City builders are all the rage at the moment. The Simcity reboot brought along with it a plethora of other games of this tried and tested genre. The Tropico series has been running for a decade now, throughout the absence of simcity and other city builders and with previous iterations has done a stand up job giving fans of the genre their fix. Though not a completely a city builder game, there is a great level of strategy and diligence that needs to be executed in order to succeed. But does the latest game in this long running franchise continue on from the excellence that previous games have shipped our way?
You play as El Presidente, the Commander and Chief of Tropico. You are responsible for keeping your people happy and keeping the economy ripe and roaring. At first this is much harder than it sounds. You will have to make choices that affect a huge percentage of your population very often. From Choosing which crop to farm, to running a completely corrupt government. It really is up to you. Balancing all this while keeping your citizens happy is the hard part of this game. Especially when you have the option to stash money away in your very own swiss bank account. This is another way to be rebellious and corrupt. Not much can be done with this fund, but it does show off how corrupt you have been during your reign.
There are several different modes to be to be enjoyed within Tropico 5. The main campaign mode takes place during 4 different eras. You start your time as El Presidente by being hired by the Royal family to take care of this tiny tropical utopia. You will have to appease them to get time added to your term in charge. Eventually you aim to gain enough support to buy the land yourself and rid you and your people of the demands from the royalists. You work your way through these different eras, meeting new people, completing new missions and unlocking new buildings. These buildings can be unlocked with progressing through the different eras and also having a research team that learn and discover new technologies. The 4 eras that you play through are, Colonial,Cold war, World war and modern. As you progress you can see the visual change. Roads are more sturdy, new factories are available, new forms of travel appear. It’s great to see the change and the effect that your hard work has had.
To keep your people happy and stop any uprising or rebellion happening you will have to be diligent and have your finger on the pulse…and sometimes the trigger… Keeping your people entertained, happy, safe and employed is a lot of work. You will need to protect them and yourself by building an army, a police force, fire brigade and clinics. You can choose how much of your budget is pumped into individual trades. For example, I made sure my army were well paid and plentiful. That meant when the inevitable rebellion came to overthrow my debt ridden dictatorship, my army were there to protect me and show any naysayers the door, or a bullet. That’s just 1 way to play. Everyone will have their own leadership fantasies and style. But staying honest and straight with your people is much harder than you’d think and soon compromises have to come into play to make sure you are keeping your head above water and staying in power.
As you are traversing through the eras and slowly becoming more and more corrupt, you are given many missions. These range from exporting your resources like logs, crops and different mined ores to stashing away X amount of money in your Swiss bank account in order to gain support from one of many different groups. There are many different missions you may be tasked with along the way. The humor in the game is something that games of this type really don’t have. Tropico brings the humor and sticks with it. It can be a very funny game for the most part. It deals with serious issues of the past in a very tongue in cheek manner. It works very well and blends with the overall style and presentation of the game excellently.
Although this game is a city building simulator, the heart of the game is in the politics. You will have to decide what goes on your constitution, who pays tax, who can live on your island, pretty much everything. If you don’t like a certain citizen, you can even have them killed. Tropico is yours and you have the power to rule over it with an iron fist if you see fit.
If you would prefer to leave the story and just focus on ruling your very own Tropico, you can. In sandbox mode, you can chose your landscape, starting budget and time that you begin. The feeling of advancement in this mode is dulled compared to the campaign mode. There is still a lot of fun to be had but it feels like it is missing a lot when compared to the main campaign. Although I didn’t find it as enjoyable as the campaign, it still hits home with its fundamentals and achieves what more games should aim to do, entertain!
Tropico 5 looks great. It maintains the art style of previous games, making sure it isn’t too serious and does a great job of doing that to. The music throughout the game is vibrant, caribbean music that adds to the feel and authenticity of the game. In this genre this title really stands out from the crowd.
With Tropico 5 it’s clear that developer Haemimont Games had a vision before making this game. To create a funny, entertaining tongue in cheek, political simulator that pokes fun of the past. Tropico 5 does all of that and then some. Dealing with serious and hilarious issues in a kind of educated but immature way. With this being the 5th instalment and arguably the best, I see no reason for Haemimont Games to stop with this franchise. Given enough time and some new additions, Tropico 6 could keep the flag flying high for Haemimont Games and remain top of its class again.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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