Farming Simulator Review: Watching the digital grass grow

Ah, the simple life. 5.00 a.m. wake-ups, 12-hour days of seeding and threshing fields, and then the long weeks and months of waiting to reap what is sown. Welcome to the farming life in Farming Simulator on the PlayStation 3…just without the cow manure.

As the name of the title suggests this is a farming simulator game. There are lots of sim games ranging from hospitals and prisons to schools and even life, so why not create one for farming? Well, as it is quickly realized this is more in the old-school, computer flight sim category than the Sim City variety. You start off with a quick tutorial about how basic functions of the game works and then are left to do whatever you want.

The problem is there is not much to do in the game. Driving farm equipment and lugging your goods to the market is all you can do. Sure, seeding, threshing and helping complete tasks are available to tackle if the right equipment is owned, but it gets very boring, very monotonous quickly. All core functions, like seeding and threshing, can be done automatically by hiring a worker but selling goods has to be done manually. It took over an hour of driving back and forth to clear my starting field, which didn’t amount to much money earned at all. That is it. Not to sound rude but literally the game could have been called Tractor Driver and it wouldn’t have been misleading.

The AI is atrocious and barely gets the job done, only with fear that it is screwing up in the back of your mind. Equipment can’t be managed on a menu to automatically do certain tasks, or go to certain places. Instead it must be driven manually to the location, lined up on the field, and then put on auto. To do otherwise would mean the vehicle goes in a straight line until hitting the game boundary. It is a lot of needless work that adds more unneeded monotony.

Contined overleaf…


I know I sound harsh but that is all there is to Farming Simulator. There is no humor or planning like in Theme Hospital or Theme Park, or the depth of options that can come with a Tycoon game. There is nothing fun to do in the game, period. Due to it being a PS3 game and the developers putting more effort into making a bigger world only compounds the problem, leading to longer driving and waiting times. The Vita version’s world is compact enough for shorter driving distances, and thus the appearance of doing more than you are actually doing.

Normally I never talk about Trophies but this is a game that is hampered by the lack of a platinum Trophy. Being heavily involved in the Trophy hunting scene I know people who bought the Vita game simply due to a platinum Trophy as a reward. No platinum in this game reduces the incentive to buying the game to zero, except for those hardcore Trophy hunters needing a few more silvers and bronzes.

If Farming Simulator took the route of a Theme Hospital or Prison Tycoon by focusing on building a farm then it could have been a fun, unique experience for some gamers. There are no options like raising cattle, chickens, or other kind of farming, or even opposing farms to compete with. The situations real farmers have to deal with on a daily basis are non-existent.

Graphically this game can easily run on a PS1. That is not a knock against it as it does have a throwback era charm but it prevents players from becoming engrossed and awestruck with seeing the wheat blow in the wind while out for a ride on the tractor with the sun setting in the background.

Farming Simulator is a throwback to the old flight sim games the NES generation of kids could play on outdated school computers. Just like crashing within ten seconds of take-off in those games, this game nosedives in just as little time. I don’t like being harsh but I hope if the company chooses to make a sequel they add in more depth, features, and things to do other than driving back and forth ad nausea.



The Final Word

An original idea that takes a turn for the worse. No strategy, depth or replayability in a game that forces the player to drive and watch the grass grow for hours on end.