Farming Simulator 22

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Farming Simulator 22 – Review

Long before I joined the ranks here at MKAU Gaming, I worked as a farmhand on a turf farm. It wasn’t particularly exciting work, but there was something strangely calming about driving a tractor back and forth, mowing the grass, spreading fertiliser and weed killer, and then going home covered in dust. It certainly was not a glamourous job, but it was surprisingly therapeutic. Oddly enough, Farming Simulator 17 gave me very similar feelings, and thanks to the team at GIANTS Software, I’ve had a chance to play around with Farming Simulator 22.

As you’d expect from a game named Farming Simulator, this series is all about running a farm and you are basically given free rein on how you achieve this. Depending on the difficulty level you select, you may start off with a small and established farm, complete with machinery and crops ready to harvest, with a tidy amount of money to spend on more equipment, seeds, or animals. Or you might start with the bare essentials; one tractor, a few tools, a field ready to be plowed, and a hefty bank loan that you’ll be needing to pay off, lest you let the interest rates get on top of you, and for those of you who want a real challenge, the hardest difficulty will have you starting at absolute zero, taking up small contracts and borrowing equipment from the other local farmers, earning small amounts of cash while they reap the juiciest rewards of the harvest.

Returning players will find that the title hasn’t changed all that much, and this includes my last experience with Farming Simulator 17. All of the big machinery brands are back, such as John Deer, Case IH, and Massey Ferguson, and the game offers quite the selection of customisable vehicles that will help in sowing and harvesting your various crops or tending to your livestock. As with their real-life equivalents, players will need to manage their finances because the vehicles require fuel and maintenance, and the last thing you want to do during harvest season is fork out money for a vehicle that’s broken down due to negligence. The same can be said for your crops and livestock. Weeds will reduce the quality of your harvest and your livestock will succumb to hunger or poor living conditions, so keeping on top of this should be the highest of your priorities, because this is where you earn your living.

Farming Simulator 22 handles much like any other game that involves walking or driving, however, there are a few extra controls you’ll need to get used to, particularly when operating the tools attached to your machine of choice. Fortunately, the game offers a very helpful on-screen control system, showing exactly what combination of buttons you’ll need to press to unfold the plow or tilt the front-end loader to scoop out the animals’ waste. This means that even the newest players can easily take control of some heavy machinery and operate it efficiently, and given enough time behind the wheel, you’ll be loading produce onto your transports as cleanly as the professionals.

Each vehicle and tool has its own unique sound, and I spent quite the amount of time just listening to the idle of my tractor’s engines, and just like the real thing, the engine idles higher when an attached tool is running, regardless of the machine moving or not. If the thrumming of a large diesel engine isn’t your idea of an exhilarating soundtrack, however, there is an in-game radio that you can turn on that features a variety of different channels, each with its own music style, so you can jam out to some rock as you sit two meters above everyone else on the road, or slow it right down with some country music and fall asleep behind the wheel.

The majority of effort has been put into the machinery and workings to make it look as good as its real-life counterparts. Dirt and grime will begin to accumulate as you use your tractors, and it will generally settle where you’d expect to see it. You will even notice fine details on the sidewalls of the tires, detailing various brands that have allowed their patterns to be used, complete with detailed sizing information. Your crops and the scenery you can interact with come in next and are finely detailed to represent various trees, grains, or vines, and depending on your settings, these can be damaged as you drive through your crops. When you’re close enough, you can see the weeds growing amongst them, or mould and rot forming should you miss the perfect harvest time. As we move away from the useful items, building feature less detail, and the draw distance is somewhat reduced for fields in the distance, even on the Xbox Series X, but a lot of this isn’t overly important anyway, as you’ll be spending most of your time up close and in the fields.

As with its predecessors, Farming Simulator 22 offers players the chance to play online, either with friends or by joining a random lobby. As the host, you’ll be able to “hire” up to 5 friends to help you toil the fields, and they can earn money that they spend on their own equipment that will stay in your game. This is particularly useful when you need to harvest grain, as having a friend drive the truck alongside you is infinitely easier than when an AI does it, and your friends will (hopefully) make sure that they harvest every little scrap on the field.

As I briefly touched on, there are various settings that players can turn on and off, depending on how realistic they want things to be. As with the real world, seasons can change, and, depending on your settings, you may find that snow has hidden your freshly plowed field, or killed off your young crops. Animals may be more or less likely to breed, and certain plants can only be sown during certain months. Regardless of which difficulty you’ve selected when it comes to starting a game, these settings can be changed in and out with a simple click of a button and will greatly change your overall experience.

While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Farming Simulator 22 offers players a chance to slow and relax. You can farm what you want, how you want, and it’s extremely rewarding when you watch your first crops go from simple patches of grass to vast fields of product. The amount of heavy machinery on offer is amazing, and the modding community is constantly pushing the game further by adding bigger and more impressive machinery and tools. It is a beautiful game that offers a lot in terms of relaxation, but if you take it seriously, it can be extremely rewarding.

The Good

  • A lot of awesome real-world heavy machinery
  • A huge number of crops and livestock
  • Plenty of room to expand your business

The Bad

  • Reduced draw distance (on console at least)
8
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10

Written by: Mathew Lindner

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