Old MacDonald had a farm ee-eye, ee-eye-oh!
Before I start this review I have to make a confession, I only got this game because my 10-year-old son loves this series. Yep, that’s right, I didn’t really have much interest in this at all. But wait, don’t turn away now just because I have no interest, because I have a young man right next to me who does, and he assures me that Farming Simulator 17 is absolutely brilliant. So read on and I will endeavor to transfer his words into mine and tell you why it’s so good.
Farming Simulator 17 is a game that does exactly what it says on the tin, it’s literally a totally realistic simulation of a modern day farm, just without the 5am wake up from a bloody cockerel! The game is set somewhere in North America and the producers claim that they modeled the whole thing on a real life working farm. You have hundreds of acres of land to look after and just have to choose how you are going to manage it. Are you going to fill the fields with crops? Or are you going to look after your livestock? Maybe you will just mess around chopping down trees and trying to run people over in your tractor (yep, guilty as charged!). Farming Simulator 2017 really is as open world as an agriculture game can get!
The key to Farming Simulator 17 though is actually making money. If you don’t do this you can’t get new equipment and you won’t have much fun. And, much like a real farm, you are going to have to work hard to do so. Once you do get the cash flowing in, the options at your disposal are almost endless. There are over 250 different vehicles to purchase from over 75 different manufacturers that are all officially licensed with genuine stats. All your favourite companies are back such as Caterpillar, New Holland, John Deere and McCormick alongside a number of new ones that haven’t featured on previous games in the series such as Challenger, Fendt, Valtra and Massey Ferguson. They haven’t just added new vehicles this year though, there are also new crops available such as sunflowers and soy beans. Enhancements have been made to the way you rear your livestock too, meaning that pretty much every conceivable area of Farming Simulator has been improved over the 2016 edition.
Now being a farmer can be a pretty lonely experience, stuck a field all day up to your knees in mud wishing you had chosen a different career. So why not get a few friends in to help you? Farming Simulator 17 supports up to 16 players at once in the online co-op mode, meaning you will never be alone again. And community is a big aspect of Farming Simulator 17, as the developers have also encouraged the addition of mods to the game. Have a look online and you will find literally hundreds of them! Ranging from simple things like graphical swaps and new control interfaces to much more advanced affairs such as brand new vehicles and whole environments that can be added into the game. It’s nice to see a developer encouraging things like this and actively supporting it.
But practical things are not the only new additions that have been added to Farming Simulator 17, they also added some fun things too. There is a basketball court where you can shoot some hoops (tip: try scoring a 3 pointer and see what happens!) and even more interestingly a train! Yep, an actual train, which is actually there to help transport your goods but also allows you to jump in the cab and drive it yourself! Another interesting feature is the radio stations that you can listen to while you play. Though the music selection might not all be to your taste, as there’s a heavy emphasis on country rhythms. The other thing that I should probably mention is, which kind of ties in with the multi-player mode I already spoke of, is that you don’t actually have to run your own farm. What you can do is go and get a job on somebody else’s as a farm hand. The beauty of this is that you get to try out lots of vehicles and machinery before you buy it yourself. This is also great for those of you who aren’t really interested in working your way up and just want to get on with it and do some farming!
The one question that pops up every year when a new version of Farming Simulator is released is “How different is it from last year’s?”, and a valid one it is too. Having little experience of the game myself, I had to turn to my son once more for some validation. He assure me that it’s “Loads better with much more stuff”, and looking at the long list of improvements on the publisher’s website definitely seems to back that up. There is no doubting that this is the best looking one yet. The visuals are sight to behold if you have a good graphics card (insert smugness here). And they have made Farming Simulator 17 extremely accessible, even for an old fogey with no experience of previous games like me. My son assures me that Farming Simulator 17 is a 5/5 game. I’m not sure it’s that perfect, but it’s certainly very good!
Final Verdict: 4.5/5
Available on: PC (reviewed), Xbox One, PS4 ; Publisher: Focus Home Interactive ; Developer: Giants Software ; Players: 1-16 ; Released: 10/24/2016 ; ESRB: E for Everyone ; MSRP: $34.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a review copy of Farming Simulator 2017 given to HeyPoorPlayer by Focus Home Interactive.