Farming Simulator 18 Review
Release Date:June 6, 2017
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Giants Software
Platform: Mobile, Nintendo 3DS, Vita (Reviewed)
Farming Simulator is an interesting release. Since it's inception in 2008, it takes a completely direct and honest approach to farming, truly earning its "Simulator" title. True farming fans loved it for this, but it also developed a cult following in it's early years with a community of individuals who liked to craft dubstep game videos with the game. On the PC, people continually would create modifications, adding more and more to the game. The folks at GIANTS Software GmbH have definitely taken the humor in stride, and pushed forward to create more and more realistic farming simulators in the years since. More crops, more land, and animals were added every year. New official branded equipment is added, and the developers stay on top of it, adding the finest farming equipment every year. In 2013, they expanded into mobile platforms with the Vita, and in 2014 they started alternating, with mobile and handheld games in even years and full console and PC editions in the odd.
This year, Vita and handheld gamers start on a small field with two tractors and a combine. As you go on, you can buy more and more of the plots across the open world, and choose from a myriad of crops, from potatoes to corn, sunflowers to sugar beets. Opening up the livestock challenges will let you raise and breed cows, sheep, and pigs. With enough work, you can become master of the whole town, with 75% of the land being potentially purchasable farming land. Grow a crop, and take it to market, paying attention to prices and selling it at the store that offers the best profit. Of course, some of your grown crops will help feed your animals, which will create milk, wool, and the like. It's a slow grind that you slowly but surely work toward filling your bank account. You can do it all yourself or hire hands to drive your tractors. It's up to you to decide whether you'll make money faster doing it one thing at a time or pushing toward farmland domination with the help of your aides.
Farming Simulator games are truly straightforward and realistic. While you don't have to wait months for the crops to grow, you do have to do every step. This means cultivating the land, seeding it, harvesting, putting it into the trailer or lining it up for baling, the works. It might give you a tip or two, but you're mostly left on your own. It demands a seriousness as well. If you drove off into town with your slow-moving combine just for fun and leave some random attachment in the middle of the road, you WILL have to drive back and get it. It doesn't get delivered back to a particular place or anything. You're truly on your own. Every once in a while you may find a challenge to complete, such as delivering some goods within a certain time period, but it's primarily up to you to grow your farming empire.
Through the years, I've been tasked with reviewing several iterations of this series, and I by and large prefer the handheld editions. Farming Simulator really is a game that requires time and patience that someone who may need to share their family room television won't get as easily. Also, I find the switch between vehicles works better on the portable console edition. I can't speak for the full-on mobile games, but the Vita edition works well, with the handheld's physical buttons logically organized. The handheld units strike a good balance between console and portable.
While there is a dedicated following of people who are into the Farming Simulator series solely for creating some unique media presentations, those that are here for a casual, yet straightforward and serious game are going to find a game that truly strives to be the best simulator it can be. There are quite a few oddities, like the traffic that bows to your whims, and the lack of any other real individuals or really anything that isn't centered around your farm in existence, but the game is focused and gives you an authentic farming simulation. It is better if you have a bit of common farming knowledge, as it doesn't really hold your hand through anything past the basic tutorial. If you are willing to dedicate some time to learning the intricacies, it can be fun creating a well-oiled farming empire.
-Authentic. This game knows what it is doing.
-Challenging. The more crops you have, the more attention you have to pay, and it feels good to spin all those plates.
-Authentic. You must know what you are doing in order to keep up and succeed.
-Slow. There are times you are waiting for crops, or have to drive across town in your little slow-moving tractor.
-You have to strike out on your own to learn how to maximize profits, or even start working with animals or other new crops.
Big thanks to the publisher, Focus Home Interactive for letting us review their game.