Tropico 4 Review - Rum Not Included
Have you ever wanted to rule an island nation? Have you ever wanted to be a dictator, decide which political activists need to “disappear”, run a military state, build a park, or side with communists over the United States? Well, now you can do all of that. I mean, you could have before with Tropico, Tropico 2, and Tropico 3, but now there's Tropico 4!
This is the perfect city simulation game for people that always wanted to oppress their citizens in Sim City. Tropico 4 is full of humor and detail—lots of detail. Like, it's almost too much detail. Some people might enjoy controlling the number of jobs available in the factory, their salary, and which citizens to hire/fire for that job, but it left me wanting to turn off the game and let my brain unwind. Some people, mainly those that Tropico 4 is aimed at, will be happy to control every single aspect of every building and citizen, and to them I say, “have at it.” It's just a bit too much for me at times.
That's not to say I disliked the amount of detail in every aspect of the game. If you really get into role-playing as a leader or dictator, the ability to customize your dictator is fun. You can set your back-story to how you came to power. Obviously, I was a secret agent that was supplanted into this role by the CIA, giving me better relations with the United States. Down with the Communists! I will not drink your Chernobyl-infused vodka!.
The game is mostly mission-based. The same missions, over and over, just for different buildings. There's 20-something scenarios in the campaign, but most people play games like this for the sandbox mode. You do all the normal things that you'd expect from a city strategy game; manage an economy, please your citizens, choose what crops to import and export, appease different political factions, or don't, it's up to you. You have a great deal of control over how you want to run your little piece of paradise. Factions are in your face about demands and how to appease them, and they all have a cooky leader as the face of their faction. Realize that how they look and act are supposed to be done out of humor, so try not to get offended. You'll have to overcome the obnoxious, inconsequential thoughts of your citizens (just who do they think they are, telling their El Presidente how to run his country), and recover from natural disasters thrown your way by that b*tch, Mother Nature. Doesn't she have mass amounts of birds to be killing somewhere? It's been a while since she's done that.
It's hard to point out new features, because there really aren't many. It's pretty much Tropico 3 with some tweaks to the economy and foreign powers. It breaks no new ground, but if you're a fan of what developer Haemimont Games has been building with the Tropico series, you might want to pick up Tropico 4. The humor is there. Graphics-wise, the game (on the highest settings) looks good. The detail is definitely there, but if you aren't used to city strategy games then you could get overwhelmed quickly. Also, the music makes you feel like you are waking from a drunken stupor: inside of a cot in a cocaine-producing nation, with a bottle of rum, two days worth of facial hair scruff, a straw hat, a stained tank-top, and a dirty Tommy Bahama shirt thrown over it. Pants? No—no pants. It was a rough night.
Like I said, this game is an entertaining, control everything city strategy game. The lack of a multiplayer is a bit of a turn-off, personally, but at least you can brag to your friends via Facebook about the many ways you are destroying the lives of your citizens. There's tweaks that build on its predecessor, but it doesn't offer much that ground-breaking or expand in depth. There's tons to do with the ability to control almost every aspect of every building and citizen. It just gets a little laborious after a little bit, due to not enough changes from Tropico 3.
[Reviewed on PC]
You can follow Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ.