Tropico-4--Review Tropico 4: Review

   05/01/2012 at 18:32       Stuart       3 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
 - Kalypso, Tropico 4, City Builder, Sandbox

El Presidente is pissed. A tornado has just torn through my carefully constructed town centre, obliterating the huge rotating Golden Statue of me I had built just two months before to remind the people how great I am. It destroys apartment buildings, ploughs through my Diplomatic Ministry and several factories before winding its way up the nearby mountainside towards farms and salt mines. It dissipates metres away from my tobacco plantations and I breathe a sigh of relief. It’s at this moment that Rebels decide to storm the palace, and El Presidente is dragged off for spending the nation’s money on hookers and Golden Statues while the population lived off bananas and the occasional goat. The funky latin soundtrack plays a catchy samba beat as I am placed in a small rowboat and pushed adrift into the ocean.


Tropico 4 is the latest in the Tropico series, an inventive city-builder where you take charge of various beautiful island paradises. Like all city builders you must manage your economy and utilise your resources to achieve a variety of sandbox objectives while avoiding being deposed or legitimately voted out of power. Along the way you’ll contend with natural disasters, political interference and citizen rebellion, and if you’re lucky you might come away with a fat Swiss Bank account to retire on.

Tropico 4 is functionally and visually similar to its predecessor, Tropico 3, with the only real differences being slightly better graphics and a friendlier interface. The population on your island is split into factions (Religious, Capitalists, Communists, Nationalists etc), all of whom have different needs that must be satisfied. If your population is happy, they’ll vote for you in the periodic elections, and your rule may continue. The new interface makes the desires of the populace far less opaque, thanks largely to the new mission system. You can take on up to five missions, which could be anything from ‘Export 500 tobacco’ to ‘Construct a Cathedral’. These missions appear at locations all over the island and provide useful direction to the player, allowing you to respond effectively to the population’s needs. Missions requiring specific actions can zoom the camera in on the affected citizen or building, saving you having to hunt them down yourself.

The usual array of graphs is available to track your imports and exports, while the new ability to appoint ministers allows you access to governmental edicts (one off effects like Pollution Standards, Secret Police to monitor rebels, Tax Cuts or Mardi Gras to boost tourism). Time can be altered to speed up or slow down your gameplay, and a yearly report gives you a useful breakdown of your finances.

The Tropico series has always provided a unique take on the city builder, and despite its quirks 4 does not disappoint, with plenty of sandbox options set to an uplifting samba beat. But if you own Tropico 3 (or, probably 2, or one come to think of it), you won’t find much in here to differentiate it from its predecessor beyond slightly more polished graphics and gameplay; in every other respect it is near-identical. Fans of the series will appreciate the small but noticeable improvements, and newcomers to Tropico or city-builders as a whole will find a very accessible and well made game in Tropico 4.

If you own a Tropico game already, you may find yourself questioning whether there are enough improvements to warrant the price tag, but the hallmark Tropico gameplay is there in spades, even if the iteration it has received is mostly cosmetic. Before long you’ll be dodging elections, locking up protesters, exploiting the workers and running your economy into the ground just like a real Government official, with none of the messy repercussions.


User Comments:

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Dragul - on 05/01/2012 at 23:51 wrote:
I own all of the previous Tropico games, and sincerily, for me Tropico 4 just felt like a patch/DLC in the Absolute Power kind of way, obscenely over priced for Tropico 3.1 not even Tropico 3.5... :(

Other than that, great review, really speaks of the game that tropico is, altough 4 out of 5 is, for me, too high for this game!

Orpheus - on 06/01/2012 at 02:32 wrote:
Yeah I agree in principle; it got a 4 simply because out of them all this is by far the most polished and accessible and thus a great entry game into the series and city builders in general. If you've already got 3 though, you're really not getting much more than new icing on the same cake!

Whizzo - on 07/01/2012 at 14:54 wrote:
I waited until the Christmas Steam sale and picked it up for a tenner, which seemed a reasonable price as it really is just an expansion pack with some fairly minor upgrades.

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