Tropico 4 is a pretty standard city management sim, except it takes place on the islands of Tropico where you are free to be as dictatorial as you want. You may commit election fraud, kill protestors, create a secret police, and embezzle money into your swiss bank account. All that said, I was struck by how incredibly similar this game is to the previous one.
If you own and have played Tropico 3 and you feel like you got about all you could out of that game, there is nothing for you here. If you are new to the series, this is as good a place as any to jump in. Unfortunately this game requires you to register for yet another 3rd party service you will probably rarely ever use unless you are a big Kalypso fan.
Another aspect to mention is that the game is not very clear on how some of the buildings and functionalities work. For instance when you place certain buildings you can see the landscape is shaded. When placing a farm, the greener areas are areas where your crops will have an easier time growing, when placing a police station it shows you areas of high crime in red, etc. But for some buildings it is not clear what the colours are really indicating. For instance, should you try to place a garbage dump close to red areas, which are presumably pollution? I wouldn't think so, because they just concentrate into one spot... so why even show it? Instinctively I would place my garbage dumps away from city areas, and I'm unsure what the indication really does to help. Maybe that isn't the best example but there are others.
Also construction slows down immensely once your town grows into even moderate size. I keep building more and more construction yards but it doesn't seem to help, and some buildings will simply never be built unless they are prioritised.
Thankfully the game is incredibly forgiving so all the issues can largely be overlooked. If you ever are in need of funds foreign powers will simply give you aid, and you'll find in most cases this makes it impossible to 'lose' by running out of money (if it even is possible...).
Overall it's worth a play if you're new to the series, but there isn't a big improvement over the last iteration.
Posted: November 30th, 2013