The Tropico series has always played it safe, never pushing too hard to renovate making sure people know what to expect each time. Tropico 5 is no exception, with the same infrastructure and demands those familiar with the series will know exactly what to expect. With that said, significant changes have been made to the economy, development and elections systems that Tropico 5 holds its own unique identity within the series.
One new feature is a redesign of the campaign, while in previous games each mission would start on a new island beginning with the basic building blocks each time. Now players are given the choice between two islands, once the player completes a mission on the choose island the player must then complete the next mission on the second island. Levels are not reset and any development on the islands remains throughout the campaign. This change allows players to watch an island flourish over time, crawling up from its colonial roots to its own independent metropolis. Each choice becomes a much greater decision as it will not only effect the player for that level but for later missions that follow. While it provides a much greater sense of accomplishment it's a system with many drawbacks. The greatest of this being put into an automatic lose situation.
After completing a mission I returned to a previously developed island which had a population of 900 before leaving. Once I came back I found my population had been almost cut in half to 500 however my foundations remained and continued to cost upkeep which left me with a drastically understaffed island. There was little I could do as I would almost immediately jump into negative finances and could never pull it back out. Restarting the mission left to the exact same situation every single time, an issue that needs attention. With some missions giving little time for a player to complete objectives, those starting in a bad situation can soon find themselves in impossible to win situations. With the current save system this could take you back numerous missions to repair.
While the infrastructure behind the game remains the same the countless economy changes significantly effect how you would approach missions. A major flaw with all previous games was that most players would soon find their own approach that would work in every environment. With your own approach that was guaranteed to succeed there was little reason to break that mold. In tropico 5 however a much greater dependency on varied trade breaks that mold. Forcing players to constantly adapt to a ever changing economy and political struggles. Finance isn't the only major overhaul, as elections now become significantly more difficult. Factions will be tougher to please, often forcing the player to juggle edicts and votes between each election to keep the majority on his or her side. With most actions having an equally negative response as positive players need to keep a keen eye, balancing the books of finance with the cries of the population.
Sadly, with what Tropico 5 makes up in polish it loses in humor, failing to come even close to the witty comments, quality voice acting and wacky scenarios we were given in 4. It's still remains funny at times but fails to reach that unique charm that gives it such a unique identity we remember it by.
+Well balanced economy
+Islands continue to develop after completed missions
+Improved design of elections
+New well designed edicts
-Less humor then previous game
-Generic voice acting replaced funnier voice acting from earlier games
-Some balance issues with builds, some produce little profit compared to others
-Campaign design can cause some missions harder then intended or even impossible
-Missing features, presume coming in as DLC for new buildings
Tropico 5 is a drastic improvement to early games but comes with many drawbacks of its own. With this in mind it's difficult to recommend or bash this title. Those who come for the gameplay and love a challenge will be happy with the changes. Those looking for a relaxed campaign with a humorous story may be left disappointed. While i'm left with mixed feelings i'll still have to recommend it. It's well polished, well designed and exactly what most people asked for in this sequal it's just missing that cherry on the top to make it a memorable game.
This is only a short review, the full review will be completed at a later time.