As I was going through Farming Simulator 15 I had a mixture of emotions. It is a pretty deep simulator and those who are familiar with this franchise should have a lot of fun here. I’m new to the franchise though and have found that it isn’t very welcoming to newcomers. Farming Simulator 15 does very little in showing newcomers what it is you are supposed to do and what your overall goals are supposed to be. There are tutorials that you can go through that go over some of the basics like how to harvest a field, however, once you are dropped on to your farm you really have no idea how to get anything started.
As I battled my way through the game trying to figure out what was going on I realized that this can be a really deep game. There is a ton of equipment for you to buy from harvesters, cultivators and sowing machines to baling technology, feeding technology and more. Some of the most popular brands around are included like Krone, Jenz, Kuhn, Husqvarna and much more. To earn money to buy this equipment you need to figure out how to either tend to your fields, acquire livestock or try and complete missions that you can find on a job board (which the game also doesn’t tell you about and I stumbled across). Farming Simulator 15 has three different types of missions. You have the transporting crops job, mowing as well as pallet and crop delivery. Generally speaking I found a lot of the missions to be a decent source of income but otherwise they didn’t serve any point. There was one mission, for example, where some people apparently lost their luggage and you had to use a frontloader with a palletfork to return their luggage to them. Not exactly the type of missions one would expect in a Farming Simulator game.
You start off your “career” by owning a couple of different fields. It is your job to harvest the crops, cultivate the land, use a sowing machine to plant new crops and more. When you get to the part where you are about sow, you will get the choice of what you want to grow. Your choices include wheat, barley, canola, corn, potatoes and sugar beet. By pushing in the left analog stick you will get a listing of the different plants and yards in the area that will buy your product and you will have to determine who will give you the most. There are also instances that pop up at random times where a product might be in great demand and therefore will be worth more money. Corn seemed to go on sale for me quite a bit so I could try and harvest and store as much corn as I could so that when the Shipping Office, for example, tells me that corn is in high demand for the next 24 hours and I can get double the money I usually get, I get my trailers over to the silo so I can begin to transport my corn for some easy money. This menu is a great way to tell at a glance what you have in storage as well as storage prices and much more. You can also look at a map which will show you where on the map you left that vehicle you are looking or which fields are ready to be harvested while the other ones have products that are still growing. There are over 30 different fields you can purchase and grow products on as well as participating in animal husbandry by owning sheep, cows and chickens. You are given some nice stats such as the productivity of your sheep, how many eggs you have got from y our chicken, how much food your cows have and more. If you really want to get into the minutia of things you can also look at how much area you have threshed, how many miles you have driven, how much fuel you have used and various things along those lines. It will also tell you how long you have played on your file, how many workers you have hired to try and help you run the farm and how many missions you have completed. If you are someone who enjoys stats and likes to see everything that is going on then you should definitely enjoy this.
Farming Simulator 15 also offers a multiplayer option where you can invite other players on to your farm to help you do things. I was in a game harvesting a field while one of my friends was busy cutting down trees and selling the logs and then replanting some new trees. You can also completely mess with your friends if you want by trying to get in their way as they are harvesting a field, trying to ram them or any number of things you can come up with. A little while ago I mentioned there was a map and you can see the big version of the map by holding down the “L1” button and then clicking in the left analog stick. The map looks all well and good showing off all of the different locations such as the Lumberyard, the Garden Center, the shop and much more. One of the big problems here though is there is no GPS. You can’t select where you want to go and then have the game give you directions on where you need to be heading. This can be really annoying if you don’t know the area and caused me to stop and consult the map on numerous occasions when I really shouldn’t have to. An option to toggle a GPS system on and off would have been very much appreciated. Additionally there is no way to select any of the icons on the screen so if there is something strange on the map there is really no way for you to easily find out what it is.
If you want a little more control over your experience you can go into your settings and change how some things work. You can speed up the timescale to go up to 120x the normal speed, change the frequency the missions will show up, how fast your plants will grow, whether your plants will wither if you don’t get there in time and more. For me personally, especially since I really didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning, I turned the plant wither option off so I didn’t have to worry about speeding over to a far field in time to harvest the plants. Part of the reason why I do that is because the A.I. in this game can be really dumb at times. There are times where I will go to the edge of a field and start harvesting it and then hire a work to finish the job and it works well. There are other times when I try to hire a worker to cultivate a recently harvested field and he has absolutely nothing or tries to go around in circles. There is no rhyme or reason to it and it was incredibly frustrating when I would hire a worker to do his job and he would just sit there or quite literally spin his wheels.
For those who are fans of the franchise and who know what they are doing Farming Simulator 15 can be an incredibly deep game where you can have a good amount of control over your burgeoning farm. This is the group of people the game is aimed at and who should really enjoy it. For newcomers like me though the game doesn’t do nearly enough to introduce you into the world of farming. I was able to figure things out but I struggled to do so in some situations and I can guarantee I am not the only one. The developers know who their audience is and that is fantastic but if they don’t find a much better way to introduce and entice newcomers to give this franchise a try then this has the potential to be a franchise that many people will continue to overlook, which would be a shame. In closing, if you have enjoyed the previous titles in this franchise then you should really enjoy this game. If you are a newcomer who is curious perhaps you should rent this game first to see what you are getting into. If you discover that you enjoy the game then by all means buy it and support the developers. Just be sure to look before you leap with this game.
Originally posted on Gaming Target