Remember Sim City? The game where you take an empty landscape, and slowly but surely transform the area, from a small town, to a gigantic Metropolis?
Picture all of that but instead of a landscape, it's a Carribean Island. Instead of turning a small town into a Metropolis, you're turning a third world Banana Republic, into a competent, capable nation, able to compete with the bigger world powers during the Cold War.
This is what Tropico is.
Tropico 4 is the fourth installment, in a line of City Management/Political Play/Strategy games, that has existed since the very early 2000s. Aside from certain notable additions, the major gameplay, and most of the models and graphics, are recycled from Tropico 3. Which, while I kinda wish they did a revamp of models, I understand the sentament. The gameplay isn't broken, and the models are just visual representations of what they are.
There are many additions to this game, some really add something to the game, others are pretty cool and add a bit, and some are just kinda meh.
One of the major gameplay mechanics is Political juggling between Seven Factions (Capitalists, Communists, Religious, Evironmentalists, Militarists, Nationalists, and Loyalists) as well as the Unites States, and The Soviet Union. The seven factions are still around, but now there are three more foreign powers, Europe, China, and The Middle East. Unlike the Soviets and Americans, who will invade you if you're relations with one or the other get's too low, these three won't invade you, as much as remove bonuses you recieve during good relations. Somtimes during your reign on the island, you'll get noticed that something bad happened between one of the nations, and you'll have to pick a side. There are also representatives for the factions. They mostly add two things. First, a face and personality to represent the faction they represent. Second, to provide side objectives during your reign to earn respect if you've lost some. The side objectives go for the Nations too, mostly in the form of sending goods that nation likes, or donating some money to that nation to earn respect.
There three more additions worth talking about, firstly, there is a story driven campaign, a first for the Tropico series. You are Presidente, being mentored by a Generalisimo Santana, in the ways of managing a nation, and growing it Economically, treating your citizens right, knowing when to "kick the dog", and overall just staying in power and not getting killed or kicked out of office.
The second is Imports. Generally speaking, if your island is a giant rock and little vegitation for food, then you're screwed and have to make the most of it. Otherwise, you can import! Say your on an island with a free Weapons Factory to build! But oh no, there is no Iron on the island at all! No worries, just have a stable economy, and import the iron from one of the foreign powers. It'll arrive on the next ship, be proccesed in the factory, and you'll earn alot of money!
Finally, there are the Disasters. In Tropico 3 you mostly had five "negative" events that could occur. A rebel attack, a coup from your own military, a hurricane, an uprising, and a faction disaster if a faction really hates you. Now there are Natural disasters to spice things up. Now you have to worry about events you can predict (via a Weather Station), but cannot control. Things like Volcanic Eruptions (if your island has a volcano), A Tornado (or several if you're really unlucky), a Tsunami, Oil Spill, fires, and droughts. Fires from volcanos and derelict buildings can be fixed by either paying for a helicopter to put it out, or by building a firestation. I personally like these disasters, because in Tropico 3 I was such a good presidente that I never had to worry about a coup or anything like that. Now, there is something I can worry about when my island is happy.
So far I really like that the game is still easy to play in general (once you know what to do that is), and the additions are very nice. But I have some cons.
Somtimes you'll get a notice about doing something and have to choose an option. You can't exit out to check your almanac to see what it could impact and how to fix it, you have to choose, and that sucks sometimes. Also some missions in the campaign are pretty tough on you. You have to make sure you've picked the right traits for President to make the island truley yours.
I don't do reviews, so I won't use a number system, and instead list the pros and cons, and then a final statement as to wether you should really grab this or not.
-Game Mechanics are the same, with additions like imports.
-Disasters add suspense and more risk to buildings wrecked.
-Story is fun and simple
-Characters have well drawn charicature type portraits to represent them
-Some new buildings to help out with the new additions
-AI for the Tropicans are competent, but man do they job hop around, and they'll walk through Morder itself just to get some corn.
-Sometimes a choice won't let you check statistics to really understand an impact.
-Some missions in the campaign aren't easy.
Should you buy this game? If you like Sim City, you'll love Tropico 4, if you like Sim City, but want it on a smaller scale, you'll love Tropico 4, if you want to try a "modern" Sim City game, but EA screwed it up, then You'll like Tropico 4.
But if you don't like statistics, or the recycled models and gameplay, as well as the AI, I wouldn't reccommend it.
It's $29.99 on Steam, but I'd also reccomend you grab Tropico 3 for it's cheaper price, and they're the same gameplay wise.