Whatcha playing Ian? (Part 1)


OK OK, I know I’ve been blogging a bit too much about Nintendo recently. So let me talk about what games I’ve been hooked on to. Because if you’ve ever spoke to me in the last six months, I haven’t touched a console in ages… OK I have played some Ouya, but I’m talking about the mainstream stuff here. My Wii, 360 and PS3 are covered in my dust as my PC is currently my platform of choice for gaming at the moment, and possibly the future too as the next generation consoles don’t really appeal to me. So what have I played on the PC? Well as you may tell from one of my previous blogs I had an addiction to SimCity 2013. Recently I managed to pick up every single Tropico game for under £15! Tropico, Tropico Pirate Cove, Tropico 3 and Tropico 4. These are simulation games where you rule a small island in the caribbean where you play as the island’s Presidente. Think of it as Sim City Cuba, really! It’s Sim City Cuba! And it’s pretty damn good! Unlike the SimCity games, Tropico introduces politics, where you can make alliances to the US or Russia (or both providing you don’t tell the other!) and you can pass edicts where you can provide free food to the homeless, or extort money from people constructing buildings and putting it into a Swiss bank account!


The first Tropico game, which came in a pack with Tropico 2 on GOG.com’s Government Shutdown Offer, is one of the better games in the Tropico series. SimCity 2013 boasts a system where people live out their lives and do their job that builds up the city and world; well Tropico did this 12 years in advance! Each Tropician have their own job that they have, and everything is time based; meaning that when you want a building made, it doesn’t just appear instantly, you have to wait for a contractor walk over to the area where said building is going to be, then any trees in the way need to be cut down, and the land needs to be flattened down before scaffolding is put up and the building begins to be built. As mentioned above, you can control the politics in the game, and you have to keep your Tropicians happy, otherwise you’ll get beaten in the next election, get caught up in a coup, or get yourself assassinated!


The second game, Tropico Pirate Cove, takes place in the 17th century when pirates ruled the caribbean. You play as a captain who has taken over a small island for himself, and scenarios are set out for you such as trying to round up captives to get work done to trying to build a new ship to find new loot. Personally, this is my least favourite in the series. The concept is great, SimCity Pirates! But it doesn’t work in execution. The tutorial doesn’t work so well as the first game explained everything through voice acting, this new game doesn’t, and there’s A LOT to read, possibly a bit too much. In similar ways to the new SimCity game, everything in Pirate Cove needs to be connected to a road, which isn’t the case with the first game. Very irritating when you want to place said build somewhere before putting down road. Great idea, terrible execution…


I picked up Tropico 3 and 4 from the Kalypso Humble Bundle Weekly Offer. Tropico 3 is the first game in the series that gets into 3D. Kind of like how Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 went 3D; and before you say it kids I mean 3D as in polygons, not stereoscopic 3D. Not only does this game get a graphical makeover, it now introduces a new gameplay concept where you can control your presidente as an avatar and make speeches and public showings at places like churches and farms to improve publicity and industry performance which adds a whole new way to play the game as you as Presidente can personally effect your island.

Compared with Pirate Cove it’s better, but it feels “Blander” than the first game, even with the new “Avatar” feature, it just doesn’t “feel” as good as the first game. That and some of the building are missing in this game, which is a shame.


And finally there’s Tropico 4, the latest game in the series. This game took Tropico 3 and made it a lot better! The building that were removed in 3 are back in 4, and more! you can get different power stations, and there’s now more control over exports and imports. Different countries will pay you different amounts of money for goods, so you need to keep up with the economics so that you don’t lose out on maximum money making, especially if you’re siding with capitalism, which I am, America! F**k Yeah! They even bring back scenarios and missions from Pirate Cove, these appear in the game as red and blue explanation mark icons above buildings. This time around there isn’t just America and Russia to side with. There’s England, Afghanistan, and China that you can side with too. In my current game, the sheiks are a little annoyed as I’m not exporting enough cigars to them, so I better begin putting more tobacco farms and cigar factories on my island!

Out of the four games, I really enjoy the first and the fourth game. The third game isn’t terrible, but it’s a little mediocre, but Pirate Cove is very skippable in my opinion. I’ll try and give it another try, but I don’t know how far I’ll get in to it. So if you’re big into SimCity like me, I highly suggest looking into the Tropico series!