Farming Simulator 2013 Review

Lee Bradley

Farming Simulator is a weird game culture phenomenon. Huge in parts of mainland Europe, the PC version has a following of millions of fans. It’s the Let's Play and YouTube videos that have turned it into a kind of hipster cult in the rest of the world though. Because let’s be honest, who could watch this video and not want to give the series a go?

But there’s a problem. Most of the fun of those vids comes from players willfully messing with the game’s intentions and fannying about. You can do that stuff, you totally can. But it quickly gets boring.

Forced to go back and play the game the way it was intended is a tedious exercise in mundanity, a dreadfully dull slog through the day-to-day work of farming. There’s some satisfaction to be had in harvesting your crops in perfect, neat little lines - something that appeals to the OCD in many gamers, but it’s mostly about as much fun as leprosy.

Let’s talk about my dream version of the game for a while ‘cos it’s more interesting.

Just look at all that sexy farming machinery. Cor, etc.

In Farming Simulator: Bradley Edition, you’re a man (or woman) who must rise through the ranks of the farming underworld by defeating increasingly powerful farm-owning dons. The climax of the game sees you power-crazed and covered in flour, Tony Montana-style. As the final boss bursts into your barn, you start up your hulking combine harvester and scream “Say hello to my little friend!” and run the fucker over.

There’s mini-games too, in Farming Simulator: Bradley Edition, where you take your harvester into town and mow down pedestrians, causing huge tsunamis of blood to wash across the streets. Kill enough people and SWAT teams are dispatched, but it’s okay because the other day you flogged a load of wheat for a good price and installed a rocket launcher on your tractor. Boooom!

The real Farming Simulator isn’t like that. GTA V is probably a bit like that. God, I wish I was reviewing GTA V.

Back to the matter at hand. In Farming Simulator you’re mostly caught in a loop of sowing, harvesting and selling; investing in more fields, better equipment and buildings, more animals and more assistance until, well, I’m not sure. World domination? A Walter White, Breaking Bad-style mountain of cash? I didn’t get that far, to be honest, nor will I ever want to.

Someone just kill me, please.

The only real distraction from all this are the side-missions, which occasionally pop up on the cluttered UI like “Hey cousin, wanna go bowling?” annoyances. The tasks, which include exciting adventures like delivering stuff with a forklift and mowing a golf course, offer a relative ton of cash early on, but their rewards quickly diminish and they’re limited and dull and oh god feed me to the pigs now so I don’t have to write this crap any more.

Recently I moaned on Twitter about how Farming Simulator is a bad game and somebody replied by saying, “Yes, but is it a good simulator?” I thought it was a good question for a minute, but then realised that Scrape Your Bollocks With a Cheese Grater 2013 might be the most accurate sim ever, but I still wouldn’t want to play the bloody thing.

And that’s the problem. You probably know if you want this game merely by looking at the title. Wanna simulate managing and working on a farm? Then knock yourself out, this is the only one on consoles. Just don’t be fooled by the amusing YouTube vids.

I can't take it anymore!

Because it’s not even technically solid. It looks like shite, for a start, and none of the physics make any sense. If you collide head-on with a car while driving a tractor you just stop or - exciting! - kinda bounce slowly over it. If you drive over a person with a harvester they just clip straight through the model. Trees and crops and buildings regularly suffer from pop-in, despite being 30 ft away. There’s a day/night cycle that affects your animals but not your workers. It’s a bit of a mess.

The achievements are dull too, pretty much all 16 of them rewarding time, distance and progression-based persistence. Three are dedicated to picking up horseshoes, collectibles scattered around the world. Apparently, if you collect them all then next time it rains a rainbow appears, at the end of which is a pot of gold worth €1m, which is a true story. Equally true is that if you collect all the horseshoes you’ll wake up at night wondering why everyone you know has abandoned you.

When I was at university, a friend told me about these little fish called Candiru in South America. When you pee in a river populated by these fish they can swim up your urine stream and into your penis, where they then breed. I’d rather have that happen than ever, ever have to play Farming Simulator again.

Farming Simulator 2013

Don’t be fooled by the funny YouTube vids, Farming Simulator 2013 is less fun than mad cow disease.

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I’ve forgotten already. There might be an 80s, elevator-style porn soundtrack?


About as attractive as a scrotum.


As much fun as a stubbed toe.


A painfully dull single-player is all you’re getting here.


There’s only a few of them and they’re all crap.

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