Having renewed my PlayStation Plus membership, I was able to download Tropico 5 by Haemimont Games. I had my eye on it for a while but have been too busy with other games/ moving/ life to jump on this Caribbean hype train. I thoroughly enjoyed Sid Meier’s Civilisation V and have spent an eye watering number of hours playing it and had high hopes for T5 given the similar themes present in both games, such as building a sustainable and happy population and workforce, creating trade routes and battling with egos and enemies as each nation fights to be on top. It’s been an exciting ride and it’s a game I know I will play again as I can change my gaming style from that of a democratic liberal to a ruthless dictator.
T5 puts you in the shoes of El Presidente, the glorious leader of a remote Caribbean island under the colonial rule of Britain. Amongst building homes and workplaces for your inhabitants and trying to get the populace on side, you are presented with the opportunity to declare your independence and become a free nation of rum drinking, cigar smoking and protest loving islanders.
You encounter most of the major world powers throughout the game such as the good ole USA, the USSR and eventually the EU, Middle East and China, as well as dodgy dealings with rebel dissidents, the KGB and the CIA, as well as facing a world and/or nuclear war or two. If your treasury goes too far into the red, your workers will protest relentlessly and rebel leaders and crime lords will run rife within your communities. I tried to play the game on a level playing field, trying to please everyone at once. There are times where this works: I had a success rating of 83%, loads of money in the bank and nobody wanted to fight me; other times, I had successive battles with pirates, rebels and enemy invasions, a work force that was determined to do nothing and a devastatingly red Treasury. Each stage of the game changes how your decisions impact the state of your affairs and should you allow votes in your democratic wonderland, you risk being outed if you aren’t the modern leader Tropico wants, ending your reign and the game.
It’s difficult to describe games like T5 or Civ V because of the various layers to each game as well as various strategies that can be employed to play the main campaign. You have to take into consideration birth and immigration rates; employment and housing; healthcare and crime safety; tourism and trade; availability and diversity of food and resources, not to mention issuing edicts that are essentially your public policies such as immunisation campaigns, social security or military drills and the secret police. You also have to deal with foreign powers and powerful individuals who each have their own agenda; with some, regardless of how much you may try to appease them, will constantly try to undermine you and/or attack you relentlessly. Add in the map overlays that show the efficiency of map tiles for producing certain resources such as cows or llamas, as well as placement of taverns, hotels and other touristy accoutrements in relation to their effectiveness and you have a plethora of things to consider when shaping your dynasty.
The loading screens and dialogues are full of interesting and satirical facts about various world leaders/ dictators and make many puns relating to nuclear weapons, oil and llamas over the course of the game, as well as dealing with real life intercontinental conflicts in a light-hearted manner. The pace of the game really depends on your playing style so it’s quite difficult to say how many hours you’ll need to complete it. At times it felt a bit repetitive but to be honest I was hooked from the start with all its jokes, funky music and the chance to be a radical overlord.
I’d give it a 3.5-4/ 5. It is free just now for PlayStation Plus members so I’d definitely recommend downloading it and giving it a try. Enjoy!