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Review

Tropico 5 Review

  • First Released May 23, 2014
    released
  • Reviewed May 22, 2014
  • 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.
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.
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.
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
Other Platform Reviews for Tropico 5

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.
175 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for XenoSage
XenoSage

@Gelugon_baat

You're telling me people never strive for improvement?

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@XenoSage

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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.


Avatar image for 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."



Avatar image for Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

Oh I can't wait to play it!

Loved the last one. I really wanna get it for PS4, but I think I'll get it for PC in the meantime as well.

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gohan661

Is this a trailer or a review?

Avatar image for Blue_Tomato
Blue_Tomato

@homelessgamer Crap opinion on a crap person.

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homelessgamer

Lol!

Avatar image for crazywolf5150
crazywolf5150

@homelessgamer Yeah, my PC is such crap! It's more powerful than the Xbox One or PS4, has well over 400 hundred games new, old, AAA, indie, many of which are exclusive, best graphics, mod support, can multitask like no other, support for more peripherals than you can count, amazing deals on Steam, Humble Bundle and other bundles and websites. It is such crap! Oh wait...

Avatar image for whizz_pt
whizz_pt

@crazywolf5150
Why do you want multitask in a console? Are you going to play 2 games at the same time?
Consoles also have exclusives you know? Halo, TLOU, Uncharted, Forza, ring any bells?
Peripherals? Beside the control pad, what do you want more?

Avatar image for Saidrex
Saidrex

@whizz_pt just because you have low standarts and can live with least features your device offers, doesn't mean everyone else will.

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homelessgamer

Your a humble bundle of crap

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Blue_Tomato

Nice introduction, but where is the review?

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crazywolf5150

I had quite a bit of fun playing Tropico 4, but this doesn't look all that much better.

Avatar image for undo
undo

Man, I'm afraid I'm going to have to buy this...

Avatar image for strangelove_1
Strangelove_1

As a proud Honduran I find this game extremly racist and offensive, It's American imperialism that set up most of the despots of latin America to better exploit our resources and labor making sure the fruits of production go to wall street and their ilk not the people and they think its funny. Americans do not respect anything that is why nobody likes those fascist pigs and gangsters.

Avatar image for _williamwallace
_WilliamWallace

Wanted to update you on my experience with tropico 5, I've decided to side with us always, export everything, import nothing. Currently in Marshall law,

Avatar image for Freedomination
Freedomination

@_williamwallace Marshall Law eh? More of a Paul Phoenix guy myself

Avatar image for _williamwallace
_WilliamWallace

@Freedomination @_williamwallace lol my dumba$s wasnt thinking when i typed that

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Devils-DIVISION

@strangelove_1 Sad case.

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homelessgamer

We need to protect our fruits

Avatar image for _williamwallace
_WilliamWallace

@strangelove_1

you find it racist...

end rant by calling Americans "fascist pigs and gangsters"

well done hypocrite.

Avatar image for strangelove_1
Strangelove_1

@_williamwallace

And since when is American a race dumbass?

Avatar image for mrdarklight
mrdarklight

@strangelove_1 @_williamwallace There's no real difference between hating a race and hating a nationality. They're both hate.


Especially when you don't even get the game designer's nationality right.

Avatar image for Blue_Tomato
Blue_Tomato

@strangelove_1 @_williamwallace Go spread your hate somewhere else.

Avatar image for penguinzx
penguinzx

@strangelove_1

Except you're defining racism incorrectly simply to make your argument. Well, you're extending it to be something it's not.

Racism: the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

It has nothing to do with hate, only prejudice. Characterizing a group of people based on either the actions of a few, or even just based on simple ignorance. As such, _williamwallace was quite correct in calling you a hypocrite for stating that all Americans are "fascist pigs and gangsters". And this based on your opinion of a game developed by Bulgarians about...well, what? A satirical characterization of a fictional latin american/carribean dictatorship? How is that even racist towards Hondurans?

This seems like more an outlet for your own ill-informed hate and not a legitimate or relevant criticism of the game.

Avatar image for _williamwallace
_WilliamWallace

@strangelove_1 what is the false dilemma?

how is this game racist?

also many would argue that racism isnt based on believing one race is inferior or yours is superior, but simply hate the behavior that they believe are influenced by their race.

so using your definition, yes, two totally different types of hate, using mine, not so much, as your hating a entire nationality on their behavior because 'you' dont like it.

Avatar image for strangelove_1
Strangelove_1

@_williamwallace

That is just a false dilemma fallacy.

But allow me to answer your quistion anyway: hating a race is based on the belief that your race is naturally superior to another and should have power over other races,hating a nation is based on disdain of the general society of the nation so has nothing to do with race.

So apples and oranges

Avatar image for _williamwallace
_WilliamWallace

1st off the better question is how is this racist?

2nd, it was actually suppose to day racist and offensive, my mistake. But it doesn't take away from your hypocrisy of generalizing an entire group of people and hating them....

Can you tell me the difference in hating a race and hating a nationality?

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undo

@strangelove_1 The developers are Bulgarian. Stop whining.

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Strangelove_1

@undo

But is being distributed in America with no mention as to the insensitivity

Avatar image for theantifanboy
TheAntiFanboy

@strangelove_1 It doesn't need to mention its insensitivity; the game is satire. It's insensitive to *everyone*, and ruthlessly plays on the idiocies of world politics during that era. It shits all over America, Russia, China, the UK, and every other country in existence that was a world power at the time.

EVERYONE is made fun of, and the banana republics of Latin America are no exception. Just because you're Honduran doesn't mean your people should get special treatment.

And moreover, considering that you start off as a European colony, then break free over time to turn the colony into an INDEPENDENT Central American country, one where the country's people can be happy, prosperous, and FREE FROM FOREIGN INVOLVEMENT AND INFLUENCE, you should be relishing the fact that these developers are empowering players to create something like that.

It's turning history on its head, and the Central Americans are the ones being portrayed as the victors.

Avatar image for Reichmaster01
Reichmaster01

@strangelove_1 I shall let Penultimo know.

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Strangelove_1

@Reichmaster01

I could say the same to you but im not so immature.

Avatar image for Reichmaster01
Reichmaster01

@strangelove_1 Penultimo says SHUT UP FOREIGNER

Avatar image for snxx
snxx

Wow! This review feels... incomplete. Lacking. Missing something. I mean, when I read Tropico 3 review, I understood not only what the game was about, but what improvements/differences I could expect when comparing to Tropico 1 and 2. When I read Tropico 4 review, I could see that it was basically a refined Tropico 3, with more content. Now, reading this review I just have no idea. The reviewer does not compare it to previous games of the series, he doesn't trace similarities with other games like, say, SimCity or Cities XL, he doesn't show how the genre has evolved... He reviews it in a void, like there was nothing like it before, without saying what newsTropico 5 brings, how it does compare, the improvements it made... Nothing. Heck, he doesn't even mention how you play the game... I can see many reading this review and wondering how you play this game, what it is.

As is now, this review may even serve to hook someone who never heard of Tropico or similar games before, but to people like me, fans of the genre or the series, it serves no purpose at all. Gamespot's lack of editorial guidance is *really* hurting this site.

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Bargodrag000

Love the music in this game.

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Godlikan

Will try this one, back to casual and fun is good.

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hitomo

I wonder how kalypso managed to get that a high score for one of their games from GS O.o

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snxx

@hitomo Tropico 3 also got an 8.0.

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mrdarklight

@snxx @hitomo Tropico 4 got an 8.1... and all of those scores are generous. I'd give 3 or 4 a 6.

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snxx

@mrdarklight @snxx @hitomo Nope, it got 7.5 on Brett Todd's review for PC. http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/tropico-4-review/1900-6332461/

About the reviews being generous, that's only your opinion, which, on this topic at least, is irrelevant. :)

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kingcrimson24

I never played or even heard of this series but this sounds really really awesome !

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Crujoness

@kingcrimson24 If you like city builders, you will probably like it. I'd check one out. Tropico 4 for PC is on sale for $4 right now on Gamestop.

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xantufrog

@crujoness @kingcrimson24 that's a good price - I have never played a Tropico and that might be a better (read: cheap) entry point for me

Moderator
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PS4andXoneGamer

8spot

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BravoOneActual

Spates of eights.

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tom2750

is this game a real time strategy? and if not what genre is this and what is the difference beteen this genre and the real time strategy genre?

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Vojtass

@tom2750 Tropico is a mix of city-builder (on larger scale) with political, economic and social sim. RTS is a game, where you gather resources (e.g. gold, wood, iron etc.), construct military base, recruit soldiers/build vehicles and fight your enemy in open combat.

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_WilliamWallace

Uncharted, that's the difference

Avatar image for MigGui
MigGui

I have never complained about a review from gamespot, but this one is so bland it could belong to Tropico 1, 3, 4 or 5. And I few it has, like, 20 lines less than it should have...

Tropico 5 More Info

Follow
  • First Released May 23, 2014
    released
    • Linux
    • Macintosh
    • + 4 more
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    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.
    7.6
    Average Rating91 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Tropico 5
    Developed by:
    Haemimont Games, Kalypso
    Published by:
    Kalypso, Square Enix
    Genre(s):
    Strategy, Management
    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
    Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence