Video Game Review: Tropico 4
Who hasn’t dreamed of being the undisputed ruler of an island somewhere? The Tropico series has provided just that. In Tropico 4 the concept remains the same but the challenges are even greater. You can choose to play as either a famous (or infamous) leader or (as I did) create your own avatar. Either way, as you play missions you can select special skills your character possesses that help you overall and these skills gain experience the more missions you play them.
But don’t expect things to be easy. Citizens must be kept happy by being fed, entertained and attending churches. Unhappy citizens can become rebels or even stage whole scale uprisings. Unhappy soldiers can stage a coup. There’s the economy to balance and just when you think you’ve got everything going perfectly a tsunami can come along and wipe out all your lumber mills.
It’s really up to you how you control your island. Please the military faction and you can institute martial law and forget about elections altogether. Is someone protesting your government? You can have them imprisoned, shot or even declared a heretic by the church. Of course a good old fashioned bribe sometimes works too. As El Presidente you can issue a wide variety of edicts such as social security, Headline entertainers or even secret police who wiretap your population’s phone lines. Random tasks will also pop up, some optional, some mandatory. Completing these tasks will give your island, or perhaps your secret Swiss bank account, a reward. Be careful though, you can only have 4 active missions and things like coups, upcoming elections and rebellions can fill those slots (and beyond).
Tropico 4 contains a rich campaign mode with twenty different missions the last of which I am still unable to beat after over 100 hours of playtime. Add in extra missions and sandbox mode and replayability is huge. Set mostly between 1950 and 2000 this game seems to think the cold war is still going on, but at least other nations are included in a minor way.
Tropico 4 is not an easy game. Nor is it a particularly nice game in the fluffy bunny sense of the word. The game is rated “T” for teen, perhaps because there are no graphics when you assassinate someone. But still, you need a mature mindset to handle this one. For those who don’t mind occasionally having to side with China over Taiwan because you need them as favored trading partner, or ban contraception to keep the religious right from declaring you a heretic, Tropico 4 is a great game and has a great online community who create their own challenges for even more replay value.