STAFF REVIEW of Farming Simulator 19 (Xbox One)


Wednesday, December 26, 2018.
by Adam Dileva

Farming Simulator 19 Box art Farming Simulator 17 was my first foray into the farming simulation genre. I was completely new to the series, wasn’t sure what to do, how to do it or the proper order to do so. After sinking hours into it, I came to appreciate the realism it tries to capture, as farming in real life is a grueling lifestyle and career, and doing so in a game can be just as challenging sometimes. Sometimes a simulation is just that though, as not all careers make for an entertaining game when the grunt work itself is very monotonous and tedious. At the same time though, there’s something calming and relaxing about plowing, sowing and growing your fields, then selling them for a profit to purchase bigger and better equipment.

Enter Farming Simulator 19, the newest sequel with an onslaught of improvements and upgrades over the previous release, making farming one step closer to its reality counterpart. GIANTS Software is undoubtedly the king in this specific genre, as their Farming Simulator titles are the gold standard when it comes to true simulation gameplay. There are other farming sims on the market, but they are nowhere near in-depth simulation wise, and now with the newest ’19 edition upon us, that lead is even a larger gap versus the competition.

Two large maps are available from the start (and one added since as a mod); one American and European, based on your preference, completely open to your farming preferences, be it wheat, oats, animals and much more. Now, if you’ve played the Farm Sim’s before, you’ll know exactly what to expect for the core gameplay, aside from the newest additions. At its core, it’s essentially the same game as years’ past, so while it won’t do much to entice new non-farming enthusiasts to jump in, fans will surely enjoy the slew of additions and improvements.


So let’s quickly delve into what’s new, as fans will most likely be the ones upgrading from previous year’s versions, as opposed to new players jumping in fresh. First and foremost, the graphics engine and audio has been improved greatly. Nothing ground breaking or ultra-realistic, but a big improvement from ’17 for sure. There’s much more minute detail, as you can actually see corn on the stalks, smaller details in the foliage and certain equipment seems to have much more detail to them, upping the immersion.

Speaking of new equipment, Farming Simulator 19 finally welcomes the John Deere line of agriculture equipment to the game; one of the most recognizable brands in the world. It may not seem like a big deal, but it’s been a notable feature missing for a long time, so it’s great to finally have it included.

Also new is a handful of new crops, like Oats, Cotton, having to lyme fields, taking care of weeds, horses that you can even train to ride, or chickens that you actually need to feed and care for. The latest patch though brought one of the most sizable, and needed, additions to the game in quite some time; Landscaping. Now you’re able to actually modify the ground to either flatten or raise certain areas. Not happy with the hill your crop is on, slowing down your machinery? Level it out! Want to create the perfect farm and pathways around your land? Design it however you like with a handful of different material options like gravel, sand and more. Of course there’s a large cost to doing so, but those that have successful farms can finally personalize and customize their farm to exactly how they want.

Just like in ’17, there is an included tutorial that shows you the basics of farming, something I strongly suggest you do, but just as I complained about in the previous release, it’s still not enough for new players to really grasp all of the mechanics, or why, to become a proper and efficient farmer without a lot of trial and error. There’s a button (well, more accurately, a combination of many buttons) for nearly everything, from turning on the equipment, lights, to maneuvering the arms and attachments. The tutorial gives you the bare minimum of how to utilize the basics, but stops there. I really wish there was not only a more in-depth tutorial that explored more of the mechanics, but how to also setup specific farms.


For example, I wanted to try out log farming, but had no idea how or what equipment I exactly needed. Luckily I have a friend that has literally sunk over a thousand hours into ’17, so he walked me through it, but there really needs to be an option somewhere in the game that at least gives you a checklist of how to start a specific farm with its proper equipment. The same went for my horse farm, as I was unable to figure it out on my own how to properly get started and had to ask for help. All of this information should be located in the game somewhere, but it’s not, which is going to turn new players away, as I know I would have gotten frustrated if I had no one to specifically ask for help.

Career mode gives you three choices from the get go, depending on how proficient, or challenging, you want your farming career to be. You can choose to begin with some money, land and equipment, or basically nothing at all. There’s also a slew of options to further customize your game, allowing you to not have crops wither, having to lyme your crops, game speed and more. From here you’re essentially left to your own to farm what you want, how you want. Learning how to do so properly, efficiently, and most important, profitably, will simply take a lot of hours of trial and error to figure out. Devote the time and learn the intricacies though and you’ll be making tons of cash in no time.

With over 300 pieces of equipment and attachments to utilize, you’re going to have a ton of options at your disposal depending on the type of farming you wish to partake in. You’ll have access to tons of name brands like John Deere, Fendt, New Holland, Krone and a ton of others I’ve never heard of, but appear to be authentic. While I’ve never sat in or used any farming equipment, I can only assume that their authenticity is top notch, else the name brands wouldn’t allow them in the game most likely. Each brand has its own feel, mechanics, sounds and more, so you’re sure to find some favorites (though I always gravitate to the cheaper ones).

Once you have a handful of equipment, you’ll be able to instantly swap from one to another instantly with a press of a button, which I found incredibly useful for getting around the map quickly when needed. You’re even able to ride and control the train that travels around and throughout the map, utilizing it to transport goods should you wish.


Where the farming starts to become interesting, and much more enjoyable, is when you can gather a few friends together and working cooperatively on the same farm. Now a group of friends can get together online, have their own bank rolls and farms, or work collectively on one person’s farm together. If I was destined to play alone, I would have given up long ago from the monotony, but farming with a buddy, getting orders of what to do and where, was much more enjoyable, working alongside one another in tandem.

While mods aren’t new for the Farm Sim series, they are included here as well. Be that ’19 is brand new, there isn’t many mods released yet aside from some new equipment and pieces that add a bit more flair to the gameplay. What’s missing is a mod to allow for infinite money (even if it disables achievements), Seasons, and a bunch of other quality of life mods. My biggest pet peeve is that when you join a friend’s multiplayer farm and they have mods enabled, it won’t let you join without those mods installed, which I understand, but it doesn’t give you an option to directly download which are missing, or offer a 'download all' option.

Even though a slew of improvements and additions have been included in ’19, it’s still very inaccessible for new players. That’s not to say that Farming Simulator 19 is ‘bad’; far from it, but it’s lacking some hand holding and focus in the beginning for new players and the not-so hardcore sim genre fans. I initially scoffed at the idea that farming could be fun, but there’s a certain calmness and Zen that accompanies the gameplay, once you’ve figured out the controls and mechanics after many hours through trial and error.

Even though Farming Simulator 19 isn’t very newbie friendly, it’s unmatched in its core appeal for being the most thorough simulation on the market, even if the learning curve is extremely steep. It’s hard to recommend for newcomers that only want to play casually, but for previous fans of the series and genre, there’s no better currently available.




Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10

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