Review By John Hellier
Well, this should be a fairly straightforward introduction, everything Farming Simulator 19 is about is in the name, farming and simulation…and current year I suppose too if you are going to get pedantic. The question is
Now, I’m new to this reviewing lark, but I’ve been a gamer since way back when. I’ve played all sorts of things from triple As to indies and obscure Japanese games. The best description would be varied I suppose, either way, my first step into this type of game was Stardew Valley (highly recommended BTW, but that’s a different story). Since then I’ve dabbled in simulations occasionally, hence why I got the opportunity to review this game, so hopefully, my words have at least a little weight, even if they don’t always make sense.
Now, you may be wondering why I’ve yet to talk about Farming Simulator 19 properly yet, well you see this is a sort of initiation. Like most simulation games, Farming Simulator 2019 takes a good while to hook you. In fact, I’d say it doesn’t, it lets you get invested on your own, and once you start getting in, it’s hard to get out again. This does mean that the more…I want to say casual gamer, but I’m aware that’s a slur these days, either way, you know what I mean…will probably not get into it, to begin with.
I think that’s enough of a ramble, for now, I suppose I should actually get into reviewing the Farming Simulator 19.
This year’s release has brought a slew of new features and graphical upgrades. Shocking right? Thought I’d get that nugget out of the way nice and early so I can get into the details. Gameplay is pretty straightforward(ish) in so much as you drive around your farm planting, ploughing and harvesting [pro tip, not in that order]. The controls and systems are where this is different to say GTA on a farm. Playing the tutorials is a must on a game like this, for the basic knowledge of farming as well as learning the simple act of turning on your combine harvester. Once you have these basics down, you can try your hand at farming.
Quick tip before heading on to the next segment, don’t get too attached to your first farm or two. If you are anything like me you will be doing OK and then trying just one little thing will send you into a disaster spiral. Hopefully, this doesn’t happen to you but be aware, on the bright side by the time that happens you will be engrossed to the point where you may rage quit, but you will be back.
Once through with the tutorials and ready to start farming, you are given 3 modes, which basically boil down to difficulty settings. Difficulty settings in a simulation I assume you ask, what blasphemy is this? Well hysterical narrative device, let me explain. First up is the standard mode, you get a selection of vehicles, a plot of land with some fields and a small amount of money to get you started. Next up is “hard” where you start with a large chunk of money but that’s it, you need to buy land, vehicles and the rest yourself, giving you a lot more freedom but also allowing you to make a lot more mistakes. Finally comes “real life” where again you start with no land or vehicles, only this time you also start with next to no money. Better get to grafting if you ever want a farm of your own in this mode.
Making money in Farming Simulator 19 is fairly straight forward, either by working your fields and selling the wares, or working for the man and taking home a pittance. That’s not entirely true, the jobs pay reasonably well, but be prepared because, shockingly, farming isn’t a fast-paced activity. It can take a reasonable amount of minutes just to seed a field, let alone waiting for it to grow, luckily for the impatient amongst you, Giant Games has your back. Want to accelerate time to hurry along your next harvest? You got it. Want to work in MPH rather than KPH? Sure thing. Want to prevent crop-withering or destruction? You can, but could you sleep at night?
There are so many options available to tailor the game to your liking, from making things super simple and relaxed to upping the realism to even more stressful levels. Realistic true, but for that I’d rather get paid for the real thing, call me crazy.
So yes, you may be wondering about the crop destruction thing I mentioned earlier. As part of the graphics upgrade, you can now ruin crops by driving over them, meaning any work needs to be done with an intelligent and thoughtful approach. Do I spray the field to remove the weeds, but trample some corn in the process? There’s a question you probably never considered before now.
Speaking of graphics, the overall look of Farming Simulator 19 is pretty. Plants sway in the breeze, nature looks lovely (at a distance at least, up close the textures look a bit ropey). The crowning jewel is definitely the vehicles though. The best way I can describe it is like Gran Turismo (please don’t sue me Polyphony). The tracks looked good but the cars looked amazing. It’s the same with this, there is so much attention to detail. Parts move as they should, and I don’t mean wheels and basics like that. Whilst playing this at the press release at Hilltop Farm Adventure, an actual farmer sat next to me and was genuinely impressed that the fan on the air filter was spinning as he drove a combined harvester. Take from that what you will.
That isn’t to say there are no faults with the graphics in Farming Simulator 19, branches still clip through your cabin when driving and rain passes through absolutely everything except vehicle roofs, to the point where going into my house to sleep for the night looked like a plumbers dream in call out fees. Also, whilst better generally, the animals still feel a little lifeless, especially the horses which are new as well, but this might be partly being spoiled by rock star recently.
As I’ve said, Farming Simulator 19 can suck hours of your life if you let it, but there is one thing you should prepare for. There is in-game music, several different stations in fact, from country music (obviously) to 70s (less obviously). However, there aren’t that many songs per station, so you will be hearing them fairly regularly if you are on a cultivating session or something. My suggestion
I’m pretty sure by now you can tell that I like this game. It’s like a comfortable pair of trainers or a bowl of mashed potato. Nothing exciting, nothing glamorous, but satisfying and dependable. That’s not to say that it’s perfect, far from it, but its flaws never take me out of the experience enough. Let’s just say I got all the trophies on the last game, and I can’t see a reason why I won’t get them all on this one too.
So I guess a score is in order now, so those with no sense of patience can get an idea of the game. So to those who simply scrolled down looking for a number, here it is, 3/10. Seems low, but to those with a short attention span they won’t get on with this game anyway, so my score is meaningless to them. To those of you still reading, those who think this game sounds intriguing, I rate it a solid eight.