We Just Played Tropico 4

We return to the islands of Tropico to test our skills as a tropical dictator in Tropico 4.

Tropico 4 is a real-time strategy game loaded with sand, surf, and simulation. After seeing the game at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, we finally got the chance to try our hand at Caribbean island management. Thankfully, we didn't run into the catastrophic disasters that were hinted at during our E3 demo, but we did attempt to brave the unsteady tides of island politics.

If you want to produce more expensive goods you'll need to educate your populace.

While Tropico 3 may have left some players feeling lost after its shallow tutorial, Tropico 4 wasted no expense with its extensive, five-part tutorial. From building a simple farm to analyzing an island's economic infrastructure, the tutorial left us feeling ready to take on whatever the game could throw at us. Our first, and perhaps most important, task as ruler was deciding on our avatar. The list included historic figures such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, as well as more-exotic characters, such as Voodoo Pizzaman. The decision was obvious. Dressed with a coat and top hat, Pizzaman was a capitalist and hotel tycoon whose political leanings would win us some points with the Americans, as well as hurt our standing with the Soviets.

When we arrived on the scene, the island city of St. Clara was in pretty bad shape. Only the most basic economic infrastructure was in place and most of the citizen's needs weren't being addressed at all. That meant we needed to get some tenement housing and corn farms up as soon as possible. While we held ultimate power, our advisers were always eager to help direct that power toward one project or another by offering numerous missions. In this case, our economic adviser suggested we either convert or build an extra farm to produce tobacco, which our city could then export for profit. Doing so would not only fetch us a cash reward for completing this mission, but it would also further improve our standing with the United States, thus affording us even more financial aid in the future.

With the basics covered, we flipped open the almanac to take a closer look at the condition of our citizens. This tome detailed everything that was happening in our city, from our standing with the city's numerous political factions to our monetary earnings. Looking under the people tab called up a list of all the factors that influence the mood of our citizens. There were noticeable improvements in food and housing, but health care was in the red. To further reinforce this issue, one of our advisers called us up just as we exited the almanac to request that we build a clinic or two. However, to staff the clinic, we would have to pay a little extra and hire some foreign doctors because we lacked the educational facilities to produce our own.

Not having any higher education also hurt our chances of finding any good candidates to staff our ministry. Of the five minister slots available, we were only able to fill two of them with people who weren't cowardly or dumb as a brick. Having a minister of the interior let us issue edicts, for a small fee, on issues of environment (anti-littering policy) and personal privacy (wiretapping). We ended up forgoing all other options and went straight for the gold by issuing a special building permit edict, which would slightly increase the cost of constructing future buildings but also drop a steady stream of money into our private Swiss bank account.

Numerous advisers and other political leaders will give you special missions to complete.

Despite its comedic trappings, Tropico 4 looks like it's upholding the deep strategic elements of its predecessors. Balancing your political relations both at home and abroad, as well as building and maintaining a strong economy, is still a very daunting task. You can fill the shoes of El Presidente yourself when Tropico 4 is released August 30 on the Xbox 360 and PC.

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Discussion

13 comments
ragerancher
ragerancher

Well I think it was quite good but not enough to merit a new game. It would be a brilliant expansion though. What's new from the Demo: -Can import goods now -Few extra visuals like the market being stacked with bags of food -Extra foreign relations stuff -Few extra buildings -New advisors and tasks during the game that give benefits. -Teamster priorities seem better. They actually take food to markets now. What's not changed: -Graphics. If anything the demo looked worse than 3 -Core gameplay. 90% of the stuff is the same. Overall I think it will be a decent game, better than 3 but my opinion of the demo is that it isn't THAT much better. The biggest thing in my opinion is the ability to import goods (A factory can import the raw goods and then sell the processed ones. It also allows you to forget about farms to an extent.)

j0abell
j0abell

@Zerathine pretty sure Tropico3 had the elementary school, windmills, and a garbage dump, too. Maybe in the Absolute Power expansion.

Zerathine
Zerathine

Just finished the demo, i have to say though, that i was NOT very impressed. The graphics look out dated, it's pretty much tropico 3 re-made, the interface is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo annoying, the game is pretty racist at times, and the only new stuff are a few new buildings including elementary scool, windmills and dumping grounds.

cjf187x
cjf187x

Can't wait! Enjoyed and loved all the other entries in the Tropico series!

TQHL
TQHL

love it! Want it!

EA_LOVER
EA_LOVER

yes its look like tropico 3 but i love it

quietmastrb8ter
quietmastrb8ter

This is going to be WAY similar to tropico 3. It'll have a better tutorial, which is nice for those who need it. It'll have some more disasters, like sim city, nothing revolutionary. It'll have a few extra things thrown in to try and justify a full release title. Luckily for them, since tropico 3 was tarnished by horrible technical problems, if this is a smooth, polished product, it'll still be worth playing despite it's similarity to 3

Eoino
Eoino

This seems EXACTLY the same as 3, just looks a bit different.

brouwerder
brouwerder

is it me or does that look like tropico 3 reboot with a new UI touch

pogswarts
pogswarts

Oh Tropico 3, how great you were. To bad it's coming out right with Deus Ex though.

pharaohpierre
pharaohpierre

Please, oh please, little to no technical glitches and crashes. The third installment was so fun for the 360 but it was such a buzz kill when the game would produce one of its many technical errors causing me to curse the day these software engineers received their degrees.

Mar044
Mar044

u hope that they bring back the little details that they took out from the last game, when farmers or lumber was collected you could see the llogs, or bags of food at the farms, and see them transported, they took that out and felt kinda like the darms were jusst there instead of feeling like the farms where making something.