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Farming Simulator (Xbox 360) artwork

Farming Simulator (Xbox 360) review

"Who needs new consoles when you can own THIS?"

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have arrived, and millions of gamers shelled out big money for these consoles. As I type this up, many of them are wallowing in Microsoft and Sony's first offerings for the eighth generation, from launch titles to technical problems, however there's still plenty of you that have yet to make the leap. Upcoming titles for the seventh generation are only going to trickle down from here on out, but don't worry, because certain groups got your back, especially Focus Home Interactive. With many appetites to satisfy, this publisher knew exactly what would quench thirsts during this transition period: farming.

Kidding aside, finding out this PC franchise was getting console ports, I was actually really curious about the game, but only after a "nudge" here and there from certain people. You know who you are! I figured, since there's been a couple sequels and that it's reportedly a best-selling series, that maybe there's something interesting about Giants Software's line of farm simulations. So with an open mind, I bought it, installed it (which didn't even take a minute), and thought it would be best to go through the tutorials... all 11 of them. I mean, considering there's that many, there has to be a lot of in-depth management to endure.

One hour later, I got a headache that bugged me for the remainder of that day.

Too much to handle? No, it was probably due to the fact that, after finishing the seventh tutorial, I realized I was doing the same thing with tiny alterations: attach weight to the front of a vehicle, attach equipment to its rear, then slowly drive around in a square piece of land until the completion percentage hits 100. I wasn't even in the actual game yet, and I was already contemplating turning off the system. But I convinced myself to continue, thinking the game's only other mode, Career, has to provide more than what the tutorials offered. It has to! It's called Career!

It does, but not exactly what I had in mind. After picking one of two maps, you're plopped in front of your little piece of farm land, complete with a few starting vehicles and equipment, and begin the journey of slowly harvesting crops off your field. Then you slowly drive the harvester to a trailer to unload. Then you slowly drive the trailer to an unloading station for money. Then you slowly drive back to the farm. Then you slowly repeat this process until the field is empty. Then you slowly plow the entire field so you can then slowly sow the field for new crops of your choosing.

That's seriously the main objective in a nutshell. It's more or less Point A to Point B to Point A taken to its most generic extremes, doing the most repetitive tasks possible. So for comparisons sake, it's basically like 70% of Grand Theft Auto V's missions minus the killing and obscene amount of unnecessary dialogue during long drives. If you've read up to this point, you're likely thinking, "What were you expecting? It's a farm simulator!" You're right, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into long before I purchased the game, and it does the farming basics correctly; I should know, I went through 11 tutorials. I was willing to conclude this just wasn't for me, and I was ready to skip reviewing this and prepare for my next game.

But this review exists. It exists because I have genuine concerns with this release: I really believe this could have been a much better simulation about farm life. Earlier I mentioned that you get money for unloading crops, which can be used for purchasing better equipment and more fields that are littered around the map. Money is also used in everything you do, from refilling on seeds and gas for the vehicles, to keeping your livestock, well, alive and paying workers to do the fields for you. Also, considering that the more fields you own, the more you have to manage your money wisely, this could have been a neat challenge, albeit a slow burn type.

Now, the problem with this is the way Farming Simulator handles the distribution of cash. Your main method of obtaining money, your crops, nets you a decent income, but it immediately gets overshadowed by the side-missions' absurd rewards. If you play on Normal difficulty, cashing in a trailer of crops will give you around $3000-ish, but if you do a side-mission, you can get anywhere from $6000 to $9000! This becomes more asinine when you realize these easy, timed tasks simply involve mowing a small patch of land or picking up a crate of apples. Shoot, if I can get paid $9000 every hour to mow in real life, I'd be able to retire in a millisecond. Screw farming!

Some could say that playing on Hard difficulty ups the challenge, putting you in debt from the start and trimming the rewards in half, but I'd argue that this doesn't make it harder, instead prolonging the experience in a game that already moves at a slow pace. Plus, you're still getting more money for side-missions than crops, and despite adjusting the difficulty, you can still modify the options afterwards by allowing the side-missions to pop up really fast, thus defeating any possible challenge.

My other complaint is probably more of a wish than a legitimate issue, but it could have added more value to the game: actual life on the farm. Since Farming Simulator has a day-night cycle, the devs could have used this opportunity to revolve it around your farmer guy with, say, maybe health stats and such. And come night fall, your guy can stop his activities, actually enter his house (which you can't do), and chill in the living room with a book or something. Maybe I'm asking too much here, but I just find it unsettling that your character can work nonstop, day and night, without an issue. If he wasn't getting absurd amounts of money, I'd consider this slave labor. Simulation my butt.

As is, there's nothing particularly bad about the title, but a little more lovin' could've elevated it a bit, not to mention the weird money system kinda-sorta breaks any management the devs were aiming for. If you're really interested in a basic farming game and you happen to have a computer that can run recent 3D games decently, I'd suggest getting the PC version instead. I say this because the console port has omitted the multiplayer aspects, which I've heard are actually the best parts of the game. For everyone else, just stick to Harvest Moon... which, last I checked, that franchise has been sticking to portable systems as of late. So, erm, hope you have a Nintendo 3DS!


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (November 27, 2013)

Even after reviewing all these Double Dragon games, it's crazy to think there's still a ton of games left to review due to varying interpretations.


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overdrive posted December 03, 2013:

I just read this review twice and realized that other than "bored people looking for a game to play" or "guy who just lost a bet", I have no idea what the desired audience for this game is.

As someone who used to live on a small farm as a youth, the thought of playing a game about working a farm just has no appeal. So were they thinking, "Man, all those city-slickers who've never baled hay in their life ought to be interested in seeing how the other side lives?" And if so, shouldn't they have found a way to add appeal to things other than giving boring sidequests that happen to earn an obscene amount of money? Making fertilizer bombs to take out corn terrorists would be better. And then it'd truly be GTA on a farm!
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pickhut posted December 03, 2013:

Yeah, I was originally going to bring up that point about who this is targeted at, but then I briefly went around the net, read comments about the game, how they and their children LOVED playing this. I was just thinking, "I REALLY must be missing something here..." and decided to leave it out. xD

Thanks for reading.
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yamishuryou posted December 14, 2013:

I bet it's still more fun than FarmVille.

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