By: Jeff Cater
Farming Simulator 2017 answers all the cliffhanger questions left in Farming Simulator 2016: how much hay can you bale? which tractor drives best? All kidding aside, a brand new sim title is on the market and ready for you to build a tractor cabin around your television and console, so get your best boots on and roll up them sleeves, it’s time to get to work around here!
Things were pretty daunting at first because this was my first Farming Simulator game. Looking at the DualShock 4 controller, I felt as though there might be a bit of difficulty translating the workings of farming equipment, but I’m very happy to say that my fears were squashed immediately upon playing the first tutorial.
As you walk around your farm with the left stick, you can interact with and climb into several different types of equipment. Sometimes you’ll have to place multiple attachments onto your tractor, such as a seeder in the back along with a counter-weight up front.
To do this, you will toggle between your tool pieces by pressing Triangle and then holding L1 to bring up a context and tool-dependent menu. Usually any given action with any tool is done by pressing Square to start it up, or adjusting the right stick to heighten the combine blades.
Overall, I came away pretty impressed with the controls and in no time felt pretty capable as a farmer. Except for the fact that, unless it’s hidden extremely well, there’s no option to invert your right stick! Much farming equipment actually uses inverted sticks when it comes to their scoops and such, so I’m really confused on the absence of the option.
Although the game looks alright, there’s nothing truly outstanding about it. Tractor and equipment models are all extremely detailed, but the environments feel a bit flat, and other than the occasional car driving on the road off in the distance everything feels just too still and lifeless — no trees swaying in the wind, no fields of wheat rolling in the breeze.
There are poop textures, however. As you may or may not know, farming has a lot to do with using what’s available to you and doing it as cost effectively as possible. So, poop trucks because poop is free! You can either spray it all over the place in liquid form or chunk it out over a wide area with more solids involved. Poop.
Other than the roar of tractor noise, there’s not really a lot going on. You can turn on the radio, which has some serious bumping techno beats that are fit for any club let alone a tractor. It’s a safe bet that a lot of Germans play this game.
There are a few other stations, and much to my surprise they had actual songs, not imitations of songs with silly lyrics. I honestly half-expected lyrics like “You’re on a farm, uh huh, uh huh, you’ve got to do IT, uh huh, uh huh!” but thankfully that kind of thing is nowhere to be found.
Well, Farming Simulator 2017 is essentially a hardcore version of Farmville where instead of just clicking crops to harvest them you’ve got to plow the ground, de-weed the soil, fertilize it, sow your seeds, tear it from the ground, put it into a refining process, transport it to your export area and then do it all over again.
There’s something to be said for just how calming and stress-free this game is, though, because even though I had a bad harvest a few times I was still having fun. Maybe it’s because the farmer’s life slows things down a bit and puts things into perspective.
Anyway, there’s an absolute wealth of things for you to do and thorough tutorials to help you out with bits you don’t understand. The only really difficult thing is determining the ideal time to apply things like fertilizer and stuff like that, because adding things at the wrong time can result in a dreadful harvest, and that means you might not be able to afford that sweet new John Deere to make the next harvest easier. It’s a vicious cycle.
There isn’t really a lot wrong with the game other than the fact that lacks an inversion option for your look-stick, and it can seem like it really takes forever to make any progress. Then again, that’s farming and this is Farming Simulator 2017, so it, ya know, makes sense.