Farming Simulator 19
: Giants Software
     -Astragon Entertainment
     -Focus Home Entertainment
     -Excalibur Publishing
Genre: Simulator
Multiplayer Option: Yes
Rating: E
Price: $34.99

I have been a devoted Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons gamer my entire life, and when approached with this game to review I thought, “Heck yea!”, but little did I know… The Farming Simulator franchise has been around since 2008 and seems to be popular enough to warrant multiple games in the series, so it has to be good, right? I was going in completely green when I picked up this game and I thought after my years and countless hours in the aforementioned games that I was prepared for any farming game. Seriously, I was wrong.

Here is the story: Your character basically buys a rundown farm and needs to make something out of it. There are 3 different modes that change the difficulty depending on if the farm is purchased with equipment and some extra spending money, or you completely start from scratch. Before jumping into career mode I thought it prudent to do all the tutorials just to get acquainted with the controls and concepts of the game. I found that the tutorial dialogue was lacking and I had to figure out a lot of things on my own or look up concepts on the internet to figure it all out. After the tutorials I dove into the career mode.

Mode selection is one of the first things you pick, location choices are either some small town USA or German countryside and then character customization. Character designs are really basic and you get to choose from a few facial and hair presets, shirt color and gender preference. This part does not matter in the grand scheme of things, its just an aesthetic. I chose the easiest setting since I’m a noob and was plopped into an average day on the farm, and I chose to have the small hints pop up every now and again to help too. Everything is tedious in this game: to harvesting, plowing, planting, buying and delivering goods, this game is meant to use up time. There are no human interactions that I have seen from NPCs for special events or basic conversations. To explain how bad the tutorials are, I thought that after I harvested my first crop and did all the preparations for the new crop, that I was just supposed to sit there and wait for it to grow again. Unlike Harvest Moon there is no welcoming to town party or a person that shows you around.

Speaking of the surrounding area, the map is not massive in a sense like GTA or the newest Assassin’s Creed game, but when all you have for transportation is a slow moving tractor you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. Do not expect to walk into a building, business or otherwise, and interact with electronics, sit down or purchase anything these actions are all found in the menu.

I never thought that one of the essential tools of the game would not be emphasized like it should have been. There is no need for waiting on the crops to grow because there is a section in the menu for requests for help by the other local farmer NPCs in the area. This is the only time you don’t think you’re alone in the world.  You don’t even have to purchase all the equipment to help either, just rent them and the cost will be taken off the initial reward for the job. There is also a multiplayer portion of the game that allows you to associate online with others for the opportunity to compete or help each other. I did a little research and there are competitions and online forums to meet people and to test your farming knowledge against the best of the best.

Really decent graphics and detail on the machinery and environment.
Price is low to purchase.
Online multiplayer available.

No story to keep you going.
Lack of personalization.

Would this be a game that I would recommend to others to buy? No, unless you were a huge fan of the series I would wait for it to be on sale or maybe get it free.

I think there is a lot of places this can improve as a game because the graphics and ability are there. The developers have focused on making the work aspect realistic but there should be a sense of community and story for the character to make the life aspect more realistic. If I was to put more hours in this game, I would want more than to just collect money and buy things, but if that is something that interests others then have at it.