Dissecting the Biggest Farming Simulator 19 Critiques – It’s A Slight Improvement
One of the biggest things I’m seeing when reading through Farming Simulator 19 reviews and articles is people complaining about three main things. First, that the game is boring at times. Second, that the game is too repetitive. And third, that the game isn’t enough of a leap over Farming Simulator 17 to justify the price and a brand new title. We will dissect all of these claims, but I want to touch on the third issue here: should Focus Home Entertainment and GIANTS Software be criticized for providing a slightly improved experience over FS17, rather than building a new title from the ground up?
I hear what the detractors are saying. While there are a number of great improvements to Farming Simulator 19, it doesn’t appear as if they game has been reworked from the ground up. It feels and often plays very much like Farming Simulator 17, but with multiplayer, horses, new tractors, and a few new crops. Do I believe this is only a slight improvement over FS17? I do, actually, but I’m here to argue this isn’t a bad thing.
Review scores for Farming Simulator 19 have not been impressive so far, and I’m almost sure GamesReviews is alone in scoring the game a solid 9.0/10. Amongst other complaints, a common thread in some commentary about the game is that there isn’t enough of a substantial leap from Farming Simulator 17 to give the game a good score. Not only that, for some it seems enough to provide a poor score because of it.
If that’s the case, then we have some major issues with scoring video games as reviewers.
The Case of Sports Titles
The biggest cases of “this game is only a slight improvement over the last” happen in the sports game genre, and yet we find way to continually give ‘good’ games with ‘minor improvements’ good scores. Let’s take a look at the Madden franchise on Playstation 4:
- Madden 15 – 81/100
- Madden 16 – 83/100
- Madden 17 – 82/100
- Madden 18 – 82/100
- Madden 19 – 80/100
I’ve had the privilege to play all of these Madden titles, and I can tell you that while there have been significant improvements between Madden 15 and Madden 19, each year did not build substantially on the last in most of these cases. And yet, the lowest score we see here is a respectable 80/100 and the highest score being 83/100. If we are critisizing games because of the leaps they make in game play and features, shouldn’t sports titles fall into the same conversation?
Back to Farming Simulator
So let’s step back and look at Farming Simulator 17 and Farming Simulator 19. My total playtime in 17 is well over 150 hours of game time – not time sitting in menus, etc. – and when I sit back and look at those numbers, I obviously felt Farming Simulator 17 was a good game to invest that kind of time. Ultimately, we understand that reviews are the opinions of the person who writes them. For that matter, I gave Farming Simulator 17 a 9.0/10, compared to the metacritic score of 65/100.
Because I felt Farming Simulator 19 was an equally good experience, I also scored that game a 9.0/10; there is no metacritic score to date for the Xbox Version, although the PS4 version sits at 57/100.
Ultimately, I believe reviewers need to use the same arguments across all titles. If minor improvements from Farming Simulator 17 to Farming Simulator 19 are worth docking the new title points, it should be the same for other games as well. What’s interesting to note is that reviewers will often say Madden has seen minor improvements – and use this as a reason to not buy – but it never gets reflected in the review score.
So why does it happen here?