Geek: Ooh-arr, it’s a farming simulator
Weak: Ooh-err, it’s a farming simulator
Price: £14.99
Score: 3/5
Contact: Farming Simulator

If there’s one word to describe Farming Simulator 2013, it’s overwhelming. Even for someone who has been known to enjoy a good sim in his time, Farming Simulator 2013 is not a game you jump into and start playing. Even once you’ve gone through the 11 tutorials and start the game proper, you feel a bit lost in the vastness of it all. But, with time, Farming Simulator 2013 becomes more manageable and once you get to grips with the game mechanics, you’ll be farming up a storm.

So, if you hadn’t quite gathered, Farming Simulator 2013 is a farming simulator and allows you to try your hand at just about every aspect of farming without having to worry about dying, seeing as being a farmer ranks as the second most dangerous job in the UK. In fact, even walking in front of a moving combine harvester or going on a GTA-style rampage through the local village results in no ill effects – your body is strong enough to stop a combine dead in its tracks and villagers pass through your tractor as if neither were there. Those hoping for some wacky farming madness are going to be disappointed.
However, those hoping for a an incredibly realistic virtual farming experience will be very pleased because Farming Simulator 2013 offers so much potential, so much variation in its gameplay and so many possibilities that you’d never get bored of playing. Assuming this is your sort of thing, of course. You can buy livestock, buy additional fields, grow and harvest crops, take on random challenges that pop up, buy new machinery and basically do just about anything that you would as a farmer IRL. Decide whether or not you want to focus on crops and what sort you’d like to grow (there are plenty to choose from), or whether you would rather work with livestock (again, lots of animals to choose from), hire workers to assist you or handle the day to day running of your farm yourself.

The graphics are lush and the game world is beautifully realised – to get the most from the game you do need a reasonably beefy graphics card but it’s worth it because it feels like a living, breathing farm and the day to night cycle, the speed of which can be altered on the fly, adds an extra element to the gameplay. Farming Simulator 2013 is never a quick fix, a pick up and play game, it’s never anything less than meticulous, demanding and hugely involving and it is slow paced. If you want to plough a field, plant potatoes or harvest corn there are no shortcuts, which is why the tutorials, which teach you how to operate the numerous machinery that you’ll be using, are so essential. Yes you can hire workers, as mentioned above, but the costs add up and if you’ve got numerous fields to cultivate and animals to look after, you’re going to have to get involved. And a lot of people, even keen sim enthusiasts, might find it a little too slow paced.

But it’s all strangely engrossing. From ploughing a field, harvesting your crops and bailing hay you want to get it right, you want to have the satisfaction of doing a good job and making the most of your farm and I said earlier, the scope for what is possible on your farm is incredible. And there’s the online mode, where you can manage a farm with up to 10 other players, giving you even more replay value and another reason to keep coming back. In fact, there’s so much to do, and so much time that could be invested/wasted (delete as applicable) in Farming Simulator 2013, it’s actually a little bit scary. In a good way.

Verdict: Casual gamers need not apply but put in the time, and effort, and you will discover a game with incredible depth and longevity.