I liked Tropico 3, bought Tropico 4 and LOVE it. I didn't think Kalypso/Haemimont could screw Tropico 5 up. They did. The game has far less content than Tropico 4 did on release day. This is so you can buy content later as DLC!
The economy controls are dumbed down. Rent, wages, and all other economic factors are frustratingly simplified and broad.
Shipping was a bit of an annoyance in Tropico 4, goods could stack at docks faster than it could be shipped. In Tropico 5, that has been remedied (sort of) but the new way of shipping goods is an annoying, island clogging, minutiae-filled chore that makes me long for T4's flawed but ultimately less annoying shipping system.
T4's troops worked automatically and you had no control over them. In T5, you do have control. A good thing, right? Wrong. The troops controls are clunky and unresponsive. Another chore, not fun.
Rebels in Tropico 4 would appear if you were doing things wrong or didn't have enough jobs. There was a reason (and cure) to having rebels on your island. In Tropico 5, you have rebels for no reason. Your island could be a perfect paradise, but huge rebel attacks will still occur. The Developers have admitted the rebels are arbitrary and for no reason other than some lame excuse about it being an upstart island with political turmoil; it just (and does, often) happens.
In Tropico 4, you could be a benevolent ruler, or a brutal Tyrant, which is what Tropico was all about. In Tropico 5, you are an impotent and weak governor that can only survive by doing your best in hopes of pleasing the fickle masses to desperately stay in power.
Then there is DLC. Tropico 4, when it came out, was quickly buried in DLC. BUT! The first several DLC were handy, useful DLC. The DLC had VERY useful buildings, cool decorator pieces, a mission, and outfit. Over time though, the Tropico 4 DLC became cheap, useless cash grabs. This crappy DLC content continued on into Tropico 5. All the DLC in Tropico 5 is pointless and adds nothing interesting. Not only that, but a few skilled gamers actually found large chunks and entirely complete, usuable DLC in the RELEASE DAY game files. Which the Devs tried to patch out and B.S. away.
In Hindsight, you could offer me Tropico 5 for free, and i'd decline the offer. Tropico 4 is superior in nearly every way. With Tropico 4 being available on Steam, there is absolutely no point, reason, or need to buy Tropico 5.
This really, for me, is a bummer. This isn't some game I saw, tried, and didn't like. I LOVE Tropico 4. I WANTED to see this game succeed. Kalypso/Haemimont are the little guys in the gaming industry. But when they got greedy and released a content-weak game and put that content (that isn't that great to begin with) in DLC, they sold their integrity to nickel-and-dime their customers.
I was dissapointed when Kalypso started rushing out several shoddy DLC at the end of Tropico 4's run. Now, with Tropico 5, Kalypso/Haemimont are no longer on my radar, I don't care about their games.
That's okay. I still have Tropico 4.