(3DS)

Game Review

Farming Simulator 14 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Dave Letcavage

More farm than good

Last summer Farming Simulator 3D trucked its way onto the 3DS, allowing gamers to establish and manage a flourishing agricultural empire on-the-go, without having to get their hands dirty or don a straw hat and suspenders. It was a game that we found to be enjoyable at times, but the omission of any tutorials or guides lent to a steep barrier of entry that greatly diminished any potential for broad appeal. Now, a year later, we’re getting a 2014 iteration that, out of the gate, looks identical to last year’s model. The question is: has Farming Simulator 14 done anything to warmly welcome city folk into its complex world, while also planting enough new content to entice the locals to stick around for another harvest?

Farming Simulator 14 drops you right into a generic town that’s pretty lifeless outside of the subtle presence of cars on the road and your farming operations. There are a few dozen houses serving cosmetic purposes, a handful of businesses where you can sell your crops or pick up any ordered machinery, along with empty fields that can be purchased once your farm is ready for expansion. Outside of a single graphic of a veteran farmer — who looks like a mix of Yosemite Sam and Hershel from The Walking Dead — that accompanies the introductions and the save screen, there’s again zero presence of actual human beings. It’s a minimalistic approach that ensures the town serves its purpose, but does nothing to be memorable or interesting.

When starting out, your farming ventures will be limited to three fields: one is awaiting harvest, one ready to be cultivated, the other overgrown with grass that can be converted into hay for your cattle. All the necessary equipment needed to start turning a profit is on-hand and ready to be put to use. Tapping left or right on the D-pad will cycle through drivable vehicles, and it’s up to you to get them equipped with the correct attachment, and either manually steer them through the fields or get them to the desired position and engage autopilot — which costs a little money. It might not sound too complex to start, but if you’re unfamiliar with farming procedures and equipment, expect to spend quite a while figuring things out for yourself; once again, the mind-blowing absence of proper tutorials leads to a trial-and-error process that’s sure to deter and annoy many.

Even having played Farming Simulator 3D extensively about a year ago, we had forgotten the order of things, and struggled to get the operations, well, operational. There are a small number of explanations that pop up when using certain pieces of equipment for the first time, but it’s more of a simple item description when what you'll really need are comprehensive instructions or visual guides. In result of this, reading the manual from start to finish is not only imperative, but you should anticipate returning to it on a regular basis to answer many questions along the way. To make these circumstances more aggravating was the fact that our initial file was started on beginner mode. Simulator or not, there’s no good reason not to implement more assistance for the players that need it — which will be everyone that’s never played a farming simulator — most people.

Just like our time spent with Farming Simulator 3D, once you’ve worked past this befuddling period there’s a reasonable time to be had. Finding the right pattern of use for vehicles and equipment between numerous fields — to ensure constant efficiency/productivity — is a game in itself, and it’s fairly rewarding when accomplished. It’s very hard to avoid moments of feeling overwhelmed by too many machines, but it’ll be a while before you’ve invested in the assets to have that many moving pieces, and by then you should mostly be familiarized with the lay of the land. Prep the soil, plant seeds, harvest the crops, drive the produce to a selling point, and repeat. Throughout these activities you’ll have to intermittently replenish fuel, seeds, and fertilizer, but it’s as easy as driving to an indicated area on the map and back.

Producing hay to feed the cattle — which results in milk to be sold and fertilizer for the fields — is dependent on different equipment than what’s used for the crops, none of which will be awarded from the start. By using the touch screen to enter into the catalogue (or store), many pages of machines and attachments can be scrolled through and ordered; that's if you have the funds, of course. This is a frustrating exercise in shopping considering all offerings are listed by their product name, with a complete lack of explanation of their function. We had to enter in and out of the manual to identify a mower, a tedder, and a baler, just so we could get to makin’ hay.

In what feels like a tacked-on attempt to diversify play, there are also optional missions that present themselves on the touch screen at irregular intervals. These are largely the same as they were in Farming Simulator 3D — just recover a lost/dropped shipment from somewhere in town to earn extra money — and will likely be seen as an annoyance by most, and quickly declined. The pay is fine, but disrupting farm activities by reallocating a vehicle and diverting your attention elsewhere can throw off your whole routine. Plus, to be frank, driving at 30 mph through town isn’t fun, it's a chore.

And that could be said about Farming Simulator 14 as a whole; it’s a game of responsibility and chores that doesn’t reward the player outside of acquiring more property and more machinery. Regardless of the exact reason, however, it can still be a highly addictive and entertaining affair. We started off struggling with the lack of tutorials and irritated with all the trial-and-error present in figuring things out for yourself, then after a couple hours we were dangerously hooked. Yet the fact remains that we aren’t sure who we can recommend this product too — there’s little changed or added for owners of FS3D, and the game isn’t welcoming enough to newcomers. Maybe we can’t confidently recommend it to any one particular type of player, but if you’re dead convinced that a farming simulator would be up your alley, even when taking into account the barrier of entry, then we certainly wouldn’t talk you out of a purchase.

Conclusion

Offering a core farming experience that’s deceptively addicting and almost too engaging, Farming Simulator 14 can easily harvest up hours of your life. Problem is, getting to that point means overcoming a steep learning curve that will keep the interest of most players from ever taking root. The majority of what's on offer is decent enough, if a bit unspectacular, but failing to implement a full-fledged tutorial or any kind of video walkthrough to assist newcomers makes it tough to recommend. Also, those that invested in last year’s model should know that this iteration changes/adds very little — unless you're agriculturally obsessed, it's definitely not enough to warrant another purchase. Farming Simulator 14 isn’t the cream of the crop, it’s not a load of crop, it's just struggling to grow and waiting on a little rain to bring better days.

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User Comments (26)

Tops

#4

Tops said:

I'll be waiting for Harvest Moon and/or Story of Seasons, thank you.

Windy

#9

Windy said:

I liked the first Farm Simulator and was a little surprised at the price of this version. I wonder what extras they threw into this version

sillygostly

#10

sillygostly said:

I played the demo of the first Farming Simulator game on 3DS (Farming Simulator 2012?) and I thought it was absolutely atrocious. I was surprised that this was a retail release in Australia as none of the previous games had been released on 3DS. The price was even more surprising as the PC versions tend to be available for under $20.

Why in the hell do they even release these games annually? It's not as if there are roster changes to be made or significant advancements in the agriculture industry to justify releasing these games year in and year out (though the same can be said about about the [Insert Banal Activity] Simulator 20XX games.

Donjwolf

#11

Donjwolf said:

@Windy, the first game was digital only in NA (I assume you live in NA), but FS 14 got a physical release too, hence the price increase. I'll get this game sometime (on the Vita) but I'm rather broke right now and I need to save for other 3DS games that's coming out this year.

Windy

#13

Windy said:

@Donjwolf I would recommend the digital release at 9.99 if you guys have it. If not that's a shame since they bseem to be identical. I rate the first game a 6. There really is more to it than put into the review here. It's good fun and is very addicting ga!eplay. Sure there is no story mode its a game to straight farm. Figure it out take it slowly. Then when you have learned everything its fun and intuitive. It can be an engaging title if you take the time to learn what everything does.

Donjwolf

#14

Donjwolf said:

@Windy I already have the first game on Vita. You bought FS 14? Is it worth buying still if I have the first? Do the cows actually move?

eviLaTtenDant

#16

eviLaTtenDant said:

I've played a demo for one of these titles on the 3DS and it felt quite relaxing.
An eShop version of this for 8€ might make me think about a purchase.

Stu13

#17

Stu13 said:

I can understand the appeal of this to some. But living in the southern United States, this is absolutely the last thing that I want to play. I am routinely stuck behind puttering tractors on curvy, two lane roads in my daily life and do not need to relive that frustration digitally.

Windy

#18

Windy said:

@Donjwolf I haven't picked it up. From the what I catch from the review there is almost no difference between the first game and this one. At that price I'm going to pass since not much different. I do like the first game though and have put in about 40 hours on it. I would pick it up if they ran a 50% off sale but I doubt that will happen since the first game has never been on sale. I think sales on this version will be terrible and they might be forced to offer a sale. Personally I think the game is a unique experience. People compare it to harvest moon when its pretty much not one bit like harvest moon. The review is probably right in regards to quality and price. But I do think the game is engaging enough to be at least a 6. I mean come on the worst game in the Eshop Race to the Line got a 6. I know this is better than that. Race to the Line Definitely was overrated by NL. However I do think this game is unique and engaging enough to be a 6 if its like the first game.

Barbiegurl777

#19

Barbiegurl777 said:

I bought the first farm simulator on my 3ds xl last year & it was ok but can not see the sense in wasting $30 dollar's on the same thing a year later with a few added feature's. The first game was nice but this second entry in the farming genre is just not worth my $30 dollars sorry... Maybe if my local library get's this title in I'll rent it for free for three week's but refuse to pay $30 on it. :)

Happy Gaming! (^_^)

Windy

#20

Windy said:

I wish one of the Android Train Simulators would come to the 3ds. I love that kind of stuff and in 3d would be pretty cool. Train Sim Pro would be a good one from the Android Market

slidecage

#21

slidecage said:

got this on the vita and returned it next day. If they listed where to go better it would of been better. i give 5 bucks for it soon enough

Windy

#23

Windy said:

@Donjwolf sweet I cant wait. Isn't it a re-do of the N64 version? I'm hoping so. So far the N64 games which have been converted to 3ds have been shining on 3ds.

Finntendo

#25

Finntendo said:

@Stu13

Remember that those people are at work. When you drive a tractor, you see some pretty stupid behaviour from those who drive cars.

Thankfully I own a farm so no need to simulate :P

Windy

#26

Windy said:

Does this version have online co-op? I was just reading the android version does. Probably not

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