Getting to Grips With the Farmer’s Life in Pure Farming 2018

Pure Farming 2018 has a brand new combine harvester and it’s given me the key.

This, as it turns out, was a rather unwise move; a mere two minutes after clambering into the driver’s seat I’d managed to knock over several fence posts, ram it into a tree and use it for everything other than its intended purpose. But once I’d got the urge to play Grand Theft Agriculture out of my system, I was able to get down to the serious business of growing things, and a good few hours later, I was having a whale of a time.

Pure Farming 2018 is a hugely comprehensive farming simulator which tasks you with restoring your grandfather’s farm to glory (if you’re tackling the campaign mode) or just building your own farm from the ground up. While the campaign mode leads you by the hand, in free farming mode you’re given an astonishing level of freedom. You can rear animals for delicious, delicious murder,  grow wheat and other grain crops, earn easy money by building wind farms and solar panels, start your own orchard and so on. There are also several challenges, though Euro Truck Simulator fans will be disappointed to discover that the trucking one is initially locked off.

Should you so desire, you can just wander around gawping at the scenery since you have the freedom to roam around your whole property, on foot or in a vehicle. Going by my experience with previous simulator games, I went into Pure Farming 2018 expecting the graphics to be rather low-rent, but they’re reasonably impressive; just walking around, watching your crops spring to life, seeing your animals roam the fields is an oddly meditative experience. Pure Farming 2018 is slower-paced and more serious than the likes of Stardew Valley, of course, but you still get a sense of pride from observing the fruits of your labours.

You initially have to handle the basic tasks yourself and while some may find ploughing a field relaxing, I had such difficulty controlling the plough that it became a real chore. That may well be true to life, but it made the task such a rigmarole that it almost put me off the game. Fortunately, I reached the point where I could employ someone to plough the fields, freeing me to pay more attention to my farm’s overall development. At this point, my enjoyment of the game skyrocketed and I started to mould the farm into the agricultural powerhouse I desired. I also got my tractor stuck on a tree and spent twenty minutes trying to dislodge it by ramming it with a car — but even us farmers are allowed off days.

The game’s default location is Montana but you can also start a farm in Italy, Columbia and, if you buy the Digital Deluxe edition, Germany; each locale having its own distinctive appearance and layout. Setting up in Japan is also an option, but I’m 99% sure that your starting location is right outside the house from The Grudge so you might want to steer clear of that one.

Pure Farming 2018 isn’t a game for the impatient and its first couple of hours can be a grind until you’re able to hire workers. But overall, I found Pure Farming 2018 to be a rewarding experience and will definitely be returning to life on the farm. If rural toil appeals to you then you can pick up Pure Farming 2018 on  PlayStation 4, Xbox One or PC.