FarmVille 2: Is the grass really greener?

farmville freak farmville 2
farmville freak farmville 2

We all knew this day would come. The milk cow that is FarmVilleis too good (and too profitable) not to have a sequel, and as of last week, it's clear that Zynga execs want to cash in with FarmVille 2.

Rest assured, however, that Zynga has no intention of leaving the original FarmVille behind. The original FarmVille is still Zynga's top earning game, so it's not going anywhere. The FarmVille we all know and love will continue to be updated with new content and features. Behind the scenes, FarmVille has a completely separate creative team than FarmVille 2.

Like most FarmVille players, I moseyed over to FarmVille 2 on launch day. As I waited for the game to load, my mind was racing with questions: What would this place offer? How would it compare to FarmVille? Would I like it more? Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence?

Well, the grass was certainly much prettier. The first thing I noticed about FarmVille 2 was the stunning 3D graphics. I loved seeing my favorite FarmVille animals and decor come to life in the fancy animated renderings of FarmVille 2. Hello, Camarillo Horse! You look so handsome.

I began navigating my way around my farm, which is a new place, but a story we've heard before. In FarmVille 2, players are invited to rebuild an old family farm. Along your journey of restoring your farm to glory, characters prompt you to complete tasks in more integrated quest lines, nudging you grow, feed, sell etc. The good news is that you can go about your questing at your own pace, since quests do not have time constraints. Of course, there's always the possibility that Zynga can introduce timely quests that have expiration dates later on.

My first move was to get right to farming -- plant some crops and reap my harvest. I love the game's technology that allows for faster farming (and so does my wrist). In FarmVille 2, crops yield crops. In other words, if you plant tomatoes, you harvest tomatoes rather than coins. It's your choice to sell those tomatoes in your roadside stand, craft them into soup, or turn them into animal feed. The choice is yours, but make it wisely because -- just like real farms that require water to function -- you will need water to maintain your farm in FarmVille 2.

Similar to so many of Zynga's other games (besides FarmVille) FarmVille 2 uses an energy system covertly hidden as the need for water. The energy system is the biggest difference between FarmVille and FarmVille 2 because the requirement for water directly affects your gameplay. You can easily max out your farming when the water runs dry. To continue playing, you'll have to ask friends for more water, purchase some with real money, or simply wait for it to rejuvenate over time. At this point, many players may flock back to FarmVille while waiting for their water supply to make a comeback.

I think many existing players, as well as first-time virtual farmers, will enjoy the stunning world of FarmVille 2. Let's face it, the graphics are gorgeous, and the interactive components are well thought out. When you expand your farm, a heard of goats run over to eat the grass and make the land habitable. Good one, Zynga. Friend visits get an upgrade with real-time farmhands ready to help out on your farm, if you want it. There's crafting in place as well as many other features borrowed from the original FarmVille, and there's already talks of a village hangout in the horizon.

The downfall for me is the essential need for energy water, which severely limits the ability to play at my leisure. Then again, it's the same energy requirement in FarmVille 2, which makes it completely possible to play FarmVille and supplement your farming with FarmVille 2 while waiting for your crops to grow.

Some of you who are already feeling like an overworked farmer may be unwilling to take on another game, but if you can find the time and digital farming is your forte, an impressive world awaits. It's up to you to decide if the grass is really greener on the other side.

How do you think FarmVille compares to FarmVillle 2? Will you play both games? Add comment.

Angela Morales created and manages FarmVille Freak, the largest FarmVille fan site, which provides news, tips and in-game updates for Zynga's Facebook farm game. She is also the co-author of FarmVille for Dummies. Yes, it exists.