Tropico 4 is the continuation of the Tropico series that focuses on building up a thriving, happy economy and populous on a series of tropical islands. Like the previous Tropico games, Tropico 4 combines real time strategy city building and resource management with various objectives throughout each scenario that are all informed by the game's satirical Cold War era politics and caricatures. Unlike Tropico 3, Tropico 4 adds an overarching story to its campaign mode in which you play as a leader attempting to gain world recognition for the nation of Tropico.
The campaign allows for the player to any one of 18 pre-created avatars or a custom created one through 20 missions over 10 different maps. The goal is simple, to create a tropical paradise, and to ruthlessly oppose all who stand in your way.
Every campaign mission starts with Penultimo giving you a list of primary objectives that must be completed before progressing to the next mission. Secondary missions are handed out throughout the mission by Penultimo or any of the other advisers through exclamation points over the corresponding building in your city. These missions typically involve things like getting your treasury above a certain amount, or to gather a certain amount of resources, or to reach a certain level of happiness in specific categories.
The campaign initially spends most of its focus teaching the basics of the gameplay, but as the game moves on the story elements take a larger presence. Both international politics and individual greed play a large role in the progression of the story. The USA and USSR aren't the only outside factors you need to worry about, as the EU, China, and parts of the Middle East have decided to meddle in your plans as well. Natural disasters like tornados, volcanos, and drought have also a chance of messing things up. These factors help to make every mission play out differently, as outside influences add positive and negative stipulations to each mission based on the tempo of the story.
Tropico 4 plays much like the other games in the Tropico series. As the absolute dictator, your job is to build up a small island presence into a big productive metropolis while lining your own pockets in the process. This is done through a combination of the wise spending of money and passing of prudent policy.
When building up the island from scratch, a tech tree must be followed before many buildings can be built. For instance high school is needed to train skilled workers in order to have the ability to build more advanced buildings like the power plant, which is needed to build buildings that require power.
A healthy money supply is needed in order to fund these projects. Money can be gained through a number of ways. The most common is through exporting of natural resources. Farms, mines, and lumber mills need all be built as well as a sturdy infrastructure of roads and a dock before a steady supply of money can be obtained. Money can also be raised from the tourism industry after building a way for tourists to get to your island and building attractions for them to spend thier money on. Other then that, you can tax your constituents or get handouts from the world powers. This is generally accomplished through edicts.
Edicts are easy to enact trade offs that cover any number of social, political, and financial problems. Every edict has a positive and a negative affect to help balance out your economy. If you are rolling in dough but the people are unhappy you can enact the Social Security edict and start to pay for your people's retirement. If you are running out of money and can spare a little civil unrest you can enact the Nuclear Testing edict and get paid from a super power while sacrificing your environment.
If you do too much to make people upset then they will begin to work towards your removal from office, either politically or militarily. As El Presidente you are subject to regular elections. It is game over if you get voted out of office or if your palace gets over run. There are multiple ways to make sure only you have any say in the islands future.
The most direct way is to simply keep your people happy enough for them to continue to vote for you in elections. Clicking on civilians allows you to see what problems people are having so that you can work to keep them happy. Not all civilians think the same and they all are a part of different factions depending on whats important to them. People in the religious faction want churches and low crime. Environmentalists want low pollution levels, and capitalists want low taxes.
When that fails you can always keep a well armed force by your side to help fight any rebel armies that might form. Some edicts can be passed to detect upcoming rebel attacks and quell rebellions before they even begin.
Tropico 4 adds more than just a coherent and contentious story-line. Tropico 4 includes many tweaks and additions to the core gameplay of Tropico 3. The biggest tweak comes from the ability to import goods from other countries. This allows you to transform your entire island into a sweatshop, transforming imported into jewelry, furniture, or weapons to be exported for a healthy profit.
The advisers have been given a makeover as well, with each one getting a very exaggerated personality and a cartoon styled portrait. They also now regularly give challenges through exclamation points throughout the city which can be completed for bonus credits. These advisers are even more helpful than in Tropico 3 to make the game more accessible.
In addition to that they have added a number of buildings to aid in various ways. The new Ministry building being the biggest change of them all. With the new ministry building you can appoint regular civilians into seats of power, like the Minister of Economics or the Minister of Education. Having people in these seats is required for enacting many of the edicts, so keeping the ministry fully employed with skilled workers is very important. The Horticulture Station can be built as well, which increases the price on export crops and allows for a rapid regrowth of forests. There are also tons of new buildings to open new ways to generate money like the Stock Exchange, Shopping mall, and Aqua Park.
Modern Times - This is a single player campaign with an additional 12 new missions. Content includes a timeline stretching from the modern day into the future, and 30 new buildings including skyscrapers, organic ranches and biofarms.
Plantador - This piece of content DLC allows the creation of Plantations.
Junta - This piece of content DLC allows the creation of a bunker.
Quick-dry cement - This piece of content DLC allows the creation of the Cement Factory building and a quick build avatar trait.
Penultimo - Primary adviser and suck up
Generalissimo Santana - Friend who helped you rise to power
Comrade Vasquez - Level headed loyal citizen
General Rodriguez - Mustached military man
Antonio Lopez - Money hungry capitalist
Sunny Flowers - Hippy eco activist
Miss Pineapple - Sexually provocative intellectual
El Diablo - Ugly punk nationalist