Sponsored By: Certis, by way of Giant and Focus
Time Farmed: I honestly lost track
This is the Farming Simulator I’ve always wanted, and this one came as an actual review key.
I’ve hit the big time, baby!
I feel like the opening cinematic of Farming Simulator 17 is a test. Your response to it will tell you whether this is a game for you. Some may laugh, or roll their eyes, and those people will know they’ve made a bad purchasing decision. Some may skip through it, and those people may or may not have the patience for a series like Farming Simulator. For my part, I watch the whole thing, every time I load the game, and when that orchestral score crescendos to a halt and they throw that logo up on my screen, I say “F--- yeah! Let’s do some farming.”
It’s hard to pronounce the dashes, but I manage it because A) I’m that passionate about Farming Simulator and B) I have young kids running around.
But let’s say you’re not crazy like me. What does Farming Simulator 17 bring to the table? Well, like Farming Simulator 15, you can still cut down trees to create new fields to tend. The tractors you know and love are back and painstakingly rendered in exquisite detail. The mission-board system of Farming Simulator 15 is gone, but now you can go to any field in the game and opt to either buy it or work it for the owner, which is a good way to kill time and earn money in the early stages of the game when you only have three fields and they’re all growing. It’s also a great way to learn how to use the various equipment in the game, because the tractor catalog still hands you a list of model numbers and expects you to know which ones are good for your needs.
Farming Simulator 17 also affords the ability to drive the trains that carry your harvest to market, though I haven’t gotten far enough into the game to see how that works. The tutorial menu stops short of explaining any of that, but I’m looking forward to
reading the wiki figuring it out for myself.
On the animal husbandry side, you’re started with a pen of chickens that produce eggs at the start. They require no maintenance except for collecting the eggs, which is more than i can say for the other animals, which must be fed and tended regularly. Trying to farm crops and run, say, a dairy or wool business could get pretty hairy, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to new players. I will say that mowing the grass, and then baling and collecting it is just as satisfying as tending any other crop.
Exploration and discovery feature prominently in Farming Simulator 17. If you don’t feel like plowing other people’s fields while waiting for your own to grow, you can explore the map for gold nuggets. There’s even a basketball court with a basketball in it that you can shoot hoop with. In the PC version, you get an achievement for sinking a three point shot.
But if you’re reading this far, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned the differences between the Switch and PC versions. This is, after all, the Switch Edition review. Some of us remember the dumb-down that Farming Simulator 14 suffered to bring it to the 3DS, after all. What sacrifices did Giant make to bring the franchise to the pseudo-portable platform?
The answer to that is the most exciting part: there aren’t any sacrifices. The worst thing I can say about the Switch edition is that the chicken models aren’t as realistic and don’t animate as fluidly. Everything else is there. Every submenu, every tractor, everything that you want from the PC version is right there, on the go. If they cut material out, it’s in the late game that I haven’t gotten to yet. From what I’ve played, this is exactly what fans want out of a Switch port. It’s full Farm Simulator, for your commute.
Will I Keep Playing?
Farming Simulator 17 was my number two game of the year last year on PC. The Switch version may match it. It’s the perfect game to sit and play while watching TV, or to hoe a few rows while you’re waiting for dinner to finish cooking. Portability was the only thing stopping this game from becoming a constant companion, and now I have it.
So the short answer is yes, I’ll keep playing.
Is it the Dark Souls of farm simulators?
The hardest thing about Farming Simulator, for me, is putting it down. Compared to that, the opacity of many of the systems is a distant second. The game is only as hard as you make it. Grow your farm, build an empire, or just mow the neighbor’s lawn. It’s all your call.
It’s more like the Yonder: The Cloudcatcher Chronicles of mundane vehicle sims. No pressure, no hard objectives, and lots of rewarding exploration. What more could any mundane-vehicle sim ask for?