Monday, November 20, 2017

Farming Simulator 17 Platinum Expansion Impressions (PS4/XONE)

Farming Simulator 17 just launched a brand new Platinum Expansion that gives you some new tools, a brand new crop, and a new official map to play on. Is it worth the $20 investment? Find out here with our full impressions of the Platinum Expansion for Farming Simulator 17.

Last year we reviewed the Xbox One version of FarmimgSimulator 17 but since then I’ve switched over to the PS4 version instead (and I have 1000/1000GS on XONE and the platinum trophy on PS4, BTW, what other journalist can claim that?). Both versions are basically the same but I just wanted to make note of that in this article since I’ll be covering the PS4 version of the Platinum Expansion for FS17 instead of XONE like the review.

First off, the Platinum Expansion can be obtained in several ways. It requires the Farming Simulator 17 base game to play, so if you already own FS17 you can buy the Platinum Expansion for $20. Alternatively, the Platinum Expansion is included in the Season Pass for the game for $35, which also comes with other DLC. If you don’t already own Farming Simulator 17, you can buy the newly released Platinum Edition of the game for $50, which comes with the core game and Platinum Expansion (but no other DLC).

The Platinum Expansion comes with a big new South American map, a brand new sugarcane crop, new specialized equipment to plant, harvest, and haul the sugarcane, and a handful of other new tractors and vehicles. I would say you’re getting a decent amount of new stuff and the addition of sugarcane gives some extra variety to the experience. For the $20 asking price, I think the quantity of new content is about right.

The big question remains, however, as to whether this new Platinum Expansion is actually worth the money when it comes to quality. Honestly, I’m torn. I love having new toys to play with, but the unfortunate truth is that sugarcane kind of sucks. Almost everything about it is a huge pain in the butt. The tools to plant it are very small, so planting a whole field takes forever. Thankfully, you only have to plant it once and it’ll keep re-growing on its own for a few harvests, but it’s still annoying. Harvesting has the same problem – the tools are tiny and take forever to harvest a field.

Harvesting sugarcane is doubly annoying because the harvesting tools don’t have onboard storage so you either have to drive next to the harvester with a trailer or pull a trailer (like the new dump trailers that let you offload into a bigger trailer you pull up alongside) behind the harvester / tractor you’re using to harvest. There are problems, though, the biggest of which is that the dedicated harvester can’t actually pull the specialized dump trailers which makes using the dedicated harvester a huge, huge, huge pain unless you enjoy slowly driving alongside with a trailer while the A.I. does the harvesting. Your other option is to daisy chain a tractor, harvesting trailer, and a dump trailer, which does work well enough, but you will have to manually empty the dump trailer now and then because the A.I. is too dumb to do it even if you pull a trailer up next to them (they move the pipe out over your trailer instead of emptying the dump trailer).

What annoys me the most about sugarcane is that it requires far more time and work and effort than most other things in the game, yet pays very, very little. A full semi trailer load of sugarcane will only net you $15-18k or so. Like I said, it does re-grow so your initial investment will continue to pay off, but the amount of work involved doesn’t seem remotely worth it.

The other major piece of the Platinum Expansion is the new South American map. It does introduce some new architecture and the red colored soil and palm trees do make it new and different and interesting, but it has a problem too – there are fences freaking everywhere. Even around your own farm there are annoying fences that stop you in your tracks and you can’t get rid of them, which makes just getting around annoying.

So when you put it all together, you’re spending $20 for the Platinum Expansion to get a map that isn’t as fun as the other maps, and a new crop that is a pain in the butt to deal with. I just can’t see spending $20 on content that is merely OK especially when you consider that Farming Simulator 17 has dozens and dozens of mods available that let you add tons of new equipment and maps and all sorts of game-changing stuff for free. By being consumer friendly and offering mods they have also kind of spoiled their own DLC plans. Good for us. Not so good for Giants Software and Focus Home Interactive.

One final thing that I will note is that you can grow sugarcane and use the new equipment on any map, not just the new South American one. Also, the new equipment and sugarcane works just fine in your established save files – I planted sugarcane in my 100+ hr save with no issues – so you don’t have to start a whole new game to play with the new stuff.

Bottom Line

In the end I’m just not all that impressed with the Platinum Expansion. I’ll admit that I’m not a hardcore sim-style player in Farming Simulator 17, though, as I like to hire the A.I. to do the boring annoying jobs while I get to do more fun things. Sugarcane requires a lot more attention and time on my part than anything else in the game and I just don’t enjoy it much. Of course if, on the other hand, you do enjoy the grind and the more tedious aspects of the game you’ll probably have a better time with sugarcane than I did. I won’t give it a “Buy” or “Don’t Buy” recommendation, but I will say this – Consider what type of player you are. If you don’t mind the more tedious aspects of Farming Simulator, you’ll most likely enjoy what the Platinum Expansion has to offer. And if you haven’t played Farming Simulator 17 at all yet, there’s no reason not to get the most fully featured version, so the Platinum Edition is absolutely the one you should buy.

Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.