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Tropico 3 Absolute Power review

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Posted by: Steven Hopper

Review Rating 8.0 Great
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Haemimont Games’ Tropico franchise has been an established staple in the city-builder simulation genre for years now, providing a unique take and putting you in the role of a dictator ruling over a Caribbean banana republic. Last year’s Tropico 3 was indeed a solid entry to the franchise, offering well put together strategic elements and bringing even more gamers into the Tropico hardcore fanbase. The game’s success has warranted a new expansion: Tropico 3: Absolute Power.

Absolute Power isn’t a major update to the original Tropico 3, instead opting to provide more of the same type of content that fans loved in the first game while bringing on board a new faction, a new 10-mission campaign, and a host of other new changes. The expansion isn’t a huge shift for the series, but still is a fun and engaging experience that fans of the original game will definitely get into.

Absolute Power introduces a new campaign to the original game. While the 10 mission campaign plays similarly to Tropico 3 on the whole, the missions are more off-the-wall than they were in the core game. Whereas Tropico 3 had you performing fairly traditional tasks befitting a dictator, Absolute Power goes a little off the grid by having you do things such as convincing your populace of the existence of the chupacabra, starting a paranormal investigation organization called Alpha Files (a play on ‘The X-Files’), and other silly objectives.

Aside from these missions, you’ll also have to deal with the management of your Caribbean empire much like you did in the original game. However, you do have some extra tricks up your sleeve this time around. Absolute Power has beefed up your abilities, letting you perform several new edicts, like Print Money, National Day, Kill Juanito (the vociferous DJ), Outlaw Faction, and others. Each of these has some immediate advantages, but also carries caveats, and should be used sparingly. For example, Print Money will net you a quick and easy $20,000, but will cause inflation to go up; and Outlaw Faction will take a group off your radar but will result in a backlash from rebels.

Absolute Power also adds a new faction to the mix. The Loyalists throw a pretty interesting gear in the wrench of your works. Ironically, they aren’t very loyal to you, requiring that you do any number of things that will make you look bad in the eyes of the game’s other factions in order to appease them. This means fixing elections and building testaments to your greatness, moves that will undoubtedly piss off the other groups within the game’s universe, yet gain you favor with your own loyalists. The addition is definitely a challenging one, requiring some crafty decision making in order to keep all sides happy.

There are some smaller features on offer here as well. There’s a new revolutionary DJ character named Betty Boom (although the rest of the audio presentation is fairly lacking), new buildings to create are available and original ones have been tweaked, and avatar customization options have been built up and added. None of these are particularly game-changing, but it’s good to see the team at Haemimont has fixed some of the original game’s flaws.

Absolute Power isn’t a revolution, instead taking the framework laid out by the original game and building on it with new features and a wacky new campaign. The core mechanics are still the same, and the new campaign might be a turn off to sim fans looking for something more grounded and traditional. However, if you were a fan of Tropico 3 and want another reason to step into the role of El Presidente once more, then this is your chance.

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