Techland Publishing / Ice Flames (studio)
13 March 2018 (released)
21 March 2018
I have a confession to make before I begin my review. I’m a noob when it comes to simulation games and to be honest I’ve never played anything Farming related in the simulation genre. I’m aware of the might titan that is Farming Simulator and how over the last few years it’s gained a large following of dedicated players. It’s not that I’m against anything that requires time, patience and relies on nurturing rather than shooting people in their faces. I’ve just never played many games in the genre. This could be great as a total outsider to genre altogether, I can hope this review will be insightful to any new comers while giving an objectified opinion that’s not basing it on another series.
I’ve seen a lot of reviewers compare this to Farming Simulator but I’ll judge Pure Farming 2018 entirely on its own merit. Pure Farming 2018 is set to break waves in the Simulator community with its own take on farming. From what I’ve read and heard about other series such as Farming Simulator, it’s really the community that makes the game captivating with aspects such as Modding. Pure Farming 2018 has the chance to expand beyond the competition and engross players purely on what the developers have made. As an outside to the genre I was nervous to start my journey and I will be honest, I’ve always seen simulation games as a little dull.
Yet I was egger to begin and after a few hours of playing, I began to see why these types of games have the huge followings. There are three modes to play including a story mode, Free Farming mode and challenge mode. Each of these game modes present different tasks and structures to allow players to grow their businesses at their own pace, follow a simple yet decent story or to show off their skills and prove themselves on the leader boards.
Story mode takes players through a simple narrative of a young man taking over the family farm, which is riddled with debt. The new owner (player) will have to turn the farm around and make a substantial profit to see it thrive through the difficult times. The story mode is best for new players as there are extensive tutorials that show you the ropes of farming, by using different vehicles, processes and daily activates that will earn you money for upgrading the farm and expanding your business. While the tutorials do last a couple of hours and after wards there is plenty of hand holding for the early stages of the game, I was happy to follow this through.
Pure Farming does a great job at guiding you through and making sure you’re ready to tackle the number of challenges ahead. It does this through some light repetition and hand holding, but once these stages are over any novice like me will be extremely confident to go ahead alone. Veteran players might be underwhelmed at the slow level of training here but it’s nice for a new series to show you the processes none the less.
Everything feels highly structure and is easy enough to follow and understand. Pure Farming will always keep you updated on every aspect of your farm, from progression bars, mini map updates and even allow you to use a drone to check the map and show statics of each field. Soon enough you’ll be ploughing the fields, harvesting crops and selling them for profits in no time and all with great confidence. Processes are simple and easy to follow once you’ve done it enough times and upgrading the farm or repairing vehicles is easy to carry out and meaningful to progression.
On a technical level, I do have some issues with Pure Farming 2018. I found the player controls to be highly restrictive, with no jump, climb or even a sprint command, exploring on foot does feel sluggish and tedious. However the driving mechanics are highly refined when it comes to vehicle controls and farming. So whether you’re seeding, harvesting, fertilising or cultivating, you’ll always feel in full control once you get the hang of each vehicle and their attachments. I must also point out the excellent attention to detail when it comes to driving on altering terrains such as dirt roads and other surfaces which have an organic impact on your driving. While the driving is great, smaller things such pulling trailers can often be a nightmare. The physics are not as finely tuned when it comes to carrying objects and in some instances it becomes a chore to carry anything cross country. I also found that (while not often) certain objectives won’t clear upon completion. I would have to reload a save and finish the objective again just to progress further.
While Pure Farming is an easy game to learn the basics, it can be a challenging game to master with smaller details effecting your progression and well-being of the farm. I did enjoy elements such as the dynamic weather to smaller things such as maintaining and cleaning the vehicles after using them in the field.
Pure Farming 2018’s Presentation does meet a high standard for its highly detailed vehicles, beautiful lighting and the attention to detail when it comes to crops, local architecture in the various maps and nice landscapes on show. I only felt on a grander scale the world can seem a little empty and exploring the open world felt a little lifeless with a lack of people or limited social interactions.
What does make Pure Farming 2018 stand above the completion are the diverse locations you can grow your business, including Montana, Italy, Columbia, Japan and Germany. Each of these locations is highly detailed and presents a different aesthetic to one another. Not to forget that each location offers different opportunities for business, meaning you’ll never be aiming for the same objective in each part of the world. So you could be farming for rice in Japan, create a coffee empire in Columbia or have a successful winery in Italy as you use the local crops of highly fine grapes to create wine.
Aside from looking after your own farm, there are plenty of side quests to complete for extra funds and this allows players something to do while their own crops are growing, or being harvested by any AI controlled farmers the player can hire.
As someone who knows very little on the genre and felt a little hesitant on playing this, I actually enjoyed my time with Pure Farming 2018. It might not be my cup of tea but I understand why games like this gather such a following. As for whether the community will enjoy this title, I’m adamant many will. There are plenty of features that add a layer of depth to farming, including the dynamic weather and diverse locations to start your business from. But also the highly refined driving mechanics and level of detail in farming are nice. I just wish the player controls where more refined and some tweaking with physics would be highly beneficial.
Pure Farming is a great place for beginners of the genre and long-time fans will enjoy the new features Ice-Flames have implemented into the genre.