Farming simulators seem to be a growing trend as of late, and although the Farming Simulator franchise has arguably been hogging the spotlight, Pure Farming is now upon us in an attempt to show us how it’s done. It has to be said that this branch of the simulator genre is one that will only appeal to a very specific group of players. It’s not a game that you can completely relax and enjoy, but more of a work-focus that rewards you for your hard effort. Pure Farming probably isn’t the best place to start if you’re a newcomer to the scene, but if you allow yourselves to be swallowed up by the vast and intricate experience, you may be pleasantly surprised by how enticing it is. Don’t get me wrong, this game is far from perfect and it’s certainly rough around the edges, but it does tick many of the boxes that it needed to.
The campaign mode is a great place to start. Here, you find yourself inheriting your grandfathers farm following his unfortunate passing. Sadly, however, you don’t just inherit the farm and a collection of equipment, but a nice fat pile of debt too. That’s right, good old grandpa has willed you one hell of a headache. In any case, you’re motivated and encouraged to turn this land into what your grandfather had always envisioned, so off to work you go. The game does a good job of slowly feeding you all of the vital mechanics in this mode, and before long, you’ll be roaming around in your tractor and plowing fields like there’s no tomorrow. It’s a very informative section of the game, and one I highly recommend undertaking first.
Amidst learning how to fix/use machinery and tend to your crops, you’re able to utilize your tablet, which presents you with a large map to guide you around the environment. You’ll also be bugged to death by a plethora of emails, explaining each and every function that you need to learn. This ranges from Pure Farming’s more complex functionalities, to the more mundane and obvious tasks, such as stepping into a vehicle. It can really drag on, especially when you take into account that much of this could have been achieved via on-screen commands, but we cant fault the developer for wanting to be completely thorough, if indeed it comes across condescending.
The overarching goal in this mode is to transform a lackluster farm into something thriving and grand, ultimately exchanging debt for profitability in the process. It takes some time before the game lets you do your own thing, but this is most definitely where Pure Farming shines at its brightest. Roughly two hours into the experience, the tutorial feeding completely takes a back seat and enables you the freedom to do whatever the heck you like. Pure Farming is a deep and immersive simulator, one that demands your complete focus and attention. There’s a heap of mechanics and menus that you’ll constantly need to keep on top of, which may well be a turn off for newcomers. Though with that being said, any given in-depth simulator walks the same beaten path.
Oddly enough, and to its credit, Pure Farming houses a light RPG system. You’ll be taking on side quests and earning additional EXP whilst your crops grow elsewhere. This proves exceptionally useful, seeing as you’re often handsomely rewarded with additional cash, which only aids the steady progression curve. It’s a very well thought out campaign, one that lasts several hours if you really pitch in the effort. Does it stack up to the well established Farming Simulator series? Well, the gameplay foundations are remarkably similar in execution, so on that front, Pure Farming is a solid experience for those that want to try their hand elsewhere. I guess it’s fair to describe these two entirely different outlets as the FIFA and PES of the farming sim world. Both games are well developed, deep, and intriguing, but each does things better than the opposition in certain areas within.
When you’re done with the campaign, the next place you’ll want to head to is the Farming Challenges mode. Here, you can take to a selection of maps that are spread across several counties, such as; Japan, Italy, Columbia, and more. Each map brings their own unique challenges and traits. The fact that each map is designed in such a way that it feels authentic and diverse, really helps to break up the pace of the game. The amount of content here is through the roof, and with no shortage of interesting tasks to take on, you can easily lose yourselves for hours on end before coming up for proverbial air. The same can indeed be said about the Free Roam mode, which enables you to do whatever you like, under whatever rules you set, on whatever map you choose. Though again, it really pays off to play the campaign to get a firm understanding as to how the game functions, before dipping your toes elsewhere.
As for the actual gameplay, this is where the game shines less brightly. The controls, despite the weight distribution realism, can be quite clunky. I understand that this is a simulation of real world farming, but less realism in this area of the game would have made it much more accessible for newcomers, or even the implementation of some middle ground options to counter the hardships. In any case, those that value realism above all else will be pleased to know that Pure Farming nails it on the head. Each and every vehicles will behave exactly as you expect them to in real life. Neat little touches such as added cargo will slow down your vehicles, and then even more so when you begin to fill said cargo with crops. There’s no denying that no effort has been spared here, but it does so in such a way that it may alienate curious players that want for something more fluid.
Weight distribution isn’t the only dynamic system within, the weather system is dynamic too, which will directly effect your crops if you don’t pay close attention. Thankfully, the game has an informative system that will keep you in the loop as to how each area of your environment is coming along. You can also use a drone to get some more direct intel from up high, which I must admit is a nice touch. It’s important to keep on top of your stats if you want a trouble free farming life, to which each field comes with its own pros and cons depending on what you’re setting out to accomplish. Keep in mind that your tablet is always by your side to gather any information that you need, right down to including what animals can be deployed and raised, in turn granting you more income. Pure Farming, if anything, is the definition of multitasking made fun.
The visuals are far from impressive, and almost come across quite last-gen. It’s not so much of an issue when you’re looking from afar, but as soon as you get up close and personal, the lack of polish shows through. It’s a shame really, because for how diverse and in-depth the game is, it would have been nice to see more work put into play here. It doesn’t help that the draw distance is poor. It’s nowhere near as bad as, let’s say, Dynasty Warriors 9, but it could have been much better. The game also tends to become quite repetitive after the first few hours, regardless as to what mode you take to, which I guess is a common complaint for any simulator. Still, with these issues to the side, Pure Farming 2018 is a great deal of fun. Whether or not it has what it takes to dethrone Farming Simulator remains to be seen, but if the developers can strongly support this game in the long run and hopefully nail some more manufacturer contracts, there’s a lot of hope on the horizon.
Pure Farming 2018 is a very deep and diverse farming experience, but it doesn’t come without fault. The visuals are far from impressive, the draw distance remains very limited, and the game can become overly repetitive. With that to the side, Pure Farming 2018 accomplishes everything it sets out to achieve. Simply put, this is multitasking made fun.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.