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Review: Tropico 5

If you had one moment or one opportunity to form alliances and fill up your Swiss bank account without anyone noticing. One shot to rule as a dictator on a Tropical Island, that changes the way that you want it to be. Enter the world of “Tropico 5” and begin your journey to become “El Presidente”.

Of course, like all dictatorships, it won’t be given that easily! In Tropico 5 you start as a random assigned governor by the Crown, that needs you to lead an island in the Victorian age with a very special team that lacks the professionalism to help you make important decisions. You will be facing different eras such as the Cold War, World War II and the Modern Age which forces you to adapt to different challenges that come along the road. The good thing is, you’ll get different options to improve your research and buildings.

The main goal of the game is to stay the leader as long as you can and get a big number on your Swiss account along the way. Everything you do in the game, is all about the approval and the vote of your inhabitants. There are a couple of factors that influence the approval by your people such as: building houses for the homeless, making your economy grow bigger and stronger (whether it’s with a sugar plantation, lumber mill, a cattle ranch…), subduing riots, entertaining the tourists, educating your staff, …Of course not all inhabitants are the same, so you can’t keep everyone satisfied. Not only will you have to make sure the land’s economy is running great, but you’ll have to defend your tropical island from other superpowers as well … There’s still mother nature and other countries to worry about.

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An economy based SIM isn’t always easy, but I have the feeling that Tropico 5 has a good learning curve. The game has a short but useful tutorial and the campaign offers help from different characters such as Penultimo and Lord Oaksworth. Penultimo gives you a head- up of certain activities or complots on the island and Lord Oaksworth guides you through the “basics” during the campaign by giving you hints about “what the Crown expects you to build or do while the Crown is more interested in the architecture of his underwater palace” . The game doesn’t expect you to be a professional dictator!

 

The moment to become “El president is now!

 

The campaign consists of missions with certain tasks to complete in order to continue throughout the game. Most of the missions look like forming an alliance with a certain faction while angering the opposite faction. During that time, you have to keep yours happy and safe. Also, the game guides you through your first eras to keep your people satisfied and in the meanwhile you can figure out what kind of island you want. Will it be known for a big growing economy by exporting large chunks of home- bred materials or will it be known as a place build for tourists? In other words, the game wants you to respond to different challenges but it also wants you to shape your island the way you want it to be.

A lot of things kept me playing Tropico 5 and I’m glad it did because I’m not really a big fan of the economic- based games but Tropico 5 lets me think otherwise. I liked the good looking visuals and the fluid performance on the PC, the funny themed style, the commentary of the radio host and my other informants, the simplicity of information you get and the biggest thing I liked the most, was the fact that I had to do everything in my power to keep my loyal inhabitants happy. The game also isn’t an automatic play through; it’s always looking around, adapting to certain activities and figuring out what my next decision would be.

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Tropico 5 is a game that every strategy fan should try. The basics of the game are very easy to pick up and yet there’s still a learning curve on how to form your island the best you can. It’s sense of humor and colorful setting makes the game stand out from other economy simulations. If you haven’t tried the Tropico series, now is the time! The game runs smoothly and even without annoying bugs. If you’re not a single player person, you can still play up to 3 players online. The moment to become “El president is now!

 

8/10