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The Game Effect Review

Tropico 4 Review

El Presidente Returns to Tropico

By Whitney on 12/11/2012

The Tropico series has always been a breath of fresh air in a market suffocated by the smog of first-person shooters and repetative simulation games. Tropico 4 Gold Edition is a great addition to the successful series, and the welcome improvements are perfect for PC gamers looking to jump into a new strategy game.

Viva el Presidente!

Tropico 4 is a construction and management simulation game that puts players in the shoes of El Presidente, the protagonist dictator of a tropical paradise island. You are taksed with constructing and managing you island by means of farming, industry, politics, or a combination of all three. Players can build a thriving economy filled with happy, cooperative citizens who love El Presidente, or they can create an unstable, fearful ruler who wants nothing more than to line his own matter who he has to take down in the process. The choices are endless, and you'll discover that no two playthroughs will ever be the same.

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Players can choose one of four ways to play: The original Tropico 4 campaign; the Modern Times expansion; sandbox mode; or challenges mode. The main campaign consists of 20 missions spread out across 10 islands/maps. Each mission focuses around one or several specific tasks, such as acquiring a certain amount of wealth; reaching a specific political heirarchy; or simply establishing a successful economy. The Modern Times expansion adds 12 new missions to the main campaign, which is discussed further in the review. Sandbox mode allows you to create your own island from scratch, including what restrictions (if any) are placed on the world. Challenges mode allows you to play missions created by other users. It is, however, crucial to play through the tutorial mode if Tropico 4 is your introduction to the series. The tutorial is one of the most comprehensive tutorials I have ever played, and it will give you a wealth of useful information.

Modern Times

Tropico 4 Gold Edition includes the Modern Times expansion, which includes 12 new campaign missions. After successfully rebuilding the island, El Presidente takes a vacation and leaves Penultimo--his right-hand man--in charge of Tropico. Upon his return, El Presidente discovers Penultimo has destroyed Tropico's economy, and it is up to you to bring it back to life. El Presidente must also face "The Conclave," a mysterious organization that is hell-bent on taking over the world. The missions are harder than the normal campaign, but are nonetheless robust and quite fun. The main story is entertaining, and it was a smart idea sticking with DLC that was directly related to the main campaign.

What to Expect from Tropico 4

Tropico 4 is both similar and different from it's predecessors. Although the original Tropico remains one of my favorite games, it was simplistic and easy to manipulate. Tropico 4 is much harder to manage if you choose to balance your powers as a dictator, and this can be immensely rewarding and satisfying. Players will spend days or even weeks creating a stable environment within the island, no matter how they choose to rule. This diversity will keep players coming back time and time again, and sandbox mode will always be available to players who beat the main campaign and DLC.

Tropico 4 introduces several new features, such as 20 new constructable buildings and the ability to control imports and exports. These features are a great addition, but they don't feel large enough to really make the game stand out in the series. While Modern Times is a welcome addition, it can be hard to justify the need to create an entire new game with so few new features.

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By far, the best feature of Tropico 4 is the voice acting. The entertaining in-game radio messages are witty and goofy, and I loved the sense of immersion as I listened to real-time messages that related to my gameplay style. The in-game messages and responses can become repetitive and annoying after several hours of playtime, but you can always turn them off.

Overall Impression

Tropico 4 Gold Edition is a great addition to the strategy genre. For players who want a completely unique and fun gaming experience, Tropico 4 Gold Edition delivers in more ways than one. While some may be turned off by the lack of distinguishable new features, long-time fans of the series will get to enjoy more of what Tropico has to offer.

The Good
  • Entertaining Voice-Acting
  • Endless Game Choices
  • Diverse Mission Options
The Bad
  • Lack of new features
  • Repetative audio
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