Farming Simulator 18 Review
Farming Simulator games have never been that strong on handhelds, and when I heard that Farming Simulator 18 was coming to the 3DS and PS Vita, I wasn’t the least big excited. If your read our review of Farming Simulator 17, you’ll know that we absolutely loved that game, stating that it combined all the elements of past Farming Simulator games that were well received, and left behind the problematic issues. When loading up Farming Simulator 18, I was hoping for something similar. Had Focus Home Entertainment and Giants found a way to push off those handheld demons and product a quality release on handhelds? Thankfully, I can say yes!
Graphically Enhanced, Albeit Still Lacking
Graphically, Farming Simulator is easily the best looking game in the franchise on handhelds, and while it still lacks greatly, I think it’s acceptable here for one reason: unlike in the console version where you might snap photos of picturesque landscapes, the 3DS and Vita version’s primary goal is, well, simulation. Would I like things to look better? Of course, but not as the expense of frame rate. I’m not playing Farming Simulator 18 to look at gorgeous vistas: I want to simulate a farming experience on the go, and this game does that wonderfully.
We reviewed Farming Simulator 18 on the Nintendo 3DS, and so we don’t have a graphical comparison with the Vita version. If that version looked slightly better, I wouldn’t be surprised, but hopefully both run extremely well – we can vouch that the 3DS version does at the least!
A Dumbed Down Experience
If you’ve plowed through hundreds of hours in Farming Simulator 17 on console, you’ll know there is tons to explore – lots of farming odd jobs to complete to lower the cost of a field, for example – tons of vehicles and placeables to purchase for your farm, and 100 gold nuggets to find scattered around the map. Understand this, if nothing else from this review: the number of vehicles is minimal in Farming Simulator 18, and there aren’t a lot of things to do off the farm like in Farming Simulator 17.
The lack of vehicles – a good number of tractors and harvesters, but only a few baling machines, cultivators, planters, etc. – might be a complete turn off for some individuals, and I would totally understand that. Without a ton of variety, the amount of gameplay available here for 29.99 USD might be too little for some, but just the right amount for others.
If the game actually taught you how to use each and every tool – the few text boxes are not enough as I still cannot figure out how to bale grass – I would argue that this is the perfect initiation for those who THINK they might enjoy the Farming Simulator franchise. There is enough content to keep you going for many hours, but not too much as to overwhelm or complicate what is going on. If you are a veteran, you will quickly realize that there are less crops to plant, less vehicles to buy, less in game options (no cockpit driving in this release), and more. I like the overwhelming, complicated console version, but I really enjoy this as well.
In Farming Simulator 18, there is no need to buy your multi use items from the store and go and pick them up. Instead, the farm you own will have onsite dispensaries for both seeds and fertilizer. Whenever your machines need to fill up, funds will automatically be deducted from your bank account. This is yet another way the developers have streamlined this process for new and returning players.
Another streamlined process has been unloading and loading up produce and other items. Because of the configuration of the 3DS buttons, performing some of the more annoying tasks – such as dumping trailers, loading up produce, etc. – have been automated. Simply drive your tipper wagon, bale wagon, or whatever over the associated location and the task will be performed automatically for you. Those looking for a true simulation experience probably won’t appreciate that change, but for those who approach these games as a ‘management game’ as opposed to a simulation game will really enjoy the change.
Management, Not Simulation
After many hours with this game, I can safely say that the developers are pushing this to be a management focused experience, rather than a true simulation experience. With many fields to handle, and the ability to zoom fairly far out to view the map, there is definitely an emphasis on managing workers, as opposed to completing tasks yourself. In Farming Simulator 17, it was fun to take on various tasks yourself, regardless of how many fields you were operating at any given times. With a much longer day-night cycle, there was plenty of time to step into the boots of a real farmer, performing everyday farming tasks. Things are much different in Farming Simulator 18.
The day-night cycle in Farming Simulator seems to be on a 5-10 minute cycle, so days pass by much faster. As of writing this, I haven’t found an option to alter this in any way.
It will be interesting to see what type of reception Farming Simulator 18 gets from the press and fans of the franchise. It’s not Farming Simulator 17 – and it’s not even close – but I’d argue it isn’t trying to be like that. For me, Farming Simulator 18 is more about management than actual simulation of tasks, and therefore, I really enjoy it. Although I wish there was more to do outside of the farm, this is still an excellent title that should be loved by all fans of the franchise. Until they release a Farming Simulator on the Nintendo Switch, this is the best way to get your farm on, on the go!