Farm Expert 2017 is a Farming Simulator developed by Silden who have also developed previous farming simulators and Manhunter. Advertising a game that makes you feel the troubles of being a farmer, the highlighted pitch isn’t really one that would draw in a lot of customers. With realistic physics and a rather slow pace FE17 seems to offer a close to real life representation of life on the farm.
As of right now there are tutorials for the major mechanics in the game, a multiplayer and free-ride mode. The tutorials last around 20 minutes each, teaching you the controls, machines and mechanics behind the game whilst giving you missions along the way. Multiplayer doesn’t exactly work at my time of playing, with a plethora of similar reports, though video has been shown of it working. Free-ride is exactly what it says on the tin, you select a starting “campaign” and you’re left to your own devices with no help or guidance.
To be honest the tutorial seems to be the best part of the game as it actually guides you on your path of being a farmer. You will be told what machine to pick up, where to go and when you’re done with a certain task, giving you a sort of mission structure. In free mode, you don’t really know what to do, there are no hints and tips besides building information what the tutorials taught you, and they didn’t teach you everything.
Farm Expert 2017 feels rushed in its mode selection, there are modes of UI that show you your money and current locations but nothing really drives you to become the best farmer around. The pacing of the game also doesn’t lend itself to long sessions of play.
There are so many hotkeys in this game, from picking up tools with your tractor, gear shifting and their intervals, auto-drive, turning on or off tools, camera modes, information modes etc. Controlling the tractor itself is rather easy, though it can take some time getting used to the controls, WASD to move, Z to change between forward and reverse gears, F and C to change gears, Q to pick up certain tools and R to turn some on. Though due to you having control of tractors, buildings, plots of land and even more there are too many buttons to list.
Money comes in the form of EUR, starting off with varying amounts depending on the mode you select. This will be used to repair your tractors, swap out parts, buy new buildings and machines, buy plots of land or fuel for your tractor. Money comes and goes rather quickly, with spending 10k on the majority of things on offer. To get money you will need to sell your harvests, which can take some work to actually get as you need to plough, fertilise, plant and wait till you can dig it all up.
Overall thoughts and feelings
The music in Farm Expert 2017 is horrible, with 5 tracks on repeat, with some of them even sounding like loop tracks. There is a rock song, country song and some more chill out tracks, but they blend together so poorly the change in music can feel incredibly jarring. Besides the poor choice the quality of said songs is rather low, filling me with disappointment and even anger that I had to sit and listen to it. I eventually turned down the music so I didn’t have to bear with it any longer.
This game feels truly like a simulator, of a boring job that hardly anyone chooses in their life anymore due to automated systems. Keeping the simulator name to heart this game has lost so many points of enjoyment that games are meant to instil in you. It’s too slow, the sound is a mess, graphics and design are lacklustre and look like playdough, graphical glitches plague every corner and I genuinely had a disappointing experience. If they had added some sort of mechanic to boost the enjoyment, bumped up the speed or worked on their sound design more than the whole experience would have jumped up.
While I have ran on about all the faults in this game it does offer a wide array of tractors, machines, upgrades, buildings and ways of maintaining your crops or lifestyle. It’s just sad that the developers didn’t incorporate an easy way to show off the variety to players. They have said the game contains 170 machines to use with 3 types of plant protection, but outside of their Steam description you will have to look hard to find all those in the actual game.
Farm Expert 2017 gets a 3/10, it just looks like a rushed game into the marketplace, asking £15 for what should be constituted as an Alpha or Beta version rather than a finished game. Multiplayer seems to be broken, a lot of the game felt uninspired and there are no goals in place that make you want to keep playing. Of course you can make up your own goals or ideas of what you want the game to be, but that can only go so far when you need to slowly traverse the map to find the right places and do the right actions.
I am imagining that this will be a game you see on YouTube, where gamers make fun of the game and try to mess around in it for jokes and laughs. It won’t be too hard when you can constantly get your tractor stuck, flown into the sky and glitches from terrain changes.