Tropico 5

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Tropico 5 review
Sergio Brinkhuis


Still getting better, hooked all over again

Building, ruling (cntd.)

As with the previous games, El Presidente does not age. He will last for as long as you need him, or at least for as long as you don’t get him shot during an uprising. Yet you don’t have to keep him in office. Every now and then, the game surprises you with news about a new bastard child and offers you a choice to add it to your dynasty or ignore its very existence. Before long, you have a whole roster of possible rulers who can be leveled up using the money on your Swiss bank account. If you do this smartly, you can shape each to serve in different situations, having one rule green and democratically during the good times and the other with an iron fist when things are a little shaky. Anyone not currently in the driver’s seat can be used during diplomatic missions or act as building manager, applying their special skills for the betterment of a specific factory, mine or farm or in some cases the areas around them.

Tools of the trade

Like any craftsman, dictators too have ‘tools of the trade’. Fans of the series will be familiar with the edicts that allow you to gently nudge your population in a direction of your choice or guide their happiness. Issue a literacy program to increase education levels, institute a ban on contraceptives to get more babies... it’s all very straightforward, but there is a twist.

Newly introduced to Tropico 5 is the constitution which adds a little more... oomph. You can see the constitution as the Viagra version of edicts. Where the effects of edicts can at times be subtle, tampering with the constitution is often far more direct and longer lasting. Change the constitutional article on Citizenship from Immigrants Nation to Visa Program and the influx of unskilled workers stops dead while skilled workers will continue to trickle through customs. You will either enjoy or regret the effects of that choice for the next 5 years as that is the cooldown time for any changes you make.

New to Tropico 5 are eras and research. You now rule through four distinct eras, starting at the turn of the previous century in the General era, then through to the World Wars and Cold War eras and finally ending up in the Modern era. Each era allows access to a new tab for both edicts and constitution. For the latter, the era-related options become only available after researching a specific tech, after which you can add three new articles. Some edicts are available immediately, while others will take a little more time to issue as you wait for the accompanying research to be finalized. Usually, progression to the next era also depends on research, requiring you to obtain a particular technology and then applying that in one way or another.

From strength to strength

If Tropico 4 gave you the impression that the franchise was losing some of its shine, then Tropico 5 shows you differently. The bleached, pasty looking aesthetics of the previous games have been replaced by lush, tropically warm ones that suit the game much better. The eras add flavour, research brings structure and dynasties give you a reason to come back again and again.

It all blends into a winning mix that sees Tropico going from strength to strength delivering a fresh take on a concept that has captivated city-builder fans since the turn of the century. More than a decade after its inception, Tropico is still getting better and has me hooked all over again.


fun score


Eras add flavour, research brings structure and dynasties give you a reason to come back.


A few minor quest bugs.