System(s): PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Publisher (Developer): Focus Home Interactive (Giants Software)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone”
Farming can be a tedious task if you run a relatively small farm. Spending all day doing numerous chores just to have a chance at more than an hour break before going back to do them all over again is tiresome. In Farming Simulator, we learn that farming is just as tedious in video game form than it is in real life, but for different reasons.
For a simulator, you would think there would be a lot more tasks, but Farming Simulator boils down to a handful of things to actually do. All a player will do is cultivate crops, sell crops, grow more crops, rinse, and repeat. Missions will pop up at set intervals that you can change, and even turn off, to mix things up. Most of the time, the missions required equipment that I didn’t own yet. Since the equipment is expensive and your funds are low at the start, it could be a while before actually being capable to handle them. Even though these missions seem to reward a lot of money for such simple tasks as delivering something from one place to another, I was more inclined to take care of my crops.
The music in Farming Simulator is non-existent, so be prepared to throw on your own. That is, unless you like to listen to heavy machinery drone on as you drive up and down your fields. The trailers tended to use dubstep, so maybe go with some of that.
Speaking of driving, the vehicles can be a bit squirrelly and occasionally get stuck on the environment. While driving to pick up some equipment I just purchased in town, I took a turn too sharp and jumped the curb right into a fence. No amount of rocking back and forth shook me loose. Even honking at passing cars didn’t work. What ever happened to helping a fellow neighbor out? What ended up fixing this was jumping into another vehicle I owned on my farm, driving out to where the first vehicle was stuck and ramming it until it was off the fence.
Good Help is Hard to Find
Running a farm is hard work in Farming Simulator. Hired hands make a big difference in keeping the farm running, but are a little unreliable in that you have to start the task, then hire someone. Only then did it automate the task. Then, a player has to be careful not to exit the vehicle, since that will sometimes fire the worker and you’ll have to repeat the process again. Also, when the machine is full from cultivating crops, the workers will not empty the crops in the trailer next to the field. You have to drive it right up to the vehicle to get the worker to unload the machine. Only then will the worker continue to finish the task. It almost feels like I would be better off doing everything myself since switching between equipment that I own is instantaneous. Can never find good help these days.
Farming Simulator has been out for a little while now on PC, with the recent ‘Titanium Edition’ bringing new content such as a slew of vehicles and an additional starting area in the United States to the game. While this is the version that was ported over to the PS3 and Xbox 360, prospective owners shouldn’t get excited. Not everything seemed to make the transition. What looks pretty good on the PC version ends up an ugly mess on the consoles due to low res textures and a general lack of sharpness. This leads to appearing blurry and terrible draw distances that has trees popping into existence a mere few feet in front of you as you move about the area. Online multiplayer seems to be left out as well, which means console players lost an opportunity to share in joy of tractor racing.
Lack of Viewpoint
What also seems to be an oversight by the developers is Farming Simulator‘s perspective. It appears to be constantly zoomed in on the vehicles. The contextual help box showing the controls for the occupied vehicle is a permanent fixture in the upper left corner of the screen. On the lower left, there is the PDA that shows a map of the current area you’re, as well as a multitude of other useful minutiae.
Between those two boxes, Farming Simulator players have a good portion of their vision constantly obstructed. Still, these intrusive boxes are a necessary evil. A player could turn them off, but then you’ll be missing out on some really helpful info needed to play Farming Simulator. Which means players have to endure the constant chore of turning them on when information is needed, then off to do a task, and bringing them back again when a new task comes up or a new vehicle is entered.
You Get What You Give
Farming Simulator, like all simulators, can be fun depending on how much of yourself you put into it. Even the most monotonous tasks can be a joy if you let your imagination out to play. Still, the ugly textures, blurry images and overall lack of refinement make the PS3 or Xbox 360 version hard to recommend. Given the low requirements for the PC version of Farming Simulator and forthcoming Steam Winter Sale, that’s definitely the way to go if you want to spend all day shucking corn.