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Tropico 5 (PC DVD)
|Price:||£29.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Delivery Details|
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- The Eras - Maintain power and reign from the Colonial Period through to Modern Times
- The Dynasty - Utilise the family of El Presidente by placing them in important ruling positions
- Research and Renovate - Advance your nation by discovering new buildings, technologies and resources
- Advanced trade system - Amass a global trade fleet and secure lucrative routes of trade
- Explore your island - Discover resources through exploration, but be wary of native threats
- All new art - All new art design provides Tropico 5 with a unique visual identity
- 4-Player multiplayer -Share resources cooperatively, or declare war on each other in competitive matches.
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- Platform: Windows 7
- Media: DVD-ROM
- Item Quantity: 1
Style Name: Windows 7
You, as El Presidente, will first take control of the infamous island of Tropico during early colonial times and then guide it through the centuries as the world changes and moves ever forward. You must tackle the changing needs of your people, as well as opposing governments and factions, and thus lay the foundations for your own dynasty. As you move through your years in office you can promote members of your extended family on the island to positions of power: such as ambassador, commanding general or even Supreme Ruler, to ensure your legacy thrives through the eras. As your influence and wealth grows, so do the threats to your burgeoning island superpower. Can you survive both World Wars, prosper through the Great Depression, rule as an iron-fisted dictator through the Cold War and advance your country to modern times and beyond? From the 19th to the 21st century, each era carries its own challenges and opportunities
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If I had written this after 1 day's play, I'd have given it 4 stars. I'm still torn between 4 and 5, but I think it will mature into a 5 fairly quickly. My discomfort over interface quirks, and changes from Tropico 4, are what gnaw away at that fifth star. But it deserves 5 for the new level of detail simulation it has added to El Presidente's empire.
Much is the same, but much has also changed.
In a nutshell, a new layer of time evolution has been added.
You now have to start slow and basic, building up to the lucrative industries in the modern age.
In that sense, the game has four "Eras". Start as a colony jumping to the empire's beck and call, until you get enough popular support to declare independence. That starts the World Wars, where you can choose between Axis and Allies. That leads to the Cold War, where you choose between USA and USSR. And finally, the Modern Era, where China, EU and Middle East are added to the superpower mix.
You now have to "research" some things before they can be used. There is enough to get by without, but you'll cripple your island if you do. It's a fairly benign and simple system, though. Nothing like the behemoth of any Civ game. And every time you change era, the research subjects fo the preceding eras are given to you for free.
Edicts are similar, and yet not. They are now linked to eras, and you can only issue edicts from preceding and present eras. A few are enabled by research.
There is also a Dynasty - various events add new members to your ruling family. Each have various benefits they bring (like the old Traits from T4)
Changes I love:
Trading - is done via docks (each dock brings one trade ship) and you get a choice of lucrative offers from various superpowers and "others". You can also import things you are short of. Choose carefully. The better deals also require minimum levels of warmth with the superpower offering it, and invariably annoys the other one! Chasing every last dollar might lead to foreign invasion. There are various "upgrades", and the Drydock (enabled via research) brings very powerful benefits (like two trade ships per dock). The system is both realistic, simple, and beautifully balanced.
Upgrades - most buildings can be upgraded, and these are almost always useful and strong. But expensive, too.
Plantations - (there are no farms - all crops are a plantation now) are clearly laid out. They have defined edges. Gone are the random fields that grew anywhere and everywhere before. The modern times Hydroponics replacements use just less than 1/4 of the space (so, four for one in area) and yet each one produces as much as the old plantation. It delivers a huge boost to a growing industrial economy, right as your mines are running out, and you have to start importing ores....
People Markers - faction leaders (and your Dynasty members) now get little "plumbob" markers so you can find them easily. I've not needed to use them to assasinate or discredit anyone yet, but it's a neat little improvement.
Things that Confused:
Gone is the ability to set wages and prices in dollars. There are now "wealth classes", and after initially thinking there must be more, there are just five: Broke, Poor, Well Off, Rich, and Filthy Rich. This matters, because some jobs never manage better than Well Off or Rich incomes, no matter how much budget you throw at the facility. Likewise, some housing can never be made cheaper than Poor or Well Off categories. You have to use the Mortgage Subsidy edict that reduces the wealth requirements of housing, to get country homes to allow Broke residents - these will always live in shacks otherwise.
It took me a long time to get used to "wealth", and how setting a budget level for a factory or farm affected the wealth level of the workers there. Because, although each place has five levels of budget, sometimes two or three of those result in the same wealth level of the worker.
In fact, the budget levels of the facility are not directly related to worker income, liek the old wages. Instead, the budget level contributes to "Effectiveness".
This is another new concept, and perhaps the most nebullous of all. How well a factory operates, is determined by effectiveness. 100% is "normal", and presumably comes from full staffing at a nominal budget. Spending more budget, adds up to a 25% bonus. Upgrades can add bonuses. Absent workers will bring a negative modifier. No workers forces a 0% effectiveness.
Some buildings (like a cattle farm) can be upgraded to provide manure fertiliser to nearby farms (plantations) that boost the farm effectiveness. There is enough "interconnectedness" to be a headache first time through. Even the Museum can boost High Schools by allowing Field Trips. That is all obviously realistic, and a great addition. It's very confusing first time through, and the only reservation I have, is that I spend a lot of time clicking through building info to see if I've already bought the upgrade. And also trying to remember and plan my island, so that the "right" things get built together.
Want to have Llama ranches? Build them where you'll be adding a circus later, to get the "Dancing Llama" upgrade benefit.
Going to build Water Treatment plants? Put them near your future steel / vehicle / electronics factories to get the benefit of Recycling.
Sometimes the details are a little too restrictive and obscure. And frustrating that this information is not declared until after you've built it, and can see the upgrade panel.
Most buildings can now have Managers. Those Dynasty traits come into play here. But ordinary members of the population can have special skills too. Like a Landlord, that raises the quality of housing nearby. Or a Magnate, that improves mining/oil. There are many and plenty. But I also believe that hiring these people as managers removes them from the employment pool. Not much point in hiring 30 managers, when your workforce is short by 60 people. It's another leve of detail and complexity, and it feels like most skills and benefits are too small to bother using (except you might as well use the Dynasty members, who can be levelled up by spending from your Swiss bank account).
I also have a long list of things I don't like. Much of it is interface related. But I'm dismayed by the lack of Wind Turbines and Solar plants. You can build a coal plant. Then switch to Nuclear. And maybe go geothermal in Modern Times.
Power needs are now quite hungry. You'll need two coal plants, to develop anything more than a token economy. Modern apartments now need power, so you'll almost certainly have to go nuclear. I'd have liked to see Solar plants remain, maybe add a Tidal Generator alternative.
Most irritating is the trade panel, when a new lucrative deal pops up. Only I've got no spare ships. So I take one away from an existing route, only to THEN discover there is a minimum relationship level that I don't meet. Is it really too much to ask, to include that information with the original offer? This sort of "lacking info" occurs in quite a few places, and that's why I'm grumbling about 4 stars.
The most infuriating, was not being able to view the later eras edict panes. The game simply won't let you see what's coming up. Very annoying on first playthrough. Now I can go by memory - but why force a player to memorise such info? I can still see edicts from present and past eras, including ones I can't afford, or ones not yet available because I haven't researched them - they are simply greyed out. But I can still see them, and what they do. Why not let the player see what the future will bring? Mutter, mutter, grumble, grumble.
Once you see that three of the five building info tabs contain the same repeated information, with one extra bit in each, that could easily be condensed into one tab with the three bits lumped together, you'll see what I mean. But these little "interface gripes" should not put anyone off getting their own Island to be dictator on!
The negatives are what make me want to still give four stars. But as I'm getting used to the changed layouts, and interface quirks, it's getting comfortable again. Maybe in a patch or mod or two, things will be perfect.....
It stays at 5 stars, for the clever plot layout of the campaign, and the humour.
Initially, the campaign felt too short, playing a pair of islands through all four eras (8 missions). But when the final solution is a Time machine that takes you back to the very beginning, on the "rival" pair of islands, you get to do it all over again, from the other side of the story!
I have cracked up laughing at some of the comedy references. First I almost missed Dr Zweistein talking about the "flux capacitor" he needed for his time machine. But it was Penultimo declaring "War. War never changes...." that had me lolling. Perfect reminder this is a game, and not to take anything too seriously. Tropico 5 adds a more detailed, more realistic playing level to Tropico. But it hasn't lost sight of the tongue-in-cheek dictator within.
As a veteran player of all previous Tropico games, this one is the most "different". By spreading things along a timeline a-la Civ, it has broken the "formulaic" guaranteed easy win of the previous games (and you can even change difficulty levels). It is heading towards a serious "Nation simulator" somewhere between Civ and Sims, and is easily my favourite of the three.
Tropico 5 takes some getting used to, though. It took me longer than was comfortable to acclimatise. I was cursing it for lacking useful information in the almanac, before I realised there was more - I hadn't seen the minimalist "scroll" arrow indicating there was more hiding below in the People pane. Things like that annoy slightly. Slowly but surely I'm finding the information is there, just vaguer (like "Wealth" level), more obscure (like upgrades). And yet, now that I've found the wealth and education data in the almanac, it shows everything in a bar graph in moments, and I'm starting to fly again.
Tropico 5 takes the series in a new direction. Some might not like it. Now that I see what they've tried to do, I love it. It adds a much needed refresher. It adds a serious level of realism, while retaining the humour. El Presidente has never had it so good.
PS: The retail DVD uses Kalyso launcher, not steam. It is also a less intrusive Kalypso launcher than that of Tropico 4, which is good news. The only frustration, was an obligatory patch update, requiring a 1.2Gb download, upon first launch. Now that it's done, I can skip through the two intro windows and be at the main menu to load a game about five seconds after clicking the desktop icon. For that alone, it deserves to keep the fifth star.
The T5 Complete Collection adds all of the subsequent DLC that added the missing wind and solar and tidal power generators, and added a lot of extra things to build. So, I wouldn't buy this base game DVD anymore.
Also, you can buy a digital download, totally DRM free version, at GOG (good old games). It's £30 for the complete collection, and can go for less than half that in a sale. I already had all of the Kalypso options (retail DVD main game and Kalypso Media bought DLC) but got the GOG version as well. Yes, I love this game that much.
I consider it insurance against Kalypso and/or their servers disappearing. Although, if the game cannot connect at startup, it continues to run anyway. I wish Steam would work like that... but I'm one of the 50% for whom the offline mode has never worked. ("Offline mode is not available. Please go online to activate offline mode" - and I get that, after specifically asking that game to run in offline mode. Valve can't be bothered to fix that, after a whole decade of complaints.
First impressions were not that good....menus were really jerky and slow to load/move between, the game didn't seem to flow quite like 4 did because of this. It took an age for the game to load, and then when it did it felt awkward to use. I ended up having to create a new save game each time I wanted to save my game, because if I tried to overwrite a previous game it would either freeze briefly or just not let me click on the save game I wanted to overwrite. I bought the game on its release date and last played it on 2nd June.
I decided to play again this morning (more than a month later), and as soon as I loaded up the menu I was asked to download three updates/patches. I installed these and the game loaded quickly, and the menus actually worked, hooray! I will have another go in a bit to see if I think the buildings etc seem brighter or not because I think they may have been.
If you've never played Tropico, buy Tropico 4 instead.
If you've played and completed Tropico 4, I would possibly get 5 but wait a little longer before buying and then install any updates it tells you to - it seems that the makers are patching any problems or issues and releasing patches regularly to get the game working better. I'd like to think I'll get used to how 5 works because it's a bit different to 4. Hopefully the makers will keep patching the game to get it right.
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I ordered this before Christmas and eagerly awaited it's arrival.Read more