Review – Farming Simulator 22
If you told me a year ago that I would be reviewing a Farming Simulator game, I would have probably laughed at you. Simulators in general were never my thing, however, my taste has definitely broadened after writing various reviews for a couple years. I have now covered a few different simulators, some more serious like Lawn Mowing Simulator and Hunting Simulator. The there are others that are more silly, like Deeeer Simulator, Wanking Simulator, and Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator. With the more serious simulators I have come to respect them in a way I didn’t think I would, and its made me want to branch out. Farming Simulator has had a long running franchise, it offered a lot of activities, and I figured it had to be one of the top tier sims on the market. I was excited to give Farming Simulator 22 a shot as my first Farming Simulator title.
As I just stated I was excited to try out Farming Simulator 22 because it offered much more than a single focused activity. Other sims I played, like Lawn Mowing Simulator and Rover Mechanic Simulator, both offered a singular activity. While they both did what they were supposed to do well enough, for me it got a bit monotonous. However, Farming Simulator 22 offers a large variety of activities like: cultivating fields, harvesting crops, husbandry, and forestry. Within each of these main activities there is so much to learn and do, and all have their own specific vehicles and tools. Hell, you’ll even need to plan to grow and sell your crops when it is the right season and when the economy of that crop is at its peak.
When you first start up a new save file, you’ll have the option to customize an avatar with some basic looks and clothing. There are a decent amount of options here, and there is even some name brand clothing you can deck yourself out in. Once you created your farmer you’ll have three regions to choose from. Each one offers a different aesthetic and town setup, and they’re each a pretty good size. One cool thing about Farming Simulator 22 is that you can simply buy up any land you want and start building on it.
There are three difficulty options and they seem to only change how much money and possessions you start with and how aggressive is the economy. For instance, the easy mode starts you off with a nice chunk of land with a wide variety of machines, equipment, and even some livestock already provided. It also gives you a bit of spending cash and the economy is very lucrative. The hard mode starts you off with nothing and just a bit of cash to lease a machine to do jobs with.
In Farming Simulator 22, you play how you want. If you just want to help farm other peoples land you can simply accept contracts, do the work, and get paid. Or if you just want to raise livestock, that is perfectly viable. Buy some cows, chickens, pigs, and horses. You can nurture the cows and chickens so they provide milk and eggs and sell them to the local shops also. Keep your other livestock healthy and then sell them for profits, or be a lumberjack and sell your lumber to the local sawmills. The choice is yours and I appreciate that a ton. Each activity comes with its own set of rules, steps, machines, and things you need to learn.
Unfortunately, this brings me to my massive gripe about Farming Simulator 22. As I’ve said, there is a massive amount of things to do and each activity comes with its own complicated steps. What Farming Simulator 22 fails to do is provide you with tutorial resources for these activities. It just drops your ass right into the game and tells you to check out the Farming Simulator Academy for tutorials. This is the beginning of my relationship with Farming Simulator and the Google search bar. I check out this Farming Simulator Academy on Giants Software’s website and turns out even their own tutorial page is largely incomplete. It has the extremely basic tutorials, but nothing once you start getting into the meat of the game.
This lead me to have to search tutorial videos and articles recorded and written by the community. Most of the tutorials I found were based on older versions which didn’t always work. There was enough basic information for me to figure it out, but it was completely frustrating. Every new thing I wanted to do, I had to either stop playing and look up some tutorial, or try and do trial and error with machines and materials I thought would work. The UI is not very intuitive and it does very little to guide you. I think I’ve spent more time on Google than I have actually in the game.
This isn’t the only issue with the title, unfortunately. There are definitely some strange physics at play here, and while I appreciate the depth in adding real weight to these objects, it doesn’t always work out. For example, I was going to pick up some material I ordered from the store with my Telehandler, but I forgot my counterweight on the back. The items I ordered were too heavy so I was tipped forward, which I had to laugh at even if frustrating. However, instead of driving back to get the weight, I found I could still simply drive forward using only the front to wheels and dragging the material along. Steering is also a bit finicky here and doesn’t seem accurate to the machines. It’s really easy to take sharp jagged corners when you just want to slightly veer in a direction. This makes any sort of accurate turn incredibly frustrating.
Luckily, despite the annoyances of having to move away from the game for the tutorials, when you are playing it it’s actually nice to look at. The three regions are varied and have nice setups with their own town and country feel. The seasons and weather are all well realized and rendered. Even the snow will build up which will require plowing. The licensed machines are crafted perfectly after their real life models and even move and operate realistically (besides the steering). The only downside is that up close textures and some animations definitely don’t look great, but that’s mostly from the wildlife and other human AI. The machines all animate wonderfully. There is some draw distance issues, but luckily performance seemed to be fine, no major slow downs or stuttering.
Sound design is unfortunately a bit of a mixed bag. All the licensed machines, much like their visual presentation, sound accurate. The audio for them doesn’t seem very crisp or punchy though. Also, depending on the camera view I couldn’t even hear the machine. Besides that, ambient sounds from chirping birds, wildlife, and passing cars all add nicely to the feel of the farming life. As for the soundtrack, its extremely basic only offering a small selection of your generic songs from a few genres. I absolutely recommend piping in your own soundtrack while it takes you two real hours to plow a field.
If you can stick through the frustrations of being a new player, or if you don’t mind having a second screen for tutorials, Farming Simulator 22 is an enjoyable game. There is plenty here to challenge you and keep you occupied for a long time. The freedom it gives you to live the farming life you want is fantastic and you can go at your own pace. If you want it to be a relaxing experience, that’s fine. If you want to be a farming tycoon and buy up everything, while running multiple business aspects, go for it.
For a large part it’s nicely rendered and models are accurate to the real world counterparts. The character models and draw distance aren’t great though.
The amount of farming activities available and the depth of the sim is huge. However, physics can be wonky and steering unruly.
Sound design is okay, the machines and tools sound fine, but not exactly crisp. And in certain camera modes you can’t even hear the machines. Soundtrack has a small generic list of various genres.
There is so much to do in Farming Sim 22 that you can easily get sucked in. The level of sim depth is impressive, but without a tutorial I found myself on Google more than in the game.
Final Verdict: 6.5
Farming Simulator 22 is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Google Stadia, PC, and Mac.
Reviewed on Xbox Series X.
A copy of Farming Simulator 22 was provided by the publisher.