You read a lot in the press about the struggles of farming in this day an age. I was hoping for an expose in how the supermarkets are screwing our hard working farm workers on milk prices. On the flip side, having been subjected to the odd episode of Emmerdale by my wife I was hoping for maybe some adultery, murder or at the very least a plane crash.
I remember when I started to learn geography at school, being excited to know where places are. What I did in fact get for a full term was an overview of how farmers have to plant certain crops such as pees every few years to replace the nitrogen in the soil. (not entirely sure if that’s correct it’s been a good 25 years since I sat in the class ). I learnt very little about the geographical locations of countries such as Yugoslavia. But going into this game I did feel I had a good comprehensive knowledge of crop rotation to put me in good stead.
Before I booted up the game I read in the notes that it’s open world. Free roaming I thought, maybe it’s like GTA! But with tractors. And animals. My concerns had begun to fall away. In addition, the package I had included DLC. Value! This sent my levels of anticipation into stratospheric levels of indifference.
Said DLC was a blue tractor. Hmmm.
Let’s start with a comparison to GTA
- Character customisation – you can be a man or a woman. As well as being able to pick the colour of your shirt.
- A Map (I got lost)
- It indeed is Open world
- Drive any vehicle (as long as it’s a tractor or other related motorised farming apparatus). You can not steel other people’s cars. But you can drive a train.
- There are no prostitutes.
- I couldn’t find any police regardless of the levels of disregard for any codes of conduct related to agricultural engineering.
When the game begins, you start in first person mode, so Doom. But no guns, not so Doom. You can buy a chainsaw though, but not do anything apart from cut down wood related stuff. Which I didn’t as I couldn’t figure out how it worked.
You’re given a tutorial which I then promptly ignored, got in a utility vehicle and drove it into a lake. “You can not drive into deep water”, the game exclaimed. So far, this simulation was accurate. Then cue a long slow walk back to the farm as said vehicle was now a bit wet and undriveable.
10 minutes later I got back to my farm and was instructed to get into a Harvester. I’ll play by the rules I thought, I’m going to farm this corn like a pro. I got bored, cut a giant penis in my hay field and then hired a worker to finish the job. Then I got in another tractor, played around with its flashing lights, hmm, I don’t want to plough this field either, worker hired.
Then I got in a soiler (seed planter) and hired another worker. I’m above all this, l’ll let those illegal migrants I keep in the shed do all the heavy lifting.
However, hiring a load of workers and not doing any work myself meant I was soon at the point of bankruptcy. So in a fit of suicidal desperation, I drove all my vehicles, including a digger that I had just rented into the river. I rage quit.
Then I was into the Multiplayer.
What you are supposed to do is work at a team. Someone drives one vehicle, the other person collects the stuff you just farmed. What I however did was steal someone’s wood cutting machine. I teased them, as they tried to put there freshly cut log into my cutter, I would back away. They weren’t happy. They honked their horn numerous times. They then got out of their truck to berate me. I then stole the truck. What followed a very slow speed pursuit. I am not sure what they were shouting at me as they were Italian. I lasted 10 minutes before they banned me.
I can understand the attraction of these simulations, With this one, what you do get is hours and hours of farming. You can even cut down trees, pick them up, and put them in a chipping machine. For hours. You can even buy cattle, buy more tractors and buy bits to go on your tractors. Lot of farming fun, for hours.
It just wasn’t for me.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 6/10 Format: PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a review copy of Farming Simulator 2017 for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course three days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.