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User review: A Tropico 5 story from 30 minutes of gameplay

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I offer what follows as a sort of alternative user-review of Tropico 5, based on a 30-or-so minute slice of gameplay from partway through the campaign. If you have an interest in city-building sim games, and even if you don't, I can highly recommend this excellent game. Read on, comrades. Read on.



On the small tropical island of Boa-Bao, a booming sovereign state just emerging from the era of two devastating World Wars that had (luckily) passed it by, the islanders lived a peaceful and plentiful existence.


It was a boom-time in Boa-Bao. While the new superpowers of the USSR and the USA fought a cold war overseas, Boa-Bao grew its economy by exporting all manner of goods. Wages were high in virtually every sector of the economy and, while the island's own education system could have done with an expansion, it attracted plenty of foreign workers to its shores, eager to build up their own lot in life. Migrants were always welcome in Boa-Bao, and integrated well. There were usually always high paying jobs available for the taking, even if you might have to live on the streets while El Presidente got some more homes built by an already stretched construction industry.


In spite of a few grumbles, El Presidente was well loved by his people. Despite declaring Boa-Bao an Atheist State that refused to pander to the church or religious tendencies of its inhabitants, his people otherwise adored their free media, open democracy, progressive enactments (such as the abolition of child labour and a statewide literacy programme), high wages and plentiful entertainment venues. 


Then one day, the worst happened. The USSR's and the USA's cold war began to "hot-up". Nuclear war, and with it the destruction of the planet, was on the horizon. Suddenly, the tiny island of Boa-Bao was thrust into the international spotlight. If it too could become a nuclear power, it could join the USA and USSR on the world stage, and mediate a withdrawal of hostilities between the two superpowers. 


However, with the world going "boom" in less than 24 months, time was not on Boa-Bao's - or the world's - side. Boa-Bao had yet to discover the wheel(!), and becoming a nuclear power seemed a grand ambition even with it's booming economy.


El Presidente quickly instituted sweeping reforms. All surplus effort was suddenly channeled towards research and invention, while a third beach was appropriated from nature to house a new industrial centre focused on exporting manufactured, high value goods in order to raise money for continued investment in research and development.


Meanwhile, El Presidente's advisors sought out ways of stalling the imminent Apocalypse.


For instance: increasing exports of uranium would allow other states to begin their own researches into nuclear power and weapons. The resulting instability would dissuade either of the superpowers from pushing the red-button in the near future. And so El Presidente, ever the humanist, began a large scale Uranium mining industry, buying the world another 24 months of breathing space (literally).


One of El Presidente's advisors noted that a nearby country was facing a civil war, which had displaced an unspecified number of civilians, and proposed that El Presidente should welcome the refugees to its shores. This would calm tensions in the region and buy the world another year or so before the USA and the USSR killed humanity. El Presidente's heart went out to these poor, displaced people and he offered them asylum. Besides; El Presidente's booming economy was always hungry for workers and the indigenous population seemed to think they were giant panda's or something... They simply weren't getting with the baby-making in any serious way. (He had contemplated outlawing contraception, but thought better of it after considering the impact such a measure might have on his polls.)


A few months later, and an election was called. El Presidente's ratings were at 70%, so an easy victory against the inexperienced challenger was assured. El Presidente noted the numbers and decided to begin imports of another exotic foodstuff for the Island's inhabitants (the citizens of Boa-Bao like having a diverse diet, you see). "That should boost my ratings enough to make winning a certainty" he thought.


And then they came. 


With 4 scant months left until the election was due to be held, Boa-Bao's population doubled. A ship had arrived, delivering the promised refugees to Boa-Bao's shores. An economy set up to maintain a population of 250, while growing at a sustainable rate, suddenly became a nation struggling to feed, house, employ, and care for a population of more than double that size. 


Boa-Bao needed more of everything, and it needed it yesterday. 


El Presidente immediately began a mass housing project. Tenement buildings, while uncomfortable and of low quality, would at least put a roof over the heads of the arriving refugees. Large portions of the island were suddenly given over to gigantic estates meant to house these poor souls. They also needed hospitals and clinics, places of employment, schools, entertainment, policing, everything. Construction came at a significant premium: everything had to be bought "flat pack" to enable near instant construction - to be clear, and with apologies for breaking the fiction for a moment, but I had to buy "quick build" on all these buildings which costs more - and the tiny island was forced to go into sovereign debt to finance the rapid expansion. But even then the refugees seemed to prefer setting up temporary slums near the port at which they had arrived.


While they made their way slowly inland, towards the new city that had been built to accommodate them, they grumbled and complained. One might understand their dissatisfaction. They had been promised salvation. They had received a dusty patch of sand on an industrial beach to call home.


El Presidente fumed "Why aren't they moving to the purpose built city on the other side of the island?!" No immediate answers to this conundrum were apparent.


El Presidente's ratings plummeted 50 points to 22%, with 3 months left before the citizens took to the polls.


Over the next few months, the refugees slowly came to realise that there was in fact somewhere for them to live and work built just a few miles from where they moped. El Presidente's ratings began to climb to acceptable levels once again.


Then, on the eve of the election, with 48% approval ratings, El Presidente's right hand man, Penultimo, approached El Presidente with a plan.


"We can do a bit of a fudge on the numbers, El Presidente" he said. "No one will notice if a few of the voters' ballots end up on your pile by mistake".


Seeing a way out of his current dilemma at the cost of his ideals but, confident that his political opponent would not handle the Apocalyptic future almost at our door and therefore with the greater good in mind, El Presidente authorised the vote-rigging. He then shed a tear over his abandoned democratic principles.


The results came in shortly thereafter. 49% to 51%. El Presidente had lost the election. Before the devastating body-blow could even sink in, he had been unceremoniously booted to the menu screen.


Game over.




Try again. 



In hindsight, I realise I had completely forgotten that I could have enacted Martial Law, which would have put the election on-hold at the risk of an uprising. I might try that if I end up in the same situation next time.


But I hope you have enjoyed this little story from the tiny island nation of Boa-Bao, and that it has shed some light on the mechanics and systems in the game. I also hope that it convinces you to try this fantastic game out. It's amazing that the PS4 already has such a diverse library of games to choose from, and I hope that more similar games grace its hard drives in the future.


Now, back to dictator-ing.


Edit: Oh! And I know that the fiction I have painted above may not be exactly in-line with the game lore. To be honest, I can't remember where the refugees came from, or why exporting uranium would extend the deadline, exactly. Some artistic license has been taken, which I hope will be forgiven.

Edited by StrickenBiged

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Very nice! Paints a good picture of what to expect! I do hope there is a "free build" mode though.


I've downloaded the demo but not played it yet, the one thing missing from PS3 was a game like this, love city builders and "theme" games (miss the old Theme Hospital, Roller Coaster Tycoons etc even Constructor or whatever it was on PS1!!)


Looking forward to hitting the demo and more than likely getting the full game.


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Lol, it sounds hilarious. I'll look into this game.


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