City building sims have always been popular on the PC, yet they don’t always port across to consoles very well. It is easier to manage these titles on a PC and incorporating a consoles controller to manage everything sometimes leaves a game feeling messy and difficult to navigate.
Tropico 6 has been out for a while now on Steam and I for one have been counting down the days until the console release. I had so much fun playing Tropico 5 when it was free with PS+ that I hoped the follows up would be just as good, if not better; but was it?
Playing as El Presidente, you take control of a small Caribbean nation taking them from the Colonial Era to Modern Day. To start this journey you are introduced to the game via a very in depth and long tutorial, something which I am glad Kalypso introduced as there is a lot to take on board with this game.
It wasn’t just the tutorial however that was long. Each level that you take on takes quite a while to fulfill all the goals you need to move on and this is great. All too often in games a level will take 15 – 30 minutes to complete before you can move on. Tropico 6 will see you spending a couple of hours on each stage of your journey building up your island with resources, trying to keep your citizens happy whilst at the same time keeping the church and various factions on side.
The first thing that you do notice when you start the game is just how beautiful and rich the graphics are within the game, and the more you zoom in, the more its noticable. Citizens go about their daily lives, trucks drive around delivering materials from one factory to another so they can be used to create more resources and each individual building you build is unique in design and architecture especially housing to keep things nicely varied.
Obviously, the further you progress through the game and the Era’s, the more you will unlock to use within the game, and the more tasks that get thrown at you to complete in order to progress, add money to the accounts or add extra time to your quest. Yes, you are limited to a timescale in which to complete your tasks which counts down, but certain objectives that you complete gives you the opportunity to add to that time if you manage to complete them. If the time runs out, game over obviously, or if you end up running 50k in to debt. Other than that its pretty much an open ended game. Once completing the main task to end the current level you are working on, you can continue on from that point rather than moving on to the next scenario which then really gives you free roam in what you do and how much you want to build up your island paradise at that point. It doesn’t have any effect on following scenarios however.
There were a few issues I did come across with graphics that did start to bug me after a while. Your island paradise can have numerous islands which you need to link via building bridges between them. The main freight trade is via shipping goods in and out of your island, but these ships are a little too big to pass under the bridges, so the you could see their cargo sticking through the road..
Considering the main focus at first is trade routes and its nice to see those ships pouring into your harbours, I think this really needed addressing. Perhaps patch the game the raise the height of the bridges, or allow the bridges to raise as ships pass underneath them?
I’m possibly being a little pedantic, but even at a distance its noticable and for me, it did distract from the beauty of the game.
If you have never played a Tropico game before I can imagine that you would be daunted by the idea of so many options within a game of this genre as well as buildings and tasks that you need to complete. I could be here all day going into everything that the game does offer in the way of management, but everything is nicely contained within a radial menu. Press L2 and it will bring it up, select the build menu from within that radial menu (for instance) and from there you have different industries to choose from. Open up the industry you want and in there are your options to build and then place the building. Some buildings aren’t available from the start obviously, but you will also find buildings for the Era you are playing that you have to research before being able to building them. Luckily the research is instant and costs money to do, so there’s no real waiting involved. Building however does take time.
Tropico 6 does allow you to have freedom in your choice within the game however. It’s not a set routine that you have to adhere to; you can create a communist state easily, or a military dictatorship where human lives only mean more profit for exporting goods for a tidy profit, but be warned that there is always an uprising waiting to happen if you don’t keep your citizens happy. You can also be attacked from other countries in the game if you choose not to keep them happy as well. There is a hell of a lot going on within the game that reading a review of the game may make it sound daunting, but it really isn’t. The thing that Kalypso do really well with their games is to make it easy to learn and understand exactly what you’re doing.
As well as the missions within the game there is a great Sandbox mode which allows you to generate different islands and scenarios for yourself, but you do end up doing the same things. An issue with the game is that it can become repetitive. All of the scenarios you face start to become the same where you basically need to build some buildings, create a road network, export some goods, keep everyone happy etc etc, but it does take a while to start to notice this luckily. A lot of the tasks you need to complete to be able to move on I believe are purposely designed to take up time and just make the whole experience a waiting game. Giving you the demand that you need to have 1,000 citizens on your island seemed to take an age. No matter what I tried to do to increase the population I still had to wait for what felt like ages, all the time concentrating on what can be described as side missions and just letting their population rise painfully slowly.
Tropico 6 does improve vastly over the previous title. Yes, there are issues with the game that I picked out, but do ya know what? It’s a fantastic title to play and does offer hours and hours of fun for everyone. I would suggest grabbing a copy to anyone without question and for me, I give it a solid 8/10.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were supplied with a review copy of the game. This has in no way influenced my views on the game as per our Review Policy**