We seem to be in the age of simulators. They seem to be big business for game companies, whether they be spoofs of actual professions/activities like Surgeon or Goat simulator, all the way to the more serious ones like Euro Truck Simulator and now, Farming Simulator.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this sim. The idea of building my own farm sounded cool if they could pull off the authenticity and make it feel like you are growing a business. It also sounded like it could be literally just that, growing a business, which you’re probably better served to do in real life where there is real money on the table.
So let’s get into exactly what there is to do in this simulator. Honestly, it’s kind of what you’d expect. There is a pretty decent, if a little short, tutorial to get you started where you’ll learn the basics of running the farm. Starting off by harvesting crops and delivering them to the granary where you get instant cash! Then there is the matter of re-tilling soil ready to plant more seeds. Then when the seeds are planted, you do the same to another field while you wait for that one to grow. Once you’ve done this a few times and have built up a little bit of capital, you’re ready to buy yourself some upgrades for your tools to make the harvesting and planting that little bit easier. Bear in mind however, the upgrades are very expensive and there is going to be a good few hours of work before you manage to buy much help.
Ultimately, the end goal of this game is to upgrade your tools and vehicles, making it easier to manage your bustling farm all the while building the empire of your farm with money you earn on it, seems simple enough, right? You’ll need to buy more fields, and specialise in more that just wheat fields to become the all rounder farmer though. You’ll need to focus on other areas of the farm too once you are ready, including animal husbandry as well as wood harvesting.
As far as animals and other aspects of the game go, I didn’t get that far into it in my hours of harvesting, which leads me to believe that this game is somewhat aimed at people who are looking for a grindy game. Putting in a lot of hard work to see some results. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of games that make you work for your rewards, I’m just unsure of whether I want to be investing 40+ hours into a game within a week to get some animals and fields of wheat. With that being said, I can see myself revisiting my farm from time to time to see how it is ticking along and improving aspects of it here and there.
For people like me, there is always the option of employing farm hands to help with the field management while I’m off doing other things. On the subject of farm hands, Giants have added a multiplayer option so you can team up with your friends and really cut down on some of the hard work as 2 heads are better than one, and 2 farmers are certainly better than one!
As far as I can tell, there is no significant difference between the PC version of this sim and the console version, other than the graphical enhancements that always will be available on the PC. That being said, I can definitely see this as a game that lends itself to consoles. With a lot of repetitive and time consuming things to do, you’re probably going to be glad that you have a couch to chill out on while you therapeutically strafe up and down the enormous fields of wheat, or whatever other crop you choose to specialise in. Although, there is the somewhat darker side of the argument in that this game was probably built for people to minimize the window to do other things while you play, something not easily achievable on the console version. Also with the increased market base on the consoles that developers rarely want to miss out on, it does seem like a quick port to the consoles would be extremely profitable to them.
The controls seem somewhat stable on the console, with excellent use of different menu’s using the bumpers all of which is very clearly labelled on the screen so you know exactly what you’re doing without needing to refer to a manual or guide. The vehicles seem a little tricky to manage especially when you miss a spot when harvesting or tilling and have to repeat that section of the field. The turning circles are pretty huge too, it seems like they easily could’ve made this game a good 20% easier and more fun by making the tractors easier to control.
It’s definitely an experience we haven’t really seen on the consoles to date, but one that is a tough thing to manage with the repetitive nature of the game. That being said, I’m sure there will be a good portion of people who will genuinely enjoy everything about making their own farm and watching it grow, as it’s so simple to pick up.
+Lots of things to do straight away
+Interesting concept, not really explored on console before
-Very repetitive after a while of playing
-Not too much of an end-game to work towards
-Seems to cash in on the success of the PC version too much
-Not particularly “built” for consoles