I must admit that we were intrigued by the Farming Simulator 2013 game that hit the charts this week. Even as a lover of simulation games, this seemed a fairly shaky, mundane, and dull proposition. We suspect that even farmers probably wouldn’t want to spend their spare time tending crops and buying tractors. It turns out that this is actually the latest in a long series of Farming Simulator titles and one of a surprisingly large niche of games. More surprisingly, though, is the fact that it is actually a solid game, although it does have a few negative points.
Arguably the greatest point of Farming Simulator 2013 is just how laser targeted the simulation is. There is no divergence and no straying from the point. This is, first and foremost, a business simulator rather than a farming simulator. This means that you won’t be developing innovative farming techniques or genetically modifying crop DNA strands but you will be choosing from a massive selection of tractors and other equipment, while attempting to grow as much as possible and sell it for as great a profit as possible.
However, the lack of a goal may put a lot of people off. There are no missions per se, and no career type mode. You play through the game looking to generate the biggest profit you possibly can every single year. Fortunately, the addictive gameplay and the mass of vehicle upgrades, plot purchases, and other features do ensure that while the game is effectively goalless it is not lacking in fun and entertainment.
The lack of mission style play means that there is nothing even remotely resembling a learning curve either. It’s as though the game manufacturers have decided the only people that will play this game will have played the last one in the series, unsurprisingly titled Farming Simulator 2012. You learn on the fly but the game’s overly forgiving nature means that it really doesn’t matter if you get things wrong because you won’t be punished for your failures.
Even in multiplayer, the focus is very much on degrees of success rather than avoiding failure. You don’t compete; rather, a host can take their farm online and up to nine other players can jump in and help to manage the farm, perform daily tasks, and ensure that your crops and your bank balance both grow sizeable over the duration of the game.
All in all, Farming Simulator 2013 is a surprisingly enjoyable game but the fact that you can’t fail and there are no competitive or even tutorial elements will cause some to lose interest quickly.