Game: Tropico 4
Release Window/Date: August 2011
What's polished: Tight user interface, interesting new game play modes
What needs polish: More accessible than previous games but still a ton of details that users could get lost in
Watching the demo of Tropico 4 at E3 this year I wondered what would have happened if Muammar Gaddafi would have played the game or two of the series before the recent civil war in his country. Would he have realized that you can’t treat your people like crap for years without doing anything nice? Would he have learned that you need have good diplomatic relationships with the US and other nations? Would have brought in a council of locals to help guidance him on the wants and needs of the people? I’m guessing not but you never know.
There’s a lot of new, good stuff for fans of the Tropico series as the developers have put a lot of work into the game. The first is that the game is three to four times the size of Tropico 3 which means you’ve got significantly more country to control. The next is that they’ve been adding in a bunch of new game play mechanics as you’re now going to have more interactions with the rest of the world (including Europe, China, the Middle East, and the US) as well new things for your citizens to do like get involved in religion and develop their own political factions.
To help you out you will be able to lean on a Council of Ministries who will advise you on how your economy is doing, who you’ve pissed off beyond your borders, and your own military. You are free to ignore them if you want but they are a good resource if you want to prevent a revolution among your people.
As supreme ruler you’ll have to deal with the usual set of disasters like volcano’s, floods, and other natural disasters. Don’t expect anything out of the ordinary like giant lizards or aliens though as the series will be retaining its reality base disaster system.
Speaking of disasters, another big feature will be a new challenge editor that will ship with the game. The new version is going to be a bit more accessible and will allow you to create scenarios/missions for you and your friends to try and solve.
The game will also link to your Facebook profile which will allow you to share your ruling style with your friends, family, and random people you have on your Facebook account. It will also rate your performance so this might be one feature that would be Machiavellians might want to skip.
The game does look gorgeous and fans of the series are really going to enjoy the new addition. There’s been a lot of focus on allow you to micromanage as much as you want so if you want to rule on a person by person basis you can do so but if you want to rule on a more macro level the game will support that as well.