Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Farming Simulator 15 (Xbox One) Review

The title of this game describes the game entirely. Farming Simulator 15 launched on October 30th, 2014 for Windows PCs and Mac Os and then was ported to Xbox and PlayStation on May 19th, 2015. The game was developed by Giants Software and was published by Focus Home Interactive. This is the 5th game in the series and was part of the release for the Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

When this game first came on my radar I thought that it looked like the most boring game imaginable. I know you've never heard this before, "I stormed the beaches of Normandy and sniped Hitler from 16 miles," or, "I'm the first NASA astronaut to land on Uranus," "yeah well I'm a farmer." Farming isn't flashy or a big draw for the cool kids, don't get me wrong it's vital to our very being but you wouldn't think it was entertaining video game material. My daughter has it on her tablet and I told her it was on Xbox Game Pass and I was thinking of trying it out. She said it bored her and I admitted that I didn't see the draw of it at all.

At the beginning of the game, you are given a choice of starting a farm in the US or in Europe. Once picked you get some starting cash and are allowed to do what you want with no real goal in mind other than expanding your farming empire. There are many different things you can do for farming including growing things like wheat, grass, and barley. You can raise cows, sheep, and chickens. You can even go around cutting trees down to help make biofuel. All these options are available for you at the start you just need to pick one and go.

Being new to Farming Simulator I didn't know what to do but the game does have a pretty nice tutorial system that shows you in short bursts how to do certain things like sow a field or cut down trees. You can play the ones that interest you which allows you to start the game running. Also with the Internet, you're only a few keystrokes away from all the help you could ever need.

Besides growing plants and raising animals you can also make money doing missions for the townsfolks. Most of these involve you bringing a tractor with forks on the front to carry pallets somewhere but there are also missions with you delivering so much wheat or barley for a customer. My favorite missions were the mowing ones, I don't know why but it might have to do that they are the easiest. These missions won't make you rich but they'll help keep your farm afloat when you're first starting out.

Once your farm is producing you can increase your output by hiring helpers to work one of your tractors for you. I had some trouble getting these guys to work but it seems to me that the way they work is you start doing something like sowing some wheat, as you're doing this you hire someone to do that job and they will begin working. The problem I would have is that I'll check on them later only to find that they had parked the tractor to the side of the field and were gone.

Harvester Of Sorrow

Eventually, through hard work, you'll begin making money and you can upgrade to some new equipment. Here you'll find all kinds of different tools to buy like-new vehicles that combine two of the different tasks into one machine which cuts your time in half. There are also things that you place and forget that make you money like solar panels. If your bank account isn't doing too well you can go to the bank and take out a loan in $5,000 increments.

As you play the game you can manipulate time anywhere between real-time to 120x. This comes in handy when you hit night because you can't skip it and it's difficult doing too much work. You can also select plants to grow faster and not rot away if you don't harvest them in time.

The physics in this game are for the most part pretty good but I had a few crazy things happen. The biggest, and if I'm being honest it was my fault, was me driving my new tractor home and going too fast downhill and I flipped it on its side. I tried everything to fix it but nothing was working and I didn't have enough money to buy equipment to fix it. I tried and tried to upright it and I realized that I could just sell which is what I did despite losing a bunch of money on my new tractor.

The game does have a multiplayer mode but I didn't try it out so I have nothing to report on that front.

Overall I had fun playing this game and I'm working to get all the achievements and to buy all the best equipment that I can. If you've dismissed this game before I suggest you give it a try because I think it just might surprise you. I give Farming Simulator 15 a 7 out of 10.

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