Tropico 5 is the latest release in the Tropico series, following up the popular Tropico 4. Tropico 5 decided to try for some change, resulting in things coming out for mostly the worse. I covered my thoughts leading up to what was the halfway point previously, however this review is going to focus on the game as a whole.
As mentioned in my Initial Thoughts post regarding Tropico 5, there was definitely a large amount of changes that were not for the better. Additionally, some issues that were present in Tropico 4 remained in Tropico 5 – despite efforts to fix them. Granted, thanks to the efforts to fix them they weren’t as bad as they were in Tropico 4.
Tropico 5 follows the same mission-based storyline as you work to stop the impending nuclear war. At one point you even go back in time to try and work a bit more behind the scenes to stop it! However, I feel they really dropped the ball here compared to Tropico 4 with the missions. In Tropico 4, each mission had a new island which meant a fresh start with factions. This was a very nice thing if you had finished a mission with low standing with someone – or even just low standing overall!
In Tropico 5 though, your missions revolve around 4 islands. Two islands are the focus for the first half, and then once you go back in time you go to the other two. All progress on these islands is saved, allowing you to get yourself into an instant lose situation when you start the next mission on that island! Well, I say “all” but not quite – your current treasury is reset. I was quite sad to discover this when I had finished a mission with around $500k in treasury just from trade routes.
Buildings in Tropico 5 are locked by Era and Research. Research is tiered by Era. Yeah, see a bit of a situation here? Previously in Tropico 4 all you needed was some money and you could buy the blueprints for that shiny Waste Water Treatment Plant. Now to get said Waste Water Treatment Plant you must progress to either the second or third era – I forget which offhand – which allows building it. That’s just one example though – buildings such as the Airport require the proper Era and the completed Research to build.
In comparison to Tropico 4 where you could start off a game with just building a few Rum Distilleries and then become set for income after around a year, money mostly seems a bit harder to get in Tropico 5. You can set up specific trade routes with factions – 1 route per dock you have, doubled if you have the Drydock (again, locked by era and research) with a specific upgrade – but you can’t guarantee that you’ll get good route options here. Sometimes there’ll be absolutely amazing deals to earn more money off exports, other times there’ll be none. I miss the guarantee of export prices from Tropico 4.
Again, comparing to Tropico 4 here, you can no longer see a buildings “active projects.” Want to know what that Construction Office is working on? Too bad! Additionally, you can no longer see “how long until next ship” – information I found a bit valuable when I was really needing some money. These are two massive steps back from Tropico 4.
As many Tropico 4 players know, that game became a DLC nightmare. Unfortunately, it seems Kalypso has the intentions of doing it all over again with Tropico 5 – and probably even worse than it was in 4. Many buildings are just flat out missing, if they weren’t combined into something else (for example: the Fire Station was combined into the Police Station).
Tropico 4 suffered some major issues when it came to your incoming and outgoing ship visualizations. They would pretty much always collide through each other with no issues arising from it happening. To combat this in Tropico 5, they made it so that ships will “wait” for other ships to pass by. Unfortunately, it would seem it doesn’t always work. I saw many ships passing through each other still. I even saw a few ships go right through my lighthouse!
In the end, it truly is unfortunate that they seemed to have dropped the ball a bit on Tropico 5. While I do still intend to play Sandbox to work on specific achievements, I have a feeling I’ll likely be going back to Tropico 4 at some point until things are fixed. Stats are missing, you have less control, it’s just a fair bit of a mess. Oh but don’t worry, you can make several dynasty members in case something happens to you! You can even put them in charge of buildings! Well, you can do this with citizens that have had their skills “discovered.”
It’s a shame that it came out to this, but if you were looking into getting Tropico 5, opt to wait until either issues are fixed or it goes on a massive sale. Until then, pick up Tropico 4 which still has plenty of content even without getting the DLC for it!
Tropico 5 Review Score