The newest version of Farming Simulator – Farming Simulator 22 – is now available for several platforms including: Windows, Mac O/S, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4 and PS5. I believe this is the 11th iteration of Farming Simulator, which began with Farming Simulator 2008. And to be honest with you, I have not played any of them – until now.
I am a city boy. I was born and raised in Chicago. I met an Iowa farm girl in college, got married, and dragged her back to Chicago with me. My wife’s family has a 480 acre farm in the rolling hills of western Iowa, and it is still culture shock for me every time we go back there. Their family farm grows soybeans and feed corn. They also have two large hog confinement systems, a couple dozen head of cattle, and a chicken coop. So, I know a little bit about farm life, but I still have a lot to learn about farm machinery.
Here are some fun photos from my wife’s family farm:
I got my hands on a copy of Farming Simulator 22 for the Xbox, and have been playing it on my Series X for about a week now. I jotted together some notes for folks that might be thinking about purchasing this game for the first time.
What is Farming Simulator 22?
This game has so much going on that it is hard to know where to start. The basic idea of the game is to get a profitable farm up and running. You can start small and stay small, or you can have grand plans for a giant corporation with farming, processing, and final destination retail sales. You can have a small chicken farm or flower farm. You can simply plant corn and soybeans, and have a few horses. Or you could run a monster dairy farm, make some ice cream, buy an ice cream shop, and sell it yourself in town. This game is a giant sandbox for your farming dreams.
The machinery includes a plethora of name brands from America and Europe including: John Deere, CLAAS, Case IH, DEUTZ-FAHR, New Holland, Fendt, Massey Ferguson, Valtra and many others. There are over 400 authentic machines and tools, from over 100 real agricultural brands.
I have been playing for one week, and have no familiarity with any previous version of Farming Simulator. So, I had to start as a total newbie here. There are 3 starting options for gamers:
Easy – You start with a small farm, some farm equipment, and a decent amount of money.
Medium – You don’t have any equipment or land, but you have some money in your pocket to burn and you can buy a little land and some equipment to get you started
Starting From Scratch – You own nothing, and have to borrow money from the bank to get you started.
Being a beginner, I started off in the Easy Mode. The game starts you off at your house, and recommends you take the Tutorial. So I took the tutorial which teaches you:
How to drive a harvester, how to drive a tractor, how to attach implements to your tractors, how to plant seeds, how to fill wagons, and how to deliver harvested goods to a buyer in town.
The tutorial isn’t great, but there is a short tutorial that teaches you how to drive tractors, and attach implements. Thankfully, there are many helpful people on YouTube (and message boards) that can help you along the way.
My early experiences of this game are both frustrating and fun. Here is an example of what happened to me after the tutorial:
I decided I was going to fertilize my own farm, and I noticed there were 4 contracts available to fertilize other people’s farms. I decided I would spend some of my starter money on a new fertilizer attachment. I drove my 1986 beater pickup truck down to the sale barn and bought myself a dry fertilizer attachment for $24,000. Of course it attaches to the back of a tractor, which I left back at my farm. So I drove my pickup truck back to my farm and grabbed my tractor. I drove the tractor back to the sale barn and attached the fertilizer spreader to my tractor and drove back to the farm. Hmmm … where is my fertilizer stored? Does my starter farm even have fertilizer yet? Hello Google? Can you help me?
Oh, I have to buy fertilizer at the sales barn too? Okay. So I hook up my wagon and drive my tractor to the sales barn. I buy two bags of fertilizer ($1600 each) and load it onto my wagon. You do this by pulling the wagon up next to the bags of fertilizer in the parking lot and tapping a button on your controller, and the dry fertilizer magically comes out of the bags, and automatically goes into the back of the wagon in one big pile. I drove back to my farm. Hmm? How do I get this fertilizer from my wagon into my fertilizer? Hello Google? Can you help?
Oh, I was supposed to load the bags of fertilizer into my fertilizer spreader directly at the sales barn? I can’t magically load it into my spreader now? DOH! What else can I do now that I have it in my trailer?
My plan – I dump the dry fertilizer onto the ground and hope I can shovel it in. Nope that doesn’t work. I can’t let $3200 of fertilizer just go to waste on the ground. Hello Google? Can you help?
Oh, I can buy a bucket attachment for my tractor and scoop it in? Sure, why not! So I drove my tractor back to the sale barn and bought a bucket for $1,400. Then I try to attach the bucket to the tractor in the parking lot of the sale barn. Hmm, it won’t attach. Hello Google? Can you help?
Oh, I also need a front loader for my tractor to hook it up. (My wife is laughing at me the whole time by the way while I’m playing on the Xbox on the television). I bought front loader arms for $7,000. Now the front loader arms and bucket are in the parking lot. I drive up to the arms, hoping to see the “attach with “A” button” pop up. Nothing. I just keep pushing the equipment around the parking lot, and it never attaches for me. I feel like a monkey humping a football in the parking lot. Hello Google? Can you help?
Wait? What? I need to go see a mechanic and have him tweak the front end of my tractor so that it can be used in front end loader mode? Where’s the mechanic? Oh, the mechanic is behind the sale barn. Got it. So I paid the mechanic $1400 to tweak the front of my tractor. I drove back to the parking lot. And I finally get the arms attached. And I get the bucket to attach to the arms. Yes! I drive my newly renovated tractor back to my farm.
I pull up next to the pile of fertilizer with my nearby spreader. I figured out the wonky controls to work my new bucket arms, and slowly try to scoop the fertilizer into the spreader. I was like a child cooking mac and cheese in the kitchen. I made a mess of most of it. I would say I was able to scoop up about half of the fertilizer and get it into my new spreader. The rest I just pushed all over the gravel driveways on the farm.
So I spent an extra $10,000 to save about $1,600 of fertilizer. LOL! It was both fun and frustrating. It was a puzzle I NEEDED to solve. And I solved it … with the help of Google and a bunch of great people on YouTube and Message Boards.
I then fertilized my farm, and since I had the fertilizer spreader and fertilizer, I looked at the contract board and took those 4 side-jobs fertilizing other farms in my town. You can hire AI workers to do this for you, but I enjoyed doing the work myself.
Likes, Dislikes and Final Thoughts.
The graphics are great. I played this on the Xbox series x and it looked fantastic.
No one is ganking you. I have been playing Sea of Thieves solo quite a bit lately. It is a PVP/PVE sandbox Pirate game, and you can always be shot, looted, plundered, and have your ship sunk by other real players. I get ganked by teenagers fairly often. It was nice to get away from PVP and do something peaceful for a change.
There are so many different vehicles you can purchase. Like: Tractors, trucks, harvesters, mowers, front loaders, wheel loaders, telehandlers, skid loaders, forklifts, and cars.
You can also buy specialty tech vehicles if you are farming: potatoes, beets, sugarcane, cotton, grapes, or olives. There are special vehicles for forestry, and special vehicles for animals, and … I could go on and on.
There are tons of attachments for you trucks and tractors like: trailers, wagons, pickers, mulchers, plows, cultivators, disc harrows, power harrows, subsoilers, seeders, planters, rollers, sprayers, fertilizers, manure spreaders, slurry tanks, weeders, mowers, balers, animal transports, front loaders, levelers, winter plows, etc.
You can buy used vehicles at the sale barn at a nice discount, but that equipment is also likely to need maintenance earlier than new vehicles.
Sure, I will do a side job for you!
It is fun to fulfill contracts, and appears to be very profitable. If you have the machinery, you can take side jobs for extra cash and help people fertilize their farms, do some baling at their farms, cultivate their fields, harvest their fields, spray their fields, etc.
You can do your jobs yourself, or hire AI workers to do the labor if you find it boring.
I also like that you can change many of the settings to make things easier on yourself. You can set time in the game to pass like real time. Or you can make time go by 2x, 3x, 4x, …. up to 120 times faster. The game defaults to 5 times faster than real time. If you are new to the game, do yourself a favor and change this to real time for your first day. I would do this just as I started the game.
You can also set how many days you want in a month. You can disable snow and crop destruction if you want to just chill out during your first playthrough. There are too many settings to discuss here, but they all make sense and you can enable or disable the ones you like/dislike.
I like that you aren’t shoehorned into running one type of farm. Want to raise horses and sell them? Go for it. Want to grow sunflowers? Go for it. Want to make wine? Go for it!
My main complaint has to be the tutorial. The tutorial is too short, and I wish there were more tutorials.
There is so much to learn and very little hand-holding. The tutorial is nothing like a Nintendo game where just about everything is spoon-fed to you. If you are an experienced Farming Simulator player, then you probably know all the tricks of the trade. But new players will need to watch some YouTube videos to learn all the intricacies about running a simulated farm.
I almost wish there were dozens of more tutorials, or quests you could do as tutorials. Like … rent a grape machine and pick grapes. Or maybe a whole tutorial on running a dairy farm. You simply have to learn stuff on the job.
Some of the equipment in Farming Simulator 22 is a little wonky to drive. I came directly into this game from Forza 5, and the vehicles don’t drive anywhere near as smooth as Forza.
Also, it seems the AI of the traffic needs some work. Cars won’t pass you up on the roads if you are in a slow vehicle. They would rather honk at you. And I have had vehicles run stop signs and crash right me. I disabled traffic in my game as it was annoying me.
Final Thoughts on Farming Simulator 22
Once you get past the short tutorial, this can be quite a fun game. If you are looking for a fast-paced racing game, shooter, or RPG, then you really should look elsewhere. If you are looking for a satisfyingly beautiful and peaceful game that requires planning and puzzle solving, then look no further.
I know I talked about this game being frustratingly fun, and that is how I felt the first week. But I also accepted the challenge that I was going to figure out how to scoop up dry fertilizer from the ground of my farm no matter what the cost – and I completed that task. And it felt great. 😛
I have read about folks running into glitches playing Farming Sim 22. I honestly have not had a single glitch during my gameplay. The game has run flawlessly on my Xbox Series X. I haven’t had any screen tears, or lock-ups, or noticeable FPS drops.
From what I understand, there is a large Farming Simulator modding community that creates mods for other vehicles, tractor skins, tools, etc. So if you are really into this game, just know that there is more out there that you can import into your game.
I see there is a multiplayer option. I might have to get someone another copy and see if we can attempt a multiplayer farm together.