In a world where games like Batman Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3 are gracing our consoles, it’s sometimes hard for other games to get a look in, then again, there are games that promise the chance of driving a Lamborghini tractor, which means games like the Witcher can wait. Welcome to my field of dreams, in Farming Simulator 15.
If you have never played a Farming Simulator game – the premise couldn’t be any more simple – your job is to manage a farm, produce crops to sell, and make as much money as possible. You’ll need to monitor the fluctuating prices of the different products you can sell and try and time when it’s best to sell them. There are also missions you can take part in that are great for earning money early on in the game.
In practical terms the game is not as simple. Thankfully there are a number of tutorials to take you through some of the basics to get you on your way. The only trouble is when some of the equipment you use in the tutorials is more than you can afford at the start of the game, which means you are likely to forget what you had to do in the first place.
The game gives you two locations to run a farm in, the Scandinavian sounding village,Bjornholm or Westbridge Hills, which looks like a stereotypical American farm.
After choosing your location, you are given some basic equipment, a small amount cash and sent on your way to make as much money as possible. Early on you’ll start to sow seeds and when ready, harvest your crop ready to sell. It takes a while to get used to how everything works, the map has all sorts of icons for shops, cash machines and places to sell eggs, but the game isn’t great at explaining everything. You’ll find yourself travelling slowly on a vehicle to find an icon that will give you an idea of what’s going on, but it’s a long-winded way of finding things out.
You will eventually settle into the routine of producing your crops and start to make a steady income, once you mix that in with taking on missions from the job boards that are dotted around the world, you’ll start to earn enough money to upgrade your equipment, there is a huge amount of kit to use to make your tasks easier, but it isn’t cheap so you’ll really need to get your hands dirty for a good few hours before you can reap the rewards. The newer equipment in the game is pretty cool, especially for the forestry work, it’s fun cutting down trees, but it’s really hard getting them loaded onto a trailer! Looking after cows, sheep and hens adds a new dimensions to the game too.
I quickly got a system going where I would hire staff to cultivate and re-sow my fields while I harvested them, it wasn’t long before I handed that job over to complete some missions.
The missions involve making deliveries of a certain type of crop, to cutting grass and making palette deliveries, they really helped early on to make a quick buck, but it’s not the most exciting work in the world.
The slow start to the game will really put a lot of players off, but there is no denying that if you can push through and make the effort to learn how the game works you’ll find yourself enjoying managing every aspect of your business. If you played the game on the Xbox 360, Farming Simulator 15 isn’t going to feel that much different, the graphics have been slightly improved, but I couldn’t help but feel that the developers missed the opportunity to make more improvements to the world, everything feels quite static though the equipment you use does look good.
The most interesting side of the game this year is the introduction of an online mode, this allows you to take your single player game online with your friends. What impressed me the most was the fact that I could manage my farm exactly how I wanted, if I wanted to give my friends full control I could – but knowing them they would spend all my cash on chickens. Instead, I could create a separate financial budget that would only allow them spend on certain items. I was surprised at how well it works and I look forward to putting all my mates to the hard work while I have fun in my new Lamborghini tractor.
It takes a certain type of person to fully enjoy Farming Simulator, and I’m one of those people, there’s no denying that it’s tedious to start with, but it has a way of making you plough on, whether it’s just to make one more delivery, or to harvest the last part of one of your crops, for it then to become in high demand at double the price. Then you just need to make that delivery to watch all your profits appear in the top right hand corner of the screen.
Some of you will think I’m mad writing this, but some of you, and you know who you are, will be off out to buy this as soon as you get a chance…
Thanks to Xbox and Koch Media for their support
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