Review - Farming Simulator 22
By: Laura Collins (Blu3Rizing)
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Giants Software
Available on: PC, Mac, PlayStation 4|5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia
Admittedly, I went into Farming Simulator 22, confident, maybe even arrogant, even though I hadn’t played any of the previous Farming Simulator games in the series. After all, I’d played more games from the typical farming sim genre than I care to acknowledge, and even if not an expert, I considered myself, at the very least, pretty cultured when it came to working the mechanics of the genre. I simply couldn’t wait to get to Animal husbandry and the tending of my crops. As I started my very first save file and saw similar choices of difficulty settings I had become used to, I settled down for a fun yet relaxing with no thought night.
Less than five minutes in, I’d been put into my place as well as harshly informed of the error of my thoughts and ways. Not understanding the maps picked meant anything aside from location, I chose what would turn out to be the one most likely aimed at seasoned players for the series, and admittedly, even parts of the tutorial felt foreign to my hands and tongue. I struggled and prepared for the blood, sweat, and tears that my mental physique was about to weep.
I couldn’t just jump in and start making tons of money. If I’d had a history of actual farming and ranch equipment, I’d have fared much better; at least, that’s what I’d like to tell myself. Instead, I found myself looking up various tractors, harvesters, forklifts, etc., to see what exactly they did and which ones did which tasks better than the others. Then I’d look at my available funds, cry a bit, and research a more affordable version. Crops had to be planted in the proper seasons to live and thrive, and the season determined what certain crops would sell for. Research had to be performed and decisions that impacted how you’d live and grow.
I found no little sprites or other magical creatures to help me with various menial farming tasks for the promise of a sweet treat or favorite item, not even a husband to woo into doing my chores for me! I found only the potential helpers willing to assist with parts of labor, for some of my hard-earned cash, of course.
As I played more and I learned more, I realized that my options, while not limitless, certainly seemed as though they were. Not only were the dozens of options for farming equipment options, but they also tended to be branded with such names including John Deere, New Holland, and too many more for me to name, and clothing choices that were also branded if I so chose. I knew I’d found paradise for anyone with even a remote interest in heavy machinery or, in all likelihood, anyone with interest in the more industrial side of farming and agriculture. Farming Simulator 22 occupied more of the realistic present side of things. This was something real yet different from my everyday life, and I can see where it would be a tantalizing escape for many.
While I may always find favor in my typical fantasy farming sims, I found some amount of peace and relaxation in the monotonous tasks as I settled into my daily routine of growing and caring for my crops before harvesting and selling them for vastly small amounts in the beginning as I learned and grew.
Farming Simulator 22 also became a bit of a learning tool for me. Aside from looking up brief descriptions of the equipment, I found myself researching when and how to best grow cotton, grapes, potatoes, etc., in order to help me better prepare for the next season and to correct and grow from errors I’d made in previous seasons. As I gained experience, I came to consider Farming Simulator 22 to be to my typical farming sim games as Anno is to city-building games; which suffice to say is definitely fun, but also complex and demanding of vast amounts of logical brainpower, yet extremely enjoyable and even a bit fulfilling after tackling the initial basics and hang-ups.