I don’t know much about farming. The closest I ever got was making a lima bean sprout in a cup back in the 3rd grade. I’m about as far from a farmer as you can get. So, when I was told I would be reviewing Farming Simulator 2013 on the PS3, I was a little taken back. The only experience I have with the series is a popular video that features game play from the game set to Skrillex’s “Bangarang.” Of course, as always, I will give everything a shot at least once. Somehow I dropped a good ten hours into it and have no idea where the time went. Allow me to discuss my endeavors.
Farming Simulator 2013 is more of a business simulator that revolves around the farming industry. I spent almost as much time going through menus checking demands on certain crops and looking to see how my capital gains are against my overall spending. To begin with, it was all very daunting, but after taking time to look at everything, it became a complex flow that I started to understand.
Starting off, it has multiple tutorials that show exactly how to control and use all the farming equipment. This took around 30 minutes to complete, but then the real learning begins. The tutorials only show off how to control the equipment. There is no tutorial for the business management. In fact, in the first 45 minutes of playing, I took it as this was just a farming game. When I started a new game, it dropped me off at my farm and said “go.” It was then that I noticed the area was gigantic and I only knew of a few things to do. So I begin cultivating, sowing seeds and harvesting crops.
Then a mission popped up. It wanted me to carry some things using a tractor and front loader to another spot on the map. I had no idea this was in here. It just popped up. Well, I had a tractor, and I could purchase a front loader with ease using the money I had earned selling crops. So I accepted the mission. Afterwards, I was given some extra cash for the job. Granted, after buying the front loader, it wasn’t much gained, but it was a start, and now I have a front loader that I can use whenever. Pretty soon, I was doing more and more jobs and making more and more money.
The jobs are just the beginning. After gaining a good amount of money, I purchased a few more fields to expand my farm. I was also buying new equipment to make the tending of the fields go by even faster and more efficiently. Then I started hiring workers to do some of the work for me while expanded yet again. I was able to set them up with certain objectives and have them automatically do other things when finished. Then I noticed that five hours had passed and I had no idea how that had happened.
That’s the big thing about Farming Simulator 2013. It was hypnotizing. I can’t really explain it. Much like how I play Civilization. “Just one more turn” turns into “Just one more job” in Farming Sim. Now, it’s not all sugar and rainbows. There are a few rather large problems I had while playing and after doing my research on the series, something that has been left out that could have made this a more improved experience.
First, the game is ugly. Yes, let’s just go ahead and get it out there. There’s no denying the fact that the visuals are nothing special. I mean, some of this stuff looks like early PS2 at best. While the models for the equipment look decent, the foliage and ground textures (stuff I was looking at for hours at a time) looked flat and blurry. It can be jarring to begin with.
Secondly, as I stated above, the tutorials got me ready to move and control my farming equipment, but it never introduced me to the management of my farm and money spending. With the exception of a few written tutorials spread around the map, it was up to me to figure most of it out. Some things like what some of the symbols on the PDA’s GPS represent and what kind of crops I was picking up were confusing since there is no legend to go along with the symbols. I didn’t know that was the symbol for canola. Well, I needed barley. Great.
Finally, the biggest let down that I didn’t even know was a letdown until I looked up the series is the fact that the PS3 version lacks multiplayer. Now, that may sound ridiculous to have multiplayer in a game like this, but after hearing about how it works and what can be done through the system, it’s sad to see the PS3 version is lacking it. Having someone else helping me out with my farm would have assisted me tremendously.
Farming Simulator 2013 is a mixed bag. It works in the most standard levels and it can be a very addictive game IF you allow it to be. The problem is, the tutorials and explanations are really barebones when looked at from the larger scale. It is a game that took me about three hours to figure out, and even then, there were still a few things that I didn’t understand. I may have had a decent time with it, but that may have been because I was patient with it. Unfortunately, I think even simulator and business management fans may have a difficult time getting into this. There’s a lot of trial and error and guessing to be done before getting into the bulk of Farming Simulator 2013, and with a price of 30 dollars, it may be too much for a game that is rather confusing in the first few hours of play.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.