Game review: Tropico V
April 18, 2018 | 5:22 PM
by Times News Service
Tropico V

Have you ever thought of having it all? A nation that is yours to control, a population who bows to your every whim and fancy, and last, but not least, a sycophantic assistant whose world knows little beyond you? If so, you might want to head to Tropico.

The latest in Kalypso Media’s run-your-own-nation franchise, Tropico V is the latest version of this smash hit game, which has gained a cult following (no pun intended) across the globe.

Tropico V puts you in charge of your own island. You are ‘El Presidente’, the ultimate ruler and master of all that goes on here, whether it’s on PC, Xbox or PlayStation. Tropico is a simulation game that promises hours of fun and definitely provides plenty of value for money.

The premise of the game, while built on the same foundations of its predecessors, has been vastly expanded in Tropico V. You start as the leader of your very own banana republic, one that initially tills and digs up parts of the soil to grow crops and unearth precious minerals to get your economy up and running. You certainly need quite a bit of cash in the beginning: Tropico may harbour dreams of putting itself on the map, but it needs to break free of the yoke of its colonial masters first.

Presidente may want to exercise his will and whim, but he needs to be in a position to do that: Tropico is under the dominion of the Crown — a parody of the stuffy, pompous British lords of old — and as expected, has little sway of its own until it declares independence. To do that, you need to do one of two things — pay the Crown a massive sum of money, or withstand a rather unfriendly invasion.

Once Tropico has declared independence, though, that’s when you can really kick-start your economy. Being a free nation means you can finally take matters into your own hands. Tropico’s fertile lands support a variety of crops, including corn, sugar, tobacco, coffee, cocoa and cotton, while its arable lands can easy host several ranches of cattle, goats, llamas and hogs. There’s a distinctly Caribbean vibe to the game, with the fictional island (or islands, in some cases) taking on a feeling that’s not out of place in Cuba, the inspiration for the idea behind the Tropico series.

Your island, independent though it may be, is still affected by the goings-on around the world. Exiting the colonial era puts you slap-bang in the middle of the World Wars. Opportunity, though, knocks at every corner. With the Allies and the Axis pitted against each other, you have the chance to either funnel vital supplies — which could range from basics such as meat, fruit and milk, to more complex needs which include clothes, tinned supplies and medicines.

As time marches on, the Allies and Axis are replaced by the Soviets and the US, with the European Union, Middle East and China also capable of developing trade with Tropico. But cozying up to one nation does come at a price: China importing too much oil from you may annoy the Middle East, and they might send their choppers to rudely displace you. Be too friendly with the Yanks and you could see Soviet warships appear on the horizon.

The wheel of life continues to turn around Tropico, which you get to share almost single-handedly. Although there are many democratic institutions and social welfare schemes you may wish to bring to your subjects — enshrined in a constitution written and ratified by you — and imparted in the form of several programmes, including subsidised housing, greater food rations, better sensitivity training and a recycling campaign, there are surely those who’d find such feel-good edicts extremely boring. If you are of the latter persuasion, then you’d be the sort who loves issuing crackdowns on his people — charging for food — in keeping with this socialist utopia, food, education and healthcare are free — and have your citizens sing your praises all day long (on penalty of death). Just don’t be surprised if they finally have enough and choose to leave.

Or worse, but that is something you’re going to have to find out by playing Tropico V yourself.

The Short and Skinny

Name: Tropico V

Genre: Simulation, city-building

What it’s about: Rule your own nation, call the shots, and guide your people as El Presidente, the leader of Tropico, the greatest nation there ever was, is, or will be

Produced by: Kalypso Media

Platforms: Windows, OSX, Linux, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Where to buy: Steam Store, Amazon, PlayStation Store, Xbox Marketplace, GOG

IGN Rating: 7.2/10

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