Farming Simulator 22 Review

Richard Walker

Let me tell you a story about my very first experience with Farming Simulator 22, the latest entry in a series that's always seemed to me to be utterly impenetrable. Dropped into one of three sprawling environments featured in the game, with nary a tutorial to hang my tweed farmer's flat-cap on, I fiddled about with the controls, trying to discover how to buy a tractor. It's a farming sim, so I reckon that owning a tractor is pretty important. Playing on normal mode, you're given a generous sum of money, so the modest price of a lovely John Deere machine is a drop in the ocean. I snagged myself a green and yellow number, then took on a contract to harvest a field of canola. A tractor is the wrong machine for the job – unsurprisingly, a harvester is required. At this point, I'd been playing for several hours, and I was seething. Farming Simulator 22 isn't particularly welcoming to newcomers.


Before you even think about doing anything, get yourself a tractor.

Slowly and agonisingly rolling to the canola field at the wheel of my brand new combine harvester, I arrived, only to be told that I now need a harvesting ‘header’. Well, of course I do, but the game didn't tell me that – time to plod back to the shop and pick up my new attachment, then set to work harvesting that stinking canola. Filling the harvester to capacity, it's then off to the farm shop to dispense the load, only now, I need a trailer to pour the product into so it can be delivered. Back to the shop to pick up my new trailer. At this point, I've parted with almost half a million Euros, and I've barely made a dent on that field. With each action, however, I'm learning the intricacies of Farming Simulator 22, and discovering that there are very few shortcuts and little in the way of hand-holding. You're a farmer, go farm.

Farming Simulator 22 is remarkably detailed, then, covering practically every facet of crop production, the buying and selling of tools and resources, the keeping of animals, and the transporting of stuff to and fro. There's a lot of transporting stuff from one place to another. Take, for instance, the fertilisation of a field. Sounds straightforward enough, right? Fill a suitable trailer full of animal shit, then spread it across the designated area. What you might not know is that you need a filling station to fill your trailer with manure, slurry, or whatever, and the map you're on may not have one as standard. Instead, you'll need to purchase one yourself, which entails buying a plot of land, then plonking a silo down on it. Then you have to fill the silo with crap and pump it into the trailer. You can hire AI workers to set about ploughing fertilising, spraying, and whatnot, but the best part of Farming Simulator 22 is sitting at the helm of a machine and rolling across a field, watching your hard work bear fruit (this one now has grapes), veg, or whatever. But then, you can leave your AI employee to one job, while you tend to another.


If you like, you can even indulge in some beekeeping or grow certain products all year round in a greenhouse. As complicated as the various parts of Farming Simulator 22 are, there's something to be said for the game's gentle routine of pastoral life, chugging from field-to-field, completing contracts for other farmers to rake in the cash, before establishing your own enterprises. From dairy to cereals, winemaking, and so forth, there's massive scope to build a farming empire, even if much of the first few hours of playing will be spent trying to wrap your head around how to play the game. Text-based snippets of help in the pause menu will only get you so far, and the lack of proper tutorials in a game as complex as Farming Simulator 22 seems like an enormous oversight, creating an almost insurmountable barrier for entry, unless you're willing to put in the time banging your head against a wall, figuring things out for yourself.


When in doubt, go big.

If, like me, you've never played a Farming Simulator game before, then you'll find the latest entry’s unwillingness to teach you the basics can be a real pain. While the controls and interfaces are clear and fairly well-designed, this is still a game that is evidently geared towards a PC audience, with developer Giants Software making little attempt to streamline Farming Simulator's muddier, more complicated elements for the console crowd. Some might dub this 'dumbing down' or pandering, but there must surely have been a way to make Farming Simulator 22 just a mite more inviting, without compromising on the myriad intricacies that fans have come to know and love about this game of crops, cows, and combine harvesters.

But Farming Simulator 22 remains a hugely niche experience of unique complexity, which is precisely why it has garnered such a fervent following among virtual farmers. For anyone fancying a more casual dalliance with a tractor, though, Giants' game is a huge time-sink, and its lack of genuinely useful in-game help might be a bit of a turn-off (you can learn the basics on the dedicated ‘Farming Simulator Academy’ website here). If you're happy to muddle your way through and work things out on your own, however, then there's a certain amount of enjoyment to be wrought from Farming Simulator 22 and its lucrative field work.

Farming Simulator 22

If you've ever dreamt of owning your own farm, or simply ploughing, fertilising, spraying, and cultivating someone else's land, then Farming Simulator 22 will cater to your every whim and want. Newcomers beware, though – the barrier to entry is quite high.

Form widget
65%
Audio
60%

Turn on the radio, and you'll be blasted with unexpectedly upbeat tunes. Keep the radio off, on the other hand, and you can revel in the sound of the game's authentic, licensed machinery, the way it was meant to be.

Visuals
65%

A little on the utilitarian side, Farming Simulator 22 looks quite nice, nonetheless, its wealth of agricultural hardware lovingly rendered in minute detail. Buildings, fields, and environmental detail is rather basic, but it does the job.

Playability
70%

Complex it may be, but once you get to grips with and understand the fundamentals, there's a deep and intricate game here, that's rewarding and ore interesting than you might initially think. You'll have to put the time in to get the most out of it, though.

Delivery
60%

An expansive array of options and dizzying range of vehicles, attachments, and other farming accoutrements add up to a complete farming experience. However, the lack of in-game tutorials is a real issue, especially if you're here for a quick dalliance.

Trophies
60%

Without proper descriptions, Farming Simulator 22's set of trophy objectives are pretty vague, but, on the basis of what I've played, it looks like the majority of tasks are attached to long-term goals. We're talking potentially tens of hours for the Platinum here.

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