I didn’t have many expectations of grandeur going into Pure Farming 2018. I have played a few farming simulators in the past and, after the first couple, they seemed rather similar to one another with simple upgrades to things like graphics or licensed brands. Pure Farming 2018 didn’t stray from this formula which is both a good and bad thing. Seeming closer to the typical idea of what a farming sim would be, I was greeted with the standard array of ‘story’, ‘free mode’, and ‘challenges’ that most sim games tend to have.
The story mode, called “My First Farm”, drops you into the working boots of a nameless farmer who has decided to take over his grandfather’s farm after his grandfather passed away and left the farm deep in debt. No one, besides our avatar, seemed to want to try and work the land to bring the farm back to its former glory. You will do your very best though, as the avatar, to bring it to life and make a profit!
The free mode (“Free Farming” in-game) is exactly as it sounds and is a staple in the farming sim genre. This mode gives the player the options to set up their farm as they’d like without hints or help. Now, this isn’t a ‘build your farm as you’d like’ sort of free mode. The farm’s layout is preset but you have the choice of what gets built and when giving you farm more freedom than the My First Farm mode.
“Farming Challenges” also falls in line with the typical challenge setting for most sim games. There are twenty challenges across four locations, each with a required objective as well as optional ones to add more for the player to do other than just plugging away at free mode.
The question at the end of the day is: Will Pure Farming 2018 hold up among all the other simulators out there? Farming isn’t an easy task for anyone to perform in real life so will this game present just how tedious and meticulous it can be? Let’s find out.
Some Informative Tutorials – Now, this is an odd one as it will also be listed on The Downside. Quite a few of the tutorials I encountered were very concise, telling me exactly what I needed to do and how to do it. I didn’t have any questions when it came to figuring out how to harvest the wheat from my fields, pour the wheat from the combine into the trailer pulled by my tractor, and then dump that grain into the silo. Everything was laid out in a very easy to understand manner. Well, almost everything but I’ll go into this later on in the review.
Smooth and precise vehicle controls – I was pleasantly surprised by just how well everything controlled. Vehicles responded to even the slightest twitch of the thumb-sticks and depression of the trigger, giving me very precise control of my vehicles’ movements which made actions like maneuvering around the farm while hauling a seeder less of a chore. The only exception to this would be the controls while on foot which seemed to be lackluster when compared to its vehicular counterpart. It is, however, very welcome to have such smooth controls during core gameplay since farming would need such exact movements and patterns while operating.
Simplistic enough for anyone to grasp – It didn’t take me long to get the hang of Pure Farming 2018. The game is set up in such a way that it can be enjoyable to both veterans as well as newcomers. It doesn’t overly complicate things with unneeded bells and whistles, instead letting the game stand on its own two feet and making it a good one to start off with in the farming sim genre.
Not much meat to the Story Mode/World – Sadly, this mode doesn’t have much to it. It mostly acts as a massive tutorial to teach the player the ins-and-outs of farming, animal husbandry, as well as a slew of other farming tips and tricks. The unnamed city our farm exists in also seems like a bit of a ghost town; in my several hours there I only saw a handful of cars traveling the roads, about as many people walking about the shopping center where I purchased extra equipment, and only a few fellow farmers (all of which wanted me to perform a task for them).
Some Unhelpful Tutorials – While many of the tutorials are helpful there seem to be just as many that are not. Many tutorials are placed in what seems like wrong spots in the game; the best example of this would be the ‘hire a worker’ tutorial. The player is informed that they could hire workers and is told what is required to provide before the workers could do any work. After an hour of trying to figure out how to hire a worker to plow a field, I broke down and Googled it only to find out that I was, in fact, not to a point where I could hire a worker nor was I told what button would actually hire them (none of the forums I found had Xbox controls listed).
Technical issues – There were a few technical issues I experienced during my playthrough that broke immersion as well as seeming close to breaking the game: Oddly flying flocks of birds that would blink in and out of existence, rain falling through your vehicles and buildings, being forced to look straight down when entering vehicles, and, on more than one occasion, a harsh frame rate drop which seemingly came from nowhere. Although the title does have a large open map to conduct all your farming these types of details should be ironed out while developing or testing as it is a simulator, which tries to immerse the player as much as it can.
No real audio – Now, this was an odd one but it seemed to be rather deliberate on the developer’s end. During gameplay, there is no real audio besides the rumble of the engine of whatever vehicle you happen to be in. No in-game ambient sounds (I didn’t even notice any birds chirping), no radio station, no dialogue, nothing but the hum of an engine, the occasional whir of machinery, and the rustling of fields. While this feels like it would simulate what only the farmer hears it would have still been even better to add the aforementioned sounds for ambiance in order to build up the immersive world more. Even the farmer whistling a tune to himself would have been a nice touch.
While this wasn’t a shameful entry into the farming sim genre, I wasn’t particularly impressed with it either. Pure Farming 2018 seemed to stick to the tried-and-true formula that has been set out by those that came before it, foregoing risks for the safer route. Now that’s not to say I wouldn’t suggest Pure Farming to beginners and veterans alike as I quite enjoyed my time with the game. If one were starting out down the farming sim path, I would suggest starting with Pure Farming 2018 as it has been the most user-friendly farming sim I have played. Overall, however, this farmer sim was a rather typical title in the genre as it was mostly average in all but a few spots. While I enjoyed it and would still suggest people give it a try, there are other more polished farming sims on the marketplace.
- Graphics - 6/106/10
- Gameplay - 5/105/10
- Controls - 8/108/10
- Audio - 5/105/10
- Value for Money - 5/105/10
Consider Picking Up
Pure Farming 2018 was developed by Ice Flames and published by Techland. It was released for Xbox One [reviewed], PlayStation 4, and PC on March 13th, 2018. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.