Okay, so obviously I've played this game a ridiculous amount of time. I can be a little obsessive about getting a game going JUST RIGHT so that I can build my empire. That having been said, I still have not explored all of the facets of the game as of yet. Now I have not played the previous versions of this game, so I didn't really know what to expect with it, and I have to say that my girlfriend made fun of me for days after purchasing and playing this game. Here is what makes it so awesome:
To be fair, here's a list of cons for the game:
- You have a unique opportunity to build your own empire with the farming equipment and shifting markets. Yes, you're running a farm. Doesn't sound all that interesting, does it? Well, playing it on a computer removes all of the icky-est parts of owning your own farm, and the fast settings allow you to harvest every day (about every 21 game hours, actually), which means that if you are savvy with the way you start, you can really build your business.
- The game allows you to pick different ways to play the game, including how much involvement you want to have in the game. There are some crops, like wheat, barley, or canola, that require very little micromanaging on your part. See, this game allows you two options, depending on the task you are undertaking... you can either run the machine yourself (which takes some dexterity, believe you me!) or you can hire a worker to do it for you. I made the mistake on my first go-round of trying to run the harvester myself. Anyway, on crops like the ones I mentioned, the only thing you really need to do is run the tractor that gets the grain from the harvester (with a trailer) and drop it off either in your silo for storage or sell it directly to the highest buyer.
- If you want to make more money, there are other things you can produce, such as Bio Gas. This is what I like to call the money making machine. I won't go into details here, since I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but do the research and you will soon have all the money you need to fund whatever your chosen task is. The point is, that you have to spend your time and energy running the darned tractor around dumping into the buckets (this takes HOURS). So if you want to really spend time on your game and work at it, you certainly have the opportunity to thrive.
- The game is beautifully crafted, and the machinery is very realistic (but what do I know, I work in an office, right?). As other people have mentioned before, crash simulation is almost non-existant. Frankly, that's the way I like it. If I'm stupid enough to accidentally flip my tractor over and it somehow magically rights itself with all of its contents still in tact? I'm a happy camper. Again, all of the icky stuff has been removed. The game itself though, and the two worlds that it comes with, have beautiful graphics (I'm running on the highest settings, though) and the ambient sound is realistic but repetative. Personally I wish they would put a volume bar in that could go at increments of 5 instead of 10, but I'm being picky.
- This game will take over your life. No, seriously. If you are committed to playing this game and getting to the 5 million marker, you need to put in some serious time. It starts SLOW. So slow you think you're going to slit your wrists for spending your first 3 or 4 hours just to successfully figure out how to complete your harvest and reseed a new one. You will make mistakes. You will buy the wrong equipment. You will want to restart your game at least 3 times. If you buy this game and commit to it, you're going to put in at least 12 hours exploring the mechanics of the game, and still you'll learn new things about how the machinery works and you'll wish you had known 50 GAME HOURS AGO. Ah well. Such is life. Keep dumping those silage buckets.
- As I sort of hinted at in the previous point, the tutorial is woefully lacking in information. And the tutorial will still seem completely overwhelming. There is SO MUCH to the game mechanics of this game to learn, and one of the biggest and most important tools is your tablet, which can be accessed using your "i" key. I don't honestly remember them mentioning this in the tutorial once, and your tablet is crutial to running your farm. It will show you where your machinery is, how far along in the harvest your crops are, how much crops are selling for, what the projected weather will be (because it really does matter!) and many other things that you will need to know. How they could have left this out (or again, maybe I missed it) I couldn't possibly tell you. I was looking up game guides for this and came across mention of it, and once again my game was reborn.
- The sun doesn't set. Well, the sun doesn't TRAVEL, rather. It stays in one position in the sky for the entire day and simply simulates the coloring of a sunrise and sunset by just dimming itself. I don't know why, but this really bothers me, although I can understand why it wouldn't have been high on the game developers' priority list. The rest of the details seem so well thought that I figured this would be a given.
- When the game speeds up, the machinery doesn't. Now this may seem normal to some people, but I also have a healthy love for The Sims 4, and I'm used to having everything speed up when I speed up time. It means that while you can speed up the harvest time of planted crops, or force the hour to turn over to see the new crop prices on your tablet, you can't make your machines work your field any darned faster than they can physically do it. This means that you might even have time to get up and make yourself a sandwich while your cultivator and seeder work your field. Personally, I knit while my machines are on autopilot. But that's just another reason why this game is great for me. Impatient people though, them not so much.
- There's no action to this game at all. This really should be a given to anyone who spends more than 30 seconds looking at the specs of this game, but I'm sure that some people are displeased that this game is so tranquil. Personally, I like it, but the game is monotonous--intentionally so. A lot of people would find this game tedious. It is. I love it. Deal with it.
So as I said, I haven't yet explored every facet of this game. I have yet to farm corn to get corn, usually I just farm for silage. I have yet to try cutting down trees, or having cattle or sheep. Also potatoes. I'm not sure I'm gonna try doing potatoes. But regardless, I have yet to be bored with this game, not enough to eventually come back again. So far the DLC has been reasonable (although I haven't used much of the IT Runner pack at all, really) and the game has been a pleasure. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a game that they can relax into after a long day. Do I want to be a farmer in real life? Not a chance. Do I enjoy playing a simulated farm game? You bet your a$$ I do.
Oh, and one more thing. Eventually my girlfriend stopped making fun of me.