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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

Kalypso Media

 

Developer

Haemimont Games

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

October 18, 2011

 

 

- From building the island infrastructure, supporting the residents’ needs, dealing with foreign powers and staving off a random military coup or possible election loss, plenty of El Presidente activities will keep gamers occupied 24/7

- Caribbean-flavored music is once again amazingly catchy and perfectly fitting the tropical gameplay setting, although it can get stuck in your head for days afterward

 

 

- Too many times gamers will be left waiting, with not much El Presidente work to do, for some source of income to balance out inevitable deficits

- Interactive disasters reminiscent of SimCity, but they can be tremendously frustrating to see a lot of your island-building hard work wiped out by a random tornado or erupting volcano

 

 

Review: Tropico 3 (PC)

Review: Tropico 3 (360)

Review: Just Cause 2 (360)

Review: Dead Island (360)

 

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Tropico 4

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

tropico 4           tropico 4

 

Running a beautiful island paradise as El Presidente might seem like the perfect job, with plenty of fun under the tropical sun while having the final say on how the gorgeous paradise of Tropico is run. However, with an entire island infrastructure to build, supporting the island residents’ needs, dealing with foreign powers and staving off a random military coup or possible election loss, being the head man in charge can become a 24/7 responsibility that sometimes doesn’t allow for much frolicking under that beautiful tropical sunshine.

Quelling those opposing your reign with a little secret police subterfuge and intimidation or siphoning off some of the money from your government’s profits or

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accepting bribes and building up a nice large Swiss bank account are possible entertaining benefits to “feared dictator” island ruling, though. Or if gamers play it as the altruistic leader beloved by all, they may be more concerned with establishing a strong economy that spreads the happiness and wealth to the people who call the lovely sands and warm skies

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of the island home. Iron-fisted dictatorship or democracy for the people, it’s all up to gamers on how they want to rule their own island paradise in the newest rendition of the resource management simulation title, Tropico 4 on the Xbox 360.

On the surface, Tropico 4 doesn’t seem that much different than its predecessor, Tropico 3. As before, gamers start from nothing more than a sandy beach isle with a scant few buildings as El Presidente and build that island into whatever vision for grandeur gamers decide: a political, economic or military power? Environmentally friendly or turn a blind eye to ecological destruction as long as the money flows? For-the-people laissez faire economics or suppress them and exploit their hard work for self-profit? A tourist destination or focused on the build-up of military might? Friends with the United States, Russia or China? It’s all the decision of El Presidente, and each and every pronouncement affects how Tropico develops as a nation.

But there are a few new challenges that returning El Presidentes will find in the newest Tropico. There are new political superpowers to ally with, and gamers will need to elect a whole government cabinet to assist in getting those presidential policies in place. One somewhat annoying addition is the inclusion of randomly dispersed natural disasters. Nothing is worse than having erected a well-functioning island, with high-producing farms and factories, and then encountering an indiscriminate tornado or erupting volcano that instantaneously wipes out all that island-building hard work.

For gamers that are social media addicts, Tropico 4 also adds Facebook and Twitter integration. Gamers can snap screenshots and post them on the Tropico 4 Facebook page, post to Twitter right from the game itself, or compare Dictator Rankings with others.

 

tropico 4           tropico 4

 

While the gameplay isn’t much different than any other previous Tropico, there is a 20-mission new campaign with plenty for aspiring dictators to undertake in the form of objectives to complete if accepted. Tropico 4 certainly has a full slate of decision-making choices to make on a constant basis, and while building the island with plenty of farms, factories and other structures (there is a new selection of 20 buildings – including a stock exchange and aqua park for the Tropicoan tourism industry), the most crucial building is that of roads, though.

Gamers need to have a smartly planned roadway mapping across the entirety of Tropico so that the crops and resources can be brought to the factories and markets they need to travel to in order to increase the Tropico GNP by assisting in economic growth. Without that money flow, Tropico 4 can be sometimes very boring, as gamers with deficits on the dockets cannot build new structures of hire new workers without constantly reviving coffers. Money can come from donations or from products made in Tropico that can be exported.

Waiting for buildings to be erected or crops to grow is about as boring as, well, watching buildings be erected or crops growing. The very sharp and detailed visuals along with a catchy Caribbean-flavored soundtrack is a nice diversion while waiting, however, and there is a quick-build function at least for structures that gamers can utilize with enough money in the treasury, so that the buildings can be raised and put to moneymaking work ASAP.

There is an in-game El Presidente advisor that gives gamers suggestions on how to better their standing, along with occasional offers from outside entities such as ambassadors that require decisions that can negatively or positively affect how El Presidente governs and manages Tropico, as well as how long his sovereignty as Tropico’s leader lasts.

Although there are some gameplay moments if gamers aren’t especially careful with expenditures early in the game when some dark clouds of boredom while waiting for some moola to multiply in the national vaults can rain on a sunny day of tropical island ruling, those who enjoy SimCity or Civilization-style resource management gameplay with a heavy dose of political behind-closed-doors wheeling and dealing will enjoy an excursion to Tropico in its latest rendition.

– Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(December 6, 2011)

 

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