STAFF REVIEW of Farming Simulator 17 (Xbox One)


Friday, November 11, 2016.
by Adam Dileva

Farming Simulator 17 Box art While many gamers might scoff and laugh at a game revolving around farming, there’s no denying that it has a following, even if it is niche, or else there wouldn’t be this many iterations. Sure, many of us aren’t cut out to be natural born farmers, but if there’s one game that might start training you for such a career, Farming Simulator 17 would definitely be it.

Cards on the table; I’ve never played one of the Farming Simulators before, but to be completely honest, I’ve always wanted to give one a try out of curiosity. Normally I don’t find mundane tasks in games too boring, but Farming Simulator 17 surely will put you to the test of boredom as it did for me. Farming in real life is incredibly difficult, time consuming, and tedious, and this is a simulation of that, so the same descriptions apply even in game form. Given that Giants Software has the market essentially cornered in this genre, they could easily put out a slightly refined version every year and still do fine, but they’ve been adding new features in each iteration and trying to improve, which is great to see.

Sometimes you simply need a break from shooting things, racing cars, saving the world/princess, or solving puzzles. Farming Simulator 17 is an obvious choice if you’re looking for something relaxing and peaceful even though it is incredibly in-depth, allowing you to make it as easy or as difficult as you want. Games are meant to be an escape and entertaining, and while I got to virtually live the life of a farmer, it made me realize how boring that could be.

As you begin your farming career (allowing for 3 different save slots) you begin by choosing a male or female character, then you get the dramatic choice of the color to your flannel shirt. There are 3 difficulties to choose from: Easy, Medium, and Hard. When on Easy things are much simpler, as you won’t have to worry about your crops withering and dying, whereas on Hard, you’ll have to be much more meticulous, even having to refill the gas in all of your machines, or else your crops will wither and die. Being as this is my first go at the series, I naturally chose Easy, and even so, found myself at times overwhelmed with how much needs to be micromanaged.


As you begin career mode are introduced to a short, but necessary tutorial. It will only teach you the very basics of moving around and doing a few of the beginning tasks, and once complete you’re thrown into the world with no other direction given. The main menu hosts a handful of other tutorials, which I highly suggest doing, as it will give you more practice for the other jobs you’ll be needing to perform later on in your farming career. There really isn’t enough tutelage before sending you off on your own, as there’s things I’m still learning hours into the game, usually by accident or out of necessity.

Since Simulator is in the game title, there’s a wide array of mechanics that help it live up to its name. There’s a button, or combination of button presses, to do almost literally everything when it comes to your heavy machinery. There’s a button to turn on your headlights, the safety flashing lights, opening vents, unfolding equipment, and virtually any other flip or switch you would need to operate your machinery. It’s incredibly in-depth, but that means it’s also terribly confusing. Even after using a specific machine for an hour straight I found myself still pressing the wrong buttons or rotating the right analog stick the incorrect way. Given that there’s so much you can do with some of the equipment, I don’t see how it could be made any simpler on a controller, but it’s not intuitive by any means.

There’s so much to do that you’ll most likely find yourself overwhelmed at first. You only begin with two or three farms, but even that is a lot to throw at you in the beginning until your inner farmer starts to shine through and you get a handle on the tasks you’ll need to perform. As you drive around the town you’ll come across other farms that you can buy or you can help other farmers by doing some tasks for them, which they’ll pay you for your efforts. So, in the beginning it’s a good idea to help the other farmers and earn some extra cash to get you started.

Farming in real life is a multi-step process, so farming in the game is also the same. You’ll need to learn how to use a chainsaw, tractors, trucks, plows, sowers, fertilizers, and more. Given that each machine has its own uses and intricacies, it’ll take time to learn how to use each efficiently, and more importantly, properly. You can even turn on the radio while in your machinery, changing the stations to your preferred music choice, though all very generic and country centric. You’ll be cultivating wheat, potatoes, chopping wood, and even raising animals and/or livestock, all with the goal of creating a farming empire and boosting your bank roll.


Farming Simulator 17 tries to be as true to actual farming as it can be, so don’t expect to simply plant some seeds, wait a few moments, then gather and sell them. It’s much more involved than that, as you’ll need to clear your farming area, plow it, plant the seeds, and even fertilize them at each stage if you want the biggest yields. Eventually you will own livestock which is a whole other challenge, as you’ll need to make sure your animals have water, food, a place to rest, and more. While you simply begin with wheat, you can have up to almost a dozen different types of crops across over 20 fields once you have the bankroll to do so.

Once you’ve managed to harvest your crops you can either store them in your silo or sell them directly to the local businesses. As time passes, the demand for certain produce will fluctuate, just like a real economy. So if you manage to sell your wheat when the demand and price is high, you’ll earn much more mullah for your bankroll. Earning more money allows you to either pay off your bank loan or invest into more equipment to expand your operation. Oddly enough, as it may sound boring, it’s also compelling, as I kept driving back a load of grain, almost constantly, once I had a handful of machines doing their thing.

No one person can farm their land on their own, especially once you own multiple land areas and crops. This is where hiring help comes in. With a simple button press, you can hire someone to complete the job that’s right in front of them should you wish. This will obviously eat into your money earnings, as they need to get paid, but paying multiple people a wage to get many things done at once can pay off. Sadly, the most time consuming and boring task, transporting your harvest gains to and from the store, is not something you can hire someone for, so get used to driving the same path many times over. Hiring assistants will be a necessity, especially on the harder difficulties where you need to harvest in a specific amount of time before the crops die.

Something I didn’t expect was the inclusion of mods. While there’s not a huge amount, you can download new tractors, fertilizers, buildings, and more. Adding them to your game is simple and only takes one button press, but so far it’s strictly meant to add new objects into your world, not crazy configurations like other games with mods allow.

If you have a friend that also has the game, you can farm together. Actually, up to 6 of you at once can play together online. Interestingly, this simply uses the host’s career game save, so multiplayer can make things incredibly easier, or if you allow random people online to join, could be a complete disaster as they destroy your farm. This is probably why I was always denied joining random people’s farms online, as I too would be nervous that they would be wasting my resources and destroying all of my hard work. But having up to 6 friends together also means that you can do some silly things together, like tractor racing or seeing who can crash the hardest off some hills. Not the intended purpose, but it will most likely happen.


Graphically, Farming Simulator 17 looks better than previous iterations, but that’s not to say that it looks great. The farming equipment looks spot on and it is very detailed, but some of the world, not so much. There’s a massive amount of pop in, and things you see in the distance aren’t rendered properly until up close, so while you may see an empty farm from far away, and drive towards it, you realize as you get close that it’s actually ready to farm or harvest instead, because of the pop-in. There’s also a ton of clipping and weird issues. Driving through a huge field of crops will show them clipping through your truck, and the physics feel ‘off’, especially when you get one of your forklift forks stuck in a fence and start flipping the vehicle back and forth like a windshield wiper.

More annoying is the audio though, as there’s very little music selection aside from typical country twang, but the biggest offender is that the engines for the vehicles are deafeningly loud. When the camera is close all you hear is the loud whirl and rumble of the engine, and you are unable to hear anything else. Worse yet is that there are no options in the game anywhere to mute music or game sounds, so you’re stuck with it the whole time. This makes party chatting with friends near impossible if you’re doing the farming instead of hiring help, as you won’t be able to hear them very well.

Farming Simulator 17 is exactly as the title suggests: a deep and robust farming simulator. If you’re purely looking for an entertaining game, this might not be the one for you. If I was to score the game solely on its farming simulation capabilities, then it would receive a very high score, because that’s what it excels at doing. From a game standpoint though, where I look at gameplay mechanics, and most importantly fun, this is where it falters. That’s not to say there’s no fun to be had within, as I laughed till my sides hurt at times when I was doing things I ‘shouldn’t’ have been, such as jumping tractors, going off-roading with a trailer full of livestock, or trying to run over pedestrians in my slow and dangerous farm equipment (sadly you’re unable to).

To be completely honest, even though I’ve kind of laughed at the series in the past, once playing I came to realize how involved and deep this series truly is as a simulator. It’s very daunting, even from the beginning, and you’re not given much help aside from a much too short tutorial. It’s incredibly complex and takes a lot of time to learn all of its intricacies and controls. The biggest problem it has is that most of the tasks are dull. Yes, farming is not a glamorous job, so there’s not much they could have done to change that, and while some will find a serene-like quality to its laid back gameplay, others like myself find it mundane and tedious.

Make no mistake, Farming Simulator 17 is incredibly in-depth as a simulator, almost to the point of being too complicated, but as a game it’s simply not all that entertaining, unless of course you’re all about that farming life. That’s not to say I didn’t find some enjoyment in my time with it, but it was when I was doing things unintended. At the end of the day if you’re looking for an authentic farming simulator, there’s no better out there, but the amount of fun you’re going to have is based on how much fun you find in actually farming.




Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10

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