Farming Simulator 19 Review (PC)
Every once in a while we just want to sit down, switch our brains off and get lost in a video game. Simulators are ideal for this and Farming Simulator 19 is here to let us plough our days away.
Farming Simulator 17 was by all accounts a great game, and GIANTS Software have spent the last two years well on making Farming Simulator 19 an even better one.
Another year, another Farming Simulator?
Actually, GIANTS Software have an interesting release model. So many games companies are now bringing out an updated game in their franchise year on year, particularly when it comes to sports and simulation games. GIANTS do something a little different with Farming Simulator though. Every odd year a PC and console game is released, Farming Simulator 19 included. On the even years, they release a mobile and handheld version.
This allows them to focus on producing a quality product without the series becoming stagnant. Farming Simulator 19 offers a host of new features over its predecessor, along with having a substantial visual upgrade.
Life on the Farm
Life on the farm is always a challenge, and Farming Simulator 19 brings you that challenge in one of three formats.
New Farmer mode is the recommended starting point. This will set you up with some pre-purchased land and machines, with a little money in the bank and some crops already in your Silos.
Farm Manager mode is more of a challenge and recommended if you are familiar with the game. You won’t start with any land or machines, but a big fat bank balance to spend on what you wish.
Start from scratch mode is the hardest of the setups. You start this mode with no land, vehicles or buildings, and very little funds. This mode forces you more into doing contracts to get you started up as you’ll only be able to afford a small plot of land to begin with. On the other hand, it does allow you the freedom to start and build up anywhere on the map. Hiring vehicles rather than purchasing them is also advisable.
But which Farm?
Farming Simulator 19 comes with two maps, Ravenport and Felsbrunn.
Ravenport is your typical America style map, with some seriously large fields. There’s not much in the way of difficult terrain around the fields, and most of the selling points are in one place, making this a good map for trying out first.
Felsbrunn is supposedly based more around Germany. The landscape is a lot more undulating here, and the fields are a lot smaller and irregularly shaped. The largest field on Felsbrunn is only a third of the size of the one on Ravenport. However, that means that there are also seven extra fields in Felsbrunn. Oh, and a pretty sweet looking castle.
A whole new world
Whichever map you look at, they look beautiful. What’s most noticeable is how much more variation there is in the terrain. Both maps range from the mountains down to the coastal edges.
OK, most of the fields in Ravenport are square at least, but they often crest a hill or have some sort of slope to them. Felsbrunn has even more variety, with fields crammed any way they will fit into the space.
But you’re also no longer confined by the layout of the map. The biggest addition to Farming Simulator 19 in terms of features is the terrain tools. These tools allow you to redefine areas of the map, not just in terms of gradient, but with a wide range of paint tools you can redesign your entire farm landscape.
The tool is not completely infallible though. There is no undo, which would be a major improvement. Particularly when it doesn’t show you how much your changes are going to cost you, and charges you immediately when you click the mouse button. It even charges you for painting the terrain with the same texture that is currently under the paintbrush. It’s a costly business, and not one you’ll want to undertake in the early stages of your farm.
Tending to the herd
And those tools are going to come in particular use when it comes to animals. The maps in Farming Simulator 17 had fixed positions for chickens, cows, pigs and sheep. Farming Simulator 19 adds animal pens as placeables. This allows you to purchase and position pens where-ever you like on the map. There’s also small and large options for each type.
Furthermore, Farming Simulator 19 also adds Horses into the mix. Horses not only need to be fed and watered like all other animals, but they need to be ridden daily too. Heading into the horse pen you can jump on one of your horses and take it for a ride around the countryside. The idea is that you are raising race horses, so the daily exercise is crucial in raising their endurance and their price for when it’s time to sell them.
The horses are a neat addition to the game. Not only because it’s a new animal to look after, but because it also adds this riding “mini-game”, giving you something to do while you wait for crops to ripen.
Always about the machines
I say it everytime I review one of these games. Simulator games are always about playing with toys that you probably won’t otherwise get to experience in your life. Though I do know of a few actual farmers that like to play Farming Simulator 19 too!
In that vein, one of the most crucial parts of a simulator is how well the tools and machines of the trade are represented in game. Farming Simulator 19 comes with a host of the latest machinery out there. And each one comes with a heavy graphical update compared to Farming Simulator 17. The cabs are a lot nicer, down to small details such as the pedals responding to your input. Exteriors are shiner and more detailed, with a new particle effect for exhaust fumes. The audio too is spot on.
The Farming industry is booming
Farming Simulator 19 is by far the best farming sim out there. The new games modes add extra challenges to keep veteran players engaged. The addition of horses actually adds more to the gameplay than you would expect. And the landscaping tools and new placeables give you a much greater level of creativity than ever before.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some hay to make in order to feed my cows.
9 fields ploughed out of 10