Star Wars: The Trip to Batuu is the latest coup from Electronic Arts to further exploit the powerful license in the games segment. Instead of playful independence, Star Wars is embedded in an already existing game this time: in The Sims 4 of all things Example. At the end there is an attempt to inspire new players for the Life-Sim. In the following test for Sims 4: Star Wars - Journey to Batuu, we reveal whether and how well this works.


When Electronic Arts announced a few months ago that they would work on the Star Wars license more intensively in the future, players had no idea that of all things the life sim The Sims 4 would be expanded to include intergalactic content. Regardless of whether you like this basic idea or not: The Gameplay package Journey to Batuu is officially available for the Sims 4 - and surprises with attention to detail. Droids, lightsabers, clothing typical of Star Wars, even the option to design your house accordingly: the gameplay package offers all of this. It is aimed primarily at Star Wars fans, not Sims fans - and is therefore a clever trick to expand the target group of the popular life Sim.

Batuu? But that is…

It starts with the Sims smartphone: Nobody starts simply in the universe, everything begins with the eponymous “Journey to Batuu”, which you select exactly as if you were driving into the virtual neighborhood. Batuu? That's ... exactly, the new Star Wars game world in the Disney theme park Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in Walt Disney World. What Electronic Arts is offering with the new content package is therefore a license adaptation across several levels. The trick is as simple as it is ingenious: To a certain extent, fans can expect a completely unknown world - and because that is the case, expectations can be set low.

The world of Batuu is based on Disney's Galaxy's Edge theme park. Screenshot: Volkmann

The world of Batuu is based on Disney's “Galaxy's Edge” theme park. Screenshot: Volkmann

You don't have to have played The Sims 4 beforehand. Anyone who first became aware of Electronic Arts' Life-Sim through the intergalactic update can celebrate its premiere with the Star Wars part. The typical Sims concept is retained: players slip into the role of a virtual alter ego and now presumably re-enact everyday life of which you can hardly see anything in the Star Wars films. The trip to Batuu offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the epic events and answers a central question that many fans have probably already asked: What do heroes do when they are not about to save the galaxy?

If the Sims 4 is a good base game, then it shouldn't get any worse with the gameplay package, which is optional because it comes at additional costs. That would dictate the logic, unless Electronic Arts brings profound errors into a game that has matured over many years and over the course of many add-ons. The Sims 4 as a virtual everyday simulation tells wonderfully absurd stories from the lives of those pixel families whose fortunes guide the players. The fact that mods are also supported is an elementary factor in maintaining long-term fun.

The trip to Batuu expands the base game The Sims 4 with a hodgepodge of cool content. Screenshot: Volkmann

The trip to Batuu expands the base game The Sims 4 with a hodgepodge of cool content. Screenshot: Volkmann

The Sims is one of the most successful games series for the PC anyway: Electronic Arts was able to sell tens of millions of copies, but quality must be hidden behind it - or at least enough incentive to help the actually simple - and stinkingly boring - idea to such success.

Yes, The Sims 4 is a phenomenon, even today. Even if the game in its basic version cannot hold its own in direct comparison with its predecessor. Even if the Open World was over, time has shown that the Sims 4 has grown into an everyday sandpit, in which new gameplay packages have continued to tell the stories that once started with the creation of a virtual alter-ego (or now countless clones) have started. Over the years, The Sims 4 just got better, not worse. Much better. 

The Sims 4 heralds the Star Wars season

The differences are fundamental this time: no season, no festival is superimposed on the basic game, but a whole universe. This changes everything: optics, sound, gameplay. Every detail from The Sims 4 has been reworked with the Voyage to Batuu gameplay pack, more or less branded. Technically nothing has changed in the graphic construct. The charmingly edgy Sims characters still look the same - and they've kept their stiff gait. All the shortcomings from the basic series can also be found in the Star Wars counterpart, but this also applies to all those playful tricks that make The Sims an entertaining title.

There are many finds to be discovered in the Blackspire Outpost, such as the raging hawk. Screenshot: Volkmann

There are many finds to be discovered in the Blackspire Outpost, such as the raging hawk. Screenshot: Volkmann

Basically, the gameplay pack is therefore suitable for everyone and that is exactly one of the problems. The Sims 4 has a narrow target audience: mostly casual gamers; not necessarily space-action penchant; primarily, but not exclusively, female. That sounds like the contrast program to Star Wars, regardless of whether it is a film, game, book or merchandise. And so the trip to Batuu is a piece of great content for a solid base game, which however can hit the target group about as well as a Wookie with a sniper rifle.

Nevertheless: Fans of George Lucas' universe benefit from this unusual construct and there is another chance for the series. If you couldn't start with the space opera, the trip to Batuu will hardly change your mind. And whoever plays The Sims 4 to re-enact the dreary everyday life of earth dwellers will probably not use the Star Wars package either. However, if you haven't had anything to do with the basic series so far, are in the mood for Star Wars or at least intergalactic adventures, the new gameplay package offers you successful playful alternatives.

The trip to Batuu starts in a sims-typical way, so the content is perfect, the series is embedded: You pick up the phone and order your trip. A tour through the Blackspire Outpost forms the basic framework for adventurers. Cool is: After a few introductory tasks, you join one of the three factions - there are the privateers, the resistance and the First Order - and thus choose the role you want in the space -Adventure intends to take over.

Again and again missions provide amusement - here shortly after the start: Win at Sabacc! Screenshot: Volkmann

Again and again missions provide amusement - here shortly after the start: Win at Sabacc! Screenshot: Volkmann

For example, one hires one's time as a smuggler, fights for the resistance or deliberately falls directly into the dark side of power. Then numerous new missions emerge, which are simple but always entertaining. There you already meet the first well-known characters. If you want, just hang out in the cantina. A lot is possible - and that's exactly what is fun. You don't have to rush into battle, but you can use lightsabers if you want. The series remains true to its roots: A lot can, but must not, be determined by the character's everyday life. Because just sitting at the counter and drinking blue milk is boring in the long run, the missions are irritating, after all, they are also the core of the game pack. We don't want to spoilers, the most fun is getting involved in the adventure with a completely open mind. It's hard to believe, but a pull quickly develops: Just one more mission ...

The atmosphere is good. “Star Wars” is everywhere: optically, playfully, sound-wise. The scurry factor can't quite keep up. A few more Sims would certainly not have harmed the districts. This makes Batuu look a lot less alive than it should be. The developers have also missed opportunities when it comes to going to bed with the hero of the galaxy - you don't see anything of that. The same applies to the morning rituals or the shops. It's a shame, there would have been a lot more in there. However, it is very attractive to equip your Sim with all sorts of gems. Those who have completed enough missions go shopping - for their “real home” in Sim City.

The BB unit as a toy? Just buy it! Screenshot: Volkmann

The BB unit as a toy? Just buy it! Screenshot: Volkmann

There is not only clothing typical of Star Wars, but also luxury interiors, including decorative elements. You can even build your own lightsaber and use it to duel other Sims, or you can build a droid that will follow you. The connection between the classic The Sims 4 and the gameplay pack The Journey to Batuu is more than successful. You take a lot with you from your space vacation, even the dishes to cook at home at home. So the trip to Batuu is not a self-contained construct, but actually an addition to the boring Sims everyday life, which is spiced up properly by it. 

In terms of content, there is little to complain about Star Wars: The Trip to Batuu. Three new factions, lots of decoration, entertaining missions, lightsaber, meetings with iconic characters and lots of Star Wars offer entertainment for several hours. One can get over the fact that recurring missions also occur regularly - or simply stick to the orders of the characters known from the license template. They are really successful.

Infobox

Number of players: 1 players
Age: from 6 years
Game duration: 50+ hours with the basic game
Difficulty: easy
Long-term motivation: high

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Maxis
Year of publication: 2020 
Platform: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Language: German
Cost: 50 euros (bundle with basic game)

Pictures of The Journey to Batuu

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Summary

Maxis and Electronic Arts cannot be blamed for a lack of courage: instead of relying on horses or cars, as requested by the community, there are droids and star fighters. The Gameplay Pack The Trip to Batuu does a lot differently than the fans would like. The profile of a Sims fan changes fundamentally: Instead of 15-year-old horse girls, nerdy Dark Lords of the Sith or passionate sabacc players can now spend many hours with the everyday simulation. The Star Wars gameplay pack addresses a completely new target group - but ignores the long-time fans, whose storm of rage EA has to endure.

In purely playful terms, Die Riese nach Batuu is a successful work: Maxis manages to make The Sims 4 actually feel like content from the license template. The authentic environments create Star Wars flair, and not too short. What players are offered is just a graphical blanket, but really entertaining and enriched with content. In places, Die Reise nach Batuu feels like an excerpt from an RPG, of course without reaching its complexity. It is “Star Wars for in between”, a little adventure without the obligation to experience and play for intergalactic connections. The numerous appearances of well-known characters always ensure beautiful moments.

It doesn't get boring quickly with the gameplay package, on the contrary. There is a lot to do, including sometimes unwinding rather stupid missions. Overall, however, the license runs through the package like a red thread: Everything that is relevant in Star Wars is also available on Batuu - from lightsabers to stormtroopers. Diving into this small world in the big world is fun and noticeably enriches the world of experience from The Sims 4. That should - despite all the criticism of the package - encourage non-fans to take a look at least. And there is something else behind this trick: It is Maxis and Electronic Arts' attempt to accommodate a gigantic film world and the associated license in a video game that actually does not stand for fun on this level. Just imagine what great film and series topics there would be ...


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Last updated on 4.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API