Farming Simulator 15 Review – Simulatin’ Farmin’ (PS4)
Lovers of the intricacies of modern crop farming, logging, and animal husbandry, or just an intense curiosity of these things, will love the newest in the Farming Simulator series. It has heightened graphics and the addition of a handful of new “industries” to dabble in, like the aforementioned logging industry. Farming Simulator 15 is a well-groomed simulator, and one of a very few simulator-type games for the PlayStation 4 so far.
The draw of this game is the ability to plan out your own farming business, from which crops to grow, to what farming equipment to use to do that most effectively, and figuring out how else you could be using the land to make profit, like logging or selling silage from cows. Crop prices fluctuate, so storing your harvest and waiting for the best time to sell is another tricky way to make an even bigger profit. You can control the pace that time passes and instantly check any stats from your in-game handheld device–modern farming at its finest. Choosing a difficulty and toggling crop wilting on or off can further customize your experience.
You can hire workers to do the most monotonous tasks of plowing, sowing, and harvesting a crop less arduous. For many, a really fun part of this game is the ability to drive all of the equipment in first-person view with realistic dashboard and rear-view mirrors. Expertly maneuvering the equipment is a skill I do not have, but I can see how cool it would be if I enjoyed operating big machinery like this in real life, then got the ability to do it without losing money if I mess up, and with more fantastical profits and abilities at my fingertips. The intricacies of this game even include having to buy a power washer to keep your equipment clean, which can be useful if you start having problems seeing out of a dusty, muddy windshield.
Another fun thing to do in this game is the challenges that come up every five minutes or so on notice boards scattered around each map. For each one, you will be asked to help out with things like “moving a pallet of this here,” or ‘selling a bunch of this crop within 10 minutes there.’ This makes the game feel less like a simulation and more like a game, if that makes sense, because each one has a little story relating to something going on in the town that could use your help. The monetary rewards for these tasks vary, but if you have all your farming duties being covered by hired hands, these are a good use of time and help break up the monotony of just farming all the time.
Walking Speed Limit
With all of the options of the game, the PS4 version is missing a couple critical ones. The speed of looking around with the right stick is painfully slow. Running as opposed to walking helped a tiny bit, but still felt somewhat like trying to maneuver when drunk. You could see things happening but your body would not let you react quickly no matter how hard you concentrated. I realize the game is mostly meant to be played while driving and operating farming equipment, but with the new, more detailed maps and collectible coins hidden about, walking was severely overlooked and made to be torturous. You cannot change the speed in the options menu, either. Some important console-based options were somehow omitted in this version of Farming Simulator, making the lack of a mouse to quickly look and move around painfully obvious.
While playing the PC version, I got bored after finding a good formula for making money. To remedy my boredom, I downloaded mods. That is one of the only downfalls of owning the PS4 version, if you’re like me. Unless there’s DLC in the future that adds more than a new kind of tractor, this game loses my interest after a short while. This is just my personal tendency, however. I know fans who love to slowly cultivate and grow their farming dynasty, and stay with this game for a long time. It’s perfect for that, especially with the clean, highly functional menu design that makes managing finances and equipment of your farm very intuitive and easy.
If you know you’d like a farming simulator game that tries hard to recreate perfectly a small portion of reality, Farming Simulator is just what you need. If you are looking for an all-encompassing simulation game that basically recreates life on a farm, maybe wait for Sims 7: Farming Life. If you’re in between, try to score this game when a deal arises, as you may get bored like I did. It’s worth trying it out, and I’m glad I own it so I can go back to it when the farming mood arises, but my attention wavered far more quickly than I would have preferred.
Farming Simulator 15 review copy provided by publisher. For more information on scoring, visit our Review Policy here.