Thursday 25 June 2015

Farming Simulator 15

The current market for games seems to have settled into a bit a of a pattern. Call of Duty, Bloodborne, The Witcher; all action packed titles, each of them flaunting the top end graphics and vast, expansive and highly detailed worlds, showing off the newest generation of consoles. Enter, then, the newest release from Giants Software and Focus Interactive: Farming Simulator 15. Despite having been out on PC for some time now, Farming Simulator 15 - a glaring oddity amidst the current gaming market- is out now on PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. 

Simulator games have found somewhat of a niche home on the PC, and previous Farming Simulator titles have been held relatively high within those communities as some of the better, more respectable titles. They’ve also ventured on to consoles in versions gone past, but this newest launch represents their boldest venture yet. So, how does it stack up?

Well, it goes without saying, Farming Simulator 15 is not for everyone. To call it a change of pace from other games on the market, would be like suggesting that snails don’t make particularly good knitters. It is, however, somewhat fun, if you let it suck you in. As you might expect, the majority of the gameplay is built around maintaining your farm, though virtually all of these tasks are simply driving varying machinery across a field until its texture changes appropriately.

Harvest, cultivate, seed, fertilise, wait, repeat.

It can, therefore, get monotonous very, very quickly, even with the ability to hire AI workers to do some of the jobs for you (though I question whether they possess any intelligence, artificial or otherwise) Visually, the game won’t be winning any awards. The world’s feel empty, the textures are incredibly rudimentary and the animations, needlessly basic. The model designs are much more impressive, and you can feel that the developers put a lot of love and care into modelling every single tractor and tool individually, right down to every cable and every blade of a cultivator.

The game isn’t entirely unlikeable, though. Perhaps it’s because we all wanted to drive tractors and big machinery when we were little kids, and this game is the closest I’ve come, at least, to getting to do that. It’s endearing, and once you get past the monotony of it, it’s fun and rewarding, and provides a much needed break from the tension and excitement provided by most other games. I do feel, though, it has a long way to go to really be taken seriously, and will remain a niche title until then.

Farming Simulator 15 has potential, but falls short in a number of key areas. 2/5.


Adam Freeman

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