Farming Simulator 22 represents a significant leap for Giants Software, offering the largest and most in-depth experience in the series. With its release, it has managed to capture the attention of both dedicated fans and newcomers alike, partly thanks to the popularity of farming-themed shows like Clarkson's Farm. This entry marks the first time the series has appeared on current-gen consoles, and it's packed with more licensed content and features crossplay between all platforms.
The Core Experience
The core gameplay loop of Farming Simulator 22 remains familiar to series veterans. Players start by choosing one of three maps, each with different economic difficulties and starting gear. The objective is straightforward: purchase land, cultivate it, and grow crops according to market demand. This process involves preparing the land for sowing, planting seeds, fertilizing, and eventually harvesting the crops. The choice of maps includes a rustic village in France, an American town, and a Swiss mountainous region, each offering a unique backdrop and changing businesses to sell your produce to.
Innovations and Improvements
One of the most significant enhancements in Farming Simulator 22 is the management aspect, now allowing players to create supply chains. This system lets you build factories and businesses to process your goods, adding depth to the game's economic model. For instance, you can produce milk at a dairy, then use it to make cheese for a pizzeria, or combine various ingredients to create chocolates and cakes. This addition is complemented by seasonal gameplay, which requires strategic planning for crop rotation and harvest times.
Challenges and Learning Curve
Despite these innovations, Farming Simulator 22 is not without its challenges. The game's tutorial and documentation have been criticized for being inadequate, leaving both new and old players feeling overwhelmed. The core gameplay loop hasn't changed much, and the user interface could be more intuitive. Additionally, the game is noted for its slow start, requiring a significant time investment before players can fully engage in the more complex aspects like supply chains and equipment acquisition.
Graphical and Technical Aspects
The game showcases improved graphics, with enhanced lighting, textures, and details like wild animals that add realism. The in-game physics, especially for handling objects like pallets and bales, has also seen improvements. On the PlayStation 5, the game runs at a smooth 60 frames-per-second, although some players have noted issues with the fixed camera angle. The game’s commitment to realism extends to the detailed portrayal of machinery and vehicles, some of which are debuting in the game before their real-life release, highlighting the franchise's influence in the agricultural industry.
Multiplayer and Mod Support
Farming Simulator 22 shines in its multiplayer mode, where players can join friends in cooperative farming. The game supports quick drop-in sessions and dedicated servers, enhanced by the newly added cross-play functionality. The experience of working the fields in unison with friends has been highlighted as a particularly enjoyable aspect of the game. Additionally, the game’s mod support is robust, allowing for a wide range of add-ons and extensions that enhance and prolong the farming experience.
Farming Simulator 22 is a complex and in-depth simulation that offers a wide range of activities and challenges. Its introduction of supply chains and seasons adds layers of strategy and planning, making it more than just a simple farming game. However, the steep learning curve and the time required to progress can be daunting for new players. For those willing to invest the time and effort, Farming Simulator 22 offers a rewarding and immersive agricultural experience that is both challenging and enjoyable.