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The Sims 4: For Rent Expansion Review

The Sims 4: For Rent review
Image: Maxis/EA

They started as a trickle, but in the last few years expansions for The Sims 4 have come thick and fast. The latest is The Sims 4: For Rent, an expansion that lets your Sims become either landlords or tenants – something the game has been crying out for for years.

Let’s get this out of the way first: For Rent is not an easy Sims 4 expansion to jump into. If you’re a casual Sims 4 player or fairly new to the God-playing sim game, you’re probably best staying away. It has perhaps the steepest learning curve of any Sims 4 expansion I’ve played so far. It’s front-loaded with tutorials, and you will have to pay attention to them if you want any hope of knowing what you’re doing.

Put the time in, though, and there is fun to be had here. Allowing Sims to rent an apartment rather than buying their own place is a big step forward for the game, and something that should have been in years ago. Sims players like to create realistic situations after all, and what’s realistic about a young adult, fresh from college or mum and dad’s house, being able to buy their first property outright?

Forgetting about the unrealistically low house prices in Sims 4 for a second, being able to rent an apartment that allows you to survive day-to-day on a salary offers a real-world life experience that players have been wanting for a long time. As a tenant, you can call upon your landlord at any time, whether it’s to complain about your contract or to ask them to inspect something in your apartment. Broken cooker? Not your problem. Although just because your landlord has inspected it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to do anything about it.

The Sims 4: For Rent review
Image: Maxis/EA

Of course, I created my own landlord from hell in The Sims 4: For Rent. Obviously, he’s barely out of college himself, motherlode-d himself a ton of cash which means he can pretty much buy out the whole neighbourhood, and he has really irritating facial hair. His auto-generated personality traits seemed perfectly aligned by the stars, in that he’s the type of person who randomly does press-ups on the sidewalk. Come on: you’ve met this type of person in real life. And you absolutely do not want them to be your landlord.

Related: The Tenants is a Must-Play for Fans of The Sims

Obviously, landlord Raj, as I called him, has zero experience of anything. He doesn’t know the first thing about refrigerators or toilets or ovens, but he will absolutely come round to check on his tenants’ and act like he knows exactly what he’s talking about. The tenants seemed to appreciate his inspections, actually, increasing the property rating each time he did. But when it came to actually fixing anything? Raj is absolutely not the guy you want in charge of your property.

No matter what side of the coin you want to sit on, then, there’s fun to be had in The Sims 4: For Rent. You can create your own outrageously unlikeable landlord and make your tenants’ lives hell, or you can try to be the best you possibly can be, renting out luxury apartments at peppercorn rent. If you want to be a tenant yourself, you could try to befriend your landlord (they’re Sims too, you could even flirt with ’em if you wanted to) or you could try to be a nightmare neighbour, complaining about everything and kicking up a fuss.

The Sims 4: For Rent review
Image: Maxis/EA

Learning the ins-and-outs, though, will take a little bit of time. Being a landlord means fiddling with settings, getting residential lettings up to code and keeping an eye on how things are going. But there is fun to be had, particularly if you enjoy the Build side of The Sims 4; designing apartments to let is rewarding, and being able to have multiple households on the same lot opens up real creativity for those who like to build from scratch.

One of my favourite things about The Sims 4: For Rent is the new location it brings to the game. The Asian-inspired town of Tomarang is colourful, quaint and has a feeling quite unlike any other locale in the game. Its homes and buildings feel genuinely Asian, and there’s a wealth of new furnishings which allow you to keep that authenticity if you wish. Of course, in true property development style, you can rip the heart and soul out of a house, too, and replace everything with modern, clinical furnishings. Ick.

There are two public lots in For Rent – a beautiful park and a karaoke bar. The bar, playfully called The Screaming Gecko, quickly became one of my favourite hang-out spots. Downstairs there’s a bar, perfect for meeting friends and lovers, and upstairs there’s a piano, which you can play – or pay a professional to do it better. The best part is the hot tub outside: get a little tipsy, then go for a skinny-dip. Not that I’d condone such behaviour, of course. But hey, what happens in The Screaming Gecko stays in The Screaming Gecko.

Would I call The Sims 4: For Rent a must-have expansion? Not quite: this is certainly one for more advanced players with a learning curve steeper than most other Sims expansions – although some of its features make for very welcome additions to the game. Finally being able to rent before buying leads to more realistic play, for example. And the town of Tomarang is simply beautiful. If you’ve ever dreamed of being an evil landlord or nightmare tenant, For Rent offers the tools to live out those twisted fantasies.

The Sims 4: For Rent Expansion Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of The Sims 4: For Rent is based on the PC version of the game, with a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.