Saturday, 23 May 2015

Tropico 5

I've never played a Tropico game and this is the fifth one. In fact, I've never really heard of the franchise until back in 2011 to be perfectly honest. When Tropico 4 was released I heard about the various issues with its DLC some gamers were having. Basically, the DLC for Tropico 4 was mostly down through micro-transactions, which together became more expensive than the actual game itself. From buying a building here, quick drying cement there, to purchasing an island, it sounded like a shameless money grab. This is in part why I never even tried Tropico 5 when it was originally released on PC back in 2014. But with a current-gen version of the game finally out, I thought I'd give it a go.

Developed by Haemimont Games and out now on Playstation 4 comes Tropico 5, an awesome simulation game that caters to fans of that old-school genre on a console practically without any. If you happen by the Wikipedia page for Tropico 5 it officially places the game under the genres “Construction and management simulation” and “government simulation”. That's a mouth full, but the game could essentially be boiled down to a country ruling simulator, and everything that goes with that- government, infrastructure, defence, etc. However the main hook the story of Tropico 5 has is the fact that it spans across 4 vastly different eras. These eras are Colonial Era, World War Era, Cold War Era, and Modern Era.

The game starts out during the Colonial Era and it's up to you to rule your people, either with kindness or with an iron fist. These massively different ways of ruling your people runs throughout the entire game, and by the end of the game it kind of becomes the trademark of Tropico 5. However, both ways of ruling have their downsides. For instance, want to create a fully fledged Democracy? That might bite you in the ass if your people aren't happy with your policies and decide to vote you out. On the other hand, what about zero elections under the iron fist of Communism? That might end up screwing you over cause, you know, people might revolt when they're treated like shit. It's a doubled edge sword, but in the role of El Presidente, the fictional ruler of the country of Tropico since the franchises origins, you'll need to constantly weigh up the cruelty and kindness of your actions. However this isn't a bleak game, as Tropico is more of a parody of politics than anything else. It's dialogue is loaded with puns, its characters are insanely over-the-top and its take on governments and the ruling class is spot on. Don't worry, I hate political comedy, but in Tropico 5 it's done very well.

Throughout the 4 eras over the course of the game, your duties as El Presidente will cover a vast array of areas. From building up resources like wood, taking on missions that will have you sending soldiers to a war, preparing for an invasion from an enemy, squashing free thought and rebellion within your own country, to finding a new heir through contests such as arm wrestling and singing, your work will be cut out for you in Tropico 5. During the game every major political move you make will have consequences, so every time a dialogue box pops with a question, mission or proposition from a character, it's something you shouldn't take too lightly. The repercussions can be pretty severe, but inaction and playing Tropico 5 too safe is just as bad. Your goal is to stay in power- no matter what.

Tropico 5 is a simplistic game that presents the player with in-depth ideas and the potential to screw around with an entire population of people. The menus, characters and overall design make it look like an iPhone game, one of those games you'll download, play for 5 minutes, then give up once it asks you to pay. It looks like one of those games too, but beneath its cute surface lies a game that's a pretty hardcore sim game. This isn't a game that pressures you to play it safe. No, Tropico 5 wants you to play like a tyrant, but a likeable one with a big fuzzy beard that makes his potential heirs duke it out in a synchronized swimming contest.

Tropico 5 rules with a iron fist of fun and gets a 4/5.


Denis Murphy

Tropico 5 at CeX

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