by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
I didn’t get to see any multiplayer in action, but am very interested to see how it will turn out. The potential is there to build a sprawling metropolis combining multiple cities together, sharing resources and living in harmony. Alternatively players could aggressively expand and fight over space and resources. Hopefully a mixture of the two will be viable.
A global trade system has now been implemented. You will be able to import and export goods all over the world, but you had better make sure you have good diplomacy standings with them. For example, to export pharmaceuticals to the EU, they will need to like you. Hopefully you researched Table Manners on the research tree (I’m not lying, this is important), so that foreign delegations will be more inclined to visit and conduct talks with you. You will also need to research things like ‘Inferiority Complex’ to be able to construct tall buildings. There is plenty of Tropico style humour here, and it extends through most of the menus.
The main aim of the game is still to rule over your island for as long as possible. Starting in Colonial times your goal will be to declare independence from the crown, and then survive the consequences when you do. Running out your mandate before this happens will result in a game over. Losing any subsequent elections will result in a game over too. Although you may just want to initiate martial law until such a time that you know you’re going to win. Normal political tactics don’t really apply in Tropico, which makes for endless amusing circumstances.
Once you have declared independence, you will be able to begin writing up your constitution, which will expand throughout the ages. You will be deciding things like political rights, who gets to vote, and how the state is run. You will be determining citizenship and labour policies. Each decision you make has immediate effects, but will also make more subtle changes in the long run. Only allowing males to vote will increase the influence of military over time, as ‘masculine, militaristic’ policies gain leverage.
Adapting your playstyle
As expected, Tropico 5 is shaping up to be the most expansive of the series so far. But not just in terms of the number of buildings and the size of the island, but in terms of scope and scale. There are many more gameplay mechanics on offer, and the promise that you will have to adapt your playstyle constantly to progress, rather than relying on just a few tricks to succeed, is an enticing one. It seems increasingly likely that I will be losing my Tropico virginity when the game releases later this year.