Farming, it's not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you mention video games. Yet it is a genre of video games that keeps cropping up. Giants Software has brought their PC hit, Farming Simulator, to consoles. Feel like leading a simpler life? Well then you might not want to take up the hard life of a farmer. Instead read on.
Farming Simulator has two scenarios; farming in Germany and farming in America. The story is the same for both; you own a farm with a minimal amount of equipment and a set amount of startup money (the amount of money and debt you start with depends on the difficulty setting you choose). Your goals are to pay off your debts, expand your farming empire, and become successful. How you go about that is up to you; growing crops, raising animals, and accepting odd jobs are the tools you are given to help you accomplish those goals.
Controls and Gameplay
Farming Simulator is literally an open world sandbox game. You can do whatever you want. Plant crops, drive a tractor around, wander around the map, or chase cows, the sky is limit. I would suggest starting with the tutorials to get an idea of the basics of farming before diving full on into the simulation. Farming Simulator starts you out with few tractors and equipment to plant and harvest crops, in fact one of the fields you start with already has wheat planted. Giving you a slight leg up.
Surprisingly the controls going from the PC keyboard and mouse translate well to the gamepad, allowing you work the fields with relative ease. If you are ever lost there is a window on the upper part of the screen that shows you current available selections.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics for Farming Simulator are straight ports over from the PC version of the game, meaning they are a bit dated. Even with the ported visuals, it is pseudo-realistic. I’ve said it before and I will say it again for this version, the skybox produces some of the best sunrises and sunsets I've seen.
The audio is brought over from the PC version too. So you’re still getting the good tractor and equipment sound effects. Those squeaks, clacks, pings, and blasts of air that you would hear from real world equipment. And your rooster is as annoyingly loud as it was in the PC version!
Back in 2012 I had the fun of reviewing Farming Simulator 2013 for the PC. Farming Simulator for consoles is everything the PC version was, a game that will please gamers for two reasons. Real simulator fans will enjoy how well Farming Simulator recreates the farming experience without the smell of fresh manure. Depending on how you manage your time, goods, and services they will result in financial gains or losses.
For those who aren’t as hard-core simulation gamers, there is the goofy side of Farming Simulator. The same broken physics and odd programming quirks in the PC version are still here. Meaning you can do some really oddball things like driving a tractor on the side of hill without tipping over or playing with the A.I. traffic just to give yourself a laugh.
Sadly, the one thing missing from Farming Simulator is the multiplayer. You are not able to farm or goof off together with friends like you can on the PC version.
Giant Software brought both sides of the gaming spectrum to Farming Simulator, knowing how much fun hard-core and casual gamers would have, when they released it for consoles. As such, I think Farming Simulator is good for being as serious or silly as you want it to be. I give the console version a 4.5 out of 5.
Farming Simulator is rated E for Everyone by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.
Farming Simulator is available now for both the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. For more information see the Farming Simulator web site.