14. Nov, 2016
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
- PC, Mac
Title: Farming Simulator 17
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (3.5 GB)
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: GIANTS Software GmbH.
Original MSRP: $49.99 (US), €49.99 (EU), £39.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
A copy of the Farming Simulator 17 Premium Edition ($74.99) was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy
Little has changed in the gameplay aspect between Farming Simulator 16 and 17 so anyone who has toiled away on the older iterations will find a familiar experience here. Some minor control tweaks meant I occasionally pressed the wrong button, but it feels much better when you transition from one piece of machinery to the next.
The clever way in which Giants Software has managed to condense a sizeable keyboard control scheme into the DualShock 4 setup still amazes me. By holding one or both of the L and R buttons, you can quickly perform a myriad of actions on the face buttons. This is not a new feature, but it’s definitely more refined.
However, the controls need to be learned. Like mastering combo moves in a fighting game or a song routine in a rhythm title, the controls in Farming Simulator 17 will eventually become second nature. It does help that you have a help panel in the corner of the screen until you know it all by heart.
The tutorial and help menus are slightly better in this year’s edition with some more information and a nicer layout. Sadly, it may feel like a lonely experience for the new farmers that are unaccustomed to the solitary world. You can still find the ignorant NPC’s aimlessly walking around the town oblivious to your actions, like when you try to drive over them with a combine.
You begin the game with some money in the bank, a few tractors, a combine harvester, and one or two other things essential to get you going. With a decent amount of grain in your silos and an eye on the market value, you can make a nice amount of money straight away. In addition, you can also borrow some money from the bank.
You can still employ nameless workers to help tend your crops and they will work tirelessly until their job is complete, for a price. Their infallible work does come in handy when you need several things done at once or you just want the work done while you explore the massive land looking for the one hundred golden nuggets, shooting some hoops, and discovering hidden easter eggs.
You can now pimp your tractors, well, customize a couple of things when buying stuff in the store or pulling up next to it. When choosing a tractor for example you can change the engine size, color, if it has a front loader attachment, and even the type of wheels it has before buying or leasing the machine. Then we have the biggest addition to the game, mods.
All of the PC players and developers at Giants Software can make and release mods for this PlayStation game, as long as they fit into the strict criteria set out for the console version. Therefore, you cannot have some stupendously detailed contraption that will eat away at the large but limited PS4 memory and cause the game to crash.
… the ability to reset things to the farm has now been removed …
The mods you can get are still very impressive. It all looks and acts like anything else you would get in the game. Admittedly though, most of it so far has been made by the developers. I am looking forward to the Crop Destruction Module and some more buildings to improve the look and add another layer of authenticity to this deep simulation game.
For the first time in the series, you can keep pigs along with the usual cows, sheep, and chickens that need feeding and caring for. I veered toward the forestry aspect again as I always found that more fun, but it is nice to see bacon is now on the menu too.
can must commandeer the two trains that patiently wait in the heart of the map, each with their own track that snakes back round to their loading area. A few businesses use them exclusively to accept goods so you will eventually have to make use of them whether you like it or not.
One thing that I took advantage of in the older game, the ability to reset things to the farm, has now been removed. This was a great time-saving way of moving things from the shop to the farm without having to fetch them. Now you can only reset things to the store, which does not help me, unless I accidentally drive something into a river.
The older PlayStation 4 game looked good, but this one has more details and better textures, although it still suffers from the same issues that bothered me the last time. It still has issues such as a noticeable detail drop-off point, indestructible cars and fences, and NPC’s with no meaning or purpose.
I find it more difficult to see the difference in a cultivated and a newly sown field this time when using the small cheap machinery, especially at night. It’s also harder to tell if the mud and budding crops are wet after they have been sprayed with fertilizer. These are not big issues but can be troublesome when you are just starting out with the small cultivator and a large field.
What has improved is the look and feel of the world you inhabit. With the occasional muddy puddle and grain dust clouds, it’s all about the little touches that have been refined and tweaked to make the game better.
You still have the beautiful rainbow of colours washing over the morning and evening sky, the gentle sway of flora in the summer afternoon, and the eerie fog that occasionally creeps in. The rain effect is still somewhat lacking in the realism department but we can’t have everything.
… saying good morning to you as you drive by would be nice …
The addition of in-vehicle radio is a welcome but strange inclusion, seeing as many of us are quite happy to listen to our own music or Spotify while we tend to our land and livestock. There is a good selection of tunes across several genres but I doubt it will get used in my sessions.
The sound effects and ambient noises are the same as the last iteration. It would be nice to have the aimless populace do more than just stroll around the quaint town. Talking on a mobile, chatting with each other in the street, and maybe even saying good morning to you as you drive by would be nice.
Online co-op is back again so we have a place to show off our new female avatars and more than likely, ruin each other’s hard work. When joining a game, you have a list of everyone playing and can ask to join a session, or type a predefined password and jump straight in.
It turns out everyone with open games are very protective of their farms and rejected my requests to join. I opened up one of my saves for online play but without any friends to invite, I was all alone on my farm.
… there is a massive amount of game here …
Farming Simulator 17 builds on the older game with some nice new features. Being able to choose from male or female characters, small tweaks to the menus and controls, the excellent potential of the mods, and new machinery and animals make this a very nice installment.
I always forget how addictive this game becomes. Between striving for superior machinery to better tend your crops and animals, finding the one hundred golden nuggets scattered across the large map, and chopping down the countless trees, there is a massive amount of game here.
* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.