Farming Simulator 2017 pushed the limits of what players come to expect from the farm sim genre on consoles by including multiplayer and mod support on Xbox One. It may seem as if there’s a limit to how much more gameplay expansion can be squashed into these type of game, but Giants Software is ever ready to take on the challenge of giving players more bang for their buck when it comes to the Farming Simulator franchise. Their latest game, aptly titled Farming Simulator 2019, is another solid entry that seeks to add to the existing gameplay mechanics that fans of the series already know and love.
The first addition to Farming Simulator 2019 that players are going to notice is the character creation screen. While previous iterations of Farming Simulator have allowed for some modifications to your character’s appearances Farming Simulator 2019 steps it up just a tad by allowing players to choose the gender of their character, as well as their hairstyle, skin tone, and the color of their flannel shirts. Yes, pink flannel is an option, as it should be. This has the added effect of preventing player’s character models from looking cookie cutter during the game’s multiplayer sessions which allow for up to 6 players in a cooperative setting. While multiplayer is not new to Farming Simulator, it is available in Farming Simulator 2019. Not only can players join or create player to player hosted games, they can also opt to rent a dedicated server for your farming cooperative.
Farming Simulator 2019 has two potential locations for starting your career as a farmer, Ravensport and Felsbrunn, as well as three starting difficulties. The easiest career path, New Farmer, lets the player start their game with a bit of money and land already as well as a tutorial stage on the Ravensport map. Second is Farm-Manager, which is better suited to players who have some experience with Farming Simulator’s mechanics. The Farm-Manager career path lets players have a little more autonomy in their farm’s set up as you start with a chunk of money, but no land or equipment. What and how you start is left entirely up to you. For the pros, Start from Scratch mode may be more to your liking as you can begin the game with very little money, no land or equipment, and with an in game economy that is more finicky. Additionally, Start from Scratch mode has other settings that are more finely tuned to realism, such as the frequency in which your equipment needs maintenance and how quickly your crops wither.
One of the beauties of the Farming Simulator franchise is that with each new game the scope of the included agricultural activities included expand and Farming Simulator 2019 is no exception. Players who find themselves uninspired by plowing up wheat fields, harvesting beets, or sowing cotton can take refuge in the game’s forestry and animal husbandry mechanics. Farming Simulator 2019 goes so far as to add horses into the livestock mix, and players can go so far as to breed, train, and even forgo their typical farm trucks in order to ride their horses around at their leisure. Cattle, pigs, and sheep are also back for Farming Simulator 2019, giving players a well rounded selection of livestock to raise. There’s also a new pet dog thrown into the mix that players can interact with, though we are limited to only one dog breed and there’s not any color variations like we see with the actual livestock. If livestock and pet dogs aren’t your forte, there’s still the option to head into the forests and give logging a try.
Farming Simulator 2019 is a well rounded farming experience that makes an effort to be accessible to everyone, but the sheer volume of things to do coupled with the high learning curve can be a bit overwhelming for newer players. Experienced fans are sure to be rejoicing at the inclusion of more than 300 vehicles and accompanying equipment from big name brands like Massey Ferguson, New Holland, and (for the first time ever) John Deere. There is a suitable help and tutorial system in place, but the massive quantity of potential machinery combos can still be daunting to understand. Should you find yourself completely overwhelmed by it all, however, it’s easy enough to just hire a worker to take over your duties so that you can go immerse yourself into another part of the farm. Even just walking around and taking in the carefully detailed visuals of the world can be satisfying, though on an Xbox One S the environment in a distance doesn’t always look as crisp and impressive as you may hope. For the most part, Farming Simulator 2019’s attention to detail, especially on equipment, is second to none which makes the fact that some of the harvest look less like they’re collecting a crop and more like they’re collecting a sticker roll that looks like a printed picture of a crop a little off putting, but somehow forgivable in the grand scheme of things.
It’s easy to look at everything Farming Simulator 2019 brings to the table and think to yourself that the developers over at Giants Software really have thought of it all, but you’d be wrong. Thankfully, they’ve chucked in mod support on the Xbox One so that Farming Simulator’s impressive community can create and share game mods for anything they may have forgotten along the way. While the game was played pre-release for the sake of this review and there was a noticeable lack of mods available at that time we feel perfectly confident stating that if the mod community’s support for Farming Simulator 2017 is any indication, it won’t take long before Farming Simulator 2019’s mod coffers overflow.