In recent years, simulators have grown from being crappy trash games to the role of full-fledged and respected titles in our industry, a great example of which is the Farming Simulator brand – the authors started quite modestly, and today literally hundreds of thousands of players from around the world rush to their title. After a long hiatus, the series returns in a completely new version on desktop consoles and PCs, but was the extra year of waiting worth it?
Farming Simulator 22 – gameplay
The answer to this question is quite complicated, because opinions can be really divided here, and in fact both sides of the barricade are right in this case. At first glance, in addition to the graphics and a few new elements, Farming Simulator 22 is practically no different from its predecessor a few years ago, but on the other hand, the longer you sit with this game, the more you put your heart and your precious time into it, the more you will begin to appreciate it. Giants Software has created a production for true fans of its brand and it is they who will notice the most positive changes in it.
The first novelty that we encounter when interacting with the new Farming is a fairly advanced character creator, allowing us to choose our physical appearance and various garments, where we can reach for ordinary clothes or branded ones – Giants cooperates with many companies. This is the first time we can adapt an avatar to our needs in such an advanced way, so the developers did a really good job – although I sense that in the future we will be flooded with hundreds of DLCs with new trinkets. Then we can start the fun on one of the three maps released for the premiere – the typically American Elmcreek, stylized on the French villages and vineyards of Haut-Beyleron, and the mountain Erlengrat. Each of them has slightly different characteristics in terms of the architecture of the area, the distribution of shops and the like, but largely on each of them you can run the farm of your dreams without any restrictions.
Unfortunately, here I was very disappointed, because as in the previous installments, the world around us is simply dramatically empty, dead and so bland. It is true that now along the route we will visit gas stations, we will see a few passers-by in the town, but this is definitely not enough. How am I supposed to feel the game 100%, if I am constantly distracted by the fact that I live in a post-apocalyptic world where 99% of the world’s population has died out? Seriously, even the traffic, there is only 1 encountered car for the entire round on the big map. What’s worse, you still can’t enter any of the buildings, so we won’t sleep in a nice house or visit the bakery we run. I’m not saying that you have to go everywhere with shoes right away, but it would be nice to be able to visit at least a few of the most important points on the map. The passers-by themselves are still ordinary walking mannequins, unable to do anything else.
Farming Simulator 22 – crops and animals
Okay, let’s not get over it so much – you know, it’s a side element of the game, but really, after 13 years, they could do it nicely. So let’s go back to what is most important – our crops and animal husbandry, because it is in this respect that Farming Simulator 22, reviewed today, shines the most. The Giants Software team has added a few new plants that we can plant and cultivate, and thus the game has also been joined by a whole range of fresh equipment dedicated to such attractions. Among the novelties, therefore, we can find grapes, olives and a plant known as sorghum, which you have probably never heard of in your life. Thanks to them, you will be able to produce grape juice (no, wine cannot be made – it probably results from the PEGI, ESRB rating, etc.), raisins, good quality olive oil and a slightly nicer flour.
Unfortunately, the remaining plants have not been added to the game so far, so modders will have to deal with such carrots or other celuba, and as we well know, Farming Simulator is famous for its excellent modifications made by the constantly growing community. A completely new approach to the subject of animals is also a big plus, because after all, they are implemented at a very decent and high level – we have realistic hens with roosters, cows, horses, sheep, pigs, and even completely new to the series of bees! So, if you want to open a huge apiary, you have this opportunity from now on. In addition, even wild fauna in the form of deer running here and there was even tempted.
As I mentioned, if you sit down to the production of Giants Software for a few hours, you may not notice significant changes, but the further you go into the forest, the more interesting news. It turns out that in the end, as part of the basic version of the game, and not the DLC as it was in FS19, we got the full annual cycle of seasons, and thus our crops can be adjusted to the prevailing weather, a specific month and weather conditions. Some plants can only be planted in summer, others in autumn, and so on.
Farming Simulator 22 – production networks
Here we go to another very interesting novelty in the Farming reviewed today, which is the system of production networks. What is it about? From now on, instead of playing middlemen, we can set up a self-sufficient factory of various materials and consumer goods. Take a bakery for example. When creating our farm, we focus on the production of grain, the grains of which we store in silos. From these silos, we take our crops and take them to our own flour mill – the building provides us with thousands of liters of white powder over time, and we continue to transport it to the bakery, which in turn produces bread. With ready-made bread, we can go out into the world and sell them at a high price, for example in a local grocery store. The same rules apply to the production of cakes, breakfast cereals, grape juice, wood for furniture, oil or even biogas. It is quite an expensive investment, but it will pay off after a while, so don’t be afraid to experiment and create your own agricultural empires.
If you want to automate this process, you can hire so-called helpers who, controlled by a simple artificial intelligence system, will take care of the entire transport for us – from the mill to the bakery and from the bakery to the store. We will earn a little less then, but the whole thing will be perfectly automated. Driving alone on the created maps is not as fun as it should and transporting goods can end up with our considerable frustration. I regret that since the last Farming Simulator 19 the driving model of machines other than tractors or combines has not been improved. The pickups or forklifts made available for our use seem to be light as a feather and any sharper maneuver on the road is enough, and the vehicle will fly like Hot Wheels kicked by a furious kid. If you are curious how absurd the situation can get out of this, you can check out our gallery or see an example of a video I was able to register.
Summing up, Farming Simulator 22 is really a very big step forward compared to the last Farming 19, although it still lacks many cuts in areas not related to clean farming and animal husbandry. It would be nice to finally experience a living, interactive world where you could immerse yourself for hundreds, if not thousands of hours, because how much can you live by just plowing the field, right?