Farming Simulator 22 Review: Clever and Faithful but few Thrills to rave about

SHARE
share to other networks share to twitter share to facebook

I'm not quite sure why, but it appears that whenever a brand new simulator game hits the market, it's my task to review it. Having taken a look at the surprisingly entertaining Lawn Mowing Simulator earlier this year, I now turn my attention to Farming Simulator 22.

This latest release in an already incredibly popular franchise looks to crank up the micromanagement and produce another hit like previous titles that even managed to create its very own esports league.

Does Farming Simulator 22 live up to the hype and continue the franchises strong performances or will it fall short with how far it can truly take agriculture in the video game world?

Advertisement

Table of Contents

Business First

First and foremost, when playing Farming Simulator 22, you're running a business. No matter the challenge or difficulty you choose, the goals are clear. Maintain and thrive in the cutthroat world of farming ensuring that you stay financially healthy while growing your portfolio of equipment, land and sellable goods.

I'm not going to lie, this series is one that I've intentionally steered clear of fearing that it requires too much time and energy to complete even the most basic of tasks. After clearing the initial tutorial it became abundantly clear that this isn't the case. I can't speak for previous games in the series, but Farming Simulator 22 creates a world where you can achieve a lot in a very short amount of time but can be a little repetitive.

farming simulator controls
click to enlarge
+ 5
Gameplay is smooth and controls are simple whether using a controller or keyboard & mouse
Advertisement

Naturally, when you first start, there can be a lot of waiting around for crops to grow but you can increase how quickly time passes while also opting to sleep your way through each month to speed up the process.

My only issue with the initial tutorial is the fact that it doesn't go far enough in teaching new players what the long term goals and aspirations should be. Yes, it teaches you how to use the primary vehicle types, sow and harvest crops and even take your goods to the farmers market but it stops there.

I struggled for motivation upon opening the in-game menu to see that contracts existed. Are these here for me to use as a goal to work towards? I also saw that animal farming would eventually become an option. Why did the tutorial teach me the bare minimum when there appears to be so much more to the game? I've never been a fan of having to seek out additional help or tutorials in games especially when there is so much content to enjoy. I had the very same problem with Age of Empires 4.

Escape the Simulation

It has to be said that games throwing Simulator in their title is nothing new but with Farming SImulator 22, it feels well deserved. Its initial character customization was also a welcome surprise as it offered a fair bit of depth considering the type of game this is. The addition of branded wares was also quite cool but I have to admit to recognizing only 2 or 3 of them.

farming simulator player customization
click to enlarge
+ 5
Customization is very respectable for a sim game

When I approach simulator games, I want to get the feeling that as much thought as possible has gone into creating the gameplay loop while being incredibly faithful to the tasks/goals I'm trying to achieve. Yeah, that may seem a little contradictory but at the end of the day, these games are often taking mundane or unexciting tasks and trying to gamify them.

This sometimes means that there are tasks that feel uneventful or even like a bit of a grind, but I want them included the give that true simulation feel. A good example of this comes from Lawn Mowing Simulator when you must check each area before you start a job just in case there are objects in the way. This could easily have been looked over for the sake of getting to the action quicker but it's much more true to life having us do this before each job.

Advertisement

Naturally, shortcuts can be provided to take the truly boring parts of the game as long as they don't destroy the integrity of the overall game.

farming simulator contracts
click to enlarge
+ 5
Contracts give you goals to work towards in various disciplines

The best example I can provide of this is the ability to teleport between vehicles in Farming Simulator 22. Of course, it's not realistic - or at least, not until we discover the technology - but it prevents a lot of on-foot walking about between objectives. The game doesn't force you to use this travel method and you can play it straight if you want to be a purist. Having both options available is incredibly accomodating to all player types.

Advertisement

Overall the feel of the game is very fluid. I can imagine that if you want to play this game as a hardcore sim or roleplaying experience, you can do just that and be satisfied with the results. However, if you're looking to make the most of your time with the game and accept every shortcut offered to you, nothing is taken away or lost in the process.

Green Fingered Fury

As much as I enjoyed my first few hours with Farming Simulator 22, it became clear very quickly that it wasn't for me in the long term. When looking at where the game may eventually take me in terms of land ownership, additional equipment, crops and animals, there was just nothing I could see that made me feel like I had to keep playing.

The comparison I had in my head throughout is with PC Building Simulator. Yes, it's a much more compact experience and certainly centres around a much different topic, but how they handle the career mode aspect in that game is miles better.

farming simulator crop calendar
click to enlarge
+ 5
The Crop Calendar will let you know when certain resources can be sown and harvested

Having jobs come in and having to determine whether or not I had the capacity to take them on and complete them within the given timeframe was much more of a driven experience than just mindlessly taking on various farming contracts.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the lack of drive the game gives me. Perhaps it's just down to my preference when it comes to simulator games in that I like to have some direction even if it's just a few goals or an endgame to work towards.

No Fun, No Thrills

Advertisement

Ultimately, despite all of positives I can identify within Farming Simulator 22, the biggest problem I encountered was that the game just isn't fun. It's painful to say because during my initial few hours I had all the hope in the world that it would win me over.

farming simulator unloading crops
click to enlarge
+ 5
After a few hours, the shine can ware off when performing the smaller tasks
Advertisement

I'm a fan of simulation games but they are frequently balanced in a way that presents the hardcore sim with the right about of 'gamification'. Farming Simulator 22 doesn't offer this side of things meaning unless you're looking for a fairly straightforward farming sim with no thrills, this probably isn't for you.

Verdict

While I can appreciate how Farming Simulator 22 is the perfect game for a very niche crowd, it just didn't have the long term appeal to keep me engaged. I love the hardcore sim aspects that it builds its game around but after a really short amount of time, I'm left asking where the motivation is to continue playing.

It's always tough when you can see the potential within a game but it just doesn't quite land (with me, at least). Developer Giants Software has created something that their audience will probably fall in love with, but don't expect it to be the wide appealing hit that other sim games (Powerwash, Lawn Mowing) have become.

RealSport Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5.

Our PC review code for Farming Simulator 22 was provided by Giants Software