STAFF REVIEW of Farming Simulator 2013 (Xbox 360)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013.
by Brent Roberts

Farming Simulator 2013 Box art Welcome ladies and gentlemen to a new innovation in simulation gaming. You have your flight sims, and you have your racing sims, but now I want to welcome you to.... Farming Simulator 2013! Yes you read that right, farming has taken front stage as the new kid in the simulator world and tries to, well I don't really know actually. Giants Software has attempted to deliver one of the world’s best (and only one on consoles) farming simulations available, and one thing is for sure, according to this game, farming is insanely boring, tedious, mundane, and repetitive. My family originally grew up as farmers so we have a personal tie to all the long hours, hard work, and environmental conditions that plague every farmer on this planet. While some simulators attempt to put their own spin on how they should be presented, I do have to hand it to Giants Software because they tried their best to fully engross you into the real world of farming. This isn't your daddy's Farmville.

For starters, Farming Simulator 2013 puts you behind the wheel of some of the biggest names in the farming industry, including the iconic tractor company, Lamborghini. The controls may seem complicated at first, but the basic outline (gas on RT and brake on LT) are there. The LB will quickly become your best friend as there are many other functions that are unlocked depending on what piece of equipment you are using. Then there's the actual control where you use the RS to look around and the LS to move your tractor left or right. Instead though of just trying to balance out the throttle which is ridiculously hard to do, you can set your tractor in different cruise control modes which will have you whipping around your field at a mind boggling 9mph when you go to cruise control 1 but if you take it to 2, then you really start going wild at 10-12mph max, oh what fun.

Speaking of fun, the physics of this game are truly mind boggling. I drove a massive tractor down the street hauling a trailer full of crops when a little car pulled out in front of me and we collided. When I say collided I mean that my tractor ended up climbing up on top of the car, losing traction and getting stuck. I tried to unhitch my equipment, hoping that would allow me to break free and nothing happened. The car underneath me was perfectly fine and I apparently was unaware that what could be considered a Toyota or Honda could withstand the force of a head on collision with something over triple its weight and made of pure steel. Learn something new every day.

There are also plenty of different types of farming equipment that you have to familiarize yourself with in order to develop a fully functioning farm. Think of this game as a light version of what it would be like to farm in real life. You can't just start out planting crops, first the ground must be plowed which requires you to hook up your tractor to the plow and take to the plot of land. After the plowing you have to plant some crops which will require you to hook a seed spreader up to the tractor. First you have to drive it to the seed palates and then you have to load it up. After that, it's time to drive to the field and plant the seeds, but you're far from finished because next is irrigation.

Crops need water to grow before harvest and after watering and waiting comes the next step, harvesting. Here, your crops are now ready to be collected which mandates that you hook a harvester of sorts up to your tractor and tend to the field until your storage is full then drive somewhere to dump your load, and go back to the field and repeat until all is harvested. When you harvest some crops though, you will be left with leftover straw which you can then collect into either square or round barrels of hay which you can either sell or feed to your animals. Once this is all completed it's time to drive to market and sell your goods from your farm for cash. It's with this cash that you can enter auctions to buy more plots of land, buy new equipment and tractors, and hire help and more. After all of this, it is time to cultivate the soil. Think of this as a way to quickly get to replanting without having to plow again. This is the circle of life when it comes to Farming Simulator 2013 and boy does it sound boring.

There are other aspects as well that you had to focus on and one of them are the animals. Breeding and having a healthy livestock is essential for maintaining a high quality farm and should be considered just as important as crops. Also since Farming Simulator 2013 is an attempt to deliver real world experience, get ready to deal with the bank. Just like farmers in real life, usually a large loan is involved in order to purchase equipment, land, and everything else needed to get started, so get ready to manage your wallet while you watch your cash grow from the ground. While there is more to the game, there isn't anything though to keep you entertained. Farming Simulator 2013 should just be called Farm Work, and when you play games for entertainment they should do exactly that, entertain. I can't honestly see a farmer coming in from a 14 hour work day to go through the whole procedure in a virtual world, and I can't see someone deciding between this and Grand Theft Auto V.

There are some comical videos about this game that you can find online, but repeating these actions goes against everything the game is trying to institute with you and will ultimately leave you at a cross road and a choice. Do you go back and manage your farm like the game intended from the beginning, or do you just take the game out of your console and place it on the shelf to gather dust until you either sell it or trade it in. Both of these options though would imply that you had indeed purchased the game which is where your fault originally resides.

While Farming Simulator 2013 is about as enjoyable as watching grass grow, it does look very pretty. The farmland in both the United Kingdom and United States offer varying displays of the countryside, foliage, and more. The tractor and tool models are also done with high amount of detail, but to grasp the full experience, I would recommend driving from inside the cabins of the different tractors so you can get a feel for the different manufacturers and layouts of each piece of machinery. There really isn't anything in terms of a soundtrack for this game. You could honestly get the same sound if you drove into the country side, opened a window and shut the car off. Birds chirp off in the distance and each piece of equipment sounds different which goes a long way when you take into account all the different types of tractors and tools are available.

As a simulator, this game is very true to life in all manageable aspects; however as an entertaining piece of software, that's another story all together. Average graphics will not keep the boredom from overcoming your senses, but there is one parting piece that Farming Simulator 2013 gives us. Apparently new copies are hard to find, either due to lack of production, and that’s all I could come up with. This means that if you have a sealed copy then you could technically own one of the rarest simulation games ever made on the planet. When you look at it from that point, it helps take the edge of this failure of a game, but why you would want to purchase it in the first place remains a mystery. Next time you feel like entertaining yourself in the most boring way possible, try staring at a blank wall for hours, you'll get the same amount of enjoyment.

Overall: 3.0 / 10
Gameplay: 3.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.2 / 10
Sound: 2.5 / 10


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