Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Series: Farming Simulator
Developer: Giants Software
Genres: Simulation game
Platform: Nintendo Switch
By David Mayne
By now you know that I’m a BIGASS fan of the now-cult adored agricultural powerhouse series, Farming Simulator. I’ve spent countless hundreds of hours plowing fields, planting crops, harvesting yields, selling said yields at market for (hopefully) profit, and raising various animals in Giants Software’s amazingly addictive and (what I consider to be) therapeutic FARMING simulator. Check out my review of Farming Simulator 15/16 for more on the series’ history.
Before I get started talking about FS’s latest incantation (Faming Simulator 17: Nintendo Switch Edition), let’s get a few things out-of-the-way for what I’m assuming is “most” gamers out there reading this review. The Farming Simulator series is, yes, a farming game…not a flashy first person shooter or a deep, open world RPG. As the name suggests, you will spend the overwhelming bulk of your time simulating “most” of what it’s like to be a farmer. Most gamers I know would probably consider this game boring as balls, and I wouldn’t blame them. Yes, it can and most likely is boring…IF you’re looking for flashy, next-gen graphics, deep stat building, action and adventure, or something you can master in just a few hours. The Farming Simulator series has and probably always will only appeal to a very niche group of gamers (most of which are farmers themselves…no joking). As such, not ONE single shit was given by the developers to make these games anything but what the name implied it to be, and that is perfectly OK. If you like the idea of farming and want the next-best thing to waking up at 3am and working your ass off all day long and into the evening doing little but extremely repetitive chores (without actually breaking your back and ruining your skin), then Farming Simulator just may be for you. Still…probably not, but maybe.
Farming Simulator 17: Nintendo Switch Edition (FS17NSE) FINALLY brings the most complete Farming Simulator experience to the handheld audience bar-none. Not only are you able to play the full game that the PC, XB1, and PS4 offer, the Switch’s unique ability to be used as a handheld device on-the-go makes this version easily my favorite incantation of the game thus far. One MAJOR flaw holds it back from true greatness, although there is the possibilty of its addition in future patches. By flaw, I’m talking about the ability to use mods, which all of the other consoles and PC can take advantage of. A huge modding community has formed around the Farming Simulator franchise, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that the Switch’s (to-date) lack of mod support is a real head scratcher and big ding on an otherwise perfect rendition of the game.
First up is the Fun-Factor. Ok, ok, let’s just say this: fun is in the eye of the beholder (50 Shades of Grey for example). While many gamers just testing out the waters will play probably 10 minutes of any FS game and quickly shut it off with teary eyes caused by 10 minutes of their life gone, others (meaning “those other gamers”) will power through the steep learning curve and spend many, many happy hours of farming bliss while they start with nothing, build a farming empire (over a LOT of time), and relax in the process. Yes, FS17NSE is both fun and relaxing! Once you master the basics of Farming Simulator, you can easily kick back on the couch, throw on a movie, and multi-task your entertainment with ease. I’ve worked many an hour on the farm while catching up on my favorite shows and movies.
Aside from the lack of mod support though is the omission of automated worker tasks present on the 3DS and Android versions where you can have your workers drive crops and such to and from delivery/drop-off points automatically. I know this feature was mobile-specific to save time for on-the-go gamers, but with the Switch being both a console AND a mobile platform, this much-loved feature would have been a welcomed addition.
That feature alone made FS18 much more fun and enjoyable over the console versions insistence on making you do most of the menial tasks yourself like driving crops to the market or getting gas and a car wash. Even driving halfway across the map to pick up new stuff from the equipment dealer was a thing of the past thanks to a very helpful navigation point that could be placed anywhere to have a worker take over and complete the travel for you. This helped tremendously on the mobile versions of the game, especially when your farm begins to grow in size and you have many more important things to do than take a cruise over the mill to drop off some harvest. Just sayin’, I wish they would have thrown that into the FS17NSE version for good measure.
Either way, and to not bore you guys with yet ANOTHER review of essentially the same game, Farming Simulator 17: Nintendo Switch Edition is now my favorite version of the game thanks to its hybrid ability to both serve as a console game and a handheld. Being able to manage my farm on the go in full Farming Simulator glory is now a reality and I don’t see putting this title down any time soon.
Battery draw (in handheld mode) is average-to-good for this title. Any full-3D rendered game on the Switch is going to drain the battery faster than something like Thimbleweed Park (6 hours) or Blaster Master Zero (7 hours), but I was able to get about 3 hours of playtime in before having to dock the Switch for charging.
Graphically, FS17NSE looks just as good as it’s XB1 and PS4 bretheren, and looks especially nice on the Switch’s little screen when played in handheld mode. I mean, it’s a farming game, not a AAA Ubisoft release, so don’t expect fireworks, but for what it is, it’s gorgeous. Framerate is solid as well, with a few tiny dips in first-person tractor-view mode.
Sound is a no brainer. You hear tractors. Well, that and really shoddy music (all three tracks of it). While the console versions now feature very detailed sounds for all kinds of things going on in and around your farm, the mobile versions suffer slightly from very basic tractor and machinery sounds. The main faux pas here occurs with the inclusion of only a handful of musical tracks to listen to while farming. Look, I know this isn’t Grand Theft Auto and Giants Software probably doesn’t have the resources available to worry about music licensing, but come on, maybe at least 15 to 20 royalty free tracks would have been better than the same 3 tracks looping continuously? Unlike the Android version where you can just open Pandora or something in the background, the Switch has yet to announce anything in the way of a music player, so until then, you’re stuck.
Control is a pleasure in all three Switch modes: traditional controller, Handheld, and Joy-Cons-only. I personally prefer the traditional controller first and the joy-cons second, but the handheld mode is perfectly fine if your laying in bed or don’t have the room to set the screen down or dock it to the TV.
Fun Factor: 10 – It’s farming. For days. On end. Repeat. BUT….if that does it for you, as it does me, then rock on!
Graphics: 9 – The textures and details on the Switch are top-notch and make this version the best mobile option.
Sound: 7 – Still let down with the repetitive selection of included music. Everything else sounds great though.
Control: 10 – All three ways to play work great and really allow you to play Farming Simulator the way it was meant to be played.
Lasting Appeal: 9 – If you have the interest and the time, FS17NSE will eat away many hours of your life. Finally having the complete verison of the game on-the-go is a serious leg up over previous “mobile” releases. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE add mod support tho!
90% – Excellent!