Published on April 16th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Tropico 4: Modern Times Review
Developer: Kalypso Media USA
Price: USD 19.99
Release Date: March 29,2012
Platform:Xbox 360, PC (reviewed)
The world is a messy place. Forget the mass amounts of pollution, starvation and terrorists that plague its land and seas. Forget, for a moment, that there are plenty of countries out there pointing nuclear missiles at each other, only to fire off those bad boys within a moment’s notice.
Now that I’ve painted that lovely picture, these are exactly the activities which any diplomatic leader may put up with on a daily basis. But not to worry—El Presidente has got it under wraps.
The Tropico 4: Modern Times expansion brings modern disaster and economic turmoil to the island of Tropico. What could possibly bring more tension this speck in the Caribbean? The regular campaign of Tropico 4 focuses around the role of El Presidente, which can be one of 18 selectable characters in the game, each of which houses their own specific attributes. Some are drunkards and Communists, others are entrepreneurs at heart. Whichever way you decide to develop the island, or exploit it with its inhabitants in mind, there is no doubt that you will be ill-prepared to take on world happenings. It is all in how you deal with adversity. Oh and how much you stash away in your Swiss bank account.
As stated before, the Modern Times DLC brings current disasters into the mix. If you thought it was tough to prevent your citizens from protesting the government or local schools, then you will be glad to see a slight mix up in world events.
The content brings more impact to the game’s economy. For example, the commodity price of Crude Oil may decrease by 50 percent. Other things like Beef becoming 50 percent more popular also impact your economy and how you respond to the instability. Opposites of both mention can drive a high producing plant/farm to cut jobs and reduce wages.
Speaking of management, the new content adds characters that grill El Presidente, or provide scummy support. Things like the Panic Meter also play a role of daily happenings. If there is an economic scare or pressures from an offshore oil spill the citizens may start to stir and panic. Once this hits 100, there is a chance of a breakout of some sort. Following the disruption in business, the meter will go back to zero. This leaves many times for you and society to tempt fate.
Adding an in game edict plays a large role in the regular campaign for Tropico. An edict can hold various impacts, whether it is social or economic, and can be activated as long as you’ve got the funds. For Modern Times, these come in the new form. Even such things as Healthcare Reform, Internet Police and the ban of social networks have made an impact on secluded areas of the world. These are amongst 10 of the newly added edicts to the expansion. It was laughable to see such things as “social networks” become one of the social items to ban in the game, but to some countries out there–this is a reality.
The new events add real time tenacity to the game. While you may be building an export oriented empire, the cost of bananas may go down—thus changing your approach and tactics. The oil spill is one example of how the Modern Times DLC brings real world problems and asks, “What would you do?”
The game and DLC offers hours upon hours of gameplay. New to the series, I found myself getting buried in the happenings of my tiny island. Whether it was alleviating a food crisis, or watching out for economic instability—it kept my hands full while avoiding even looking at the face of a clock somewhere.
It is rather easy to play the game as an aggressive communistic leader. Even with balancing ties with the US, it doesn’t often pay out as much as knocking off a few deviating citizens and calling it a day.
The only other real problem I have with the DLC is the price point. The DLC itself on the Xbox LIVE Arcade is 1200 MSP ($15). This price is a little high, but the PC end gets even higher. $19.99? This is countered by the price of USD $39.99 to $29.99, depending on the retailer, for the game itself. I agree that the replay value is quite extensive, and almost endless—but gamers these days might shrug this off as too high. Might? OK, you’re right– that’s way too much for DLC.
The Modern Times DLC offers quite a bit of value. We get a new island and new presidential mishaps. Buildings and other upgrades seem available a lot sooner in this edition, which does help to stay on top of current quickly changing structures of the island’s financials. There are also various added scenarios that will provide you even more island anxiety and fun.
The new characters and missions give a twist to the standard Tropico 4 campaign. Even though the game provides quite a bit more gameplay, it does however fall victim to being way too pricey. The Steam price for it is still sitting at USD $19.99, but it is probable that it will hit a price-cut or sale that the distributor is notorious for. A price cut edict would have been great.
[xrr label=”Rating: 8/10″ rating=8/10]
+ Replay Value
+/- Varied difficulty