Review for Tropico 6

The Tropico series goes to extremes at times. At first, the second part turned out to be completely devoted to pirates: to hell with the development of the city, let’s plunder and share the spoils! Then the third and fourth returned to the traditions of the original … And then rr-times — and the fifth came out, which changed everything again. We are building in cells, developing since the colonial era instead of the tube fifties, and even military actions are now much more significant. Dynasties appeared, ministers disappeared — in a word, it turned out to be a completely different game!

In the «classic» games of the series, we became president immediately and immediately began to tailor the history of the Tropico state at our discretion. But for the second time in a row, the beginning of the game pushes us into the late colonial era, when we play the role of only the governor, appointed by his royal majesty. No, they won’t force us to kiss the ring after every whim of His Majesty, as in Colonization, but they can remove us from office at any moment. If you do not complete the quests coming from the continent, the mandate will expire — and goodbye, warm place, hello, the main menu and restart the party.

At first, you have to cave in and carry out stupid orders like «to conduct a trade route with the power» or «to build such and such a building» — and this, admittedly, is again the most boring part of the game. Until we accumulate influence in order to arrange a revolution and get rid of the crown, we have to play a very castrated version of Tropico, where ten percent of buildings are available at most. In the colonial era, people do not rebel, but they do not really know how to heal themselves, and only produce alcohol, skins and boards. Entertainment is limited to a tavern, circus and theaters (simple and operatic), teaching even basic literacy is not available at all, and from transport — only your own legs. Why there are no at least horses — some developers know; fortunately, at least rickshaws with carts scurry along the roads quite quickly.

There are three more epochs ahead: first the world wars, then the period of the «cold» war between the USA and the USSR, and then the long-awaited modernity. And each time such a transition dramatically expands your possibilities. So you finally fulfilled all the requirements to secede from the continental state — and immediately the number of available buildings tripled, the economy became more complex, and the inhabitants grew wiser and began to criticize your style of government.

The further, the more there are political forces trying to influence you. Moreover, they are divided in pairs: the communists oppose the capitalists, the religious against the militarists, the green against the industrialists. If you try to please some, you will fall out of favor with others. If you want to remain the ruler of Tropico, you will have to maneuver so that the majority will still vote for you in the elections. It is not necessary to charm all the people without exception: 51% will be enough.

But even this result is not so easy to achieve, because someone will always be dissatisfied. In Tropico 6, it has become especially difficult to please everyone at the same time — even if the almanac is completely transparent for once. You can see which buildings and decrees please each category of the population, and which ones upset. Set up many watchtowers to fend off pirates — get the consequences in the form of a decrease in the level of freedom, without which a revolution is impossible. Build a lot of factories — the green ones will make a strike, and the tourism rating will drop from pollution. If you do not build it, you will fly into the chimney, because, in comparison with the previous parts, the export goods cost much less: you cannot feed yourself from one cigar manufactory.

Additional sources of income are all kinds of extortions (including from the church, educational institutions and hospitals, which was not found in the fifth part in the series) and tourists, which, however, appear only by the third era. They need to build hotels, taverns and entertainment, but they pay much more willingly than the Tropicans.

Sometimes foreign partners throw some money if you manage to maintain good relations with them. They also provide profitable trade routes: individual goods can be manually sent to a specific country, which will offer the best price for them.

And, most importantly, you never know if any of the foreign powers will issue a quest to create a trade route to them. In the later stages of the game, this will only lead to lost profit, but in the colonial era, due to non-compliance with the requirements of the crown, you can lose.

 

So what’s new?

The main change regarding Tropico 5, which was trumpeted at every presentation, is access to several islands at once instead of just one, as in all previous parts of the series. Does it give something new? In general, no. It’s just that now new ways are needed to unite different parts of your power — that’s all that has changed in fact. If earlier the districts were divided simply by long sections of roads, now there are water barriers between them — which means that you need to build first ferry piers, and then bridges. And the metro is now available only within one island: you will have to get over to the other.

In addition, tunnels have appeared, allowing you to pave a path through the mountain, and cable cars that can lift passengers up hills or move from island to island. The impressions of all this happiness are very twofold: on the one hand, we have a lot of different ways to overcome obstacles and pave the way to hard-to-reach places. On the other hand, if we had one island in front of us with an almost flat surface, as before, there would be no point in all these tricks. The new terrain is just a cosmetic addition to the landscape, which from the point of view of game mechanics rather interferes, as it complicates the logistics.

More importantly, the dynasties that appeared in the fifth part have disappeared from Tropico 6, and personally I fully support this.  Returned to the game and ministers, who can now belong to different parties and add the corresponding bonuses to the government of the country. Let’s say a green economist will reduce pollution from factories, and an industrialist will instead increase their output. Both are useful — you just need to decide what is more important to you.

A new character has appeared — a broker who offers almost legal transactions. “Almost” because if no one knows anyway, then what’s the difference, right? The broker allows you to dispose of personal money in a Swiss bank account, which previously lay dead weight and only influenced the final assessment. Now they can also be invested: at least in elections, at least in buildings, at least simply into the treasury or vice versa.

Another new idea is raids. Depending on the era, you can build a pirate lair, a thug camp, a spy academy, or a cyber operations center to raid other countries. This can be rescuing drowning people (with their subsequent transformation into local residents), robbing peaceful ships, searching for treasures, or even stealing wonders of the world. Snatch Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower or St. Basil’s Cathedral — and get a global bonus for them, and the buildings themselves will serve as an excellent bait for tourists.

Digging deeper, there are many more minor changes to be found in Tropico 6. For example, some edicts now have several levels of development: by introducing the obligatory siesta, you will notice that over time it will have less and less impact on the efficiency of citizens, and waste sorting will work more and more efficiently. And these little things are more than enough to make the game feel completely new.

Fortunately, Tropico 6 got rid of many of the shortcomings of its predecessor: now it is really interesting to study the game up and down, trying to create a utopian country named after yourself. We would also return construction without a grid and flexible salary adjustment …

 

Even if you are a fan of the «classic» (1st, 3rd, 4th) Tropico games, the sixth issue still has something to offer you. Although the mechanics of the «five» were taken as a basis, they were carefully finalized with a file, and new ideas were poured quite generously. And if a fifth is sweet to you, then what is the conversation about? The sixth is better in all respects!

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13.9.2020