It’s been a solid year since GIANTS Software released the latest edition to its very successful Farming Simulator franchise. When initially launched, Farming Simulator 19 pushed the series’s needle just a tad farther with an enhanced graphics engine, two new crop types, and the addition of interactive horses. I found these new additions to be rather minor, and thus the game mostly felt like a prettier version of its predecessor, Farming Simulator 17. Now, Giants is looking to give both existing players and newcomers a reason to jump into Farming Simulator 19 with the release of Platinum Expansion. This adds 35 new pieces of machinery and tools from German manufacturer CLAAS. That begs the question: Is this new content really worth the title of “Platinum”? Yes, but also no.
A sizeable CLAASroom
The most special thing about Platinum Expansion is that almost every category of machine/tool is covered. This pack includes CLAAS tractors, trailers, combines (with their headers), front loaders, bailers, and mowers. I tried almost every piece of kit and the experience was pretty nice.
The small tractors like the Arion 460 and 660 are good for modest jobs like carting and spraying, and then you have bigger boys like the 870, 960, and monstrous Xerion 5000 for the tougher jobs. I particularly like the 5000’s ability to turn both its front and rear wheels, which allow for tight maneuverability in addition to its absurd horsepower. Each of the CLAAS tractors has a lot of customization for both wheels and engine power, so making key adjustments to suit your specific work needs is easy.
I was also impressed by the presentation that the CLAAS models offer. Both interiors and exteriors boast the super detailed presentation that’s come to be expected from GIANTS’ modeling team. The cockpits are very modern with various sensors and monitors (though these still don’t have any actual in-game function). The sound design is also very nice, with each vehicle having its own unique engine sounds. There’s a clear distinction between the small, dainty engine of the Arion 460 and its much larger brother the 960. The CLAAS vehicles also all sport an array of lights that cover 360 degrees; aside from just looking cool, it does make low-light work a lot more manageable.
CLAAS’s massive combine harvesters were also done well in their transfer to the digital realm. I became mostly acquainted with the Lexion 8900. It didn’t take very long for the Lexion to grow on me as one of my favorite combines in the whole game due to its surprising high speed and very nimble maneuverability. The Lexion’s Convio 1230 series of headers also make quick work of fields both large and small due to their wide coverage. The rest of the pack contains smaller combines like the Dominator, as well as Forage Harvesters like the Jaguar 960. Thus, you can cover just about every crop except cotton with a piece of CLAAS equipment. However, doing just so is going to be a very expensive undertaking.
Quality and quantity
With there being a veritable army of CLAAS products in this pack, outfitting your entire farm with each and every one of them will easily run you into the millions (unless you plan on leasing). I created a fresh save file so that I could only use the CLAAS-made products (where possible), but that required using a money mod. Trying to do so the “normal” way is going to require you having a very profitable farm or a save file that you’ve been running with for several hours and thus money is no longer a big deal. Even just the initial costs of the high-tier machines are sizeable. For instance, a fully-loaded Xerion 5000 will run you $422,800. The Lexion 8900 isn’t too far off at $489,500. Thus, just these two machines on their own will cost $912,300. Once you add in the cost of a header for the combine, and even basic tools for the tractor (seeder, sprayer, plow, etc.), you’ll be looking at well over 1 million dollars.
Spending a ton of money on new machinery and tools is nothing new in the Farming Simulator series. However, considering Platinum Expansion is all about new equipment, it’s going to take new players quite some time to fully enjoy all that there is to offer. And really, that’s what nagged me the most about this pack. While the wide array of new farming equipment is very well-made, that’s all that there is to this DLC pack.
More bark than bite
As nice as each piece of new CLAAS equipment is, they’re all still just additions to existing categories. Thus, what’s really being offered is more ways to do what you’ve already been doing with other machines. There’s nothing particularly special about any of the CLAAS products in spite of their high quality. If you’re a big fan of CLAAS (similar to how some folks were drooling over the inclusion of John Deere at launch), then this is very good news for you. However, if you’re looking for something that will add a dramatic amount of depth to the existing Farming Simulator 19 experience, you’re not really going to find that here.
The reason why I said I found this aspect of the Platinum Expansion nagging is due to how it pales in comparison to its predecessor, Farming Simulator 17 – Platinum. With that add-on, Farming Simulator 17 players were granted a whole new map, a collection of new vehicles/tools from a variety of manufacturers, and also a new crop that introduced a new farming type. That was a much more varied add-on pack, rather than this one that just focuses on adding new equipment from a single manufacturer. True, CLAAS has never officially been in the Farming Simulator world prior to this pack, which does make it a milestone. However, I would have no reason to be nagged if this pack were simply the “CLAAS Equipment Collection” rather than carrying the “Platinum Edition/Expansion” title. It’s a step back from what GIANTS has done in the past, which is a shame.
Best in CLAAS, but not the best in class
For $15, the amount of content that you’re getting is relatively decent. I just wish it added more depth to the gameplay rather than its being an addition to what we’ve already been experiencing for the past year. Since this is being touted as the “Platinum Expansion/Edition” of Farming Simulator 19, I’m assuming that it isn’t likely that GIANTS has much more major new content planned for the game after this. After all, the team has been working on the upcoming Farming Simulator 20, which will be coming to Switch and mobile in just a few weeks. That just seems to be a simplified version of FS19, despite the number bump. That leaves me to conclude that any major new advancements for the franchise are probably being left for the next true iteration of the franchise. If GIANTS continues to follow the same release pattern it’s had for the last few years, that means the next true FS should land by the end of 2020, which is clearly still a ways away from right now.
Thus, one year later, Farming Simulator 19 remains not much different than it was last year — a prettier version of its predecessor.
Some bugs have been fixed, and the amount of content is certainly larger. However, this experience still feels all too familiar. And with this Platinum DLC being a downgrade over the last, I can’t say I’m completely pleased by GIANTS’ efforts here. The only saving grace is that the pricing is still fair. Farming Simulator 19 Platinum costs $15 more than FS17 Platinum, so you might as well just jump for this if you’re a newcomer. If you already are an FS19 owner, then your decision as to whether or not it’s worth it going “Platinum” is solely reliant on just how much you like CLAAS. They’re cool toys, but nothing you don’t already have in your farm’s garage already.