Dear John Letter To John Deere
Written: Sep 3, 2011 (Updated May 21, 2013)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Officially licensed, decent graphics, first and third person view
Cons:Not realistic, no game modes, generic sounds, boring and repetitive
The Bottom Line: Would only appeal to young children interested in tractors and farming, with not much video game experience.
John Deere: Drive Green, developed by Gabriel Entertainment, is a farming simulation game. Drive Green puts you in the driver's seat of 15 officially licensed John Deere farming vehicles and implements to satisfy your virtual farming needs. Drive Green is also published by Valusoft, the same company responsible for all those "18 Wheels of Steel" and "Hunting Unlimited" simulation games. Unfortunately, Drive Green has the same annoying qualities as those games: boring, repetitive, and totally not worth the inflated price tag. If you like the John Deere brand name, farming, and mindlessly boring games, then keep reading. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and avoid this review and this sorry excuse for a game.
In Drive Green, it's your job to put on gloves and become a master farmer around town. There aren't any game modes, so you're basically thrown into a virtual farming world with little guidance. Upon starting a new game, you appear at the center of a large farm. The first thing you'll see is a job board with 15 jobs available. You must help your neighboring farmers by doing jobs for them. Each job must be completed in order, as harder jobs must be unlocked. In each job, you are given a vehicle and some implement equipment. The first job is to plow a field with a 2410 Chisel Plow. The second job is to plant corn with a box drill. The third job is to spray soybeans with a 4930 Sprayer. Each new job usually becomes more difficult and takes longer to complete.
During these jobs you drive a tractor and drag equipment across a field. That's basically all you do on each of the 15 jobs. Each job is slightly different, using different tractors, and different implements, but essentially you just drive back and forth, harvesting and conditioning a field as specified in the job requirements. Along the way you collect "Deere Dollars" (tokens for efficiency) which are later used to unlock your own farming equipment. There isn't much skill involved in these jobs either. You press forward to drive and left/right to steer. That's basically all you do for at least 2 hours of gameplay. There is an option to switch between first and third person view, and also exit the vehicle to pick up fossils on the ground. Fossils are like a side mission, when you find all 31 fossils, a Jackalope skeleton appears at your farm. There's no other reason for fossils really, it's just a ploy to keep you occupied and satisfy the need to explore the backwoods at your farm.
When all 15 jobs are complete, the game is finished. There is no win scenario or anything special at the end. You just do the jobs over again, trying to beat your previous high score. There's no incentive for doing jobs again, so what's the point of playing? Well, those "Deere Dollars" can be used to unlock vehicles and implements for your own farm. There are 7 vehicles and 8 implements to choose from. Some of the choices include: a X720 Riding Mower to mow your own lawn, and a 9860 STS Combine to harvest your crops.
Your own personal farm is made up of several areas. There is a soybean field, a corn field, a wheat field, and a hay field. Each field can be plowed, planted, sprayed, and harvested. It's your farm and your responsibility, and you're free to do it however you want. Again, there's no incentive for actually doing any of this because it's all just busy work with no reward. And this lack of "incentive gameplay" is why the game fails so miserably.
The only good thing about this game is the graphics. For such a simple farming game, the graphics are surprisingly good. Every piece of equipment is detailed with the signature John Deere green paint scheme. The farming areas are very basic, but somewhat detailed and realistic. However, after about 10 minutes you'll begin to notice the farming areas are utterly boring. There's not much you can do with an open plot of land. The only eye candy to keep you entertained is dirt clouds behind a plow, crows flying around the corn fields, and an occasional barn or silo seen off in the distance. None of the tractor equipment is animated either. When harvesting corn, you should see corn flying around everywhere, but not in this game. And normally when you mow the lawn, grass sprays out the side, but we just don't see it. The lack of animation in these minor details is a huge disappointment and takes away from the realism. There's just not enough happening on screen or in the game to hold your attention for more than 10 minutes. Since this is a Valusoft title, the graphics are easily comparable to 18 Wheels of Steel: Haulin' and Hunting Unlimited 2010. Graphically, it looks realistic at first, but eventually you see past the eye candy and notice the overall lack of graphics and lose interest. Oh and you may need a beefy computer with at least 256mb video card to fully experience the best graphic options available.
The sound department is also asleep at the wheel. And their laziness is contagious, as the lack of sound will also put you to sleep. The amount of sound can almost be counted on one hand. There is basic sounds for the operation of a vehicle, some ambient sounds such as birds chirping, and a one track soundtrack that loops forever. Thankfully there are options for each area: music, effects, and engine. Turning off the music is a necessity after the first 5 minutes. You're better off playing your own mp3 music in the background. Turning down the engine also helps, because you'll hear the same engine noise for about 2-3 hours, and that's how long it takes to complete all the jobs.
John Deere: Drive Green is nothing more than an elaborate real-time, first person version of Farm Town. The original $20 price tag was seriously overpriced. It's now down to about $10 but even then it's still not worth the money. This game will only appeal to a small niche audience, perhaps children that aren't old enough to use farming equipment or don't have access to a farm. Adults, real farmers, and hardcore gamers need not apply. Overall, this game is too boring and unrealistic for any real entertainment, and there is no replay value. The behavior of the tractors aren't even close to realistic. It's just a shame that John Deere allowed their high quality brand name to appear on such a low quality game. Dear John, I don't love you anymore. I must uninstall you forever.
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