The first thing I did when starting Farming Simulator 22 was to get into the nearest parked car and tried to escape from the farm. Oddly enough, successfully. It turned out that the playing space is not limited to just one farm, and beyond its borders are endless forests, mountains and lakes. This discovery added optimism to me – in itself I recalled the markers on the map familiar to open worlds, behind which are hidden some collectible items, random events or trials.
But the pleasant anticipation did not last long. The map, of course, was completely empty, people on the streets completely ignored me, there was not a single interactive object around, and even someone else’s harvest could not be stolen. “Apparently, this game is not about fun,” I thought, and returned to the farm. This thought stayed with me all the time that I spent in Farming Simulator 22.
I sincerely love both good farms and good simulations. I’ve played dozens of hours in Slime Rancher and Stardew Valley , and someday, I might want to return to them again. But farming in particular in these games has always been more of an excuse to show the player a unique world full of other activities. The Farming Simulator series, which is completely focused on farming, I have avoided until now – the most believable work of a farmer did not strike me as a tempting experience. But the frenzied popularity of the last part, high sales and positive reviews did their job. What if I was missing all this time a masterpiece of the level of My Summer Car or Cities: Skylines ?
Immediately after training, Farming Simulator 22 literally throws the player into an open field – without equipment and property, and the land around is alien. There will be no storyline, not even a friendly parting word, from now on you are on your own. The start-up capital that seemed impressive is melting right before our eyes: a novice farmer must acquire property, build a couple of buildings and acquire a whole fleet of specialized equipment.
From a variety of some cultivators and types of crops, eyes run up. There are more than a hundred models of licensed equipment in Farming Simulator 22, and there are about fifteen available for growing crops. Moreover, each tractor has its own characteristics and purpose, and each plant requires an individual approach and a set of tools. But there is also animal husbandry and logging – completely different, it would seem, activities. So it is better to plan a business plan far ahead and buy strictly for a specific type of activity.
The purchased tractors and sheds will not stand idle, because the fields are constantly in need of maintenance. Cleaning, sowing, plowing, cultivating, spraying, fertilizing, collecting stones and delivering everything in the world – all this can be done with your own hands, personally sitting in the cab of the appropriate machine. Or you can distribute tasks to hired workers in order to focus on management and creating your own production. The management of workers, the construction of buildings and the establishment of production are performed here quite simply and conveniently, so that the player can immediately delve into these processes. It is a pity that everything else will not work out so to speak.
The graphics are far from perfect, but the views are still picturesque.
One of the biggest problems with Farming Simulator 22 is that it believes that the player is not only familiar with the previous installments of the series, but also managed to work in the real field. A short tutorial demonstrates the most basic controls fluently, but does not explain, for example, how to deal with the notorious weeds. How does a farm work in general, how to properly care for crops, how to breed animals and uproot stumps, how a small tractor differs from an average one, and a disc harrow from an active one – answers to these and many other questions are either absent or chaotically scattered across different layers of the not most convenient interface.
At the same time, ignorance of the nuances does not exempt anyone from responsibility: it is as easy as shelling pears to lose crops, money and time due to improper storage, choice of technique or processing method. Learning from your own mistakes is costly and tedious, which is why a novice farmer will be doomed to study guides from external sources. As a result, the first hours in Farming Simulator 22 are like an exam for which the player did not have time to prepare, and even the teacher does not like him. Strawberries dry up, profit falls, and what to do about it is unclear. It remains only to learn the notes and count on retaking.
If you are not thrilled with this screenshot, then Farming Simulator 22 is probably not for you.
Second job simulator
Perhaps the direct gameplay justifies such a high barrier to entry? I would like to, but more likely not than yes. At first, everything looks promising: the locations are large and picturesque, the equipment looks great and moves. Working in the field is surprisingly soothing, and long truck trips bring back fond memories of the Truckers series .
However, after you have processed the first field, the game can be considered more or less completed: there will be nothing new in Farming Simulator 22. Behind the external variety of activities and tools, there are only two mechanics – you either drive slowly across the field, or drive a little faster along the road. Yes, every crop requires a suitable technique, and the land must be plowed, sowed and irrigated, but it all feels exactly the same. It doesn’t matter if your farmer is a pig farmer or runs his own atelier – most of the time you just drive from one point to another one way or another.
Here is such a town we have
This kind of gameplay does not turn into a routine – it is a routine. Moreover, the routine is very long, because plowing a medium-sized field alone can take more than an hour of real time. In theory, the player should give up the tractor to the worker, and he himself should go to expand the business, but even here Farming Simulator 22 has serious problems. The dream of building an agrarian empire quickly turns into a rich crop of bugs and decisions so strange that they too can be mistaken for bugs at first. For example, the purchased supplies constantly disappear for no reason, or, on the contrary, cease to be spent at all, and the time rewind function for some reason speeds up the work of buildings, but does not affect the operation of equipment in any way. Pricing is also quite specific: the cost of raw materials when sold can be ten times higher than the selling price of the finished product, made from the same raw materials. It’s even embarrassing to talk about all sorts of visual trifles, like pedestrians stuck in the geometry or snowdrifts that disappear immediately after a snowfall.
In winter, nothing grows, so the only thing to do is cleaning the snow … which, for some reason, constantly disappears by itself
The same workers who are controlled by AI deserve special mention. Even one field, as a rule, will not do without several mercenaries, and a dozen assistants can participate in a large production. The bad news is that artificial intelligence is insanely primitive. The hired dummies regularly throw out something ridiculous: they miss gigantic uncultivated plots of land, suddenly refuse to work, or freeze dead in front of each other, since they cannot disperse in an open field.
Attempts to play a manager quickly slip into a nanny simulator. Instead of building factories and buying land, the player has to tinker with the colliding tractor drivers, check how much the plowman has cheated and poke the combine operators into a long-ripe crop. Perhaps this is not so far from the responsibilities of the current head of the collective farm, but here, apart from taking care of the workers, the manager has nothing to worry about. By themselves, construction and production were not difficult, so the whole challenge here is solely in the accumulation of funds for a new field or the building of some confectionery.
Get used to this sight – two workers meet in an empty field and do not know what to do with each other
If you were able to cross the unreasonably high threshold for entering Farming Simulator 22, your reward will be monotonous gameplay, poor optimization, awkward interface, dead environment and ubiquitous bugs. Who can you recommend this game? The obvious answer is for someone who loves agriculture very much. After all, what is happening must be really good at conveying the feeling of working in the field. This is a monotonous but meditative activity that can kill you a lot of time.
And judging by the sales of Farming Simulator 22, many people like this kind of entertainment. The series remains popular and popular with the people, despite all the shortcomings – the authors of the game, unfortunately, understand this. The new part of the series does not at all try to attract a new audience and attract the attention of those who are not interested in farming at all. It’s a pity. A good video game can make almost any activity interesting, but Farming Simulator 22 is not one of them.