Tropico 5 – Review
Follow Genre: City-builder, Tycoon
Developer: Haemimont Games
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Platforms: PC

Tropico 5 – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Fun and addicting, cool new features
Bad: More mainstream than previous Tropcio games, combat is weak
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Whether you dream of being a dictator or creating a peaceful island-community, Tropico has offered you that chance for the last few years. Just recently, number 5 in the series was released offering some cool new features but also making some changes to the game in general. Let’s take a look.

Tropico5_Logo

Story

Tropico features one campaign right now while more will probably be added along the way in the form of DLC. The story isn’t groundbreaking but serves the role of providing guidance and goals. You’ll get control over multiple islands and will switch between them when completing a certain task. In some situations you also get to pick what island to use for a specific scenario as you’ll for instance want to use the island with most military buildings when threatened by invasions. You start of as a colony trying to become independent with a constitution. After that, you’ll also get to choose your side in the different wars unlocking different trading routes but also upholding the threat of the opposing faction invading your island. You play as El Presidente, being the type of leader you want to be. You can choose to become a dictator or to listen to your people trying to meet their demands.

Graphics

Nothing much has changed since the previous iteration of the Tropico series. The game does look good in its own style and the islands look vibrant. Buildings have small details to them which makes you zoom in close to check it out. People walking around and military units however lack detail. I found myself playing with the camera zoomed out most of the time. Also ambient objects scattered around the island, like mining resources and oil deposits, could’ve used some variation to add to the exploration aspect.

Sound

Tropico 5’s music is fantastic, that is if you like that Latin vibe. If you don’t, you’ll quickly get annoyed by the repeating background music. The sound effects are limited, you’ll quickly start hearing the same sounds over and over again. It would have been nice to get some more variety there. When missions pop up, the first sentence is read aloud by the character that offered the mission. That in itself is nice, every character has its own specific voice although it would have been nice to have seen the whole mission text being read. Similar missions will often show resulting in the same sentences being read again and again.

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Gameplay

One of the new things in Tropico 5 is its era system. You start of in the colonial period advancing into the world wars, cold war and modern times.  Changing to a new era will unlock more buildings, more political and diplomatic options and some different models for certain buildings. Another new feature is the ability to create a dynasty. You’ll create your first presidente like in any of the previous Tropico games but as you’re playing, more members will be added to your dynasty. You’ll be able to pick any of them when there’s an election, each member has different traits so you’ll want to think about the current state when choosing the next presidente.

Playing the game itself is intuitive enough to get you going in a matter of minutes. You have a menu in which you select what building to build and you’ll only have to look for a connection to your road-system to get things started. Construction offices provide you with workers that’ll complete your buildings and teamster offices will allow for transport of your various goods around your island. Also you”ll have to provide housing for your general population. Missions popping up will give you some direction as in what you should build first to start making money: farms, ranches or mines? It all depends on the island you’re on, what natural resources it offers and what other nations are importing. As the eras progress, you’ll unlock more means to make money like interesting import-export opportunities or buildings that generate revenue based on surrounding population. You can also choose to attract tourists, trying to fulfill their needs and taking their money. Other buildings provide you with research points to speed up the research of new building and political options. The edicts you choose to declare and the laws you put in the constitution will also decide how your people will react to you. Military buildings will provide protection against invading forces. Sadly when attacked, your defense is handled by the game itself leading to a frustrating experience as most troops won’t even manage to reach the enemy and will just get lost in your city.

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Conclusion

While Tropico 5 does offer some new features, I can’t help but feel that the series has lost some direction. It’s not an overly simple RTS but it is not as in-depth as I had expected it to be. Maybe the developers tried to make it more accessible to a bigger audience but it has left a game without much replayability. The multiplayer mode is fun to try out but won’t keep you engaged for long.

Don’t get me wrong, while most of the things I wrote might seem negative, Tropico 5 is still a fun game. It kept me playing for multiple hours. I am worried though about the series’ direction and also that it’s trying to be something it’s not. That being like most modern games, offering a portion of a game while adding more as DLC. Most PC-games are rather cheap compared to console games but players often end up spending a lot more buying DLC to ultimately just get the game that should’ve been released like that in the first place. I hope the series returns to the glory days of Tropico 3 in future iterations.

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Tropico 5 - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Veflow
Veflow


I'm currently studying software-development. My main hobbies are gaming (software/hardware) and music (jazz saxophone player). I game primarily on PC (and also love building them) but also play on PS3, iOS and Android.

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