|System: PC, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Haemimont Games|
|Pub: Kalypso Media|
|Release: August 30, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence|
Some of these missions could take you two or three hours, or even longer if you choose to stick around for a while to maybe finish up some extra side missions. When you add it all up, you could easily spend dozens of hours on the campaign alone. Of course, you can also design your own campaign. While you don't have freedom over the basic layout of your island, you get to modify the terrain, decide which crops should grow better where, lay down your own ore deposits, and decide which buildings and how much money you start out with. When you're done, you can upload them to the internet or download islands others have made. And then there's always Sandbox mode, which has you freely build and micromanage your island with no major goal. Suffice to say, Tropico 4 has a very satisfying amount of content.
Though I can't say much about the Xbox 360 version, the PC controls are classic Tropico. Right click to open your build menu, left click to place a building, use the scroll wheel to rotate structures, and so on. My only complaint is that building roads functions exactly how it did in Tropico 3—it's admittedly a little bit awkward. If you're like me and want your roads to lie in perfect grid patterns, you're really going to have to work to make that happen. They always seem to want to curve rather than make right angles, and putting them down on terrain that isn't perfectly flat can lead to some weird road patterns.
One other new feature I should make mention of is the option to hire ministers to help you pass various forms of legislation. This isn't actually as game-changing as it sounds, as it's really just an extra prerequisite to putting certain edicts into play. While you will need to rely on these ministers at a few crucial points in the campaign, you probably won't look to them all that much until you get pretty deep into the micromanagement aspects of the game. In fact, during several missions, I completely forgot they were even there.
Tropico 4 honestly doesn't do a whole lot different than Tropico 3. But that's not necessarily a bad thing; Tropico 3 was a glorious return to the gameplay style of the original game, after all. While Tropico 4 may not be a huge leap for the series, it polished and fine-tuned its mechanics and visual appeal well enough to make another trip to Tropico a meaningful one. And I'd definitely say that this Tropico has the most personality of the bunch. It's just bursting at the seams with dark humor that often borders on political satire.
The bottom line: if you have never experienced a Tropico game before, Tropico 4 is simply the best the series has to offer. If you've been playing the series since it first began, Tropico 4 has refined its formula nearly to perfection, and is worth your time for the new characters and missions alone.
CCC Editor/Contributing Writer