Developer: Giants Software
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Mac
Tested on: Xbox One, PC
Farming Simulator 2017 – Review
For many years ‘simulator’ titles have been a fun alternative for experiencing all kinds of jobs in the comfort of your home. From trucking and flying airplanes, becoming a fisherman or driving a train, setting foot in the life of a farmer is one of the more popular among them. Classical farms have come far from simple tools dragged by animals towards industrial machines. This time we are looking at Farming Simulator 2017, a series that has a large fan background for years in the modding community for PC and has recently been ported to consoles.
Most simulator titles are often without story, which doesn’t hamper the fun, as it’s all about experiencing a certain profession in a virtual environment. Your goal in Farming Simulator 2017 is to build a successful running farm while choosing from a set of predetermined locations. A set of essential parts is already in your possession from the start, such as a few tractors for preparing the land and delivering the crops, and a combine harvester. These items are all you need to begin your farm. Manage your money and time well and keep your eye on the market prices to determine your selling rates in order to make as much profit as possible.
Sometimes in life a developer needs to make a choice to best utilize the space available for a game. This is the reason why simulator titles in common lack next gen 4K graphics to make room for a ton of details. Equipment tends to become dirty when used on the field, this gradually increases over time and if you want to keep your investments clean you can purchase a pressure washer to manually make them shine again. When going from the field to the road, for a brief moment the dirt tracks keep coming of the vehicle, this gives a nice sense of realism since dirt particles can get stuck in the treads of the tires.
On the field itself you can follow every movement of the farming process, this means that when cultivating the land or planting seeds the texture changes depending where you went, so if you missed a spot this is easy visible. Loading processed crops has a organic feel to it like a ragdoll effect and does not look like it has just been coded with a simple script. The cabins of the vehicles in the game are all well detailed and all have unique compositions.
The game’s atmosphere does give you the impression that you are on the countryside, when not driving around heavy equipment the sounds of nature ooze trough. If you are putting your tools to the test you will notice that each vehicle has a unique engine sound but the horn is all the same. To make tending crops more enjoyable you can turn on your radio and tune into four different radio stations: Country, Rock, Pop and Electro. Despite the fact that it is mentioned as a radio it does not work that way, when switching between back and forward between channels the game will just start the song from the beginning.
Farming Simulator is as you may already have guessed a simulator game that lets you develop your own farm in ‘sandbox free roam worlds’. You control your character in first person view, machines however have the ability to be controlled in a first and third person view. If you are not familiar with a ‘Farming Simulator’ title it is advised to play the tutorial first. This tutorial will teach you the basics of the game and will explain in great detail what to do with your field and where you need to place essentials and how to tend to animals. Even if you choose to skip the tutorial various help balloons are placed around the map.
If you finally decide what you’re about to do, or if you finished the tutorial, you’ll be able to opt for a single player career mode, or the multiplayer mode. In the single player campaign you are the manager and are able to hire workers to give you an aiding hand. When in multiplayer you can have your friends join to help working on the farm. Each player is freely to do and work however they want. Funds are divided upon every player so it’s best to negotiate when planning a expensive purchase, since cash can be passed on to one another.
Your career starts by picking a difficulty: each difficulty has its own influence on economy, debts, market value and how crops react. if you want a more custom experience you can adjust many settings in the options menu, gradually increasing the difficulty as you see fit. Next you decide when either a classical American soil is fit for you in the Goldcrest Valley or the humble communist town named Sosnovka. Goldcrest Valley is a big open map with an interactable train station and the fields have a more scattered pattern. Playing is Sosnovka gives a more geometrical play style since most fields are nicely lined in a box pattern.
Controlling the game will feel complicated at first glance: moving and driving around is simple but vehicles have four button menus and this all for different operations of the apparatus. This allows the game to be played easily with a controller or for pc with mouse and keyboard since both have the same settings.
Getting money from crops is sometimes a painstaking process that can take a while, and we understand that you want to experiment with loads of different crops and the tools needed for them are expensive. Lucky for you the bank is always interested in giving you a loan, you will need to repay this with interest so keep in mind because loaning money costs money. A clever function is embedded for those who can’t afford a five figure tool; renting hardware is the easiest way to get more advanced gear for a modest daily rate. After all the financials have been talked trough it is wise to start working on the fields. Initial you are given two fields to manipulate, when you wallet allows you to feel free to devote some income for new fields in the area.
Your farm is equipped with all the necessary means to start, help grow and harvest the crops. When we take a look at our map it shows us various drop zones for our goods, points of interest and the fields are color coordinated to show where what kind of produce is developing. To become the best farmer there is a wide range of crops to grow ten in total: from wheat and corn to potatoes and soybeans. But you can’t just adapt the land with the same mechanism, although various contraptions offer some universal use, you will still need around two to three different machines to be able to place all the different products. Feel free to experiment with these setups, it is not mandatory to keep certain crops, so if you want to stay easy by only placing wheat for an example you are allowed. There are three main ways of getting currency in the game: grow crops, chop trees and by investing in building. Logging can be commenced with a simple chainsaw, this offers a budget friendly startup for players to try out if it is something they would enjoy. If they do there are many vehicles to make collecting lumber more easy and less time consuming. Be sure to clean the trees of any branches otherwise the sawmill won’t accept them. Buildings do not require any interaction whatsoever, they just need some space on your farm to accumulate cash.
Earlier we have touched the surface of the multiplayer without giving much more information, this is because the multiplayer is broadly the same as the single player. Online Co-op can be done with up to sixteen players to work on your farm, or you go work for them. In either scenario the player is free to pick his job whenever the situation calls for it. You can make an arrangement that a few people do the planting, and other people do the fertilizing, while possible someone else is keeping himself busy with lumbering.
If the standard given content isn’t enough towards your desire, in the main menu there is a ‘mods’ screen and you can download free mods for the game, adding various equipment and vehicles for you to use.
Farming Simulator 2017 is a great way of living the farmer life. Vehicles have many interactions and the colossal amount of available tools is guaranteed to give you many hours of simulation fun, when either you want to tend to crops or grow potatoes, chop trees or be an investor. Make the game challenging by playing it on hard (which is deemed to be a realistic difficulty portraying the though economy for farmers) or just have fun on the easy setting. The free mods are a nice gift to keep gameplay interesting, however Farming Simulators just didn’t really improve a lot over the years, if you are new to the genre It’s a must play, but it’s just not worth upgrading to a new version every year.