Average User Score: 7.7Jun 20, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Tropico 4 is a really good game. Not a great game but good enough to keep any one interested in city building, economic management and resource collection engaged for hours at a time. The biggest pros of Tropico 4 are its citizens, its political factions and the detailed economic system created by its developers.
The complexity of the individual citizens that live on your island is quite impressive. Unlike other similar games such as Sim City or Anno, every citizen in Tropico 4 has a unique name, skill set, political inclination, age, home country, job experience, etc. I love the the richness and detail of this element of the game for it makes the micro level of Tropico 4 realistic and engaging. At the macro level the various political factions that must be navigated and addressed hinge upon the preferences and character of your citizens. The balance of this aspect of the game is well developed. For every action in the game, there is an equal an opposite reaction. This keeps the game fun and challenging, and makes it very goal driven which appeals to players such as myself. Perhaps the most important pro is the elaborate and diverse economic system that undergirds the game as a whole. It is refined and intuitive. If it were not the game would suffer greatly and likely be very frustrating to play. Although it is not as extraordinarily complex as some other virtual economies I have seen, it is intricate and realistic enough to suck you in and make you feel like you are accomplishing something meaningful. The resource diversity is exciting, the supply lines are challenging and the financial calculus that stems from all of this resource management is sensible and addictive.
As a side note I must also compliment the humor of the game, which is apparently a legacy of the series, the unique premise of the game (which also harkens back to its legacy) and the graphics which are a little corny but detailed enough to make the game feel real. Admittedly, what really makes Tropico 4 a pleasure to play are the little things. E.g. the political quotes that pop up between screens, the ability to customize and control yourself as an avatar presidente within the game or to choose from historical characters towards the same ends; The graffiti that appears on the walls of your buildings or the snakes and tapirs that occasionally wander through your jungles, and the resource pallets that pile up at your industrial sites. All of these things give the game character.
On the cons side of things I must admit that the same little things that make the game so great are also its main shortcoming. There are little things in Tropico 4 which I find very annoying that could be very easily addressed if the developers cared to do so. For instance, there is no North button which aligns the mini map with the onscreen view. This drives me crazy! I spend the first minute or so of every game just trying to line up my view with the mini map. Very frustrating. Also, many of the menus in the game are simple to the point of being primitive. The build menu is a good case in point. First off, accessing the build menu is somewhat counter intuitive for it only appears when you right-click. Then, once you are in the build menu, navigating to buildings is a total pain because the subsets don't have back buttons. If you click the wrong building subset or are trying to find a new building and don't know where it is then you have to exit and re-enter the menu every time! For those new to the game, such as myself, I wish there was an info box option for certain game features. Again, using buildings as an example, when a mission requests that you construct a certain building there is no hint as to where you can find it in your menu so you have to make lucky guesses and go through the whole process of entering and exiting the build menu as mentioned above. Perhaps I am just nitpicking at this point but I really wish there was a shift button option for certain actions such as late game management with air conditioning or upgrades to mines, ranches or manufacturing buildings. Instead of going to each building individually and upgrading it manually, it would be nice to hit the upgrade once while holding down a hot key so that the same action applies to all.
Besides the little things, the two main cons of the game in my opinion are the campaign which lacks depth and is somewhat monotonous, and the music which although good in quality becomes very repetitive after a while. This is because it is catchy (seemingly a good thing in real life, but not for a computer game) and because it is on a short loop.
All in all, although there are a lot of little things that I dislike about Tropico 4 because there is so much right with it as a whole that I have to give a favorable review. I give it an 8/10. Viva El Presidente!… Expand
Average User Score: 7.0May 25, 2014This is by far the best world builder I have ever played. I am a big fan of the Anno series as a whole, but this iteration takes the cake. TheThis is by far the best world builder I have ever played. I am a big fan of the Anno series as a whole, but this iteration takes the cake. The game play is natural and intuitive for beginners, yet still challenging for experienced players. The engine is brilliant, providing balanced game play throughout and it never crashes, as was the biggest problem with previous iterations of this series. Lastly, the graphics are magnificent. Even at mid to low quality settings the game's appearance is breath taking. In my hundreds of hours of playing I have probably spent a good 10-12 hours simply admiring what is presented in the game and what is presented. As a manager and aspiring urban planner, I found this game too good to be true. In the best way possible Anno 2070 has become an alternate reality for me and, given my interests, and vastly fulfilling creative outlet for economic management and urban design.
The game is extraordinarily complex. After six months of regular playing I am still learning new facts about the game and discovering things I have never noticed before, e.g.terrain details, interfacing options, commentary and technology. It helps that the developers regularly update and enhance the game. For instance, after having played Anno for about 3 months I noticed that the music was suddenly different. There was an entirely new track that I had never heard before. This was quite refreshing given that my expectation from other games is that you have a 30-60 minute soundtrack on a loop that never changes. As is the theme with all Anno games, the resource supply chains are by far the most intricate element of Anno 2070 except that they are arguably even better than what is in previous versions. Instead of supplying resources for essentially one civilization throughout you can and, at a certain stage of the game, must develop resources for up to 3 distinct civilizations. If you like creating and managing resources this is a game you must try.
A note on DRM. I played Sim City 5 and absolutely hated the DRM used in that game. It was intrusive, poorly planned and poorly executed. Ergo, I am a critic of DRM and generally steer clear of it. However, although many are scathing of the DRM component of this the game, I have found that it is not that bad. In fact, it is not bad at all. I would say that it is actually a boon for the game and motivates me to keep on playing given that there are new missions, campaigns and challenges that are regularly offered only because there is a regular internet connection. And, unlike some other games, you can start, play and save this game without an internet connection. Anno 2070 has demonstrated to me that a developer can plan and execute a DRM system that is mutually beneficial for both creator and user. If other game developers adopted Anno's approach the entire issue of DRM would likely diminish into obscurity. Do not be phased about what people say regarding DRM in Anno 2070. It is a reactionary response to the idea of DRM rather than a reflective commentary of how it actually is.
I have played many other games of this type (Civilization, Age of Empires, Tropico, Simcity, Rise of Nations, etc.) but this game exceeds them all insofar as you are motivated to play the game from start to finish. At no point is there a lull in game play or a point where you feel like you have "figured the game out" and it is just boring repetition for the same types of rewards. There is a level of repetition in the game, but it is a meaningful kind of repetition that is goal driven and exciting. This game is certainly not for everyone, but if you are like me and you like to get deeply involved in your gaming experience this is a game you must buy.… Expand
Average User Score: 2.2Mar 6, 2013I want my money back. I don't how care how beautiful or complex the game looks. If it doesn't work then these things are irrelevant! EA hasI want my money back. I don't how care how beautiful or complex the game looks. If it doesn't work then these things are irrelevant! EA has alienated many SimCity fans including myself. I hope they have learned a lesson from this. Oh, and since I am already at it here's another complaint. Nix DRM! This is an absurd element to have in this kind of a game. Make multiplayer games optional and provide users with optional updates and patches, like in the past. What happened to the emphasis on personal choice in the SimCity franchise philosophy anyways? Went down the drain with EA's fascist republic of gaming business model, I guess.… Expand