Developed by Giants Software and published by Focus Home Interactive, Farming Simulator 15 is the next addition in the series. Simulator 15 is a game where childhood dreams of becoming a Farmer can become a reality, with hard work and a little knowledge players can grow careers in the agricultural world .
Farming Simulator 15 was originally released for the Windows and Mac back at the end of October in 2014 and now released onto the consoles with the Xbox 360 and making its long awaited debut on the Xbox One.
One instantly noticeable change from the previous Farming Simulator games are the new in game graphics.The game has a whole host of new improvements. Brand new graphics are in place coupled with a new physics engine and user interface, all these things are designed to give the game a more realistic feel. Giants Software have given the cult series a fresh new look and feel, designed to make you feel like a farmer in every aspect of the word, all the way down to the plaid outfit. Previous titles had some underlying issues such as the Tractors hitting a stationary object before coming to a complete stand still or the vehicles flipping in the air like a freshly spun pancake. The game now looks so much more realistic and harvesting your crops has never looked so good.
Upon starting up Farming Simulator 15 you are greeted with the choice of two different types of landscape with the American styled Westbridge Hills and the Nordic themed Bjornholm to choose between, each offering a wide range of differing landscape to start a career in farming. A short tutorial introduces you to the games mechanics with lessons on Harvesting, Ploughing and Sowing at hand to get you better acquainted with the game.
Once you are finished with the short tutorial and are more comfortable with the controls you are free to begin your farming career. You start out with around 11,000 credits to spend with the option of another 200,000 from the bank if you want to buy some new equipment, of course taking out a loan means you need to pay it back and you can do that in form of 5000 credit payments. You own a few Tractors, a Harvester and a few other accessories to help get you on your way and a field is already assigned for you if you wish to begin straight away.
While at owned fields in the game players have the added option of setting a worker to plough the field or harvest the corn for them and this can be easily accessed by pressing the B button, so if you feel that your straight line driving isn’t great, like myself, you can hire a worker who ploughs, harvests and sows a precise straight line and will work day and night for you, at a cost of course. Personally I found it very relaxing working the fields at night with the front and back lights on my Tractor, visually Farming Simulator 15 is amazing and fans of the game will definitely love the games new graphics.
The game runs on a day and night cycle with weather forecasts available for the upcoming week so players can plan work accordingly, you can also check your current finances to see where you are losing money and a map to show you where the best places to farm are. The map system can be a little annoying at times because although you have a mini map, when you pull up the full map on screen you cannot set way points of search through the map, at times it leaves you driving almost blind.
The game offers missions which can be located at a bulletin board and once accepted can be completed in the player’s spare time, they range from moving luggage with a pallet fork to harvesting a certain amount and then delivering it to a set location on the map. Every mission completed earns the player more money to help buy better fields or new equipment to help grow your farming career and it is definitely a useful option to have, especially if you don’t take up the option of a bank loan.
Another of Farming Simulators brand new features is the exciting ability to undertake Forestry and Tree Cutting work, no longer are players confined to the hard work and grind of the fields. Forests can now be visited and from the main menu powerful Chainsaws bought to take down the trees and either sell them at the local Mill Pond or place them on the Trains, log cars. Forestry can be a real help in making money early on in the game and can help set players on the way to a very successful career.
Along with Chainsaws there are also vehicles to help with the logging side of Tree Cutting, Forestry Equipment can be purchased from the shop to help do everything from pick the fallen trees up to taking out the remaining tree stumps. My only gripe with the tree cutting was the fact you cannot simply press the crouch button and stay in that position, instead you need to awkwardly hold down two buttons to get yourself into crouch and then a further button to begin sawing, that’s provided you can find the right spot to cut on the tree. Either way it’s a minor gripe and nothing that sets the game back. Forestry is a very welcome addition to the series and adds a great new aspect to the world of farming.
Fallen trees can be replaced with bought trees from the store with six different types to choose from. Players can also place their own trees onto owned fields using a Tree Planter, bought from the store, the tractor accessory allows you to plant your own trees and with the tree saplings purchased from the Garden Centre in no time at all you can have your very own forest which can make players a lot of money and further the experience.
As well as having various vehicles and equipment to purchase at the store there is also the option to buy animals with Sheep, Cows and Chickens available for a small fee if you want to have a go at Animal Husbandry. Everything in the game is designed to make you a better all round farmer so if you wanted to take a particular approach to the game, whether you prefer to chop trees or sow fields. The landscape is your oyster.
As well as having the single player career there is a further option to play co-operatively, either hosting using a saved career or joining a friends current game, the system gives the game a more friendly feel and some extra life with up to six players allowed in any given game. Co-Op play allows you to build farms with friends or allow them to help your career get off the ground. It’s a very welcome addition to the game and cuts out what could be a slightly lonely game at times.
There are over one hundred different vehicles and tools to buy from the store which can be accessed while in the game either from your current position or directly from the store. Forty different brands are available to choose from with everything from Tractors to Telehandlers to be bought. As well as having the vehicles players can purchase greenhouses and even a wind turbine. Farming Simulator leaves no stone unturned and is the ultimate in Farming Simulation, there are no boundaries to what players can achieve during career mode and a whole host of different ways to go about the game.
Overall, Whether you want to take up Forestry, Animal Husbandry or are simply happy harvesting your crops then Farming Simulator 15 is for you. The landscape is quite beautiful and there are no shortages of things to do within the game. Various tasks can be taken up and you are never short of things to do. The game has it all and a whole lot more. There are a few slight issues during the game and one is that for newcomers to the series the games mechanics can be very difficult to pick up with the tutorial only helping out with the farming basics. For players with no prior knowledge of farming or the terminologies of the life, it can be quite tough and you’re left with a trial and error effect but for fans of the previous games it should be a simple case of picking up where they left off.
Farming Simulator 15
- The brand new graphics make for a more realistic Farming experience
- The addition of Forestry opens up a whole new career path
- The wide array of store options
- The crouch system can be very annoying at times
- The map system could have been better designed
- More tutorials are required for players with less knowledge of the game