REVIEW – After a three-year hiatus, the Farming Simulator saga returns! This brand-new chapter, entitled Farming Simulator 22, comes with many new features and a brand-new release model. The licence, previously controlled by Focus Home Interactive, is now owned by the creators, GIANTS Software, who will publish their own edition. Has this significant change allowed the franchise to reinvent itself?
With Farming Simulator 22, fans of the genre will find themselves on familiar ground, as GIANTS Software’s production is unsurprisingly mainly based on its predecessor. Newcomers should know that the game lets you manage a farm from A to Z. It’s up to you to cultivate the land, plant the crops, which are now numerous (rape, wheat, grapes, carrots…), raise the chickens or cows, take control of several tractors and manipulate a variety of implements. The 400 agricultural machines have been modelled in great detail to satisfy fans who like to observe machines from all angles. That’s good news, as even the interiors of the various vehicles have been painstakingly reworked to get even closer to the in-game models. In total, almost 100 different brands are represented in this new edition, starting with John Deere, Landini, Provitis and Hardi.
“We plough, we reap, we have a lot of work” (Sándor Weöres: Bóbita)
Now that you have a well-equipped garage, the goal is to follow your plants through their growth to get the best possible yield (and thus increase your profits at the time of sale). To do this, you’ll first need to plough up the land, then spread lime to fertilise the soil, remove any stones that have cluttered the garden, sow the seeds, and finally let time do its work and allow yourself a little snooze indoors. A day is the equivalent of a month’s work in the game. A month has passed when you wake up, and the weeds have taken over the fields. Of course, these weeds must be removed. There are several solutions, but the easiest (and not very environmentally friendly, I agree) is to buy some weed killer from your neighbourhood store and spray it on your plants.
All these steps put you in the shoes of a farmer and make the experience very believable, and that’s undoubtedly one of the great things about the title. If you’re in to management games, you’ll enjoy watching your plantations evolve through the seasons… Because yes! The seasons are finally here.
This new episode includes three big maps that you can explore freely. The first, Elmcreek, is set on American soil. The second, Erlengrat, takes us into the Bavarian Alps. And the last, Haut-Beyleron, takes us to many parts of southwest France. However, even if these different environments are pretty exotic, thanks to the different atmospheres, the excellent lighting and the improved display distance compared to the previous chapter (at least next-gen), we can still regret that there is nothing unique in the visual world of the game, partly due to the outdated textures and the lifeless streets.
Finally, the “four seasons” are here…
It’s hard to imagine a farming simulator without seasons… and yet, it’s been happening for years. But the 2008 saga finally rectifies the situation with the 22nd episode, which realises different seasons. This brand-new feature (based on mod ideas from Farming Simulator 19 fans) allows you to adapt to the yearly cycle by planting various types of crops. While rapeseed, for example, is planted in August and takes 11 months to grow, the same is not true for cotton, which must be planted in February and harvested at the end of the year. In order not to wait foolishly for the seasons to pass slowly, we advise you to ‘diversify’ your activity areas and juggle them according to the seasons.
However, December and January are almost exclusively used for road and field maintenance. Roads need to be salted to improve the efficiency of deliveries, or fields need to be cleared to help the drives… Well, that’s only on paper because ultimately, leaving everything as it does minor damage to crops. It isn’t easy to generate a profit in this cooler period, but you can still build greenhouses. This new feature allows you to grow fruit and vegetables all year round.
Make your own flour, wine, cookies!
Another great new feature in Farming Simulator 22 is the appearance of production lines. From now on, the player is no longer obliged to sell the wheat as it is but can build a mill and produce their own flour from the same wheat. This flour, delivered to a bakery, can then be turned into bread. This idea obviously covers every possible sector of activity. As in management games such as ANNO 1404, cotton can be made into cloth, then into clothes, grapes into grape juice or wine… The most challenging thing to do in Farming Simulator 22 is to make cakes, as it requires several activities…
That’s where the online part of the game comes in, as players can now work in teams to create a big business. While one player is responsible for producing the fruit that makes up the cake, another is responsible for farming to provide milk and eggs. If you don’t have friends, you can also hire workers, making the task much easier. For a fee, they can plough your fields, just like in Farming Simulator 19, but they can also transport goods from point A to point B. The not-so-ergonomic menus mean it takes a bit getting used to.
So now we can be professional farmers?
We hoped that the new edition would take advantage of the three-year hiatus and hit the shops with a tutorial that introduces the various tools to accompany newcomers. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Despite the presence of a “New Farmer” mode, the experience is still as rigorous as it has been for players unfamiliar with the saga. This mode explains the basics in ten minutes. After this short period, the novice farmer feels lost, immersed in the possibilities and the number of farm machines available. As you can see, beginners interested in Farming Simulator 22 will have to work up the courage to play if they want to experience a worthy bucolic adventure.
While Farming Simulator 22 will undoubtedly appeal to fans of the series, newcomers may feel overwhelmed by the possibilities. It would be a shame to miss this episode, however, as it corrects most of the shortcomings of the previous episode. The modelling of vehicles is always more accurate, and the arrival of seasons or production lines is a real plus. Now it’s up to you whether you’re ready to dive into this experience, which is as complete as it is hard to get used to.
+ The seasons are finally here!
+ Supports your production from start to finish (from raw material to marketable product)
+ Increasingly accurate modelling of agricultural machinery
– A visual world lacking character
– The beginner is overwhelmed by opportunities, the training part is weak
– Not very ergonomic user interface
Publisher: GIANTS Software
Developer: GIANTS Software
Genre: agricultural simulator
Release date: November 21, 2021