Buy items, this will definitely soothe that itch—just make sure it’s not a ghost hand doing the scratching.
The Sims 4: Paranormal Stuff launches January 26 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Game Rant was provided a PC code for this review.