Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Thoughts On Tropico 4

EA and Maxis changed my gaming habits with the release of the latest SimCity.  I've stopped playing Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World and am now splitting my time between Eve Online and Tropico 4.  Tropico 4?  That's right.  My appetite was whetted for a city simulator but with all the issues going on with SimCity (I'm talking about the ones beyond server capacity and always-online DRM) I started looking around for an alternative.

I bought Tropico 4 on a 75% off Steam sale and have had a blast playing a Caribbean dictator.  So far I am playing through the campaign game, which is really helping me understand all of the things I can do in the game.  I look at the campaign game as what the Eve New Player Experience aspires to be.  I'm going through, seeing all the play styles (tourism, industrial, etc) and at the end of the 20 scenarios I'll stop having the game hold my hand and enter the sandbox to see what I can build from scratch.

After playing through the tutorial and first four scenarios I can say a few things about the game.  Just remember this is not a review as I've only spent 10-12 hours playing so far.  The first is that I love the music.  It is very catchy and sets an upbeat mood.  Maybe that's why I'm playing so much.  Next the game is pretty, although I don't really pay attention too much as I'm still learning how to play.  The same with following the individual residents of Tropico around.  One of these days I'll slow down and start following the Tropicans around.  From what I've heard of SimCity Tropico 4 does a much better job with pathing issues and citizen movement than the newer game. 

I also enjoy the political aspects of the game and trying to keep the factions happy.  So far I've only had one uprising but my army was able to ruthlessly crush the rebels.  And trying to balance the educational system so I have a good mix of workers to perform all the jobs is really interesting.  In some scenarios I actually had to import uneducated workers because my native Tropicans wouldn't demean themselves by taking jobs traditionally done by lower skilled workers.  Sorry, but not everyone gets to go to college anymore.

With Tropico 4 I can see myself playing for hours and hours to come.  I might even write about the game again once I get through the campaign and build a few islands.


  1. You're not the only one. My corp mate and I both just bought Tropico 4 on the same steam deal that you used. HOURS of fun.

    I'm slowly working my little island into a vacation paradise, complete with authoritarian regime :)

    It really puts things in perspective, yes I know it's just a game but wow - the difference it makes when you can make your own laws. I'm totally corrupted.

  2. Please do write about the game again once you've had more time with it.
    I'd like to hear more about it from a real person as I too am dissapointed with the new Sim City, and have considered Tropico but have not yet decided whether to take the plunge.

  3. Looking forward to the review. The last time I played Tropico, it was probably the first edition. Kind of liked it, but was totally noob on the city simulator part :-).
    Another city simulator I like is Anno 2070. Unfortunately, got to play it only at a friend. If you ever have a chance and did not do it yet, give it a try.

  4. Those goddamn shiftless teamsters.

    As soon as I get my island's economy humming, it starts running face first into the teamsters not being able to keep up with the output. Even when I build one or more Garage and a Teamster's office next to each group of factories/raw material producers, they just keep getting overwhelmed.

    I think next sandbox island, I'm going to try keeping my docks spread out from each other, because I have a sneaking suspicion that it's the traffic congestion that's causing the hangup.