Farming Simulator 15 Review – I’m a Country Boy?

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Posted May 26, 2015 by John Newby in Video Games

Farming Simulator 2015

Developed by: Giants Software

Published by: Focus Home Interactive/Maximum Games

Available for: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One, Windows PC, Mac OS X, PS3, Xbox 360

MSRP: $49.99, $39.99, $29.99

For those that live in cities, it may be a surprise to find out that many places around the world obsess over a rural lifestyle. Some small towns even hold cattle drives and host annual “Drive Your Tractor to School” days. This obsession even extends to songs and movies, but what about the video games? Giants Software has been striving for perfection in the world of video game farming with their Farming Simulator series, and they have another entry in Farming Simulator 15 that introduces new mechanics and expands multiplayer. Was this developer able to make a simulator attractive to players that don’t care about farming?

Farming Simulator 2015 provides the opportunity to spend time running a farm in either a portion of the USA known as Westbridge Hills or a Scandinavian area called Bjornholm. Both areas are fairly similar, with the exception of different map layouts and locations of warehouses and shops. Additionally, Bjornholm also includes a tutorial that explains some of the key features from Farming Simulator 2015. Westbridge Hills is built more for players that have previous experience with the series, but a lack of experience shouldn’t stop new players from checking out this other open world.

Chickens provide eggs that sell for $22 each/

Chickens provide eggs that sell for $22 each

Now, a successful farming experience all depends on the focus and patience of each farmer. Your farm starts off with a few tractors, a harvester, and some helpful attachments. These starting pieces are a solid basis for growing corn, barley, wheat, or canola, but these are only starting options. The farms can also harvest potatoes, raise livestock, and participate in forestry. However, all of the required equipment for these pursuits is very expensive, so earning money quickly is very important. Luckily, Farming Simulator 15 includes job boards where you can take on odd jobs and earn extra cash. Most of these jobs revolve around using a front loader to transport pizza, water, or harvested products, but others are focused on landscaping. Apparently, there is also an option to track down hidden gold coins, but this is only discovered by examining the trophy list.

Taking on these jobs can be helpful for earning money, but they do cause some issues as well. Each job takes time to complete, meaning that some portions of your farm will be left unattended. Farming Simulator 15 solves this problem by including two different options. The first option is simply hiring some part time workers to plow the fields, harvest the crops, or make bales of hay. The other option for helping out your farm is hosting a multiplayer match. Multiplayer has now been added to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One after being a PC option in earlier Farming Simulator releases. Other farmers can now join your game and help take care of the important tasks while you work on tractor wheelies. This multiplayer option is especially helpful given the fairly terrible AI in Farming Simulator 2015. The hired help has a tendency to drive the harvester into the wrong fields or try to plow the neighbor’s yard instead of the actual field.

Tractor Wheelies

Tractor Wheelies by the Job Board

Terrible AI is one of a few problems with an otherwise solid SIM. Autosave is nonexistent, so you can easily lose hours of progress if you forget to save throughout play sessions. Farming Simulator 15 also does a poor job explaining key features. Sure, there are tutorials that explain how to fertilize fields and plant crops, but they don’t provide necessary information like the location of the fertilizer or which piece of equipment is best suited for feeding cows or spreading manure. Actually, a lot of Farming Simulator 15 boils down to trial and error as you constantly buy the wrong equipment, drive to the wrong area, then sell the equipment in a constant quest to find the right combination for achieving your goals. Unfortunately, the best method for making any progress in the game is dedicating the TV to Farming Simulator 15 while keeping a tablet around to browse helpful web sites.

The tutorials are helpful but incomplete.

The tutorials are helpful but incomplete.

To be fair, the disappointing AI and lack of helpful information help distract from the surprisingly muddy graphics and weird map. The sky boxes in Farming Simulator 15 are quite pretty, but the rest of the game resembles an early PS3/360 product. Graphical glitches are prevalent, cars are bland, and the draw distance is laughably terrible. The only well designed vehicles in Farming Simulator 15 are the officially licensed tractors and harvesters made by New Holland, Case, and other companies. Portions of Farming Simulator actually feel like forced product placement because of gigantic product logos. Of course, you can cover up the poor graphics with a map that blocks the majority of your screen. Trying to navigate throughout the world is a pain because the minimap doesn’t show anything helpful and the large map blocks your view.

There should be some crops at the end of that field.

There should be some crops at the end of that field.

The worst part of these issues is the simple fact that Farming Simulator 15 isn’t that bad of a game. Driving the tractors around while working the fields can actually be relaxing at times, as can tending to the livestock. Additionally, chopping down trees with chainsaws and taking on odd jobs is a nice distraction from the tediousness of chores. Most parts of Farming Simulator 15 are solid and entertaining, if you can get past some of the weird issues and ugliness.

Honestly, Farming Simulator 15 is an entertaining game to play, especially if you have some friends who can log on and help with some plowing. Just don’t get frustrated by the lack of information, weird AI, and less-than-spectacular graphics.

 


About the Author

John Newby

A random dude obsessed with coffee, blue heelers, and most nerdy things. Big fan of Star Wars, Borderlands, Arrow/Flash, and a whole lotta video games. The Saboteur is underrated, and Silverado is the best movie ever made.