Let’s face it: Farming is an admirable but thankless profession, and one that today’s youth have limited interest in pursuing. Sure, that’s to be expected in such a modernized world, but we’ll always need farmers and a shortage could end up being devastating.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to be a farmer for a day, yet happen to be stuck in a city somewhere, GIANTS Software has you covered with Farming Simulator 2015. The latest entry in the developer’s surprisingly popular series, it’s an aspiring agriculturalist’s dream.
Farming Simulator 15 is true to its title, presenting an incredibly realistic simulation of the day-to-day workings of a large-scale farm. You’re dropped onto your established plot of choice, be it the All American locale or its Nordic peer, and left to your own devices. There is a tutorial, of course, but it’s only available on the Nordic map for some strange reason. As such, newcomers won’t have a choice as to which plot they’ll cultivate. That is, unless they decide to go in blind.
Once the tutorial is over, the handholding ends and things get real. When I said that you’re left to your own devices, I meant it, because this isn’t your typical, campaign-oriented video game. There’s no storyline, nor is there a boss who tells you what to do each day. It’s daunting to say the least.
What’s great about this game, though, is how real it feels.
While there are some amenities, like a quick swap option that lets you jump from one vehicle to another, they’re few and far between. You’re your own bookkeeper, planner, labourer and salesman, although it is possible to hire AI workers for tilling fields and things like that. Their intelligence is lacking, though, and can result in them abandoning jobs before completion.
Now that we’ve established the fact that Farming Simulator 15 isn’t a realistic-looking Harvest Moon, it’s imperative that we talk business.
As expected, those who jump into this sim won’t be handed a million dollar farm (like the kind that do large scale composting). No, they’ll have to work their asses off in order to get to that level, with the end goal being a thriving, multi-million dollar business. At the beginning, you’re simply a guy who’s been lucky enough to obtain his own farm with the help of a generous bank. A bank that wants its loan back.
You’ll start off with the necessities, including several different tractors and certain attachments. These will allow you to sow, seed, cultivate and harvest the limited amount of fields that you lay claim to. Anything else that you want will need to be purchased through an always-available store that is stocked full of licensed equipment of all types. This includes, but is not limited to, tractors, trucks, lawnmowers, trailers, chainsaws and other forestry equipment.
Buying things costs a lot of money, so prepare to spend hours working before being able to obtain everything on your wish list. At least, if you plan to play this game seriously and not borrow a ton of extra money. In the end, it’s up to you, but you’ll earn achievements and trophies if you play legitimately and eventually build your farm into a money printing machine. That goal can be reached using a sped-up clock, though, so make sure to look into that if it suits your play style.
Although Farming Simulator 15 is true to its craft, it is not a triple-A release. It runs well on consoles, and controls decently, but it’s a bit clunky and tends to look a bit dated. It can also be somewhat frustrating, not only due to its lack of handholding, but also its confusing map and occasionally clunky controls.
Outside of the fact that online multiplayer is available, there’s little else to be said about Farming Simulator 15. It’s a solid and very accurate (first-person) simulator, which allows you to contribute towards and manage every facet of a farm, from its animals to its crops and everything in-between, but it’s not something I consider to be fun. It is a niche experience, though, which means that it will only hook a certain type of person.
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which we were provided with.
Farming Simulator 15 is an impressively realistic simulator that deserves commendation for its accuracy. It is, however, a very slow and time consuming title that will bore the average gamer.