A few weeks ago, we covered the resounding success of Farming Simulator 17. The game sold one million copies in a very small time frame and is the most successful iteration in the series thus far. I recently acquired a review copy to try out the game for myself and determine my feelings on it. I have to say that I’m not disappointed with Farming Simulator 17. At the time of acquisition, I had mixed feelings on the series. I’ve seen previous versions on sale in Steam, and while it piqued my curiosity, it was never a “must buy” for me. Imagine my surprise when a review copy became available where I got myself a key and with that said I set out to try it for myself. Now let’s break it down starting with the graphics all the way to the meat and potatoes (get it?) of the gameplay.
Farming Simulator 17‘s graphics are nothing to write home about, but in this type of game they’re fitting. You don’t need cutting edge technology to make farming simulators fun–see Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley–but the models on the game, especially the ones on the vehicles, are great and look well designed and very detailed. It’s actually impressive how well they got down the machinery. The crops and vegetables look nice and the engine is not so heavy that it bogs down computers. I did, however, not like that after a certain distance the rendering display becomes fuzzy and that sort of took away from the experience. I personally would have liked looking at my fields from a distance and enjoying the view. Speaking of the view let’s discuss the map.
The map I played was Goldcrest Valley which is a nice location with a small outlet area and other farms with a few sights in between here and there. A second map is available, but I didn’t play on it during my review session. I like the fact that you can visit the other farm fields and actually assist them with their farming to earn extra money. The whole map, while small, is enjoyable and I would sometimes hop in my truck and drive around for no other reason than to familiarize myself with the game world. Nothing like a relaxing drive around town, but there in lies an issue that I had with the game.
There are cars that you can crash into and pedestrians that walk around town, although–unlike the people in the Driver game series who will dive out of the way if they see you–the pedestrians here will simply keep walking as they “ghost” through your vehicle. I’m not saying this is a bad touch–pedestrians walking around adds to the environment and makes this truly feel like a living world–but even with this in mind, it’s rather silly to see games these days still have a literal ghost town. Yet, this doesn’t detract from the gameplay which is where Farming Simulator 17 truly shines.
Farming Simulator 17 does the farming great: you can have animals, machinery, trucks, and all that we romanticize about the rural life. Unlike the games we mentioned earlier that focus more on the social aspects, this is truly a farming simulation about being a farmer. You have to use your machinery to prepare the soil, plants the seeds, fertilize, and harvest your crops which you then have to sell at the different buyers (which the game has it’s own built in economy system). You always want to sell for the most profit and to do so you have to pay attention to the tabs in the menu. As I wrote about earlier, you can do missions for other farmers which can often pay a lot of money, but they are time consuming. I spent one hour doing a single one of these missions for a payment of nearly 50,000 and with that and a few other deals helped me pay off my initial debt in the game.
Farming Simulator 17 is a time sink, with a lot of your tasks consuming a long time. While I never found myself laughing out loud or feeling like it was a riot, I almost enjoyed the calmness in the game. There really isn’t a rush to do anything and I feel this game is akin to a leisure stroll around the park; it’s simply something to help pass the time. If things got a little dull then I would hire a helper which assisted in doing tasks around my farm such as planting, harvesting, or even sowing the seeds. I just picked and chose whatever I didn’t feel like doing personally. After a while I gathered enough funds for better equipment and the game became noticeably easier, but still enjoyable.
I feel as if this type of game caters to gamers who want to take a break from the stresses of reality and instead unwind in a virtual farm life. It’s a solid game, but it’s certainly not for everyone, and I wouldn’t recommend this game to people expecting anything more than simulating farming. This game is strictly for that and there is nothing more or anything less. As far as things I didn’t enjoy with the game, they did detract a bit from it, but not enough to where it became a burden.
A pro tip I have for those of you who want to try out the game after reading this review: the missions almost break the game’s difficulty. After doing one or two, I was no longer in debt and could do as I pleased with my money. After a couple more, I got the best equipment money could buy and then, like I said, the game became way easier–too easy. While the equipment does make the game easier, it still doesn’t detract from the farming experience since you get a lot more freedom to move about with better equipment. That being said, I would score this game anywhere from 6 or 7 out of 10 due to its very solid gameplay. Bear in mind, 7 to me is above average and not a bad game by any means. But, with more polish and greater variety it would definitely be an 8 or 9.
A wondrous experience in agriculture, Farming Simulator 17 does what it set out to do very admirably. Farming Simulator 17 is out now on PC and consoles.