Inscribed layer

The mechanics of the game is quite complex. There are various external factors the player has to interact with. The game is a rough simulation of how to rule a small country in the caribbean. The game’s goal to see how long your country and reputation lasts, while maintaining order and stability in the country. The look and feel of the game responds well to how the player should go about playing the game. The game set-up allows the player to control their resources and control the type of tenants they want. After the player chooses the island they want the landscape and graphics are rendered well with a lot of detail.  The game has no general plot, it basically gives you ultimate freedom on how you want to run your island. The controls on where to build and what areas you want to dig or setup any building or factory is represented on a grid structure that color codes what type of area is good for a specific resource or location. The amount of data and statistics that the game engine runs on is amazing. Every aspect of an island has been broken down into segments that can be manipulated in the game. Playing through and understanding what my island can do was a little difficult to grasp all at once when the game started. I had to keep track of how to maintain my long term based on the island gives me. I could see my horizon of intent increasing with more options. Building relationships with international figures was a good addition to either increase your profit and also build an alliance. As long as the player completes the mini challenge or quest

Dynamic Layer

Once the game starts and you begin to build from your resources the mechanics of the game kick in. I had a island that was rich in bauxite and some iron, so I capitalized on the minerals as a natural resource to create weapons and build more factories. I figured I would want to make as much money as possible. The options in the games are bound to the island and what you can do as a dictator or ruler. The game started to get fun when the satisfaction levels of the people were measured. The more factories I build destroying vegetation, I could a spike in ecologist that were against it. Generally, trying to make money and keeping the people happy was interesting to juggle. I found that powering the cities and homes were an important factor in running an effective country. The main interests came from electricity and roads. Having the people react and in different ways was interesting to see develop over time. Any major factory or decision I made for political reasons, there was always a faction of people that were against it. I tried to balance the the overall public relation and tried not to go past 50% of disagreement among the people.

Cultural layer

The cultural aspect of the game isn’t so much as a dictator themed game, but just a world building simulator game. The “culture” of the game stems from a long line of world building simulator games like sims, rollercoaster tycoon, civilization, rome, etc. Tropico has the same feel to it when playing. There major and minor occurrences that happen during the game, and based on the player’s own cultural influence, they can run a country like North Korea or like a capitalist society. The Game makes you start off as a lowly dictator that could turn into a major economic power if played correctly. The game although might seem a little too similar to civilization or other world building simulator games. I don’t really see a die hard following of Tropico, unlike Starcraft or Sims. The cultural impact of the game, is something that might be unique to a small demographic of players. The game however captures the response of citizens quite well and keeps the dictator in check of their decisions. If the people are not happy they can have a coup or revolt and overthrow the player. The reaction of people in the game creates a special unique culture within the game. The game can be used as a historical demonstration when dictators lose control of their country or island. The game has nice message behind the ways to win and lose. I like how the “happiness” and overall satisfaction of people is a constant theme the game revolves around after a certain time. There are always people that will not like the decision I made, but I have to come to terms with it to attain larger goal that will eventually lower the people’s disagreement. Much like in reality, there is a latency effect. The plan won’t take action immediately, but overtime and with accumulation of money or resources, the plan will work.

3 thoughts on “Tropico 4 review

  • November 12, 2016 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    TROPICO 4

    Civilization, Age of Empires and SimCity are enduring standards in the industry; considered by many to be the bar by which other empire-building and construction management simulators are measured. Tropico 4 has successfully managed to earn its place among these classics, courtesy of a few key elements that make stand out- for better or for worse.
    On the lush Caribbean paradise of Tropico 4, The Cold War is alive and well. The U.S.A and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are undisputed Superpowers overshadowing all politics on the world stage. You control “El Presidente” the cruel or benevolent dictator of Tropico; a nascent and eponymously named banana republic, where the scope of your responsibilities entail everything from city planning to social engineering and political manipulation. There are factions to appease, a military to raise, natural disasters to endure, and a Swiss Bank Account in desperate need of “tender” ministrations (pun intended). Your island adventure is accompanied by jaunty Caribbean beats, satirical caricatures, and a dialog style which clearly indicates how firmly placed in their collective cheeks the Haemimont’s writers tongues were when Tropico 4 was made.

    The Inscribed Layer
    Tropico 4 is predominantly a construction puzzle and resource management game but politics is the method to all the madness. Work site and location-specific advantages are scattered across Tropico’s island, which encourages strategic placement of the various structural resource centers you are tasked with building throughout the game (e.g. Fisherman’s Wharfs and Ranches benefit by close proximity to Salt Mines, which in turn must be built near salt deposits). There are up to three tiers of advancement for developing each particular resource, which collectively contribute to the wealth and well-being of your city-state. The political gameplay of liaising with myriad factions will ultimately decide if your tiny empire will be sanctioned, or overthrown and if you get to retire as a wealthy political figure or be toppled as an example to aspiring despots everywhere.
    Vibrant colors, clear skies, lush vegetation, sparkling sands and translucent waters establish a rich canvas upon which to build your bastion of industry and wealth. Caribbean instrumental salsa is the signature theme music that immerses players and constantly reinforces the setting (though admittedly, it can at times be something of a distraction). Architectural and environmental elements are structured in a thoughtful way, with a tilt-shift aesthetic that greatly emphasizes your God-like top down view of the game-world. Tropico islanders are of course proportionately small, while still being distinctive enough to imply individuality. El Presidente’s avatar sports a postage stamp-like image based on the actual appearance of certain historical leaders), and players get a few in-game perks on the side, based on who they choose to be the boss.
    However, it’s the Faction leaders who are the real stars here. Each possesses their own satirical jeu de mots influenced name, outrageously unique caricature portrait, and outlandishly voice-acted style of speech (It’s worth noting that El Presidente is by comparison rather bland. His avatar lacks the signature cartoonish stylization that makes each Faction leader so amusing and at times so annoying).
    Tropico 4 is a strategy game where the player assumes god-like dominion over his island inhabitants. Your ability to control its many elements would be severely hampered without access to top-down strategic map that is common in this genre of computer gaming (your mentors quickly make a point of explaining away the God’s eye game mechanic as a “Secret Spy Satellite”).
    The overarching narrative is one of the simplest aspect of this game. The player’s neophyte dictator is given a rundown island and taken under the wing of an esteemed mentor/patron. Advisors and Faction leaders make their needs known over the course of your municipal adventuring, and the status of your coffers is always there as a reminder of your fiscal aspirations. El Presidente’s rise to power is sketched out in the broadest of terms with opportunities and complications constantly filling in blanks until the endgame is reached.

    The Dynamic Layer
    Third and second person interactions provide information. A mouse-controlled interface accesses pop-up tools with detailed accountings, and is used to implement the building of structures or shaping of environments.
    Gold Mines unlock the manufacture of Jewelry Factories. Similarly, Logging Camps are prerequisite to Lumber Mills, which then allow the making of Furniture Factories. Industrialization is structured around linear tech tree development, where investing in “A” opens the option to create “B”, which at times further allows you to build “C” for even greater advantages. The development of other natural resources is equally straightforward, and this pattern recurs throughout the game.
    Control of the flyby camera is not intuitive (perhaps due to the fact that the game was released in 2011), but distinctive action icons (which hover over areas or citizens as a prompt for challenging opportunities) do an excellent job of enhancing the player’s situational awareness.
    It is unclear if the same A.I. that controls natural disasters (examples include: fires, tornadoes, drought & hurricanes), are also responsible for the behavior of unruly mobs, peasant revolts, and mercenary raids. But Tropica 4 does appear to generate calamitous events with an annoying regularity (possibly because cataclysms are new to the series).
    Tropico 4 is inspired by history. Sly winks to the audience and just a dash of realism completely eschews allegory; instead embracing grand scale parody and the skillful use of satire. Every nation, each Faction, their respective emissaries, and the myriad radio blurbs are all treated in an irreverent and knowing manner. The undercurrent of social critique successfully enhances the game experience, instead of overwhelming it.

    The Cultural Layer
    Tropico 4 features: tsunamis, political assassination, jailing protesters, voter suppression, missile launches, bribery, and embezzlement while also revolving around the cartoon caricaturization of Cuban culture and iconoclastic Latino figureheads. So the fact that some members of the gaming community find it controversial should surprise no one.
    And yet, Haemimont Games appears to have made a genuine effort to keep things “family friendly”, so certain themes (like the illicit drug trade) remain notably absent, despite regular requests for drug pack DLC by Tropico’s fanbase (modding community notwithstanding, of course).
    Tropico 4’s music is performed by Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra, Johannes Linstead and Tumbao – Pa’Gozar. For a time, it was available online in digital format, but adaptation to film or Television is unlikely. Enthusiasm remains active, and a strong enough market warranted Tropico 5’s release in May of 2014, offering competitive and cooperative multiplayer for the first time in the series’ history. It and assorted expansions are available on Steam, GOG (Good Old Games), Xbox Games and the Playstation Network.

  • November 12, 2016 at 8:38 pm
    Permalink

    Tropico 4: Saturday Class

    Observations from today’s Class review

    • Tropico 4’s expansively detailed, historical theme immerses the player in Caribbean flavor and establishes a sense of being involved.
    • The puzzle solving challenges are presented playfully; almost making you forget all the graph reading, number crunching, and resource management- tasks that I might otherwise consider ‘chores’.
    • A game this detailed and comprehensive does itself a disservice by providing a single brief tutorial. The copious amounts of data can easily overwhelm; discouraging beginners from learning to enjoy the game.
    • Procedural development follows a predictable pattern which repeats itself throughout the game. Tech trees are formulaic “A” allows “B” which then allows “C”. It’s easily learned but tedious at times.
    • Adding a pause option to Tropico 4 made up for the counterintuitive mouse & keyboard camera control. The option to give careful consideration during comprehensive decision was much appreciated.
    • It’s unclear why the game designers opted not to apply the same satirical political cartoonification to El Presidente that they did to every faction leader. The inconsistency was curious and mildly distracting.
    • The tiny, banana republic cultural setting offered a unusual insight to the Cold War that was refreshingly different than the usual Superpowers perspective of the U.S. & U.S.S.R.
    • Tropico 4 addresses quite a bit of controversial subject matter, yet it still by design manages to remain very much in the camp of family friendly entertainment.
    • The mix of parody, cynicism and reality is a little too off-putting for some (as is often the case when satire is part of a storytelling equation).

  • November 13, 2016 at 1:53 pm
    Permalink

    TROPICO 4
    Civilization, Age of Empires and SimCity are enduring standards in the industry; considered by many to be the bar by which other empire-building and construction management simulators are measured. Tropico 4 has successfully managed to earn its place among these classics, courtesy of a few key elements that make stand out- for better or for worse.
    On the lush Caribbean paradise of Tropico 4, The Cold War is alive and well. The U.S.A and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are undisputed Superpowers overshadowing all politics on the world stage. You control “El Presidente” the cruel or benevolent dictator of Tropico; a nascent and eponymously named banana republic, where the scope of your responsibilities entail everything from city planning to social engineering and political manipulation. There are factions to appease, a military to raise, natural disasters to endure, and a Swiss Bank Account in desperate need of “tender” ministrations (pun intended). Your island adventure is accompanied by jaunty Caribbean beats, satirical caricatures, and a dialog style which clearly indicates how firmly placed in their collective cheeks the Haemimont’s writers tongues were when Tropico 4 was made.

    The Inscribed Layer
    Tropico 4 is predominantly a construction puzzle and resource management game but politics is the method to all the madness. Work site and location-specific advantages are scattered across Tropico’s island, which encourages strategic placement of the various structural resource centers you are tasked with building throughout the game (e.g. Fisherman’s Wharfs and Ranches benefit by close proximity to Salt Mines, which in turn must be built near salt deposits). There are up to three tiers of advancement for developing each particular resource, which collectively contribute to the wealth and well-being of your city-state. The political gameplay of liaising with myriad factions will ultimately decide if your tiny empire will be sanctioned, or overthrown and if you get to retire as a wealthy political figure or be toppled as an example to aspiring despots everywhere.
    Vibrant colors, clear skies, lush vegetation, sparkling sands and translucent waters establish a rich canvas upon which to build your bastion of industry and wealth. Caribbean instrumental salsa is the signature theme music that immerses players and constantly reinforces the setting (though admittedly, it can at times be something of a distraction). Architectural and environmental elements are structured in a thoughtful way, with a tilt-shift aesthetic that greatly emphasizes your God-like top down view of the game-world. Tropico islanders are of course proportionately small, while still being distinctive enough to imply individuality. El Presidente’s avatar sports a postage stamp-like image based on the actual appearance of certain historical leaders), and players get a few in-game perks on the side, based on who they choose to be the boss.
    However, it’s the Faction leaders who are the real stars here. Each possesses their own satirical jeu de mots influenced name, outrageously unique caricature portrait, and outlandishly voice-acted style of speech (It’s worth noting that El Presidente is by comparison rather bland. His avatar lacks the signature cartoonish stylization that makes each Faction leader so amusing and at times so annoying).
    Tropico 4 is a strategy game where the player assumes god-like dominion over his island inhabitants. Your ability to control its many elements would be severely hampered without access to top-down strategic map that is common in this genre of computer gaming (your mentors quickly make a point of explaining away the God’s eye game mechanic as a “Secret Spy Satellite”).
    The overarching narrative is one of the simplest aspect of this game. The player’s neophyte dictator is given a rundown island and taken under the wing of an esteemed mentor/patron. Advisors and Faction leaders make their needs known over the course of your municipal adventuring, and the status of your coffers is always there as a reminder of your fiscal aspirations. El Presidente’s rise to power is sketched out in the broadest of terms with opportunities and complications constantly filling in blanks until the endgame is reached.

    The Dynamic Layer
    Third and second person interactions provide information. A mouse-controlled interface accesses pop-up tools with detailed accountings, and is used to implement the building of structures or shaping of environments.
    Gold Mines unlock the manufacture of Jewelry Factories. Similarly, Logging Camps are prerequisite to Lumber Mills, which then allow the making of Furniture Factories. Industrialization is structured around linear tech tree development, where investing in “A” opens the option to create “B”, which at times further allows you to build “C” for even greater advantages. The development of other natural resources is equally straightforward, and this pattern recurs throughout the game.
    Control of the flyby camera is not intuitive (perhaps due to the fact that the game was released in 2011), but distinctive action icons (which hover over areas or citizens as a prompt for challenging opportunities) do an excellent job of enhancing the player’s situational awareness.
    It is unclear if the same A.I. that controls natural disasters (examples include: fires, tornadoes, drought & hurricanes), are also responsible for the behavior of unruly mobs, peasant revolts, and mercenary raids. But Tropica 4 does appear to generate calamitous events with an annoying regularity (possibly because cataclysms are new to the series).
    Tropico 4 is inspired by history. Sly winks to the audience and just a dash of realism completely eschews allegory; instead embracing grand scale parody and the skillful use of satire. Every nation, each Faction, their respective emissaries, and the myriad radio blurbs are all treated in an irreverent and knowing manner. The undercurrent of social critique successfully enhances the game experience, instead of overwhelming it.

    The Cultural Layer
    Tropico 4 features: tsunamis, political assassination, jailing protesters, voter suppression, missile launches, bribery, and embezzlement while also revolving around the cartoon caricaturization of Cuban culture and iconoclastic Latino figureheads. So the fact that some members of the gaming community find it controversial should surprise no one.
    And yet, Haemimont Games appears to have made a genuine effort to keep things “family friendly”, so certain themes (like the illicit drug trade) remain notably absent, despite regular requests for drug pack DLC by Tropico’s fanbase (modding community notwithstanding, of course).
    Tropico 4’s music is performed by Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra, Johannes Linstead and Tumbao – Pa’Gozar. For a time, it was available online in digital format, but adaptation to film or Television is unlikely. Enthusiasm remains active, and a strong enough market warranted Tropico 5’s release in May of 2014, offering competitive and cooperative multiplayer for the first time in the series’ history. It and assorted expansions are available on Steam, GOG (Good Old Games), Xbox Games and the Playstation Network.

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