Tropico 4 Modern Times

Review

posted 4/23/2012 by Travis Huinker
other articles by Travis Huinker
Platforms: 360
In the original Tropico 4 review, it was recommended for its unique experience on the Xbox 360 and its entertaining gamplay of creating a successful island nation. The Modern Times expansion pack alters the Tropico 4 experience with a transition from the Cold War era to the 21st century. With new structures, edicts, and campaign, Modern Times introduces a variety of both improvements and additions to the core gameplay resulting in a fresh experience. Add in the series’ signature humor and Modern Times easily fits the role of a worthwhile expansion pack.

Upon starting Tropico 4, a tab will appear in the menu dedicated to the Modern Times content with the most noteworthy being a new campaign that spans 12 missions. As in tradition with the original game, the missions that comprise the lengthy Modern Times campaign contain some of the wildest and extremely amusing scenarios from curing a “hiccup” disease to pleasing the demands of everyone’s favorite British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. These scenarios extend the gameplay beyond simply building and managing a successful island to encountering and dealing with unexpected circumstances. In addition, missions incorporate the new structures and edicts into both objectives and gameplay. An underlying narrative is formed through dialogue with the dictator's adviser and other world leaders that have players saving the islands of Tropico from a menacing and unknown enemy.


The introduction of new structures are far more than simply visual, but offer radical changes to the core gameplay of building a city and proceeding to manage its growth. Structures such as modern bio farms, business centers, and apartments allow for an increase in the number of residents on an island and their quality of life. Special benefits are also provided by building some of the more unique structures, including the ability of death squads from the SWAT headquarters.

Even more odd is the inclusion of edicts ranging from banning Facebook and Twitter to launching a police state for the island. These added structures and edicts add a great deal of new methods in which to rule as El Presidente. Modern Times is a strategy title that truly lets players choose their style of play from an evil dictator with death squads to a generous ruler offering free housing for everyone. It’s at this point that Modern Times shines above other titles in terms of freedom for accomplishing objectives and deciding which nations to befriend.


The additional features in the Modern Times expansion have also been included in the game’s sandbox mode that allows for choosing a particular island and any conditions that affect difficulty. Add in a wealth of new and addictive achievements and it’s even more difficult to put down the expansion over the original game. Just as with Tropico 4 on the Xbox 360, the add-on shares its easy-to-navigate menu and detailed graphics at the closest zoom point. Unfortunately, some of the odd quirks from the base game haven’t been fixed, including an inaccurate crosshair selector and performance issues with large cities and populations. Even if the issues are due to the combination of a real-time strategy game and a console experience, they can still have a significant impact on gameplay with crowded islands.

With each of the missions lasting anywhere from over an hour to even more and combined with the endless sandbox mode, the added value in Modern Times is easily worth its relatively low cost. Fans of the original game that are looking for more of the same along with a wealth of new content should immediately add the Modern Times expansion to their download queues. As well, console owners no longer have to be jealous of real-time strategy PC exclusives. Gamers that are seeking a new gameplay experience away from the rehashed genres of first-person shooter and action games will find a lot to love and laugh at in Tropico 4 and its Modern Times expansion. Both fans of the Tropico 4 series and strategy enthusiasts shouldn’t pass on the highly addictive gameplay offered by a new age of technological innovation in the Modern Times expansion.

Tropico 4: Modern Times is available now on Steam and the Xbox Live Marketplace. The Modern Times expansion requires an original copy of Tropico 4.
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