Farming Simulator 15 Review (XONE)

Farming Simulator 15 screen 1
Farming Simulator 15 screen 1. Focus Home Interactive

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Farming Simulator 15 isn't a game for everyone.  On the surface, it seems like it fails all of the basic criteria to make a good game - it is ugly, glitchy, slow, confusing, has weird controls, etc. - but if you give it enough time, it can get its hooks into you and not let go.  Suddenly you've played this "bad" game for 20+ hours over the span of just a couple of days (It actually broke me away from my Dark Souls II addiction!) and have never felt more satisfied with your videogame accomplishments before now.  It isn't ever going to have mass market appeal, but it hooked me and I love it.  Find out if Farming Simulator 15 might also be your cup of tea here in our full review.    

Game Details

  • Publisher:  Focus Home Interactive
  • Developer: Giants Software
  • ESRB Rating: “E" for Everyone
  • Genre: Simulation
  • Pros:  Satisfying like no other game you'll ever play; surprising depth; lots to do; lots of real equipment; multiplayer
  • Cons:  Glitchy; slow; not enough tutorials / in-game help; will consume your life when you get into it


Farming Simulator 15 is, well, a farming simulator.  It is remarkably realistic and highly detailed when it comes to the activities you can do, which means it is kind of slow and tedious and confusing.  It isn't exciting, but it definitely isn't boring.  The sheer amount of things you can do is impressive, as is the fact the game just dumps you into the world and tells you to start farming without much fanfare.  You decide which crops you want to grow - wheat, barley, canola, corn, potatoes, beets - and then you get to it.  Or you could focus on animals - chickens, cows, sheep.  Or you could grab a chainsaw and become a one-man timber industry.  Or you could do a combination of all of these things all at once. 

That is, if you figure out how to actually do any of it.  Farming is complex and confusing if you don't know what you're doing.  Every machine essentially does just one job, so you have to not only switch back and forth between a bunch of stuff, but you also have to make sure you do things in the proper order or you end up wasting time.  And not only do you need a bazillion separate machines to do anything, they're all crazy expensive, so prioritizing your goals and planning ahead for what you want to do next is important.  The game has some tutorials built in, but they don't do a particularly thorough job and will still leave you with a lot of questions, particularly when it comes to raising animals and the new logging stuff. 

When you do wrap your head around how to do things in Farming Simulator 15, however, it gets really, really addictive and enjoyable.  Everything takes a long, long time to actually do, but the feeling of accomplishment you have at the end of the day is incredible.  When you cultivate, sow seeds, harvest a field, and sell the crop to earn money, it is really satisfying.  Then you turn around and use your money to buy new equipment that lets you do it all faster and more efficiently.  Then you buy another field.  And more equipment.  Then you decide you want to try planting something else, so you buy more new equipment.  It is an endless cycle of setting goals, putting in work, and then reaping the rewards of your effort so you can do it all over again.  Like real world Minecraft

You can hire A.I. workers to do some of the more tedious things (driving tractors back and forth across a field for hours is pretty boring) but you'll still have to drive a wagon around to empty our the harvesters and deliver the final product to the mill, among a multitude of other things the A.I. can't / won't do.  You develop a system of always having something to do, but always keeping the A.I. working as well.  Figuring out how to be efficient is part of the satisfaction here.

It has to be noted that playing Farming Simulator is very, very time consuming.  You can set the in-game clock to up to 120x normal, but that only makes time pass faster (so your crops grow faster), it doesn't make your workers move any faster.  Cultivating, planting, harvesting, and delivering just one field can take an hour or more of real world time.  I got into the habit of leaving the game running while the A.I. workers did stuff while I did other things in the real world for 15-20 minutes.  You reach a point where your fields are so huge and everything takes so long that there's really no other reasonable way to accomplish stuff.  It's a shame that you can only hire 3 workers at a time, or you'd be able to get more done.


An exclusive new feature on the current-gen console versions of Farming Simulator 15 is that you can play online co-op with your friends so you can help each other out.  That is, if you have friends that actually want to play Farming Simulator 15 with you for hours on end.  You don't?  Me neither.  It's nice that the feature is here, though.     


Farming Simulator 15 comes to Xbox One with promises of lots of improvements to the graphics and physics.  The game does look better, though it still has that distinctly low rent "X Simulator" look, but at least your crops aren't popping into view 10-meters in front of you like they did in the Xbox 360 version of Farming Simulator released a couple of years ago.  Now things pop-in 30-40 meters away, which is better.  The tractors and other equipment are nicely detailed, even if the environments are bland and mostly simple, and a nice touch is you can actually wash the dirt off them with a pressure washer.  The day / night cycle looks good (and the game gets strangely creepy at night) and weather effects for rain and hail are nice as well.

The physics are also still pretty wonky and you can drive up and over mountains and off of cliffs and none of it matters.  A.I.-controlled cars still roam the roads with reckless abandon and drive into you at every opportunity, again with no real consequences.  Pedestrians also walk around in towns, but have no hitboxes so they might as well be ghosts.  So, yeah, despite promises of grand improvements, it's still Farming Simulator.

Not much to say on the sound.  There isn't any music in-game, just the monotonous rumbling of your machinery.  It all sounds fine, though. 

Bottom Line

Farming Simulator 15 just really clicked for me.  It probably won't "click" for most people, particularly if you have a low tolerance for repetition and a lack of excitement.  It is far from a good looking, well put together, highly polished game, but it is fun and incredibly satisfying and I sunk an embarrassing amount of time into it.  Then again, I was one of those kids who spent hours upon hours out in the dirt playing with Tonka Trucks (Not those wimpy plastic things of today, either.  I'm talking the heavy, metal, full of sharp edges and moving parts that pinched your fingers toys from the 80's!), so being able to drive tractors and harvesters and trucks and everything else in Farming Simulator is really appealing to me.  Even in my 30's, I'm still a kid that likes to play in the dirt at heart.  If that sounds like you, give Farming Simulator 15 a try.  

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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