Farming Simulator 19 Platinum Edition (FS19PE) is the new expansion to the Farming Simulator 19 (FS19) game that was originally released on 19 November 2018, which makes it almost a year since this latest release. It was developed by Giants Software and published by Focus Home Interactive. This new expansion launches today on the PS4, Xbox and PC/Mac.
If you already own FS19, you only need to download the expansion. All the new features mentioned in this review will be added to your game, just like a DLC basically. However, you can buy the game completely too, in-store or digitally, and you will receive all the features of the base FS19 originally game, plus the new expansion.
It must just be mentioned that this expansion does not feature all the other DLCs from before and Seasons Pass, with extra maps, vehicles and tools. For that you need to own the Premium Edition. If you already own Premium Edition, you will be happy to know that this FS19PE expansion will be free for you to download or as part of your Seasons Pass.
Now that the detailed information is over, let’s get to my review of this game. Feel free to read Jonny’s review of the original base game when it was released last year, as most of it is still relevant to the new expansion. I’m going to tackle some more detailed features of the game and what the expansion brings to the table.
The first and last time I played a Farming Simulator game was FS14 on my PS Vita, which was released for mobile and handheld devices only. Five years later, and man I have missed a lot! So much has changed since my ‘farming’ days back then, and I simply love the improvements.
FS19PE starts off with the same six tutorial modes as before, giving you some of the basic guidance you need to start your farming. After that, you can play campaign more or the new multiplayer mode introduced in FS19. In campaign mode you have three difficulties to choose from, the easiest being having your farm, buildings and basic vehicles already provided with some funding, to the hardest where you start with absolutely nothing. In multiplayer mode, only the second (Farm Manager – huge funds but no assets) and final difficulty settings are available to you.
Forgetting the campaign vs multiplayer differentiation for the moment, let’s look at what the game has to offer. You are a farming needing to grow some crops, harvest them and then sell them to the highest bidder. Sound easy enough? At the start I pretty much felt I had that covered with a routine I established with my initial four fields. Cultivate, sow, fertilise, de-weed, harvest, sell. And every now and again lime the soil.
That was the same routine I had with SF14. And I wouldn’t do everything myself. I would hire a worker to harvest one field while another cultivated the other. However, there are missions in FS19, whereby you can work on other farmer’s farms with their or your equipment for some additional income. This became rather intense and fun, leaving my farm to linger while waiting for my crops to grow while I worked on someone else’s farm for them. Basically you would become their worker, like you hired workers for your farm.
And this is where I felt the Financial Management system really comes into play. I eventually learnt through experience which farms will make more income for less work (fertilising their fields is my preferred action now), while making sure that the expenditure for leasing their equipment and hiring workers to cover my own land (or work contract lands) doesn’t outweigh the eventual income when the job is done. I’ve also accidentally worked out some neat tricks to make additional money that I would have missed before, but I ain’t sharing my secrets!
Besides farming, there is animal husbandry. You can own chickens, pigs, cows, sheep and horses, each of which provide additional income in their own way. Unfortunately, my daughter loves the horses so much, she won’t let me sell them once they are fully grown. Which is fine with me. Loads more ways to make money. You can also cut down trees for lumber, which you then sell to the highest bidder.
You can also own your very own dog!!! Ok, you can’t select a breed unfortunately, but once you buy a doghouse, a dog will be provided with it, which you can pet, feed and play ball with. It can even follow you around on the farm if you choose.
The Modhub part of the game allows you to download community-created mods that have been approved by the developers of the game. Honestly, I haven’t touched any of these yet (and none of the mods are part of this review), as I like to play the game as it was intended. But I have seen some cool new features that the mods can add to the game.
If you want to play with friends, you can head on over to multiplayer mode. You can play up to 6 friends on a map on console (16 on PC/Mac). Sadly, there is no splitscreen local multiplayer, which would have been a fantastic addition to the game and the one element that really disappointed me (especially since many players complained about this for the original FS19, and with the expansion there is no difference). I’ve heard there may be a mod that allows this feature, but for me the game would have been better for having this available from the start.
So FS19 will keep you busy for hours on end, but what does the new expansion bring? Well, there is the new Claas brand of vehicles, bring a total of 35 sexy new vehicles and tools to the table. You have two maps to play in Campaign, namely Ravenport and Felsbrunn. The Farm Creation system from the base game has also been improved .
So let’s get to the crux of the matter. Just how easy is this game to play. To be honest, the game makes it feel incredibly easy. Besides the tutorials at the start, there is a guide section in the pause menu that takes you through so many elements of the game. There are also button guides on the top left of the screen to help you see which buttons perform which tasks, which is extremely handy.
However, even with ALL this help, there were still many times that I felt rather…. stupid. Especially when it comes to the finer details of farming. If you are a veteran FS gamer, you won’t have this issue. But for me who hasn’t played any of the modern FS on console, I felt lost and ran to Google for many things. Like what the hell do you sow sunflowers with? How do you attach certain tools to a tractor? (Oh, you need a front loader attachment for that? Well, why didn’t you say so?) How do you clean chicken mess? I put the straw bale down for the horses, why isn’t it working? (Oh, I need to shred the straw. Ahhhhhh ok).
These are just a few of the terms I searched for, but once I got the hang of it and looking at the symbols in the shop to see what does what, and what attaches to where, and what refills what, it became a lot easier. A lot of it is trial and error, and in some cases some loss of money where I bought the wrong things. But that is all part of the game. Learning how to farm until you become an expert and people are reading your articles online as to how to play the game and you look like a genius!
There is a handy money market, which shows you which places on the map pay the best for certain produce. In the mission selection screen, you can select which missions you would like to complete, and if you want to hire equipment for the job or use your own. As mentioned before, this is where financial management comes in. There are game settings that also change many, many features of the game, such as speeding up time so you don’t have to wait for those crops. You can also turn off weeds if you are too chicken shit to deal with the realities of farming.
I love the AI in the game, namely the workers, but hell, sometimes I curse paying them for a shit job. Like missing strips of crop on my field, just because they reached the end of the farming area. Or banging into a tree continuously and calling for help as something has blocked his path. Many times I’ve uttered “If you want a job done right, you better do it yourself”. Ranting aside, it really does help having these workers around when you need to work on other things.
Speaking of AI, some of these dudes need to learn how to drive. There are clear yield and stop signs for traffic to stop. But apparently people that live in rural areas don’t need to heed them. They drive right through them towards you, which I would have flipped off in real life. It gave me the impression that traffic is just for decoration in this game and there is no programming for vehicles to stop at the appropriate locations. Thankfully, traffic can be turned off in the settings, but then the city just looks dead.
When you really get the hang of the gameplay though, it is simplistic and very enjoyable. There is definitely a learning curve, that’s for sure, but when you get used to it, it’s a breeze. What I love about the game is that FS19 is one of the most replayable games I know. You can just keep farming and farming and farming and farming. Or start over and keep farming and farming and farming. The only limit to how long you can play depends on how quickly you get bored with simulation games like this. I’ve shown some friends the game, hoping to excite them, and they just grumbled and went back to their action FPS games.
I just want to send a personal thank you to the developers for having a sleep mode!! The game fast forwards 5000 times the normal speed to get to the next morning, but I am so glad that they had this feature.
There are two things in the game that I would really beg for. Bring in some fishing and some fruit trees!!!
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
The graphics in this game is far superior than 90% of the games I’ve played this year. Like holy cow crap, it’s beautiful. The stunning vistas, the details of the animals, vehicles, crops, equipment. It’s just all so.. beautiful.
I also love some of the graphical features you can change. You can select the colour of your vehicles and equipment, as well as some of your animals. The map has wonderful overlays so that you can filter what you want to see. This has helped to see how much of my farms have been fertilised or weeded, or if I need to harvest yet.
You can also make changes to your character when you create one, and even those details are amazing. The one aspect this game truly shines in is the graphical detail. Even the waterfalls and rivers look absolutely superb.
Now we get to the sound. I love that there is a setting where you can listen to radio music anywhere, even when you are outside your vehicle. Music is definitely a great accompaniment to a game like this, where none at all would be boring as hell. But the soundtracks are very limited. Most of them are country songs (I’m sure not all farmers listen to country, do they?), and genres include Country Pop and Country Rock. There is even Electro if you want to jazz up the fun. But each station only plays a handful of songs before you are back to the same loop all over again.
And with Grand Theft Auto level graphics, wouldn’t it have been cool to have a radio dude who spoke nonsense about the state of the farming industry every now and again? I’m sure me and my buddy Andi would have loved to have lent our voices to a station like that.
As to the sound itself, vehicles roar and roosters crow. The sound is crisp and clear, and distance definitely plays a factor. You can hear the rooster crowing softly from your farm house in the distance, or loudly right in front of you.
Farming Simulator 19 Platinum Edition is an expansion to FS19, bringing the new ‘CLAAS’ of vehicle and tools to the popular game. Veterans and newbies to the farming arena will both love the game and the new vehicles, while action junkies are better off asking their grandmas how to knit. There is a certain appeal to spending hours farming away at your crops and tending to your animals, something I would love to do in reality, and Giants Software brings this dream wonderfully to my console. I have a few wish-list items (fishing, farmhouse editor, local splitscreen, better music variety, etc), but it is definitely worth buying, whether you already own the game or have yet to obtain it.
And the horses… my daughter loves the horses.
It receives a well-deserved 9/10 from me.
Where to buy?
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were supplied with a review copy of the game. This has in no way influenced my views on the game as per our Review Policy**