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Tropico 5 - Hola, Presidente!

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As requested by a few people in the Steam thread, a thread of its own for this excellent latest instalment in the Tropico series. Here's what I posted there:

Tropico 5 is out now. It's always been my favourite of the citybuilder/management games, and this is a big step up on the previous two while still recognisably being Tropico. The biggest change (among many smaller ones) is the introduction of the 'eras' system. You start off in the Colonial Era dealing with your relation to the Crown, and have to win your independence to progress to the World Wars Era. There you have to deal with the Axis and Allies, and eventually sign treaties with both to progress to the Cold War Era, where it's obviously the USA and USSR that have the biggest outside effect on you. Eventually, you can build a space program to progress to Modern Times, where the superpowers are gone and replaced with the USA, Russia, China, the EU, and the Middle East. Each era adds more technology and more buildings and new constitutional options and new domestic factions and so on and so forth; on top of that, things like mineral resources and fossil fuels on the island are finite, so eventually you need to shift your economy to rely on imported goods to support your industry (and god help you if you're relying on a nuclear power plant for electricity and then you run out of uranium, as happened to me). The game's systems open themselves up very naturally and satisfyingly, and it's more of a challenge than previous games too (it's actually possible to lose elections now).

Here's a sandbox game I've been playing (although the actual campaign is really good fun). Even in sandbox games you get regular missions (and can send delegations to foreign powers to request missions too) so it feels pretty involved and you're never just coasting along with nothing to do.


This is the Old Town on the island, around the palace. It's where the island's settlement started out and was initially geared towards providing all their needs in a low-level way, so there's even some agricultural buildings like goat ranches mixed in among the houses. I modernised it to a degree, and there are developed industrial areas further away from the palace but still recognisably part of the old town, but it's not really a very efficient use of land in the modern era. So I created the new town, which can be seen in the distance.


Still partially under development, the new town is full of skyscrapers (residential and business-related). I have an airport and an aerodrome fairly close by, as well as a second dockyard area along the shore. It caters to a higher-wealth group of Tropicans mostly and is free from the planning nightmare of the organic-growth old town.


This is a view of both the old town and the new town, from up on one of the plateaus elsewhere on the island where I have a mining community which is transforming into something more modern. Oh, that's another thing about the game that might be evident from these screenshots: it's really goddamn pretty. And the music is as jaunty as ever, and the lazy racism that seeped into Tropico 4 is pretty much gone. It's a good game get it.

The game is excellent. Since posting that I've played a good bit more of it and can attest to the high quality of the campaign, which is pretty surprising really! It's very clever and frequently very funny and satisfying - it has actual plot twists and everything, and combines some excellent continuity between missions with allowing you to more or less start over once you've figured out most of how the game works.

I know there are quite a few management-game fans on here - and rightly so. I highly recommend Tropico 5; it's accessible and not too difficult but can provide a good challenge. It's probably the management/citybuilder game that I find most compelling and the one in which the growth of your settlement seems most natural. I'll probably do a bit of a let's play in this thread later just to show how an island can evolve through the eras and go from a tiny no-horse village to a thriving modern metropolis.

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And just go go backwards, I'm still on Tropico 3! Are they really all that different? I've only even done the tutorial a couple of times with a mind to go back to it at some later point, probably 2019 with the rate I'm getting through games.

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Tropico 3 to Tropico 4 was not a big leap at all. There are significant differences in Tropico 5, yes.

I've decided to add it to my Play Real Soon list, might as well use this as a general Tropico thread for impressions :) Then if it does me well I'll leap to 5 at some point in the future and be amazed by the improvements.

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So I've started a new island on a generated map. Colonial Era, standard settings. This is what it looks like at game start:


Nothing much to look at. My palace, the dock, a construction office, a teamster's office, a few country houses, and a ranch for pigs (the rejected title of that Amnesia game). As governor of this particular colony, I have to answer to the Crown - who have given me only a limited mandate to govern before I'm recalled (4 years, from game start). I have to curry enough favour with the Crown so that they extend my mandate long enough that I can secure independence.


First things first is to get the basics set up. Another ranch (since the Crown wants me to export meat), a coffee plantation since that'll be pretty profitable and the soil is good for it, more housing, a library, and a Catholic Mission under construction to serve the religious needs of the island.


There are plenty of mineral deposits nearby (in the 'unexplored' areas of the island), so I set the library researching The Shovel so that mines can be built while also sending my palace guard on an expedition to uncover the deposits.


The revolutionaries on the island are pleased by my support for their requests (such as building more housing) and support for independence among the population grows. I need to get it to 50% to be able to proclaim independence.


Another view of the developing colony. I build a second dock and a wharf for fishing boats, as well as even more housing (including a mansion for richer Tropicans). I also build a Military Fort by the coast - that'll house another squad of infantry in case I'm attacked by pirates, or if I decide to fight for independence in the future.


Not everything goes smoothly - the island is struck by four tornadoes at once in one of the worst possible natural disasters. Thankfully the island is hardly developed at present, and the tornadoes don't do too much damage before dissipating. You can also see that support for independence is up to 40% there (in the bottom-left) - independence for Tropico won't be long now!


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  • 1 month later...

I got Tropico 4 in the sale and I'm really liking it. It's not v different to 5 at all, slighly less polished graphics is about it. I got the complete pack with all the DLC - I take it it automatically adds it in as you progress through the years? On the title screen it says Modern Age.

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