Review: Farming Simulator 14

A load of crop.

By Anthony Vigna. Posted 07/16/2014 09:00 1 Comment     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Micromanaging vehicles can be mildly fun when it works properly.
Poison Mushroom for...
Horrible tutorial; Extremely slow paced gameplay; Awful aesthetics; Poor AI makes it hard to manage employees; Store items lack detailed descriptions; Lack of interesting things to do.

If you were stranded on a farm, how would you be able to manage two fields of crops and one field of grass with only a Lindner Geotrac 94, a Lamborghini R4.110, and a Fahr M66 to drive? Don’t worry, you’ll also have a Köckerling Trio, a Pöttinger Vitasem, an Amazone Zax, and a Krone Emsland to aid you as well. Having trouble figuring out what to do? Well, so did I thanks to the lack of an efficient tutorial in Farming Simulator 14.

Here’s the answer: the Fahr M66 is a combine harvester that lets you harvest the crops in each field. The Lindner Geotrac 94 and the Lamborghini R4.110 are tractors that are able to carry farming tools once they are attached to the back of the vehicle. So, you will need to use the Köckerling Trio as your cultivator to prepare each field for sowing after harvesting, the Pöttinger Vitasem as your sowing machine to plant seeds, the Amazone Zax as your spreader to fertilize crops, and the Krone Emsland as your tipper to transport the crops. Oh, and the grass field was a trick question. You’ll have to buy up to four new pieces of equipment just to manage that! If you’re new to the series and are planning on playing Farming Simulator 14, then good luck figuring all of this out. A lot of the game’s mechanics are left unexplained to the player.

To be fair, you do receive small descriptions of the tools once you interact with them, but they’re incredibly basic tutorials that lack depth. For instance, the game tells you that you can plant different kinds of seeds with a sowing machine, yet it never tells you that you need a special piece of equipment to harvest corn. The worst part about the tutorial is that it’s restricted to only what the game gives you in the beginning. Because you never have the equipment to make chaff, grass, or milk at the start of the game, Farming Simulator 14 never explains how to get them.

Figuring out how to do everything on your own is made even harder thanks to the game’s store. The store sells all different kinds of vehicles and equipment for you to buy, but all it gives you is the name, price, and a picture of what it looks like. If there was a description of each item’s use along with statistics that show its strengths and weaknesses, the lack of a good tutorial would be a little more forgiving. However, as it stands, you’ll only be able to receive a vague idea of vehicle and tool functionality by reading the game’s manual.

Unfortunately, the manual also refuses to explain everything to the player. In one page, the manual states, “This guide is nonetheless not complete; experience is still the best teacher in Farming Simulator.” I admire games that teach a player through experience, but when it comes to Farming Simulator 14, it’s necessary to include a detailed manual or tutorial in order to understand the complexities of the game’s mechanics. Once I learned what everything was on my own, the game was incredibly easy to play, but it shouldn’t have taken me hours to figure this game out!

Even with a full understanding of the game’s mechanics, it’s still hard to enjoy Farming Simulator 14. I’m not even saying this because it’s a farming simulator game. In fact, I find the wealth of things to do in Harvest Moon, another farming franchise, to be highly addicting. However, the awful graphics, extremely slow paced gameplay, and lack of interesting things to do made the game unexciting. The only real objective of Farming Simulator 14 is to make money. All you really do is sell crops after harvesting with a vehicle going 10 miles per hour to make more money and buy things in the game’s store.

If you choose to hire workers, you can pay them small sums of cash to do all of this tedious work for you. As rewarding as it is to manage employees, the system is flawed thanks to the limitations of the AI. I often saw my workers come to a screeching halt when they came across a vehicle or tool that I left on the grass near a field. But even after moving these obstructions far away from the field, I still saw my employees come to a full stop once more when they encountered fences and rocks on the map itself. Another flaw with the AI workers is that they can only handle simple tasks on a field. For example, you can ask an AI worker to cut grass or plant seeds, but it’s impossible to ask an employee to deliver harvested crops to a town or collect scattered hay bales with a bale loader.

Farming Simulator 14 is a game that deeply lacks polish. Managing a farm with a bunch of different vehicles is a great concept for a game, but it needs to be executed properly in order to be fun. With a multitude of complex mechanics that have little guidance, a lack of interesting objectives, and poor AI that can’t handle basic commands, Farming Simulator 14 creates an awful gaming experience.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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