After a worrying absence of a 2016 edition, Farming Simulator 17 [official site] is back to simulate all your rural needs. And who better qualified to tell you all about it than I, John "Farmer" Walker, management game expert and lover of all things agricultural?!
Obviously the first thing to establish in a new Farming Simulator is which world objects can be knocked over, and which can't. Cars: yes. Trees: no. Stop signs: yes. Fences: no. There's no internal logic to it, so it's a case of meticulous experimentation as you hurtle your tractors around the landscape, smashing into everything you can find. The good news is, if you knock over your flat-bed truck by crashing into it with a runaway combine harvester, it will self-right when you start to drive it even from upside-down. However, be warned: a tractor will not self-right in the same way, and will remain sleeping on its side forever. This can prove problematic if you were to then want to use that tractor to do jumps over the hills, or park it across a train track.
It's worth noting that the merging process with lampposts is a one-way system. Your tractor can align its molecules up to drive through a post up to a certain distance, but then, using interlacing molecular technology being introduced into farming from June 2017, this is an irreversible process. You tractor will remain at one with that post forever from this point, which is worth bearing in mind when making decisions about whether to gently tap one.
It's important to pay careful attention to the game's instructions, and possibly go through the early tutorials, in order to learn the very many peculiar key assignments to ensure you can get the most out of a game. Crucially, in order to maintain a strong simulation of farming life, you can't see what the myriad controls (I to dump, 0 to honk, U to toggle tip side) are while playing - that requires quitting out and going to the title screen like a real farmer.
So you'll want to know that if you start driving the combine harvester before pressing Q to attach the choppy-spinny-bit, it'll drive straight over it and then refuse to attach later. And then you're going to be heftily screwed if you plan to cut some crop circles.
Thanks to every vehicle's extraordinary turning circles, it's a cinch to plough words into fields. Pretty much everything is capable of doing donuts, so you'll have no issues writing curly letters. No one's told the AI about this, by the way, so they're trapped in a world of nineteen-point turns at the end of every field, but this affords the opportunity to do skidsies around them at the time.
Then of course, all this figured out you can settle back into the merry world of OH GOD SO MANY STATS. SO MANY NUMBERS TO WORRY ABOUT.
I don't want this! I want to drive tractors into walls, and see if I can derail the trains! Why am I being asked to worry about how much liquid manure costs?! No wonder farmers are so bloody cross all the time. My Case 1H 1660 Axial-Flow is costing me €2,050 for... something, and whatever that something is, it's adding up to €25,586 for something else! I only have €30,000 and €55,000 of that is a loan! This isn't fun - this is a terrifying debt simulator, combined with arduous manual labour and an interface that puts the T into UI. No, how have I been tricked into this? ADAM!!!
Farming Debt Simulator 17 is out now on Windows via Steam for £30/$35/€35.