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Review

Tropico 5 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • PC
Jeremy Jayne on Google+

Tropico 5 Review

Tropico abides.

Everything is just one big joke on the island of Tropico. Your research team is incompetent, your diplomat is a snob, and your radio DJ is absolutely shameless. But that's OK, because both Tropico 5 and its digital inhabitants don't take anything too seriously. This management sim wraps its irreverent wit around some easily approachable mechanics that smartly grow in complexity as you move through the ages and become more familiar with your new role as El Presidente.

Mission objectives help guide your island to prosperity.

I'm getting ahead of myself, since you're not actually El Presidente in the beginning. Instead, Tropico 5 starts you off as a lowly governor in the Victorian era under the service of the Crown. From these humble beginnings, you must guide your people through World War II, the Cold War, and beyond. Each age brings with it a new set of challenges because your tiny island nation is sandwiched between the world's rotating superpowers. But as your trusted advisors say, it is your will alone that is holding Tropico together, and that means doing anything and everything necessary to stay in office, whether it's rigging the next election or putting down civilian riots. After all, you're doing this for the good of the people, and your Swiss bank account.

Throughout the ages, your advisors take excellent care of making sure Tropico 5 is easy to pick up and enjoy, whether you're familiar with this series' long history or not. You start in the Victorian era, where Lord Oaksworth, emissary to the Crown, guides you through building your first resource-gathering structures. These assignments are always couched in some harebrained scheme the king has cooked up back home, such as requesting that you build a logging camp so the king can complete his underwater palace.

These missions to build certain structures or complete certain tasks continue throughout the game, and as you grow and define the style of your nation, they can be accepted or ignored as needed. In the beginning, you're just trying to stay in the black and keep your people happy, but as you advance through the eras, you may wish to shape your island into a high-end tourist trap or become the world's leading producer of cigars and rum. The types of missions selected for you are different each time you play and together they try to shape your island towards a certain style, but the game is also flexible enough for you to strike your own path as well.

Your most trusted advisor, Penultimo, always knows how to make a problem go away.

However, each mission carries with it some sort of political consequence. Usually it's a trade-off between appeasing one faction on the island and angering another, such as siding with the Crown over the revolutionaries, or later the Axis supporters over the Allied supporters. You don't have to please all of the people all of the time; you just have to stay in power. Forever. Virtually every choice you make--from the buildings you build to the people you trade with--has some sort of impact on your standing with the island's various factions. Molding popular opinion to your advantage is an enjoyable and ever-changing challenge that grows in complexity as you move through the ages and more factions are introduced.

But while this game's simple mission design is there to reel you in, it's Tropico 5's sense of humor that baits the hook. From the wording of your island's constitution to the musings of your radio DJ, this game's irreverent streak touches every aspect of the island. And in its own way, this devil-may-care attitude is fitting for Tropico 5 since the game isn't concerned with breaking down every little bit of minutia for you. It gives you just enough information to make an informed decision without leaving you lost in a maze of submenus.

Consider your budget. In Tropico 5, you're not earning money at a constant rate; rather, it comes in large lump sums when your trade ships arrive at port. And when you have that huge influx of cash burning a hole in your pocket, it's hard not to blow it all right away on new structures and other island improvements. Your citizens will love you for it, but you'll also be putting yourself back in crippling debt. Now, were I an egocentric island dictator in this goofy parody of real life, then I, too, would likely spend beyond my means when the time was ripe and then sweat it out during the off-season. Tropico 5 is full of little design touches--like how your money is doled out--that help reinforce its fiction that you are, frankly, a buffoon.

Tropico 5 lets you take a real hands-on approach to governing the people.

There is a lot to enjoy on the sandy beaches of Tropico 5. Whether you're playing alone or with up to three others online, the game strikes a good balance between style and substance that is easy to digest for all types of strategy fans. The constant power struggle between the game's various factions--both internal and abroad--creates an ever-changing challenge for you to manage as El Presidente, whether through force or appeasement. And while the rest of the world tears itself apart with World War-this and Cold War-that, the simple-minded Tropicans are there to kick their feet up and take it easy for all us sinners.

The Good
Great sense of humor that carries throughout
Smooth difficulty curve that gradually ramps up
The city and its inhabitants are full of personality
The Bad
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

The shoes of El Presidente are hard to fill, but Maxwell is up to the challenge, even if he is a newcomer to the Tropico series. After 22 hours with the game he now spends his days sipping drinks on the beach and pondering whether building a casino next to a church is a bad idea.

Discussion

177 comments
BurningBen
BurningBen

That review was awful... didn't really explain much. How about going over the game instead of making jokes... heading to ign

Hellcanwait
Hellcanwait

is it too much to ask for a console release date ?

moc5
moc5

There is only good things to say about the game and no bad?  If not, doesn't that make the game a 10?

Erithtotl
Erithtotl

I played through 4, and while initially enjoyable,it became so repetitive and unchallenging by the end (where you'd basically win every scenario the same way over and over without really thinking) that I hated it over time.


The vibe of these games is fun, but unless it offers a varied and interesting challenge all the way through, I would never consider buying this.

Chops_Greens
Chops_Greens

Sometimes I feel as if I live in Tropico

MaddenBowler10
MaddenBowler10

If anyone is interested in getting in to the series, you can buy Tropico 4 for $3.99 (digital download through Steam) on gamestop.com .... I mean, i figure it's a better deal than this one at $39.99. The review certainly won't sway you either way.

Tigerbite2
Tigerbite2

I'm enjoying the game (first Tropico game for me), but after reading some reviews elsewhere, it seems like the previous games were better?  HMMMMMMMMM.

JimmyCos
JimmyCos

There's one big problem with your review: You're new to the series. The last 3 Tropico have been the same, they're only adding little new stuff that an expansion or even a patch could do. 

MBirdy88
MBirdy88

Is it me or is this review incredibly short and... uninformative....

uninspiredcup
uninspiredcup

I'd pick this up but I know before hand the DLC spammage will just annoy me so, hold off or not buy at all.

aiat_gamer
aiat_gamer

Huh, do they let anybody write reviews these days? I mean seriously this reads more like a preview than a legit review. 

TheDecree
TheDecree

I thought the review was good, if you don't then go make your own and whine about how you wasted your time somewhere else.  

demondogx
demondogx

This is what Tropico 4 should have been

Hope they do good DLC for this one but from seeing the pre order page on steam they most likely go back to milky dlc

Boddicker
Boddicker

Good to see a true strategy game coming to consoles.

LordPhreaka
LordPhreaka

Whoa, a HORRIBLE review, obviously he doesn't care about informing the readers/viewers about why he rated this game an 8, or letting the viewers know about what he thinks an average gamer will think of the game.


I haven't had the opportunity to try earlier Tropico games, and was hoping to find out about what the game's strong/weak points were, how this game is different from simcity or port royale, and something to tell me if I was going to like/dislike the game before I tried it.


But after going through this review, I have nothing. Except that in the review video this guy sounds like he's reading his hand written essay out loud.


Total. Waste. Of. My. Time.

sabas10
sabas10

To be honest, I find Tropico 5 much better than Tropico 4 and 3. While I think Tropico 4 came too early after Tropico 3 (heck, it was nothing more than an expansion), Tropico 5 feels like a proper sequel. 


I do expect it to get some DLC soon, given it's rather limited customization options for your Presidente that just screams "Buy me more outfits!" and they could add some more buildings to the Cold War and especially Modern era.


Overall however, I find this a great game. I'm enjoying it more than the already-good predecessors. The developers shouldn't release sequels so fast after each other ala CoD, but this one is definately worth a purchase.

grin89
grin89

steam has tropica 4 on sell i believe.

airshocker
airshocker

Is it just my browser or does there not seem to be any remarks under the BAD section?

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@Deamon59 

Well, look elsewhere then - do you expect the reviewer to change his/her "review style" just because you have seen "better"? Tell you what: I have never seen GameSpot's reviewers change their "styles" because of complaints like yours.

Besides, you are not the first to complain about this under Maxwell's review articles - if he doesn't feel like writing a lot on something, he won't be.

The best you could do is that you just look at review articles under the reviews tab, and if you see his name under a review article, you don't read it. In other words, you might as well boycott his reviews.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

@makemoneytoday I was thinking the same thing.

Really not liking this story telling style of review GS is going for these days with purple prose and flowery opinions. They seem to forget to describe the actual game, what makes it fun, what works and what doesn't, how well it runs, whether it feels like value for money, all that important consumery stuff.


Dial back the entertainment a bit and bring back the information.

Zloth2
Zloth2

@MaddenBowler10  That doesn't include Modern Times, though.  But maybe it would be enough to keep you satisfied until the "complete" version of 5 shows up with all the DLC included....

mrdarklight
mrdarklight

@JimmyCos The last three have been the same? They have all been the same, and they're tedious. You spend 90% of your time (I'm not exagerrating) on the fastest speed setting, waiting for something to happen. When you finally get a decent city, the scenario is over and you have to start again. This game has had major issues with pacing since day one. I'm amazed they have never fixed them.

Deamon59
Deamon59

@JimmyCos the main change in this title is you build off your previoud maps in the campaign instead of starting over each time.

Zloth2
Zloth2

@MBirdy88  Yeah, I got that feeling, too.  I got that he liked the humor but what was fun and what wasn't fun?  Hmm, the blurb says he's just 22 hours into the game.  That might be why.

Bacca7
Bacca7

@MBirdy88 It isn't just you, it's basically a glorified summary of the game, like a super long description for the back of the box.

ginobili1
ginobili1

@uninspiredcup Yeah. I'll do the same what I did to Anno 2070. Wait till all the DLCs come out, and then wait some more for the < $10 bundle. :)

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

@TheDecree So no-one's allowed to critique any more without being able to create something better themselves?

Blue_Tomato
Blue_Tomato

@TheDecree I thought his comment was good. If you dont then go make your own and whine about how you wasted your time somewhere else.  

XenoSage
XenoSage

@gruber23
 

You can't possibly enter a game with ZERO expectations and ZERO standards.

But let's follow your logic: The reviewer started at a zero and worked his way up to an 8. What isn't pushing it higher? Can you pinpoint that for me in his article?

hitomo
hitomo

@gruber23  so every game starts with a flat Zero ? ... really, before you state something, make sure the opposite makes sense as well

kitsch_blues
kitsch_blues

@LordPhreaka Yeah, have to agree. It reads like some sort of love poem. There's not much info to be had within.

kleefkikker
kleefkikker

@LordPhreaka agree, this was basically just 'look at this game, the annoying voice over didn't help either :/


All news I could gather from this review is that it now starts in the Victorian age? If I remember correctly T4 started around the cold war.

oddsnake
oddsnake

@LordPhreaka I agree, I thought so too. This review was terrible! What exactly is the game? How does it work? What's good, what's bad apart from the humor? I was also looking into buying this game, but this review told me NOTHING about difficulty, the actual gameplay, lasting value, bugs, interface, game modes..ANYTHING useful...except that the DJ is funny. I'll just go find some more constructive reviews somewhere else.

Deamon59
Deamon59

@sabas10 agreed, the main thing is you build off your previous maps in the campaign instead of starting over each mission. it's an absolute game changer

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@XenoSage @snxx 

"Improvement" by whose measure? Yours?

If by "improvement", you meant talk a lot more about the game, then you may want to know that other people who are not you might consider the review "too long" or "pedantic".

If I am "telling" you anything, it's that you will never be satisfied with any review article unless it tells you what you want to hear.

XenoSage
XenoSage

@Deamon59 

Don't bother arguing with Gelugon. There's a difference between stating your opinion and being rude about it. He has indicated that other opinions are "sanctimonious." You'll only get another rude remark from him if you keep at it. If you take a quick glance at his profile history, people in different threads and articles all over get frustrated by his inane comments and instigation while he, as you said, contributes nothing and instigates the argument further. Just ignore him. He'll likely deny such and such  throw a couple of more crude remarks and effectively repeat his post history.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@Deamon59 

If you are suggesting that I have stated that review authors don't respond to comments, then I would say here that you are putting words which I did not say into my mouth. What I had been saying is that there is no guarantee that they will respond.

Also, why should I not give a damn? If other people can have opinions on others' opinion, why couldn't I?

Moreover, there is no measure of "legitimacy" for opinions. In my eyes, the mention of the phrase "legitimate views" is little more than a sanctimonious expression.

Also, if you have spent enough time "reasoning" with me, don't ever reply to me any more here.

Deamon59
Deamon59

@Gelugon_baat @XenoSage and after reading how you responded to the other guy, i have to say that i have seen gamespot authors respond to comments for their articles. Also, why do you give a damn if people express their opinions in a forum meant for just that? You're adding nothing to the discussion while shooting down people's legitimate views, i've spent enough time trying to reason with you. 

XenoSage
XenoSage

@Gelugon_baat @XenoSage 

Said it sounded like. Not quoting you. Anyways there's nothing to argue anymore. I've said my feedback and you have informed me that this particular reviewer mostly does preview articles, hence the preview/trailer-like review.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@XenoSage 

I don't recall ever using the phrases "esteemed' and "extensive" to describe a real and living person with.

XenoSage
XenoSage

@Gelugon_baat @XenoSage 

"McGee here happens to be a staffer who has been assigned with writing preview articles and appearing in many of GameSpot's shows, in addition to writing reviews once in a while; I doubt that you would get a response from him."

Ah,  it all makes sense now. The way you were defending him makes it sound like he was an esteemed reviewer with extensive reviewing experience.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@XenoSage @snxx 

Personally, if I were you, I just look elsewhere if I feel that a review article had not informed me enough.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@XenoSage 

Well, good luck trying to get GameSpot's staffers to listen then. Not all of them give two sh*ts about reading comments.

McGee here happens to be a staffer who has been assigned with writing preview articles and appearing in many of GameSpot's shows, in addition to writing reviews once in a while; I doubt that you would get a response from him.

Instead, if you want a second opinion, you should be complaining to Kevin vanOrd and pestering him for a freelancer review or some such.

No guarantees that he would give two sh*ts either.

XenoSage
XenoSage

@Gelugon_baat @XenoSage @snxx 

By measure of the audience (that is who the critic is writing to after all!): Many people besides myself have provided feedback regarding the lack of information. No one has argued that the review is "too long" or "pedantic." It's the opposite! You can easily expand on that without making a lengthy review.


By gamespot standards: compare this review to other gamespot reviews. You get far more of a sense of opinion, strengths, weakness, and overall game mechanics and some are the same length as this review. Not pedantic or long at all.

 

And yes I am not satisfied. Hence the feedback and complaint. (I certainly wouldn't be asking for more if I thought it provided what is traditionally featured in a review.) I WOULD like to hear, as with many others, more of the reviewer's thoughts on this game as most other reviewers do.


XenoSage
XenoSage

@Gelugon_baat @XenoSage @snxx 

Measure by his readers! By gamespot standards! Many aren't stating that his reviews are "too long" or "pedantic." They are stating the opposite. I, and many others, are suggesting that more detail could vastly improve his reviews. It doesn't involve changing his personality or style. Just to go more in depth.  Compare his articles to other game reviews on gamespot. It is vastly less lengthy.



Ahhhh, Looking at your post history I now understand.

People in different threads all over get frustrated by your inane comments and pointless arguments to the point that they think you are trolling (and maybe you are!). Your posts either instigate further argument or create them. You don't consider their feedback and assume THEY must be wrong regardless of their points.


You say that I won't be satisfied unless its what I want to hear. However, your own quote mirrors your very own posts. You just repeat your "argument" and state condescending remarks. If they disagree with you tell them to get lost. Despite the fact that  history repeats itself among all your posts demonstrates the evidence of how argumentative and rude you are but you refuse to change. You'll never strive to improve your own posts and consider other people's opinion. So of course you don't expect the critic to improve his reviews! You don't even know how to do it for yourself! You just expect people to agree with you or "look elsewhere."



Tropico 5 More Info

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  • First Released
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • + 3 more
    • PS4
    • Unix/Linux
    • Xbox 360
    Tropico 5 has you take on the role of El Presidente as you control the infamous island of Tropico during early colonial times and then guide it through the centuries as the world changes and moves ever forward.
    7.4
    Average User RatingOut of 45 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Tropico 5
    Developed by:
    Haemimont
    Published by:
    Kalypso
    Genres:
    Management, Strategy
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence