Despite its niche theme, Farming Simulator is a breakout brand that is growing [Hur-hur – Ed] popular in every installment. The Farming Simulator 22 is the largest publication to date for the German developer Giants Software: It is self-published and offers more licensed content and functions than ever before Crossplay between all target platforms. But has the studio withered under the pressure?
If you are familiar with previous listings in the property, you will be immediately familiar with the loop in this year’s installment. When starting a new farm, three settings are available, each of which adjusts the economic difficulty level and the starting equipment. Their goal is to buy land, tend it, and grow crops according to market demand, and then raise the funds to buy more fields and better equipment.
Although it is a simulator, the actual farming aspect is somewhat simplified, despite being based on real-world practices. You need to cultivate the land to prepare it for sowing, plant seeds, fertilize it to increase the yield of your crops, and finally reap the crops. You can sell to shops nearby and these will change depending on which map you are playing on. There are three at the start: a rustic village in the south of France, an idyllic American town and a mountain region in Swiss style.
Much improved in this year’s game is the management aspect, which allows you to create legitimate supply chains. You can now build factories and stores to process your goods which gives more depth to the economic part of the package. For example, you can set up a pasture for cows that produces milk. You can then take this milk to your dairy and assign it to cheese making. Finally, this cheese can be taken to a pizzeria where you can sell locally produced pizzas.
There are a ton of products that you can make, from chocolate to cake, and their value goes up and down based on supply and demand. This means you need to plan ahead to take into account the time of year and the value of various products. New plants, like olives and grapes, open up a world of possibilities and allow you to make everything from juices to oils – and these work like no other plants in the game, offering new game mechanics to learn and master.
This new supply chain system is underpinned by seasonal gameplay that was officially implemented after previously existing as a mod. Now you need to pay attention to the time of year, grow certain plants when it is most effective, and wait for the seasons to change before harvesting them. That means there is an extra layer of planning as you need to get the most out of your land to make sure you are always growing the right crops at the right time.
You can turn this feature off if you prefer the traditional style of play and it definitely slows the overall pace of the gaming experience. It would be nice if there was an option to fast forward at certain times of the year because you will hit points where there is little you can do other than contract work, especially in the early markets when your funds are limited and you don’t have much land to leave To play.
In fact, that’s probably the biggest criticism of Farming Simulator 22: it just takes a tremendous amount of time to get started. While you can take out bank loans, you really won’t make much of the most committed in the first 20 hours of any new savings. Mods will likely make this a little more manageable as Farming Simulator 19 offered a government grant that made the curve easier.
They really want to make big bucks too, as the sheer amount of licensed equipment in this game is exceptional. Some vehicles, spanning dozens of authentic agricultural brands, make their debut in this game before they’re available in real life, which only shows the franchise’s status in the industry. This is absolutely the Gran Turismo of the farming games, and its influence is far reaching, encompassing the most completely obscure machine parts.
For the first time, the franchise also has a budget to match. While it still doesn’t feel AAA, the game runs at a fairly smooth 60 frames per second on the PlayStation 5 and has tons of little details like crows flying out of fields when machines get close and obsessive animations that the Capture unique elements of each vehicle. However, the camera angle is fixed on the console, which is frustrating as we miss the ability to slide it in and out at will like in previous editions.
But the best thing about Farming Simulator 22 is that it was designed as a platform that will flourish over time. Support for mods is available from day one, and with the increased PS5 performance, you can build bigger and better farms with more parts than you could ever do on the PS4. In theory, you can invest hundreds of hours in a single save, and with new machines and items guaranteed to be added after launch, there are always new ways to work your growing empire.
Farming Simulator 22 massively expands the management aspect of previous games and gives your crops greater importance after harvest. Building supply chains is immensely rewarding, even if it can take what feels like an eternity for your business to run the way you want it to. Interesting new harvests like grapes and olives add playful variety to the tried and true loop, while an abundance of licensed machines provides an abundance of vehicles and tools to work with. It’s the best entry in the Giants Software series yet, but like a popular British yeast extract, you’ll either love it or hate it.