Tropico 4 is a likeable and engaging sequel that expands on its predecessor but doesn't offer much new depth.
- Fleshes out government operations with ministerial appointments
- Personalized interactions with faction leaders and foreign powers
- Expands the economy to include imports, as well as exports
- Great sense of humor.
- Very similar to Tropico 3
- Missions rely on and repeat the same handful of general objectives.
Tropico 4 is a bit like Fidel Castro. Although similarities between the two aren't so great that the CIA will be sending the developers at Haemimont Games a box of exploding cigars anytime soon, the two share the same philosophies about change. Just as the Cuban dictator seemed to spend his entire 50 years in power wearing green fatigues, an army cap, and mirrored sunglasses, the latest addition to the series of banana republic simulations comes dressed in nearly the exact same getup as its predecessor. Tropico 4 is another likeable and engaging take on Cold War city building in the tropics, but it looks, feels, and plays much the same as 2009's Tropico 3. El Presidente is resting on his laurels this time around.
First impressions are not good. Series veterans loading the game up for the first time can't help but be shocked at how little has been added in the way of new features. If anything, Tropico 4 seems stripped down in comparison to its predecessor, at least at first. The opening cinematic is a dull balloon ride over an island instead of the military assault previously featured, and your first mission is noteworthy right away, with the omission of goofball DJ Juanito. It's hard to figure out why this first-rate bootlicker was removed from the game because his nonstop (if repetitive) quips gave Tropico 3 a lot of its personality. The music is still a peppy mix of Tito Puente-ish Latin rhythms, and the visuals are a slightly upgraded yet cheerful splash of Caribbean color that make even run-down shacks and tenements seem somehow appealing. Nevertheless, the game seems a tad lifeless without Juanito chirping propaganda in the background. New announcers have been added, along with comments from members of citizen factions, but the script is so bland that you only wake up to take notice of what's being said when somebody utters a hot-button word like "rebels."
Gameplay has been structured along second-verse, same-as-the-first lines. The structure mirrors that of Tropico 3 very closely. As before, the game is solo only, with a 20-scenario campaign where you play itinerant dictator El Presidente, as well as a sandbox mode. One-off challenges made by users are available through an in-game browser as in the last game. Support has been added for Facebook and Twitter updates, so you can brag about your banana farms or something, but that's as close as you're going to get to true multiplayer action. Still, the missions are lengthy and feature loads of layered objectives. So there is a lot of content here, even if the continuing lack of more conventional multiplayer might turn some people off. No matter how you play, you have total control of a series of islands with different features, resources, and weaknesses like local volcanoes and earthquake fault lines (natural disasters have been dialled up in the new game to be an ever-present menace). You can play as an absolute tyrant, ordering assassination, stuffing people into prisons, and rigging elections. Or you can be a benevolent strongman who plays fair at election time and promotes freedom with TV stations and uncensored newspapers.
The setting has been shifted from a metropolis to a cartoon Cold War dictatorship. Building a happy, healthy island that doesn't revolt requires feeding people, employing people, entertaining people, and preaching to people. So you continue to build farms, health clinics, factories, bars, cinemas, cathedrals, power plants, and so forth all to keep your people from sticking your head on a pike. Politics remain a huge dimension of the game and have even been bumped up in importance this time with the addition of a cabinet. You appoint islanders or bring in foreign experts to serve as ministers of portfolios like the interior, foreign affairs, and the military. If you don't have these experts in place, you cannot issue policy edicts. Even though this is an interesting idea, not enough is done with it. This added layer of management merely forces you to spend money on constructing a ministry building and then hiring people before you can click on edicts, which are largely the same as in Tropico 3.
Factions play a bigger role than before. Instead of the anonymous rabble-rousing capitalists, commies, environmentalists, nationalists, and the like from the last game, Tropico 4 assigns each group a leader with specific demands. So instead of just looking at the almanac to see that the tree huggers aren't thrilled about all of your clear-cut logging operations, you now get the likes of Sunny Flowers barking in your face about stopping logging and building a wind turbine. If you do what these goons ask, you earn respect and other bonuses. If you ignore them, their happiness drops. Foreign powers get into the act, too. While the US and the USSR remain the only two superpowers with the power to topple you or hand out aid, you're forced to deal with the EU, China, and an anonymous Middle Eastern Arab country. These other nations act just like the factions. Kooky stereotypes like a foppish Brit, a US senator who looks like Tricky Dick, and an Arab who's the spitting image of Yasser Arafat regularly pop up onscreen with demands for cash, exports, policy changes, buildings, and so forth.
Seeing as though I never owned the third game I might invest in this one :) The similarity issue too the previous game wouldn't be an issue for me :P
This game is brilliant, though unless you are a huge fan which I am, there is little need to buy this game if you own the third one, though there are some improvements.
You are clearly an idiot. That's the whole point of this game.
If you don't want politics, play Minecraft.