Perhaps the most intriguing new feature in the console versions is the optional "Mystery Journal," which introduces five new extensive quest lines, which feature everything from your pet's efforts to join a secret society to your cat's ambitions of world domination. If you've played the World Adventures expansions for The Sims 3, you may recognize this feature as a modified form of that game's popular job board. Mysteries never offer anything other than some decent items and a couple of achievements or trophies for completing them, but they do provide enough content to partly account for the expansion's $50 price tag.
Nonetheless, beyond the introduction of pets and the Mystery Journal, The Sims 3: Pets is almost exactly the same game as The Sims 3, aside from some welcome additions, such as the inventions from the Ambitions expansion. But that also extends to the technical limitations of the consoles. Players used to the open expansions of the PC version may find the small, four-or-five house neighborhoods of the game's suburban setting a bit confining (especially when compared to the relatively sprawling expanses of the PC version's Appaloosa Plains). And the frequent loading times that occur when players move from one part of Sugar Maple Coast to another make the decision to leave for new scenery something of a chore. These loading times improve significantly if you install the game on your hard drive (a clear improvement over the original game), but even then, you have to contend with sims that refuse to move when you forward time and bouts of lag as you move your camera from one point to another.
In the end, the console version of The Sims 3: Pets works best as cuddly entry point to the series. Even if the pet-specific content somehow disappoints newcomers, the groundwork that made the original release of The Sims 3 so enjoyable is still here, along with some worthy tidbits from expansions that have come before. It's just too bad that you can't enjoy the company of your new furry friends while playing as a sim you've created in an earlier release. That aspect alone might be a deal breaker for players who've already invested so many hours in their other sims. While it's almost impossible to deny the charm that oozes from every furry denizen of the console version of The Sims 3: Pets, the ultimate appeal of the game depends on whether or not your love of cats and dogs outweighs any reluctance to relive the basics of the original Sims 3 release.