Tropico 4 bases you on a series of Tropical islands as a dictater, nice or not so nice. If you`ve played Tropico 3 you know the drill.
It`s still the same gameplay, you place farms, construction buildings , increase the population, etc, etc to increase cash for your people and yourself while dealing with anything that threatens your rule.
And there are many things that threaten your rule:
Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Oil slicks, rebels, volcanoes, superpowers, the VOTE, etc.
Interestingly you also now have to deal with China, the Middle east and Europe, all asking favour or doing you `favours` that may or may not help. Depending on your political stance some Superpowers can get pretty leary. For example, the US President has already several times threatened to either invade or launch missiles accidentally on purpose on my island. They haven`t done so yet, but if Tropico 3`s anything to go by, I suspect a US warship will appear off my coast soon... maybe I should make an alliance with the commies until I can build a nuclear capability? All this you can do.
There`s a lot of tongue in cheek too and I notice that the avatars of people that pop up actually represent their real life versions... there`s your President Nixon, Mrs. Thatcher, Yasser Arafat and that Chinese guy and others drawn in a caricature way, all wanting something. Everyone seems as crooked as you, except they`re democratic as opposed to being a straight forward dictator, like me!
The real changes are in the extra little things you can do like appoint Ministers (who can also cause embarrasment) or selecting export and import prices.
There`s a little more radio braodcast chatter about what you (there should be more) get to do and you still do great election speeches with polite applause, Stalin-style.
It`s actually very hard to fail in this game. As soon as things get difficult with the elections, just start several edits that will turn the people around, free food, a benefits system, lower taxes, etc, etc, before you know it your 30% vote turns into 90%. You can still blow it though as I did when I decided I didn`t like my Economics minsiter because she was going to vote against me. So I had her assasinated (yes you can do that). I watched her sitting on a park bench while my assassin walked up to her and shot her! Unfortunately, I must have done something wrong (like forgotten to have a covert force) because my election votes dropped dramatically, everyone seemed to know, and it was too late to turn it around- Fail.
Also you get rebellions... er, Gadaffi style and you must deal with them with your troops. Sometimes you can grant amnesty, but most of the time you have to kill them. Also I think certain superpowers aid towards revolt or is that my growing paranoia? Oh and you get attempted assasinations of your good self, although you don`t see anything dramatic- A graphic gunshot hole effect on screen or gunshot sound would`ve added to immersion and warned you of personal danger. In a creepy way there are many nods to reality in this game, even present day ones.
You can set up all kinds of draconian policies to cement your rule, but be aware of the consequences as you can really upset certain parts of your society from the Right wingers to the Left wingers. I like hovering between being really nice if they obey to slapping them in jail if they don`t- or worse, but keeping central in policy with compromise seems the best bet.
You can choose your character traits and look just like in Tropico3, but I was very disappointed to see there weren`t more custom options to how you look. How about even more hats, jackets, uniforms? How about the ability to custom colour your clothes? Hey, i`m El Presidente, I wanna look how I wanna look! UNIQUE! For a number 4 they could`ve added more stuff. A lot more. However, now your traits have levels they can go up by. So hopefully, I`ll be an educated, communist womaniser of level 5 soon!
Hey, Tropico makers, how about letting our avatar get married to whatever woman (or man if you`re a woman player) he feels like and have affairs too? Obviously with possible consequences. The little priveleges that dictaters can choose?
There`s a sandbox mode which I was expecting to play first, but I got quite into the mission Campaign modes. However, I know sandbox will be my favourite mode as I like the realistic freedom of it and setting the options.
Ok, Sounds. Sounds are very good as usual- You hear everything if you zoom close enough. The Music is excellent, with some new tracks, and really helps keep you jolly even in the depressing moments.
Graphics are improved and animations appear better. Everything looks very good in a sunny sort of way- maybe a tad too colourful? I really like how you can zoom right down to street level and literally see things from a person`s view. You watch people and cars doing all their stuff and there`s an amazing amount of variety which increase with each new building. It`s actually quite impressive once the city gets really populated. However, I think there should be a dedicated 1st person view where you can just walk about (WASD keys or custom) and look around as the graphics are easily good enough for it. Perhaps in an add-on, guys?
The graphics of Disasters are nicely done, but a little underwhelming for me. Sure tornadoes do mess things up a bit, with people and cars flying into the air, but I expected more from the volcanoe as it just spews hot molten lava rocks on your city... Ok that`s pretty cool, but i was expecting laval flows... I guess that might`ve ruined everything though, as you can`t build on lava. Earthquakes aren`t dramatic enough either. Clean up effects of fires and oil slicks are nice with helos flying around spraying water and stuff.
The game will keep you involved and the extra stuff does add extra life to the game, however, it`s not quite the major step up you`d expect from a whole new version 4- I hoped for quite a lot more really with more immersion for your Avatar.
DRM? Interesting it is. I installed completely offline and it ran fine. All that was required was a code. No steam (HOORAH! Thankyou Tropico 4 makers).
However, install the game or try playing while connected to the net and it will require you to make an account first and all that- I have no idea why as I saw no benefit. So I advise, install offline (disconnect from net! Kiddies) if you don`t need all that shenanigans.
4 Stars for not being quite as great or improved as I`d hoped, but still a very entertaining game!