When the original Farming Simulator game released for the Xbox 360, the response was bewilderment at first, followed by a large group of the gaming community who not only played the game but thoroughly enjoyed it. The original title spawned two sequels, the second of which we are reviewing now. Farming Simulator 17 has promised us new features on our trip back to the farm, so join us as we plough our way through the newest addition to the unique genre of farming games.
If you are new to the world of Farming Simulator then there are a few tutorials on offer to assist you in getting to grips with the gameplay. Getting your head around the basics might appear confusing or hard at first, and even with the games tutorials prompting you, you may wind up feeling a little lost when you first enter the campaign. The games tutorials will talk you through the cultivating, sowing, fertilising and harvesting you’ll need to master in order to succeed at becoming a fully fledged farmer in addition to what to do with your crops and how to look after some 2 and 4 legged creatures you can also acquire. With so much information thrown at you in a such a short space of time, it can all feel a little overwhelming and while you may think you’ve got to grips with everything the tutorials have taught you, things feel a slightly different when you are out in the campaign.
Farming Simulator 17: Xbox One [Reviewed], PlayStation 4, PC
Developer: Giants Software
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: 25 October 2016
Price: £39.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
You can jump into the campaign whenever you feel ready, and can choose between two different locations in addition to adjusting the games difficulty. Starting on easy is obviously recommended for beginners looking to find their way, where as veteran farmers may feel more comfortable jumping in at a higher difficulty. Farming Simulator 17 offers gentle hand holding at the first but then leaves you to find your own way out in the wide open fields. Speaking of fields, players are left with three at different levels of growth, and a number of different tractors and attachments (most of which should be familiar to you if you’ve done the tutorials or are familiar with previous titles). From here Farming Simulator 17 pretty much lets you get on with it, giving you the freedom to either get to work on your fields, go for a wander or a drive round the town, or give some of the other local farmers a hand with their fields. You aren’t penalised for doing one thing before anything else, so it’s nice to not feel pressured into heading in any particular direction here.
The pause menu allows you to see what stage each of your fields is at and whether you need to cultivate the ground, plant the seeds or sow the crops. You’ve got a choice of seeds to grow, but obviously, everything on your farm can and will run out to alleviate that particular problem there’s a shop on hand for all your farming needs (that can be easily accessed with the press of a button). Of course, everything costs money and a loan will help get your on your way, but this will eventually need to be paid off, so you’ll want to start earning some cash as soon as possible. If you grow tired of actual tractor based jobs on the farm, you can hire a worker to do the hard work for you, allowing you to get on with something else. The only problem with this is that along with you having to pay these workers, they have a habit of not finishing set jobs, getting stuck and generally not always doing what they should, so whilst they can be of assistance, more often than not you find yourself back and doing the work regardless.
If you get bored of tending to your own fields, the town offers you a couple of other activities to keep you busy. There’s plenty of other local farmers around that will pay you to help out with their fields, whether it’s fertilising or harvesting, and it’s a good way to earn some extra money. Once you start these, there’s a time limit for you to complete the task in, but these are very generous, and doing a good job will put you in the farmer’s good books. You can also buy these fields from your fellow farmers should you feel like expanding your ownership. Overall, these extra jobs are a good way of getting to grips with the farming side without having to buy the extra equipment at your own personal loss.
Sometimes collectables add something to a game, and sometimes they are just available to give you something extra to do throughout a game. Apart from earning you a big chunk of money when you find them all, the golden nuggets found in Farming Simulator 17 largely fall into the latter category. There’s 100 of them to find, which may seem like a daunting task at first, but is lessened by the fact that once you find 10, the rest will show up on your mini-map. It makes for a nice break from farming, and some of the nuggets require a little more exploring than others, so you might have to think outside the box for a few of them.
Unfortunately, the game is not without its problems. The textures are an issue sometimes and don’t always load properly with distant landscape often looking blocky and un-rendered. While the game is mostly pretty to look at and offers a relaxing change of pace from the some of the bigger blockbuster games out there, it can still get a little tedious after a while. There’s only so long you can drive around in tractors before you become bored, even though you do go into the game expecting nothing else.
Farming Simulator 17 does exactly what it says on the tin, and makes improvements from the last two games. It’s pretty to look at, and relaxing to play, while still encouraging you to farm and explore at the same time. It’s never going to be a game you are addicted to or sink hundreds of hours into, and it will inevitably get boring after a while. There’s some trouble with textures loading and hired workers not doing their job, but overall Farming Simulator 17 is a solid addition to its rather individual genre.
Farming Simulator 17
- Realistic farming gameplay
- Side objectives keep you busy, including helping farmers and searching for nuggets
- Calm and relaxing farming, with plenty of options
- Gameplay can get repetitive after a while
- Textures don't always load correctly
- Hired helpers don't always do what they should