The land of Tropico welcomes you back with open arms as the latest and greatest version of the game is released on the PC. Tropico is a lush, beautiful island situated in the Caribbean, ready for a ruler to lead it into prosperity. That ruler is you. You must build up your island and meet the needs of your citizens while preventing revolutionaries and rival nations from usurping you. Managing all aspects of your island nation requires a delicate balance, but the journey has never been so enjoyable.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Tropico is a city-building simulation game. As leader of this small nation, it is up to you to listen to your subjects and fulfill their needs as they arise. One day they might want more entertainment options and the next day they want you to control pollution. You must be flexible and smart as you set the construction priority for all new projects, because too much construction will cause you to go bankrupt quickly. However, if you do not meet the needs of the people, they will get upset and revolt or vote you out of office. The game does a nice job of teaching you how to manage resources and generate enough income to satisfy the natives while adding money into your personal account for later missions.

The gameplay itself is reminiscent of Tropico 3, and those who played that game will have no problem jumping right into Tropico 4. However, there are a number of things that you will notice right off-the-bat that make this a great game in and of itself. You will notice that the graphics have been improved upon, but not as much as one might expect. Despite the subtle upgrade, the color palette looks great and really compliments the smoothed-out graphical look. New buildings have been thrown into the mix, and they offer the player some new choices on how to address the problems their island faces.

You will also notice that Facebook and Twitter have been integrated into the game, so you can share your Tropico 4 achievements with all your friends with a click of a button. Social networking integration is a new aspect to video games, so it was interesting to see this implemented in this way.  In addition to social networking implementation there are other upgrades available to the player. We especially enjoyed all of the side objectives that are available while playing the game. All of these objectives are optional, but they give you some direction when you are planning out your city. The rewards for these optional objectives will also help get you out of economic and political jams when you’ve over-extended yourself. Returning players will notice that more factions have been added to the game, and political situations are now more important than ever. You will have to deal with demands to balance relations properly and maintain the state of your island. This system has been fleshed out, and it works well. The economic system has been tweaked, allowing players to import items as well as export them. This helps to keep your people happy, and the system also means that if you have the cash then you can import items you can’t produce yourself, or it allows you to focus your economy on finishing goods instead of harvesting raw materials.

In conclusion, Tropico 4 has more options and ways to complete goals than its predecessor did. The game does a great job of showing you what to do and how to take advantage of all these new options you have available to you, and for that it is an excellent game. The only negative thing that can be said is that it is very similar to the last game as far as core gameplay is concerned. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since Tropico 3 was a great game, and we feel there is enough added to this game that it can stand on its own, despite the similarities. Tropico 4 has a ton of replay value, and with its broader political and economic systems, it should have no problem grabbing its fans. All in all, Tropico 4 is an excellent game, and we would highly recommend it to any gamer out there interested in city-building.

This review is based on a retail copy of the Steam version of Tropico 4 by Kalypso Media

Was it Always Fun to be a Dictator? | Tropico 4 Review
Overall Score8.5
  • Great Updated Graphics
  • Good Tutorial System
  • Challenging
  • Same Core Gameplay
8.5Overall Score
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