Review – Farming Simulator 23
After somewhat enjoying the depth and vast options in Farming Simulator 22 for the first time, I will admit I was interested to see if Farming Simulator 23 would advance and possibly fix the issues I had with the previous installment. However, I then saw that this release was only for Nintendo Switch and mobile so I decided to scale back my expectations a bit. Being only mobile is certainly going to scale down graphics and performance and certainly some scope, but I wasn’t expecting by how much.
If you’re new to Farming Simulator, then I encourage you to go read my review for Farming Simulator 22; I go more in depth into the systems and gameplay. If you’re familiar with the IP already, I’m just going to provide my thoughts on the changes made to this version.
As I mentioned above, this version was made only for mobile and the Nintendo Switch, so there is quite a lot that has been streamlined. However, Farming Simulator 23 still retains the core gameplay and features from the last iteration, just with less options and certain features. You’re still going to need to set up your crops by plowing, sowing, planting, fertilizing, cultivating, and then harvesting. Planning to harvest your crops for the right time of year for maximum reward is still the main gameplay meta for income. Also, all of the crops are still here as well as being able to own cows, horses, chickens, and pigs.
While all this may sound like the same thing you’ve been doing, the key differences are in the small, but important details. When you first start you only have two map choices, and no longer can decide how difficult you want your farming journey to begin. Before, you could decide if you wanted to start with some equipment, land, and money. Or just start with nothing and work your way up. Now you start with land, silos, four of your main base machines for crops, three fields, chickens, and $100k in cash. This isn’t a huge deal, but if you are someone who loved that idea of starting from nothing, you won’t have that here.
Another major change to the gameplay is that you can no longer accept contracts from other farmers to earn extra money. One of the things I would do often in Farming Sim 22 between harvest would work on other farms to earn money. This lead to continued gameplay and income. Without that, and only having your crops to be able to earn money, means progress in buying new machines, equipment, or livestock is put on hold until you can harvest enough crops to sell. You can still hire AI workers to do various chores for you to speed up the process, but the AI seems way worse in this one. Often I would find them getting stuck trying to straighten out for their next pass with the machine. Then, quite a few times, I caught them in a completely different field that I didn’t even own.
Speaking of the money meta game and building your fleet of farming equipment, you can no longer get loans or rent equipment. It was so nice being able to simply rent a machine to harvest another farmers crops to earn money, but didn’t want to buy it because you didn’t need it for your own. Or being able to take a loan to buy that massive $500k harvester you want to upgrade to without needing to wait for multiple harvests to be able to purchase.
Another facet that allowed Farming Simulator 22 to be a true sim was allowing you to fully customize your own farms. You were able to pick land, build your home, purchase barns, silos, gas tanks etc. You had full control of where to setup fences, and all locations of your buildings. This has all been stripped from Farming Simulator 23 and you are only able to purchase additional fields and livestock. You can’t build additional areas for your livestock or organize your buildings and silos how you want.
All of these limitations on gameplay really make it feel like a big step back from its predecessor. Things like making the physics easier, and streamlining some of the processes, I can understand are decisions to make the mobile versions more accessible. However, removing economy options like renting, loans, and game customization make me feel like this is far lesser of a product.
Obviously, being focused on mobile and the Nintendo Switch there is going to be a large downgrade in visuals. While I can understand the limitations of playing this on a six inch phone screen, I’m playing on the Switch plugged into my big screen. These visuals are bad. Draw distance is horrendous, with multiple distances of level of detail loading in just a few feet from you. This creates a visual wave of terrible textures loading in just a few feet away. Then the total draw distance seems like it’s less than a hundred yards from you where crops don’t even load in at all. On top of that, the framerate still continues to struggle.
Sound design is forgettable because there really isn’t much to it. There is no soundtrack during gameplay at all, not even some light generic elevator music to play in the background. It wouldn’t be as bad if there was any decent ambient sound design of birds and wildlife buzzing around. However, like Farming Simulator 22, the sound design for the various tractors and equipment are well done.
Farming Simulator 23 was clearly made for mobile in mind for the good, but mostly bad. While I can accept cut backs in complex physics and streamlined processes to make playing on a phone easier. Removing a ton of the customization and economy options I don’t feel is worth that trade. If you’re looking for a very basic farming simulator to where you just want to harvest crops and not have anything deeper, I guess this could be for you. However, I’d rather just stick to Farming Simulator 22 for the far superior version.
Draw distance is very bad with terrible level of detail and full object pop-ins. Framerate is rough also.
General gameplay is solid and functions well, but its lack of physics is noticeable.
Sound design is basic with the vehicles sounding okay, but the lack of soundtrack is noticeable.
A completely stripped down version of Farming Simulator 22 with less options and less gameplay than before.
Final Verdict: 4.5
Faming Simulator 23 is available now on Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
A copy of Farming Simulator 23 was provided by the publisher.