Farming Simulator 18 is a game that found it’s way to the existential surface of my ethereal wooden desk as a curiosity of sorts. I have been pretty fascinated with the adoration the series, and occupation or job simulators in general have received over the last few years by what seems to be a fairly sizable gamer demographic (I’m not exactly certain of who makes up this particular demographic, but it is definitely in existence). So, I thought I would step outside my comfort zone and give this, the latest entry in the long running Farming Simulator series, some attention and see what the appeal for such things is.
There isn’t really a story per se in Farming Simulator 18. Instead, it’s the “craft your own tale” sort of game, meaning that you are creating an experience for yourself via your actions. That said, this category definitely shall remain unscored as it isn’t relevant to the experience outside of the subjective nature of running your own farm being a story in and of itself.
I found the gameplay in Farming Simulator 18 to be exactly what I expected. You literally will use farming vehicles and machines to till, sow, and plant crops, transport goods for storage or sale, deal with livestock and so on. You use the proceeds from your sales to buy better equipment (vehicles and machines). The equipment are all recreations of actual, real life farming equipment, including some major brands such as Fendt, JCB, Valtra, and Massey Ferguson.
The actual gameplay is quite slow paced, but definitely serviceable. In my estimation, everything handled just as I imagine their real life counterparts would. Everything from driving speeds to turn radius seems to have been taken into account here. In fact, I would say realism was very much of primary importance to GIANTS Software.
The open world aspect of this game is actually pretty decent. This isn’t the largest open world sandbox you will play in, but it’s large enough to provide plenty of variety overall.
So, those are all positives by my mind. If you are hoping to experience life as a farmer, this game does that. However, for me, the gameplay was so slow paced and boring that I literally fell asleep a couple times while playing it (I’m not exaggerating either. It lulled me to sleep on a couple occasions). Now, I take full responsibility for that turn of events. It turns out video game farming just couldn’t hold my attention.
All told, balancing realism and expectation against expectation, I would actually rate this aspect of the game as an 7.5 out of 10 despite my own ambivalence towards the topic matter. The gameplay is actually effective. You just need to be willing to take on the slow pace of farm life to appreciate it.
The graphics in Farming Simulator 18 are honestly pretty sub par. I think for a mobile game, they could be considered decent, but for a AA priced game on console, it’s not great at all. Everything is serviceable, but these are definitely graphics similar to the industry standard 15-20 years ago (or longer even). If this had released on the Playstation 2 for example, you would still feel like the graphics were dated.
3 out of 10. Although they aren’t terrible, I expect far more from a Generation 8 release.
The audio in Farming Simulator 18 is not really memorable overall. It sounds like a farming community and the vehicles definitely sound authentic, but outside of that, I find myself hard pressed to really remember what I heard in this game.
6 out of 10
Farming Simulator 18 wasn’t an experience I was personally enamored of, but it is definitely exactly what I expected it to be going in. In fact, despite my overall ambivalence towards it, I still find myself strangely drawn to the notion of building up my farm and getting that next awesome tractor. I have this strange notion that if I keep at it, the secret to the life, the universe, and everything will reveal itself. I know the answer already (42), but what is the question?!?
Know what you are getting into when you buy this. If you are looking for a slow paced, serene experience that will perhaps teach you a thing or two about farming, you will likely rate this more highly than I have, and this game will definitely be a must own for you. However, the price in my opinion is way too high for the console and PC versions ($29.99 for the Vita version all the way up to $49.99 for the PS4/Xbox One versions). In contrast, the $4.99 price point for the Mobile version seems more in line with what I would value the game at on any platform.
For me, this was a 5.5 out of 10. I do understand that people who love these games will probably take offense at my rating, but this was my experience with the game. Cheers.