When the first Tropico game appeared in the early 2000s, the player community was quickly taken by its unusual approach to the genre of managing simulations. The twist was that you are in the role of a dictator whose goal is to lead their humble nation to wealth and glory. As long as you keep your people fed and healthy your hands are more or less free, but if you neglect any of the demands of your people, you can expect the civil unrest, rebellion and, in the worst case, the Gadafi scenario.
Tropico games were appearing every two to three years apart, and every time the core idea was the same, although every game brought something new to the table. The 6th iteration of this game brings a new feature – the factions management. This time, instead of taking suggestions from one or two factions, you have to simultaneously deal with all eight available factions. To make matters worse, every exception you make for one fraction will cost you standing with other ones, and to avoid the fate of fallen leaders worldwide you have to keep things in balance, which is the last thing you would expect from a dictator.
Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to submit the population, like putting faction leaders in jail or arrange “accidents” in which they will lose their lives. Of course, if everything else fails you can always organize fixed elections. These actions though are the last resorts and it is advisable to use them sparsely when you run out of options.
The previous Tropico game had Dynasty system which let the president gain attributes V&A members of his clan. This game got rid of that system in favor of assigning your dictator an attribute during the initial character creation. These attributes are not plentiful but they are more than useful. For example, a charming dictator will have better standing with all factions. Also, the money you “earned” goes to the broker that will advise you about the best perks to invest your money on.
Landscape management is a very important aspect of gameplay because your president has a very limited area of work and has to use the maximum out of resources and space. If you open a factory in some remote place, it automatically means the building of settlements, since people need to live close by the workplace. However, if you cluster industry, entertainment and settlements all in one place, you will risk high pollution, overpopulation and basically becoming London. The perpetual balance is the biggest skill here.
If there is something you can criticize Tropico for, that ’s the fact that it lets you be evil as much as you like, but it’s never a sustainable approach to the game. Which basically kills all the fun for all people that like to unleash the inner dictator. Nevertheless, it is a very enjoyable simulation and political satire, and whoever enjoyed previous games we’ll have a good time with this one.