Game Reviews: ‘Farming Simulator’

Felipe Cabrera

The holidays are here again, and gamers are a hard bunch to gift. “Farming Simulator,” however, is not worthy of a spot under your Christmas tree — unless you are willing to watch your pine tree burst into flames.

“Farming Simulator” puts you in charge of your very own farm. You are responsible for growing and harvesting a selection of crops, utilizing different tractors and tools to get the job done. The best thing that can be said about “Farming Simulator” is that true to industry it represents. There are more than a hundred different licensed brand vehicles to be bought and tools seem like they work accurately.

I am a city boy — spawned in New York City — so the short extent of my agricultural knowledge are from bus ride sing-a-longs and the llama who spat in my hand that one time at the petting zoo. Before, I thought bales of hay came as standard decoration when purchasing a farm. I did not know what balers were or that round bales were something that can happen. I can now use the word “sowing” in a sentence about planting crops and be pretentious about it.

The problem is, I have never been so bored playing a video game in the blink of my existence. I have willingly played terrible games on my own dime and had a grand time experiencing someone else’s failure. Through all of its nonsensical plot and game play that felt like someone force fed it every trite video game convention until it puked the finish product, even “Resident Evil 6” was hiding a sliver of a soul.

“Farming Simulator” exists in a dead world with a draw distance so nearsighted it cannot render the other end of a field (even on my PS3 copy), and a small main street of sorts populated with the lost souls of cars and pedestrians who fade in and out of farming limbo. I have a theory that these NPCs are actually the damned spirits of gamers who were ill fated in receiving a copy of this thing.

Thing would be a more accurate description for what “Farming Simulator” is, for even awful video games contain a modicum of fun. Realism is this game’s worst enemy. When harvesting my potatoes with my nifty Grimme KS 75-4 towed behind my tractor, I should not even hazard to think about driving faster than a snail’s pace; my potato harvester will disengage and something interesting might happen.

My favorite feature is being able to hire workers to work the field for you while you switch to another vehicle and throw that into auto on a different field. Take advantage of this feature, maneuvering vehicles is an awkward waltz. I do not even want to think about how many times my tractor got caught on something like the side walk and the frustration that followed. The only time you want to step into a truck is when you need to sell your harvest in that ghost town so you can repeat the same monotonous farming cycle once again.

The game tries to spice things up with timed missions for quick cash that require different types of equipment. If you want to complete that mowing mission, you better get yourself a mower. Maybe if you are lucky, your mower will move faster than a brisk walk and you will be able to complete your mission on time. Playing missions helps increase your revenue, but do not expect to be any more exciting than the game’s main course.

Playing “Farming Simulator” is like shotgunning a bottle of NyQuil. Not because it is a game about farming, the game just does not take the lengths to make it a fun experience. Farming in itself is far from boring, actually. When I was a youngling, nothing sounded cooler than working your own farm and raising crops and farm animals. “Harvest Moon,” while it is nowhere close to being realistic, is a wonderful game — and guess what? “Harvest Moon” is about farming. Children love farms, but giving a child “Farming Simulator” would be a bigger let down than learning the farce that is Santa Claus — and you never get over that.