Tropico 3


posted 3/29/2010 by Jeremy Duff
other articles by Jeremy Duff
One Page Platforms: 360
The place where the game truly does "break", if you will, is with the control interface. This game, and the genre in general, is not meant to be played with a controller. Moving around the island, selecting the various elements, and navigating the (action) selection screens is a downright pain. The menus their selves are pretty easy enough to access, using a combination of the trigger buttons and the face buttons, but once inside they are bulky, slow, and hard to read. There are far too many options for them to be accessed in this simplified, controller form. It is very easy to see that this game was designed for the keyboard and mouse interface, and it works fine with those tools. Simplifying it to a controller on the other hand pretty much breaks it. Many of the menus are nearly impossible to navigate, both in terms of the layout and the non-responsiveness of the controller.

For example, accessing the employment options of an establishment is done using the control pad. After you select the structure, and more between the different tabs listed using the bumpers, you have to use the directional pad to move down and make changes throughout the individual tabs. The game often fails to respond to your presses and I found myself pounding on the d-pad to get it to recognize. At first, I thought it was a dead battery in my controller and switched to a wired one to help eliminate the lag while my battery charged. I was greeted with the same response times with a dedicated, wired controller. The controls became a chore which is something that just cannot happen if a game is to be enjoyable.

Don't get me wrong though, this all does not mean that there is not a game here to enjoy. There is, you just have to overlook some major roadblocks in order to get to that enjoyment. When you get into the flow of things, and get on a role with your island running like a fine oiled machine, you will have some fun. There is a great feeling that you get when you sit back and watch your military squash a band of rebels reaping havoc on your farms or businesses. You just have to put up with some annoyances to get to that point, but when you do it is rewarding.

Long time fans of the genre looking to get their fix on the console(s) will find what they need here. Unfortunately, they are also going to find the things that hinder the genre on anything other than a PC. As I said, there is something here to be enjoyed, you just have to put up with and / or overlook some things in order to get there. Tropico 3 is a faithful port of the original PC game but is just out of its own element. It feels like you are playing the game through an emulator; the main game is there, but it does not feel like it belongs thanks to the control interface and graphical hiccups. True enjoyment of the game should be had with its original PC brethren, not a broken console representation.

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