Farming Simulator 2011 Review
5.6our score

It seems that there’s been a huge interest in anything related to farming over the last few years – which is partially caused by the massive success of Zynga Games’ Facebook hit ‘Farmville’. Some fans of these social media games enthusiastically sport custom t-shirts for the game and play fanatically every day. Don’t be fooled however, Farming Simulator 2011 from Giants Software has absolutely nothing in common with the RSI gameplay Farmville brought to us. Except for the farming bit of course.

Gameplay

It will not come as a surprise that the idea of Farming Simulator 2011 is to engage in farming related activities. The main game comes as a ‘career’ mode where you are given a large farm on a pretty large map. There are enough fields to even keep the most hardcore farmer busy until the late hours. We would even go as far as to say that for beginning players, the size of the map is plain overwhelming, and we certainly had no idea where to go or what to do. The tutorials do a fairly decent job at explaining the basics of plowing, seeding, harvesting and what more – but when you find yourself in your newfound farm you find yourself without guidance or purpose.

Farming Simulator 2011 Career Mode

The loading screen is promising

You begin on your farm, where you will find a tractor, a combine harvester, various implements (attachments for your tractor which have different functionalities such as plowing or spraying your crops) and everything you need to manage your crops. The idea is now that you take your tractor and a plow and start plowing a field. You then cultivate the field with a different implement, sow your crops with yet another – and once the crops start growing, spray them with yet another. A few hours later you can then harvest your crops with a combine harvester – empty the harvest into a trailer, and drive the trailer to either your silos for storage or the mill/brewery/port for selling it. This gives you money and allows you to buy bigger tractors / vehicles / implements.

Zyle:  Besides the farm itself being a bit overwhelmingly large, so too are the fields.  I know it’s a simulator, and that fields take a long time to plough and sow in real life, but I really did feel that it took an astonishingly long time to make progress.

James: Its biggest problem is the lack of progression – it takes WAY too long to do things, and then afterward you get no reward for a very long time. It wouldn’t be a problem being so open if the career mode had objectives or more information about what was going on.

Graphics & Audio

Farming Simulator 2011 Farm

This is your farm. Well, part of it anyway.

The vehicles are represented in an authentic manner (as far as we can tell anyway, we’re hardly farming experts!) and generally speaking the graphics more than do the job. Small point of criticism is that it would have been nice to see an environment which was a little bit more interactive and engaging as you can sit on your tractor in a field for hours at times. The sounds are adequate but get tiresome very quickly – this is an aspect where Giants Software can definitely make some improvements.

Zyle: The graphics look good overall, though some of the different stages of cultivation are a little difficult to tell apart, which made it a little troubling in multiplayer when we were all working on different things in the same field.

UI & Controls

Farming Simulator 2011 PDA

The PDA is a little aggrevating. Like a real PDA.

The controls are generally quite good – although steering your tractor in a straight line can be incredibly difficult. It would have been nice to have the option to ‘straighten up’ when you’re in a field – as people with slight OCD will definitely struggle with the plowing and seeding aspect of the game, which can leave huge gaps. The UI is a different cup of tea – we found it a little aggrevating. The PDA is a nice touch, but having to scrolls through pages like ‘prices’ and ‘storage amounts’ is just annoying: you need those on 1 screen. The lack of a full sized map in-game is also a huge problem as it is extremely difficult finding your way around at first. The map is just a little bit too large for a new player to get to grips with immediately, and the lack of guidance in the game makes it difficult to know ‘where to go’ or ‘what to do’.

Zyle: Yes, a fullscreen map other than the one in the pdf manual would be extremely helpful, (especially because the map in the pdf is orientated sideways) rather than relying on the sightseeing tutorial mission which reminds you to memorise the location of everything so you can find it later.

Multiplayer

One of the aspects we found most refreshing is the fact that you can play Farming Simulator 2011 with your friends or other people online. You can in fact play with quite a lot of people at the same time – and it seems almost as if the whole game was developed with that in mind. The gameplay between single player and multiplayer seems exactly the same, and the map lends itself a lot more for multiplayer than it does for single player.

Again the UI lets the game down a little, with the multiplayer game being quite hard to manage/administrate, and the lack of insight in the overall funds for other players being quite a pain. You can give each player his/her own budget but that seems to defeat the purpose of working together and breaks the immersion completely given that you can all work on the same farm. Still, the game is a LOT more fun when played with friends as you can help each other out – drive around together, etc.

Zyle: The multiplayer is definitely the main selling point for me!

James: With some tweaks the multiplayer could be where this really shines – but you need to be able to find the other people, work together on things etc, which it’s quite difficult to do with the current UI/interface.

This could have been a giant hit…

Farming Simulator 2011 Mower

Mow Grass and Collect it for your Cattle.

Odd as it might sound, we believe that Farming Simulator 2011 could have been a giant hit, riding on the wave of success farming related games are enjoying at the present. The game lets itself down hugely in several departments, which will limit the game to really just the hardcore farm lovers rather than the casual farmers to-be. Let us go deeper into this and explain what we mean, and which aspects of the game would need improving to appeal to a much larger audience:

Depending on the difficulty setting you will also find grain in your silos – which is one of our biggest criticisms. The idea of this grain is that the player can sell it to provide a nice starting fund. But why not give the player the funds in the first place and NOT give him or her all these vehicles and implements? By letting the player buy these himself he/she will feel more rewarded as you tend to your fields with your self-purchased material. Right now you just spawn on a giant farm, with tons of equipment and absolutely no goal…

Farming Simulator 2011 Sprayer

Or spray your crops. So much to do, so little time.

That’s our second point of criticism. The farm you start with was a HUGE disappointment to all of us. We were really hoping that the career mode would involve starting on a tiny farm with a small field and working your way up from there. There are NO elements in the game that allow you to expand your farm, buy new fields, build silos or other buildings, or ANYTHING of the kind. You simply start with your dream farm and everything you could possibly want. The only reason to try and make some profit is so you can buy better farming equipment (which is really only marginally better anyway) so you can make more money and buy even better farming equipment. Except by that time you have the best farming equipment so there is nothing left to really strive for – limiting the gameplay hugely.

The whole reason why a game like this can be incredibly addictive, with people enduring hours and hours in a field just planting and harvesting crops, is because they get something out of it at the end. The need to get that bigger house, bigger barn, more animals, more fields, etc. is what drives people to play a game like this. We realise this is a Farming Simulator but we feel that Giants Software really missed a big opportunity here.

Now let us quote the Steam page of the game:

Assume the role of a farmer experiencing the challenge of 18 hour days running a new farm in the middle of beautiful rolling countryside.

You start the game by choosing from a small collection of vehicles and machinery to explore your fairly sparse farmland which measures just 4 km. As you progress through the game you complete a variety of tasks like breeding and feeding the cows or spreading manure, milking, plowing, seeding and baling to build up wealth to invest in newer and better equipment and machinery.

With career mode you take on the role of a young farmer and experience the workaday life of the countryside in a completely adaptable world.

This really suggests that the game would have something like that – but even these ‘tasks’ are not present at all. You spawn in the world and that’s it – you go about your own business in a ‘sandbox’ style gameplay. Calling this a ‘career’ mode is really pushing it in our opinion. That’s not to say the game isn’t charming and that there isn’t something in it – but it does feel that something is ‘missing’ while you a playing: A sense of purpose.

Career mode with business section and cattle breeding

Farming Simulator 2011 Combine Harvester

Combine Harvesters are quite impressive.

Unless we are missing something we couldn’t really find the business section. You can sell your milk/crops but there’s not really much to that. You can buy/sell vehicles but beyond that, the actual business aspects of hiring/firing people and expanding your business are completely missing. It’s really a shame as we can’t help feel that Farming Simulator 2011 could have been a huge hit if that aspect of the game was more polished and had a few more features. Let’s hope Giants Software take this onboard and work on it either for a patch or for their next installment in this series.

James: I’m not sure that something called Farming Simulator will ever be a giant hit – but if they called it Farming Manager, and it had more of a farm management aspect to it, then I think that could do pretty well.

Conclusion

At £24.99 this game is really far too expensive for the limited features that it ships with. We were really disappointed that the game only came with one map as we would have loved to start with a very small farm, but the game wouldn’t let us do so. There are player made mods available but many players only play a game in vanilla, so we feel that Giants Software should strive to collect the best of these and make them available in an official patch automatically. (Much like Egosoft do for X3 with the best community mods and gameplay changes)

Right now we can only recommend this game to hardcore farming enthusiasts. For those people, Farming Simulator 2011 is most likely the best product on the market. For anyone else – if Giants Software make a few tweaks this could be a huge hit, so you might hear about the series in the near future.

the author

Managing Editor of ManaPool, Peter lives in York, UK and is a great fan and master of turn-based strategy games. If he isn't playing one of those, you'll probably find him in a role-playing game instead. He's definitely not afraid to provide a straight up opinion on any game and has a strong like for indie developers. We all start small, after all.

  • trebs

    I commend the sad souls that have played this so that we, humanity, might be spared the X-treme boredom of a farming simulator.

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    @trebs – We’ve tried reviewing Railworks2 as well in the same line of thinking. Unfortunately the ‘watch out of the window’ mode (simulating sitting in a train in real time) provided the same feelings of rage as a real train journey does so for the sanity / mental safety of the team we have binned the ‘game’ for the moment being.

    At least until someone comes along who actually enjoys that sort of thing.

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  • Matthew

    Not a bad review. I do agree with some points like spending all day in a field and not reaping much reward for your effort. As for your point about the equipment and buildings, the whole reason it has been built on the Giants engine is so you can change the farm yourself, create your own map and can even download tractors from farming simulator mod sites. So you can for ever change the game.
    As you can tell I really enjoy the game and have done since the 2009 version. Worth a look at it you like faring or have grown up around farming.

  • Michel

    You guys who complain are only kids that are looking for a video game. Go play video games and let the simulators for the grown people. I play Flight Simulators, I play Truck Simulators, and Farming Simulator IS a simulator, so it’s goal is to make it as real as it gets. So stop crying and go play World of Warcraft where the realism isn’t present, and if you don’t like simulators, just don’t play them, and let it for people that it was created to ;)

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    @Michel:

    The review team which review this game are respectively: 30, 29 and 27. Hardly kids!

  • Michel

    Being a kid has nothing to do with how many winters you had in your life ;)

  • Ning

    FS2011 is a great game in the farming gen and I love it. However I must agree with the author that having a smaller farm to start with and able to buy more land and buildings in addition to just vehicles and cows will be much more attractive. Sure some advanced players can make their own map and equipments, but it is with so much effort and most users can only searching around the poorly designed mods from some very ill informed sites.

    Since the 2011 version just out, perhaps a big patch with extra quality equipments and maps would be essential to keep the game attractive. Don’t forget to update the PDA so that it actually updates the fields with crop type and rezoned fields. Add a field separator type (like a dirt road made by a special equipment) that actually let the player rezone the fields to their liken would be essential too, because it makes no sense that I can’t reshape my own field.

  • Michel

    its a sim, not a game, i repeat ;)

  • Tanman

    For a little kid who has dreams of farming this is great! Adults like the people who reviewed this game will not be playing it much, like come on!

  • http://www.manapool.co.uk/farming-simulator-2011-review/ Nathan

    Hey guys im kinda new to farming simulator 2011 and i was wondering how you get your crops to grow back after you harvest them? Please help me!

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    @Nathan: Plant new crops :-)

  • 2xgidldldl

    I don’t know why people really like this simulator?! Because you can just buy a bag of dirt and start your own little farm at your back yard, right!? In fact, this game is really a waste of time…just driving around with repeating task how boring is that!? Even Sims2 or Spore is way better than this! Seriously guys, Stay away from this game…even an adult will think this game is truly waste of time! You just spending hours of driving around and do the same thing over and over and over again….!

    Now lets talk about the game world…I saw some Youtube video that the townsmen won’t even responds to you, and the car just….OMG…who ever bought this game just think about it did you really spent that money for something that eats your brain and doing the same thing over and over again!? Even an ant farm is way fun than this!

    Last, Get real man! this game is really not worth it…you can’t cut trees, you can’t kill cows, plus you can’t even have your own chicken or pig farm…whats up with that? If you play Harvest Moon you can tell this game is a piece of JUNK!!!

    Best Regard to all the victims who bought this game!
    God Bless

  • Freedom

    @ 2xgidldldl : haha, we can tell your life sucks.. as a simulator, you can do whatever you want.. and if you seem to think the only goal is to do the same thing over and over again, it only shows that in your life, what you do is doing things over and over again.. hey moron, if you dont like to repeat same stuff over, then nobody tells you to do it, operate your farm differently then, IDIOT :) oh and by the way if you had spend more than 5 minutes before crying like a baby that your life sucks, on this review, you would know that no, you dont have to buy the same vehicules, that you can download whatever exists as a vehocule, and put in into the game, and yes, you can cut wood, and yes, you can kill (huh, kill cows ? why in the hell you would want to kill your cows, stupid idiot fag) :))

  • Tanman

    Come on guys. U stupid kids looking for fun, this isn’t it. I’m a farm kid and I love running my own farm. But for someone who doesn’t understand it of course it’s gonna be boring

  • http://Highpointoutdoors.com William

    I agree 110% with Tanman, I’m a full time farm worker, and I come home and play this after Im done in the field. If your gonna be a sheltered priss then this isnt the game for you, It shows the harsh reality of farming, and how hard and time consuming it actually is. For those that dont like this I recommend something more along the lines of dress-up simulator 2011, and go starve for a week.

  • http://mados.wordpress.com/ Anna

    I haven’t tried the farming simulator, but you guys have written an excellent review from your perspective as game-loving city boys who evaluate the game’s market potential.

    You are right in everything you said. Giant Software is missing a fantastic opportunity to ride on the back of the farmer wanna-be trend by not making the simulation more competitive and game-like. However, I don’t think they were aware of that opportunity when they developed the game and I think the farming simulator is meant to be just that – a simulator, meant to be educational and mirror life on a farm.

    The simulator sounds realistic based on your description. It does take ages to work the fields and crops grow slowly. The details you struggled with sounds realistic – you will struggle with those points on a real farm too. It is hard to drive a tractor straight in a field when you are not used to it (especially when ploughing) steady in the field, leaving gaps is a problem, and it will be hard to find your way around in the beginning – it is overwhelming. And a person with OCD will probably not be able to drive tractor.

    Your ideas are great: a Farm Management strategy game, complex career module building a small farm up from scratch, buying the machines and managing & expanding the farm business. Giant Software should do that and then the game would appeal to a market much wider than they ever dreamt of targeting. They should read this and thank you, and then maybe we could all look forward to FARM MANAGER 2013… The Farm Management Strategy game!

  • http://mados.wordpress.com/ Anna

    Btw: is the game for PC only or can it be played on a game console as well – and which one.

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    @Anna – thank you for your analysis :) The game can only be played on the PC unfortunately.

  • mike

    i live on a farm andi find this realy realistic compared to some of the games i have tried

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  • someone

    I don’t own a farm and I’m not that old but I’m very into tractors and i even sometimes help my dad in the field. I got this game for my mac and i couldn’t figure out why i had old tractors.
    I then got one of my tractors lost (in the water, but then found the reset button) The reset button reset ALL my tractors. I had them ploughing and harvesting in fields far away!

    Then I wanted to see what I could plant: Wheat, barley, corn, sunflowers and canola. What happened to cotton, potatoes, or carrots???????????

    After all this I managed to get $120 000 so I looked at the farming shop. Deutz Deutz and More Deutz! (plus 4 lizards and 1 krone) Personally I’d prefer John deere or Case.

    So Basically I wouldn’t have bought this game if I new the truth!

  • Freedom

    to Someone :
    The reason why you have old tractors is to make some sort of a goal, get money to buy new ones. As a simulator, it is like in the real life. Real farmers most of the time started with cheaped material.
    About the reset button, man, instead of complaining why the reset button resets all your tractors, if I was you, I would ask myself why I am so dumb to put a tractor in the water. I mean, comon, it’s not like it was hard to keep ‘em on the ground.. lol
    If you had take the time to learn more about the game you would have realised that you can plant cotton, potatoes and carrots, too. You can even cut wood, and stuff. Only have to go on the internet and download the plugins.
    Same thing about John Deere and Case. Just go on the internet, download the tractor, put it in the game and it will be available to buy.
    See ?
    Next time, use your brain, instead of complaining ;)

  • someone

    Old tractors: I don’t know why i put that in! Sometimes I can Be REALLY stupid. By the way thanks for telling me. :)

    Tractor in the water: I went to fast and lost control :/

    Cotton, Carrots, Potatoes John Deere and Case: I tried exactly 27 times to download Things like this. It doesn’t work because I don’t have a Mods folder. Is it just my mac or do all macs not have a Mods folder?

    Please answer back: Someone

  • someone

    P.S if anyone knows how to add a mod for a mac please tell me.

  • Freedom

    Right click, new, folder, name it “Mods” and thats it. I mean come on lol. Anyway, the problem in the first place is that you have a mac. I suggest buying a computer instead. hehe

  • someone

    I have a computer(P.C) and I only got a mac coz my computer is is sometimes really slow. and anyway I’m not buying the game again

  • someone

    Also where do i put the folder in?

  • Freedom

    if you cant figure out where to put the folder, i suggest you learn how to use a computer first, sorry. also, the word “buy” does not exists in computer science ;)

  • someone

    Wow. You aren’t very helpful/nice. :( But seriously, why can’t you just tell what folder (In the Farming Sim 2011 folder) to put it in. I mean come on, is it THAT hard?

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    @someone – I believe he provided the answer a bit further up. Create a folder called “Mods” within the Farming Sim 2011 folder and put the files there.

    A quick search in Google provided this resource: http://www.ls2011-mods.com/how-to-install-mods/ – it should tell you everything you need to know. Good luck :)

  • someone

    Thank you! :) but when I open it it says contents. do i put it in there or next to it. Also thank you for telling me the website! :)

  • Freedom

    No, but i don’t have the time to explain you everything you have to do. That’s it. And I am sarcastic because you ask funny questions. Relax, kid, lol. If you call me not nice, then I guess i can call you stupid ;)

  • someone

    Touche. ;).

  • Greg Peters

    I like non-violent simulations. I wouldn’t choose to go out and butcher a mess of people so I don’t pretend to do so either. I have almost all the Sim City series, Sid Meiers SIMGolf, Transport Tycoon, Train Simulator, Zoo Tycoon plus many many more. I am enjoying Farming Simulator immensely. I give it a two thumbs up!!

  • wildmanu1

    This is a good game to have when you grew up on farm and you dont live on one anymore. One question though how do you sell the milk? Is there anyway to get the gaints editor for free so i can change my farm around? overall good game.

  • fs2011

    I need org cd-key for multiplayer thank…

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    @fs2011 Not going to happen – If you wish to play you can just *buy* the game you know. This whole concept of you paying for someone delivering a service to you and all…

  • Aesgaard

    This game is awesome but I’m definetively with the reviewers on this one, there’s a whole shitload of functions that I’m sorta missing here, like the reviewers I too would like to start out on and old crappy farm with a field and some crappy equipment and/or a low budget where you have to work your way up, I’d also very much like to -buy- my fields as this game pretty much lets u plant and harvest all over the place (wich pretty much means you inherited the entire island by the looks of it..) wich would make it an even -more- realistic simulator as it is as far as I know it not normal for one farmer to just plow and plant all over lets say his neighbours fields… You gather up money and you -buy- more land. I also lack a more varied list of stuff to plant and vehicles to gather the stuff with wich would also have made the game -more- realistic instead of going out there and leaving it up to the public to “fix”/”mend” theese flaws. I’d also love to see some farm upgrades, like barn, silos and shit like that (various other buildings.) as placeable items ingame and a more varied “farming” environment, like Woodcutting and more animals… The reviewers really nailed this games lack of certain functions wich would have made it a hit, I’m personally on my third day straight playing at hard selling the old crap buying new equipment as I go along and I too would also like to see John Deere etc. installed by the games developers not some 13 year old kid that just meshed it and failed to script it right etc. Many of the mods out there are general game-crashers/game-wreckers and this helps ruin the game more than it helps improve it sadly but I’ll still give it two thumbs up for “trying” ;)

    PS :
    - Could the guy claiming “cutting wood is possible” please tell me -how- to do that without turning my game into a woodcutting simulator or downloading massive add-packs and fail-maps to achieve that?

    PPS : Does it pay to review a train simulator? I could do that, I got the patience -and- the spare time ;)

  • spanky

    I have the game it is a BIG let down.
    thought it was going to be a game that is was going to play for hours. i played for 10 hours when i was a newbie and thought it was awsome, but their is no realism to the game, what they need to add is: pay taxes(i now we hate them),loans,debt,get as many cattle as you want, just things that you might pay to a bank, borrow a tractor/combine

  • Penguin

    Okay everyone seems to be off track with why they don’t like the game. Everyone is complaining about how drone like it is. The point that they are trying to say is simple in the review. It should start with a smaller farm where you have to buy more land, buildings, ext. Make you work up to having this big productive farm and having goals set for you. Just the basic farm you start with would have been enough and buy the other fields around the area. I was half expecting that once you reached your goals on a map in Career mode it would move you onto a more difficult map or had other options what different farms you could try and play. Career mode is more or less free play in simplest terms. Honestly the downfall to this game is there is only 2 goals.1 buy the tractor upgrades and implements for them. 2 make as much money as possible. There is no other real challenge to this game besides those two points.

    The reason they didn’t put John Deere or Chase in the game is because they would have had to pay those companies royalties just to have those names included in the game because they would have been making money off them and they would have been sued for just putting their names in the game without permission. They may not have had that in their budgets either to pay them for the copyright of the names even though I think they have a JD on the cover of the box. Really though all they had to do with change the design slightly of the tractors and do a different color scheme and leave out the names and they could have used JD and Chase into the game like give you a choice of what line you would want to use having advantages from one make to another.

    Personally I am glad I didn’t waist my $20US on this game. I borrowed it from a friend that got it thinking it would be fun but was burned out on it within a week of playing and achieved everything he could do beyond just making money in the first few days of play. I am not quite at that point in the game but I am very close especially after installing a couple mods for new tractors that better served than the ones included but when I relaunched the game all the tractors I had were gone! Thankfully I had been stockpiling grain for better prices. I am probably only going to play it for a few more days before I give up and delete it. The AI for the hired help needs to be increased as well cause you have to hold their hands most of the time to make sure they set correctly to the harvest/plow lines and not just take off through a random angle ahead of them

    If they come out with a 2012 I may try it to see if they put these things into the game now that they have made their money to invest into it and add the features needed to add to this game like the ability to grow your farm and expand what you can do limiting you at the start and giving you more goals like crops you can plant at first rather than just money and better equipment with nothing else to aim for. If not it will show this company was out to take money from the few who actually do have a interest in a game of this genre. I am just hoping they are not just taking advantage of us who actually have a interest in these simulator games and once they burn us all out on their games they fade away to live off the money they got out of their half ass done simulator games.

  • nermin

    ja bih igrao igricu farming imulator 2011

  • collin

    can you tell me how to plant potatoes in farming simulator 2011 or how to prepare the groundso i can. i cant firgure out what i need to do to be able to plant them