Listen up, city-folk. Have you ever wanted to run away from it all? Grown tired of exhaust clouds and randos coming within a one-foot radius of your body? Sat in stranger piss one too many times on the subway? Make your dreams of owning a small amount of land in a strange Russian agricultural district come true. Try Farming Simulator 17. Check out the amazing trailer here.
“But, Jess,” you say, “I haven’t tried Farming Simulator 1 through 16.” That’s okay. I haven’t either. In fact, despite the incredibly misleading name, Farming Simulator has only been around from 2013 on. What they did in the olden days to recreate farming is anyone’s guess, but today you can buy the sleek, sexy, and immersive experience of owning your own farm and living out the American Dream for the low, low price of $34.99. They got Challenger. They got Fendt. They got a bunch of other farming equipment I have never heard of in my life. You can own land (a distant millennial dream), breed your own livestock (now with pigs!), and basically do anything you think farming would consist of – AND MORE.
Farming Simulator 17 begins your game with the choice of either Russian land or American – and dammit, I might be a patriot, but sad Russian farmers just sounded right to me. Then you choose between white, land-owning male or white land-owning female – with customizable flannel colors. I decided to go with the dude, and name him Boybean. He wears red exclusively, likes long rides on various farming tools, and gave up his dream of being a DJ to pursue a lucrative career in the farming industry.
Boybean spawns in front of a dusty silo, with some shiny new attachments in front of him. You begin the game with $50,000 in debt – without all the fun of college. While that might seem like an incredible amount, especially since your initial harvest nets you around 5-7k, you quickly learn that you can fast-travel around the map and find lucrative timed missions that help introduce you to farming basics. I highly suggest the tutorial on this game, as when you open the menu, you are greeted by an intense amount of information – which field is in what stage of growth, the current market prices of your crops (which you can apparently manipulate), how many hectares of fertilizer you’ve pumped out, and a quick guide for complete farming idiots (like myself).
Since I went through the tutorial at lightning speed, and only after I completely destroyed a field of mine and failed a few missions, I retained very little other than calling the biggest tractor thing a “combine.” However, if you are a more serious person, and would like to genuinely learn a little bit more about the agricultural industry, I can only imagine that this game would not only provide you a fascinating insight into the basics, but give you a good idea of the real deal. I am not a serious person, and thusly, I tried to jump the river in my tractor on the first go, despite all warnings. To be fair, I very quickly learned the first lesson of Farming Simulator 17. Don’t try and jump things.
The second lesson was: exploit your neighbors. I managed to get out of debt on the first day with the missions on nearby fields, and make a ridiculous amount of money. All the missions provide you with the equipment you need right off the bat, and all you need to do is drive straight lines through the field – for up to 40 minutes at a time. This is more difficult than it sounds, both in the area of patience, and in the intense turning radii of all the machines. There are multiple radio stations that you can access to help make the time go by faster, including connections to internet radio – but I truly preferred the in-game stations, as they just seemed to fit.
(This is a video of Boybean in his natural habitat.)
Once you get out of debt and have sprayed your fair share of shit all over the map, you realize you can do anything you want – and instantly continue doing the missions. For a farming simulator, the graphics are also quite pretty. At the start of each mission, I would grow frustrated at the slow, slow, my god, so slow pace of the equipment – but over time I grew to actually enjoy that part of it, and reach a sort of zen state. “Yeah,” I’d say to myself, “I bet this is what real farming is like, but less smelly.”
I honestly did not expect to have an amazing time with Farming Simulator 17. I thought I’d simply start a game without reading or watching anything remotely instructive, run my farm straight into the ground, and stand around toasting marshmallows over the flames while laughing as my farmer shed a single, manly tear. But I actually grew to love this game as my own little zen garden. While I didn’t get as far as I would have liked (next stop: animals), Boybean and I bonded over hours spent harvestin’ and listenin’ to the radio. We laughed. We cried. We sprayed over 31,000 litres of fertilizer and had a great time doing it.
I would give this game a solid 7 cornfield-dicks out of 10. In summation, Farming Simulator 17: surprisingly enjoyable, despite my attempts to ruin everything.
Thank you very much to Focus Home Interactive for providing this game to me, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. As with all our reviews, we do not provide positive reviews for games unless they are earned through excellent game play – here is our ethics policy in more explicit detail.