The Sims has been a success since the original version came out on the PC through Maxim in 2000. Ever since, the game has seen very positive reviews, and spawned multiple expansion packs, and two sequels. The latest, released through EA Games in 2009, is The Sims 3. It is the third in The Sims series, and is a prequel to the original as far as the storyline behind the characters. It has come a significantly long way since the original, however through the characters, expansion packs, etc., it has the same feel as the first two in the series, keeping the original audience, as well as targeting a new generation.
One of the main differences in the newest edition to the series, which makes itself known almost immediately. It is the open neighborhood function. In the first two games, you controlled your sims, on your lot, and nothing else. Now, you can follow your sims around the neighborhood as they visit their friends, go to work, go jogging, or visit whatever sights around the neighborhood you choose. Instead of hopping in the car and disappearing, not to be seen until the end of your work shift, you can follow your sim to their job, choose how they spend their time while they're there, and leave early if you wish, but as your sims are paid by the hour, you'll loose whatever wages and work experience you may have earned during those last few hours!
Another addition which is seen early on, are personality traits. Each adult sim in the game is allowed 5 traits, which you choose upon creating them. Toddlers are aloud 2, children 3, and teenagers 4. If you play the sim from childhood to adulthood, you must grant their wishes, make sure they do well in work and/or school (if applicable) and keep their aspiration high if you want to choose what trait they get upon aging up. Otherwise, it will automatically be selected at random.
As I stated before, aspects of the game are similar to the rest of the series. Expansion packs to this game once again introduce more career options, vacation opportunities in other worlds, vampires, night clubs, and apartment-like penthouses which you can rent to live in. Overall, the third game is my personal favorite in the series because it keeps things familiar to the first two, while still adding enough features to make it new and exciting.