I’m forever amazed at the success of the Farming Simulator IP. I’d hazard a guess the audience is either people doing farming-related desk jobs or those with a romantic view of the profession as I expect few farmers would have the time to sink into open-ended sandbox sessions. The good news, for both those curious about the IP and existing players looking to return, is that Farming Simulator 22: Platinum Edition provides the forestry-focused excuse you need. It remains a weirdly compelling experience that offers mechanically fiddly, management-heavy, methodical busy-work coupled with immersion-breaking jank, like triggering actions with no animation or watching your harvester backflip over a fallen tree trunk. If you’re willing to work through a steep learning curve and come to grips with the dense interface, it provides an engaging and cathartic time-sink.
Swim or sink
Now despite the flashy opening cutscene that highlights the hard work required for successful farming, you’re swiftly dropped into sandbox environments with no narrative context, no structured story, and no end goal. It’s all about early planning (which you can mess up royally), some hands-on work, assigning tasks to the AI, investing profits into new ventures or expanding the ones you have, and – ideally – optimising every step of the process as you go.
It’s a rough start and, if you’re a newcomer, you’d be wise to pick one of the four official maps on offer in the Farming Simulator 22: Platinum Edition. The original three include a recreation of the American midwest (Elmcreek), a southern French valley (Haut-Beyleron), or the Swiss Alps (Erlengrat) – all of which focus on traditional crop or livestock farming. The new map, which offers an environment based on the heavily forested Pacific Northwest (Silverrun Forest), has far less arable land and is the best pick for returning players or those uninterested in juggling multiple fields. Each offers a distinct atmosphere and topography but all offer town centres with agricultural stores and equipment dealers; different businesses that’ll store, transport, and buy produce; businesses you can purchase to fabricate goods; and, with the expansion map, town projects you can contribute resources towards.
Building an empire
Before covering the new content, I thought I’d give any newcomers a quick idea of what to expect. Assuming you’re playing the standard sandbox mode, you’ll pick a difficulty – which affects starting funds and potential debt – lightly customise your avatar, pick a map, and then be thrust into the game with a few icons that offer either an incredibly brief tutorial or just link to the extensive in-game manual. These cover the basics like preparing a field, seeding it, harvesting, selling produce, and assigning those tasks to an AI employee – but they rarely go into fine detail or explain your options when it comes to tweaking gameplay parameters.
To give you just a taste of the depth on offer: you can purchase new plots of land; enter an isometric build mode to purchase new structures for your farm; pick between favourable or tough market conditions; toggle the need to periodically till, de-stone, lime, and fertilize fields to keep yields high; decide whether vehicles will damage crops they move through them; or maybe allow your AI helpers to automatically buy the resources they need for any assigned task. You can also tweak how time passes so, if you’re after a hectic schedule, you can set time to move swiftly so that you’ll be tackling a new task each day of the month. Alternatively – for a less intense experience – you can set the game to real-time but make each game day equivalent to a month. This ensured I was always planting and harvesting new crop types as the seasons changed with each sleep.
In terms of what you can farm – grains, corn, and silage are easy starting picks but there are over a dozen crop types, several livestock options, and you can even generate other materials to create refined or fabricated goods. It’s a lot to take in but if you go slow, invest in convenient crop or livestock “packs” to get you going, and make use of the rotating second-hand market for discount vehicles and tools – it’s not too hard to get a grip on the gameplay mechanics while building up a stable, profitably farm. Of course, as in real life, what you get out of Farming Simulator 22: Platinum Edition is a function of time, money, planning, and effort.
In addition to traditional farming, you could focus on maintaining equipment and performing contract jobs; buy a factory to produce and sell furniture at higher prices; invest in solar, wind, and biogas power generation to earn passive income by selling it back to the grid. A more diversified farm and one that produced refined goods means greater financial rewards and therefore easier expansion. But that said, Farming Simulator 22: Platinum Edition is best learned through experimentation, iteration, and coming back from failures – so don’t expect to build a sprawling empire on the first attempt. If that bothers you, it’s time to discuss the new content and mod support.
Everything I’ve discussed up to this point only represents the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the content available. A year on, the experience is better than ever thanks to both the Platinum expansion content and mod support that’s now as robust and diverse as in Farming Simulator 19 – a much-loved predecessor that somewhat overshadowed the original launch.
The Platinum Edition content is perfect for those that have grown tired of managing an expansive network of fields and paddocks. The Silverrun Forest – and additions to the rest of the game – is all about expanding your forestry options and goals beyond the sale of crops and livestock. With only a few fields adjacent to a lake in the south, and sprawling forests and river valleys to the north, it’s perfect for those just wanting to maintain a small farm, invest in specialised machinery, contract work, and maybe greenhouse cultivation if you feel the need to grow something. There are new industries and construction projects – some of which you can take ownership of – that require an abundance of raw and refined materials to complete. You can help establish a mine, process wood and ore for parts to build fishing and leisure boats, and even aid in the construction of a rollercoaster for the lakeside town. It’s where I spent all my time for this review.
However, if you’re looking for a near-endless source of custom maps, machinery, and unique gameplay modifiers, the extensive mod list – even on consoles – has massively improved since launch. You’ll want to use the rating system to filter out the best picks, but you can find both beautiful and challenging new maps that’ll force you to carefully consider your farm layout, modifiers to emulate farming in extreme weather conditions, or mods that simply provide a massive monthly stipend so you can expand to your heart’s content. These mods are the lifeblood of this IP and Farming Simulator 22 no longer disappoints on console.
Surely this is easier in real life?
Farming Simulator 22: Platinum Edition demonstrates obsessive attention to detail – but only when it comes to the vehicles and tools. It makes sense given you’ll be staring at their exteriors or interiors for the bulk of your playtime and they’re rendered in fine detail, while animations capture the complexity of their operation. The knock-on effect is that the gamepad controls have a learning curve. Turning on or off engines and tools; raising, lowering, and rotating attachments; manoeuvring trailer attachments; remembering to attach counterweights for forklifts and dozer buckets – it’s not your typical video game approach of “push one button to perform a complex task”. Operating machinery manually always requires a methodical sequence of moves, so get used to the idea of alternating between both thumbsticks, the face buttons, and using the bumpers as modifiers. The Menus can also be a pain to navigate at times and it’s often difficult to find the information overlay you need.
In stark contrast to the machinery, the environments look rough – even if they are suitably atmospheric and can look striking when the sun is low in the sky or you’re working at night with spotlights on. At close or medium range, environments seem detailed and lush, but sweeping vistas show off aggressive level-of-detail cuts. The towns and established businesses you explore also feel distinctly simple, with bland textures and minimal vehicle or foot traffic. Unfortunately, the dated visuals don’t equate to a stable framerate – at least on the Xbox Series consoles – something most notable when driving or walking anywhere with a sweeping view of the map. On the upside, the licensed soundtrack offers a mix of country rock, European electronic beats, and classical music – a perfect selection for the slower-paced, methodical gameplay and maps.
Your farm, your rules
Now recommending Farming Simulator 22: Platinum Edition (or any of its predecessors) is easy, but difficult to justify to a broader audience with no prior experience.
There were times I regretted a poor purchasing decision and sat passing time until the next payday. Other times I found myself shouting at the screen while trying to get a tool aligned using the fiddly gamepad controls, or managed to topple my vehicle by swinging a telescopic arm into a tree or plunging an attachment into the ground. However, there were far more moments when I got a kick out of setting up a new field, optimised my crop rotation, micromanaged the AI to run everything for me, or spent upwards of an hour just manually tilling and seeding a field – lost in a cathartic state while listening to indie-rock tunes on the in-game radio.
Perhaps the most important point to reiterate is that this is a pure, make-your-own-fun sandbox experience with a massive set of tools and gameplay modifiers. There’s no narrative context, little guidance, no small town that needs saving, and no NPCs to romance; hell, there’s not even a simple list of objectives to aim for. What Farming Simulator 22: Platinum Edition offers is an improved base game – with new structures and earning opportunities – but also a year of ongoing mod support that provides even more tools, more locations, and more gameplay modifiers. Whatever your farming interests, planning abilities, or patience level, Farming Simulator 22: Platinum Edition provides more than enough options to farm any way you want.
A review code for Farming Simulator 22: Platinum Edition was provided to gameblur by the publisher.
Farming Simulator 22 - Platinum Edition (Xbox Series) ReviewFarming Simulator 22 - Platinum Edition (Xbox Series) Review
Audio8/10 Very Good
- Experience the cathartic joy of methodical work or micromanaging the AI in giant sandbox environments
- Dozens of officially branded vehicles and tools, all meticulously rendered and animated
- Platinum expansion activities provide new career opportunities outside of cultivation and livestock
- Well-established mod support, offering new vehicles, maps, and gameplay modifiers
- The tutorials still feel insufficient for new players
- Fiddly gamepad controls
- The animations for some actions still look rough or simply don’t exist
- Highly variable performance on consoles