Developed by: Limbic Entertainment
Published by: Kalypso Media
Platforms: PC / PS4 / Xbox One
Reviewed on: PS4 Pro
Since its launch on the PC back in March, Tropico 6 has been a staple of city-building simulation together with its predecessors in previous years. Other games such Cities: Skylines and the Civilization series have come close to being contenders for the spot of the king of city-building and economically thriving games in the past years but the Tropico series have held their own when compared with these other series. Every other game has their own aspects and approach to how they make their simulators unique, and Tropico 6 has done a very good job despite the criticism sim games have had when played on consoles.
In the Beginning
I for one have never tried on a sim game on the console before. I always have this implication that sim games using the controller would be tedious and cumbersome. Not knowing what I would be getting myself into, I started off the game by going through the basic tutorials. The game does well in teaching first timers the basic controls of the cameras and how the camera would behave given that in some situations you would need to either pan, scroll or tilt your camera to make sure you have a good view on what your cursor is pointing at. The tutorials were fairly straight forward and simple as the tasks given to you were pretty easy to pull off and mainly guided. As you progress to the tutorials that require more manual control and is time-sensitive, you start to get the gist on how time affects the game, and how well you manage it will be the definitive rise or fall of your tropical haven.
The game world is gorgeous, first things first. Almost every detail is well taken care of and is expressed as much as possibly could. Even zooming in close to a building or character, though some details are vague, but they are still there and expressed well to understand the current zoomed in object.
Understanding the Economics
As familiar to players of the franchise, you are in control of the up and coming dictator of the Caribbean, managing the islands and making sure they flourish in times of desperate leader measures. How you bring up your character in the game is entirely up to you. Whether a tyrant that sends off armies of men to raid other civilizations fits your bill, so be it. More modestly, a common man that indulges in fair trade and good standings with other factions is how I saw the game being a moderate challenge for me and to see how good or bad it will do based on those criteria.
The economics in the game does take a bit of time to understand. For first time players, the amount of detail that has gone into the game’s economics and politics might be overwhelming at first, you will get the hang of it soon enough as you progress further in the game. The game contains 15 missions that span over different islands and with different variations of issues and obstacles the player will have to endure and recover from. Managing the people, economy, trading and politics of the player’s islands can be a daunting task. Understanding how each economic criteria affects the next will often lead to better decisions in-game. Even something as to how you plan your construction of buildings in the area can affect how fast your economic status can grow, or how fast it may deplete. For instance, having a distillery right beside a sugar cane plantation can make it easier for raw materials to be sent to and from. But building a lumber mill next to a mining facility surrounded by hills and mountains filled with rocks and not tree’s? now that doesn’t seem economically efficient. So plan your constructions well in the game. Efficiency is key!
Manual Island Control
Sandbox Mode is where all the fun is in this game. You can get as creative as you possibly can in this mode. Set your own parameters and find out what settings suit your playstyle, giving you the flexibility of managing the many details of the game. But as we all know, the previous iterations of the game have done this as well, and frankly, not much has changed from the previous games in the franchise. Constant repetition of decisions and in-game moves can mean that it can deliberately make the game feel boring after a while. Not to mention the many instances of waiting in the game for various reasons. Waiting for a Freighter to come to port, waiting for an election to take place, waiting for workers to occupy a vacant working space. You name it, there’s always a wait for it. It takes a toll on the player when the time needed to wait becomes longer and more often as you progress. Even though there is an option for you to speed up the in-game time, the unnecessary aspect of waiting too long becomes a bore for the player soon enough.
The Burning Question?
How does the game fare on the console? Are there any discrepancies or difficulties when porting from a mouse and keyboard to a controller? Some people may question the compatibility and playability of such games on the console. I would too. But despite having numerous control wheels, multiple menus, drop down menus and tabs that require more control over, the game to my surprise, plays really well on console too. The console edition of the game provides this center cursor on the screen, which acts as a point of click on whatever object you float over. It is quite straight forward if you ask me. You just have to point the cursor on to what you need to act on and tap any corresponding buttons to initiate the wheel menu. Or if you are hovering over a person, it pops up the characters information bubble. The developers made it fairly easy to navigate around the game with just the ease of your controller and using that cursor as the main guide. Although I have found that the sensitivity of the build wheel is a bit too sensitive at times and I’ve found myself wrongly clicking tabs that I didn’t want to be in, but I’m nit-picking at this point.
All in all, Tropico 6 is a gorgeous looking game, with impressive simulation gameplay with various details and mechanics thrown into it to make it as real as it can possibly get. Players of the genre will be familiar with how the game works and plays as well. First-time players will definitely find it overwhelming at first, as did i. It takes some getting used to, and once you do, you’ll find that the game has a lot to put on the table when compared to other rivals in this genre. Sadly the game does suffer from repetitive use of certain elements that have been previously introduced in previous entries of the game. The partial lack of innovation in the current game may just be a vice in the series that we can only see continue in next coming series also. Hopefully, newer mechanics and ideas can pop out along the way for the developers and make its way into the next game. Adding on to the crux of their downsides, the amount of time waiting in-game also tends to get overused at times, and may distract players from completing objectives or even possibly make them move away from the game. But if you are the type of person who doesn’t mind waiting for in-game progress, it shouldn’t be a big problem for you.
- Gorgeous graphics
- Innovative sandbox mode
- Detailed game mechanics
- Repetitive gameplay
- Waiting time for in-game decisions take quite some time