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Farming Simulator 17 review (PS4) 
Posted on February 13, 2017 at 04:37 PM.
There I was, smack-dab in the middle of the Maplefield town square at midnight, searching for that one elusive nugget of gold. By studying the map Iíd already deduced that my prize was resting on top of a lawyerís office, but I had no idea how to access the roof as climbing nearby trash cans and awnings proved utterly fruitless. Finally I managed to reach the top of the building by scurrying up a nearby flagpole and making a desperate leap of faith, thereby securing my precious golden quarry. Satisfied with my accomplishments for the evening, I retreated to the nearby park to shoot some hoops.

If all of this sounds far-fetched for a game that calls itself Farming Simulator 17, please, read on.

The fact is that Giants Softwareís latest agricultural undertaking is equal parts straight-faced management sim and delirious open-world petri dish. If you choose to ignore the latter and focus only on the serious aspect of the farming business, this option is definitely there for you. But youíre also missing out on some of the wonderfully quirky charms this game has to offer.

Letís discuss the farming first, as it is obviously the core of the Farming Simulator 17 experience. As a burgeoning farm owner, it is your initial responsibility to cultivate, sow, fertilize and harvest your crops on a routine basis. You sell your goods for profit and the cycle begins anew. From there, things become much more complicated. The amount of tasks initially thrown your way ó not to mention choosing the appropriate equipment to complete these tasks ó can be daunting at first. Thankfully there are two adequate in-game tutorials that should be completed before proceeding further in the game, especially if you donít know seed from slurry. Once you settle into your rural groove and find your way around, there comes that delightfully satisfying rhythm that only the best of management sims can provide. Make no mistake: If youíve ever considered playing a farming game, this is the one youíll want to play.

New to this yearís version is mod support for consoles, which lends more far value and replayability than one might imagine. With mod support comes new vehicles, new equipment, and even entirely new maps, and while itís no match for what is available on PC (due to console restrictions) itís still an incredible boon for Xbox One and PS4 players. If you find yourself tired of playing on either of the two provided maps, youíve got several player creations to choose from, with more on the way.

Another welcome new feature is Missions, which allow you to perform basic labor for other local farmers in exchange for cold, hard cash. If managing your own farm is too intimidating, you can simply drive around the map and perform these Missions, which serve to accomplish three goals; 1) further instruct the player about the various aspects of crop farming routines; 2) introduce them to various equipment and their uses; 3) get in a farmerís good graces so that you can eventually purchase their property at a lower value. I found myself performing dozens of Missions before tending to my own farm, so that by the time I got started on business proper I felt as though I had a steady grasp on the flow of the game.

Crop raising isnít the sole extent of your responsibilities, thereís animal husbandry as well. Cows, chickens, sheep and pigs are all a part of the process, adding another layer of depth and complexity to farm management. Raising animals produces sellable product as well as the fertilizer required to nourish your crops, making this an important piece of the puzzle. And for all of you aspiring lumberjacks out there, forestry is an option as well. Every new facet of the farming experience usually requires an equally new piece of equipment, which youíll have to either buy or rent from the local dealer then learn how to implement. There are several dozen licensed equipment manufacturers in the game (no John Deere, sadly) as well as hundreds of in-game and modded tools and vehicles to choose from. At some point youíll find yourself so busy that youíll need to hire workers to aid you with your daily tasks. Eventually youíll end up commandeering freight trains to transport your goods, another great addition to the series. Indeed, this agri-sim is brimming with options.

As you may have deduced, a farmerís life can be a complex one. If the above was all there was to Farming Simulator 17, it would already be an easy recommendation. But thereís so, so much more. Intentionally or not, the virtual world that your farmer resides in ó and indeed your farmer himself ó are flawed in ways that border on Goat Simulator-esque self-parody. For example, the simple act of driving a vehicle ó a game mechanic that weíve expected some degree of precision from for at least a decade now ó is inexplicably touchy and borderline uncontrollable at high speeds. When you do inevitably wreck your trusty ol' pickup, youíll find a distinct lack of real-world physics, damage modeling or in-game reaction. This means that you can plow over pedestrians without fear of reprisal, and that crashing into a tree or a brick wall at top speed is basically the same as braking really, really hard. The vehicular shenanigans donít end there, park your tractor in the middle of a street and traffic will pile up quickly, even though there is an open lane available for your fellow motorists to easily get around you.

You create your in-game farmer avatar by choosing your gender and the color of flannel shirt you want to wear inside your overalls (for males). Holy stereotypes. Further customization may be a moot point as your farmer is rarely seen, he is usually in a vehicle and is always in first-person when outside the vehicle. Still, it would have been nice to offer some officially licensed apparel to accompany the dozens of licenses included in the game. Would I love my farmer to rock a Case IH trucker cap? Of course! Then again, this is Farming Simulator we're talking about and not a rural fashion show.

As it turns out, your farmer is a Superman of sorts, if not an outright god. He requires no food, no drink, and no sleep. He can get involved in bone-crushing high-speed collisions or fall from the greatest of heights without obtaining as much as a flesh wound. He can even walk on water, which incidentally serves to make this game a passable Jesus sim. In a nutshell your farmer is invincible, thereís nothing in this digital landscape which can do him harm. This is probably intentional as the focus is supposed to be on practical farm management as opposed to whatever inspired jackassery you may be plotting whenever youíre not busy cultivating oilseed radish. In any case, it does makes for some hilarious episodes should you ever grow bored with life on the ranch.

And then thereís the gold. You see, many maps are littered with gold nuggets, which serve as a scavenger hunt type of mini-game with a decent amount of reward. These nuggets are quite shiny and far easier to locate than you might imagine (find the first 10 and youíll see what I mean), they are usually found in another farmerís backyard or other blatantly obvious hiding spots. This led me to question whether every other person in Goldcrest Valley was legally blind or if I was trespassing and stealing from them. Perhaps both.

Despite the comical lack of attention to in-world detail, Farming Simulator 17 succeeds on every account that it aspires to. It is an incredibly deep management sim which sheds light on a profession that quite honestly, more people need to be educated about. A farmerís life can be a difficult one, and this game does shed a small amount of light on what these hard-working folk go through day-in and day-out just to put food on our tables. Farmers are real-life everyday heroes, just donít expect them to be very good at basketball.
Comments
# 1 mike24forever @ Feb 14
Great review.
 
# 2 Turbojugend @ Feb 14
Cool, thanks!
 
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