I didn’t quite know what to expect when I loaded Farming Simulator into my 3DS. I’ve had little experience with the PC and console editions (not for lack of wanting) besides writing about their releases, so when the opportunity arose to review the game I literally jumped at the chance. Farming Simulator 2014 follows the same principles as Ronseal, as in, it does exactly what it says on the tin. You are placed firmly into the wellies of a farmer, and its up to you to keep everything running how it should.
From the off I’ll say this, the game has no tutorial. It’s up to you to figure out, or at least do some research, on what does what and how to do things correctly. If you blindly waltz into Farming Simulator 14, like I did, you’re going to have a bad time. Despite the lack of tutorial however Farming Simulator 2014 is actually incredibly easy to grasp and the small farm you begin with will likely be ticking over in no time.
When you begin the game, depending on your difficulty (I chose ‘easy’) you’ll be given the basic equipment needed in order to harvest your first crop, cultivate the land, as well as planting the next crop for the cycle to begin once again. You’ll also be given a generous amount of produce in your silo’s that you can immediately sell to get yourself a bit more cash, and that’s about it. It’s up to you to decide how exactly you want to play the game, whether you want to build up a collection of the best equipment and tools needed, or expand your farm by purchasing field located around the map, it’s entirely up to you.
The games lack of tutorial, though is only minor, does sprout up a series of problems later on in the game; for example I thought it’d be a great idea to plant some corn. Little did I know that it required a specific harvester with a corn header in order to harvest my crop that, by the time I realised my starter combine harvester wasn’t up for the job, had all expired. The same went for the grassy field located nearby, I dragged my cultivator across it numerous times to no prevail, until I realised that you needed to purchase a mower in order to mow the grass (yeah, it seems obvious now).
Thankfully the 3DS version comes with a digital manual which you can easily switch between when you become a little stuck and if that doesn’t help, a quick Google search will likely bring up the answers you need from the various Farming Sim Wiki’s out there. Though this is a bit of an unnecessary hurdle to jump over, if the game were to give you a tutorial for each and every bit of equipment available to you, the game would quickly become a drag. It’s just a shame the option isn’t there.
So with most of the basics learned, I was happily producing a decent amount of wheat that I can sell at one of the many different unloading stations dotted around the games map. Each of these unloading stations offer a different price for produce which is always changing, so it’s always worth checking before you hop on the road with your trailer full of produce.
The great thing about Farming Simulator 2014 is that the game increases in difficulty when you want it to. I easily managed to get into a routine of sowing, harvesting, and cultivating my two fields, whilst mowing and providing bales of hay to my cows for milk and manure, though it was a lot of work, the routine began to get a little drab, that was until I decided to purchase another field extending workload and adding more of a challenge to my everyday working on the farm.
Now, unlike most real time strategy / time management games, Farming Simulator 2014 gives you a real hands-on approach. Though workers can be hired to complete the more mundane, time consuming tasks such as harvesting, cultivating, mowing, and sowing, you’re still required to manually transport produce to the unloading stations, pick up new equipment, and picking up hay bales, and more. So you’re never really sitting back and waiting for everyone else to do everything, which is great. The only problem is that the AI of the workers you hire is incredibly basic.
With the tap of the steering wheel button you can send an AI controlled worker off to do a job you can’t be bothered to do, the only problem is, you’d likely do a better job in half the time. You see, the AI in Farming Simulator 2014 will often just stop working completely, or continue working on something they’ve already done whilst still getting paid. If something happens to be in the way, the AI will just stop, until you manually come and intervene, this usually happens when the AI can’t work out that you just need to turn a little sharper to avoid the obstacle in the way. Though around 60% of the time the AI does a good job, the 40% left can be a bit tiresome.
Farming Simulator 2014 isn’t all about farming though, throughout the game you’re often prompted with missions to help other farmers who have happened to have their melons stolen, or have machinery that has failed to be delivered. This requires you to then head to the waypoint on the map and collect said items to which you’re then rewarded with $20,000. Though the missions are sporadic and can sometimes be a little annoying, they can be switched off completely if you’d rather just concentrate on your farm.
As for sound, the game offers a quaint sound track to accompany your agricultural ventures, it’s not too obnoxious and seamlessly blends in with the game. Giant’s have tried to add some variation onto vehicle sounds however, which you do notice at first, but after a while it all just sounds the same. Graphically, Giants have done a good job at utilising the 3DS’s 3D capabilities, though I rarely had them on, but does add some more depth to the game, which is nice. As a whole though, due to the 3DS’s limitations, the game doesn’t look all that great, the games environmental features such as grass and crops are disappointingly flat and don’t feel as realistic as I would have hoped.
Farming Simulator 2014 also utilises the touch-screen on the 3DS to display the world map, the store, and various statistic such as the current prices the unloading stations are offering for produce, the amount of produce on your farm, as well as stats on how long you’ve been playing, how many miles you’ve travelled, and the amount of acres you’ve harvested. This is actually a lot more convenient compared to the Vita version which requires you to repeatedly open and close a menu each time you want to check out the store, or what prices are being offered.
Overall though Farming Simulator 2014 is a fantastic title to pass the time. Countless times I found that I’d spend a good couple of hours managing my farm which felt like only a few minutes. The game offers an almost endless amount of gameplay, though I feel that once you’ve purchased all of the surrounding fields available to you, you’ll likely feel that there’s not much else to do. Also for those who are looking for more of a casual simulation game, Farming Simulator 2014 offers just that. Giants have stripped down the main game, leaving out vehicle maintenance and other smaller features found in the main game, and have left you with an easy pick-up-and-play title.
This review was written based on the 3DS version of Farming Simulator 2014 provided by Focus Home Interactive.