Tropico 4 [Review]
Tropico 4 was released in 2011 for the PC. It was developed by Haemimont Games and published by Kalypso Media. A Mac OS X version was developed by Feral Interactive and released in 2013. It is currently selling on Steam for $19.99 and a collectors edition with all of the game’s DLC is available for $39.99. This review covers the windows version.
Back in my Outlast review, I mentioned something about never being able to get into horror games, mostly because I am a massive pussy. Well, the same goes for city management games. Being a respectable and seasoned video game critic (que laughter) I figured that it was my duty to my audience (all four of you) that I gained some experience with this genre. My first instinct was to go the Simcity franchise, as Simcity is to city management games what Elvis was to rock and roll or what Daikatana was to John Romero’s lack of credibility. Unfortunately, the newest installation was only available on Origin and I’d rather give throw my money into a big fire before giving those slimy bastards at EA a dime. Eventually, I stumbled upon the Tropico series one day on Steam during a summer sale and I decided to try it out. I went for the fourth installment of the series because I heard it was the best and I can seldom afford to review games solely for the sake of reviewing them, as I suffer from a condition known as “not being made of fucking money”. Anyways, I’ve been playing Tropico 4 for a while and I’ve found it quite enjoyable.
The basic premise of Tropico is that you’re the dictator of an obscure little ass-backwards caribbean island during the cold war. You have to keep the island’s local Communist, Capitalist, Nationalist, Loyalist, Militarist, Environmentalist, Intellectual, and Religious factions happy while getting your military ready for the next rebel attack, dealing with foreign policy, building the economy and public works, and getting your fucking builders to get off their lazy asses. It’s a city management game with a distinct personality and a tongue in cheek sense of humor; latin music (or salsa I’m not quite sure; I was never good at spanish) plays during gameplay, all of the advisors for the political factions are hilarious caricatures, and a lot of the flavor text has a good laugh or two in it.
I admire the minute to minute gameplay of Tropico 4 for two reasons; the first is that it’s a good example of the concept of simple yet deep mechanics, and the second is that it’s addictive as all hell. Tropico 4 excels at being deep without being too complex; with providing the player with multiple solutions to a problem without weighing them down with too much mental baggage. There isn’t too much mental legwork to slow us ‘retards’ down who have triple digit IQs and lives to attend to. After an hour or two you should understand the basic ins and outs of the game and by level ten or so of the campaign you’ll be proficient. It gets into that golden ‘easy to learn, difficult to master’ space and it just hooks you in. Hours have just melted away for me while playing this game; an experience I have previously only been able to get before by playing Minecraft and procrastinating.
My experience with Tropico 4 has inspired me to write a story. It’s about a glorious South American empire being brought down because its construction workers could erect a hospital fast enough to keep its brilliant (and I do say sexy) leader from being lynched by communists. As I said before, the workers in this game can barely do shit. They spend half of their time sitting on their asses and the other half working at a speed that wouldn’t impress a three toed sloth. You can circumvent the issue by just paying the double the price to just have the building construct itself or you can move your in-game avatar to the construction site to speed things up. Neither of these are practicable when you consider that you also have to worry about the Yankees, the Ruskies, whichever factions that hate you at the moment, military coups, riots, debts, rebels, and fucking acts of God.
Overall, Tropico 4 is a great game if you would like to get into city management games or just want to have a good laugh while listening to some latin (or possibly salsa) music. I would definitely recommend this title.
Disclaimer: The copy of this game I reviewed came with all of the DLC. I have researched what is and isn’t a part of the vanilla content. I think the DLC is overpriced (with the exception of Modern Times), but would still recommend getting it while it’s on sale.
1493 Views // September 30, 2014