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Played on PC.
Satirical city builder Tropico 6 landed recently, and it’s safe to say it’s successfully kept its long loved charm. The opening cutscene of the game gives open nods to Donald Trump’s wall and Twitter posts, Brexit, and the Spanish Banking crisis within mere moments of starting the game. The spark of Tropico remains in being able to watch everything unfold in front of your eyes; seeing construction workers and teamsters scurry about truly never gets old.
The missions system returns once again, and is as well built as ever. Each mission does a fantastic job of introducing you to each important mechanic in the game and forcing you to adapt on the fly due to the restrictions in place. One of the best missions is available early on, and is based entirely around the new raids mechanic.
Your city is limited to an island, with next to no natural resources, and your populace is forced to turn to pillaging the high seas to survive. Pirating food and rare resources like gold and iron are the only way to keep your position as El Presidente. The natural progression from piracy, of course, is to steal an international wonder.
This also carries over to the sandbox game mode. The wonders themselves essentially boil down to a way to offset one large negative that your island paradise may have. For example, heisting the Hagia Sophia wonder means that none of your citizens in its area of influence will die from lack of healthcare.
Each of the heists come with sub-objectives that you can complete to assist with the heist, such as delivering a shipment of leather to act as a canvas in order to get rid of a bunch of artists that are trying to paint the wonder that your team is actively trying to steal.
While the feature itself is entertaining, it feels as though it has no real impact. One would imagine stealing an important monument like the actual Eiffel Tower would potentially enrage someone somewhere, but in a few short trade deals, the allies have forgotten your dastardly deed and it just conveniently never gets mentioned that you just so happen to have the Statue of Liberty in your back garden.
Much like the theft of wonders, political negatives are easily ignored. It’s incredibly easy to go through an entire sandbox play session without ever having war declared on you unless you’re playing on the highest difficulty. In most scenarios, just completing a few trade routes with an otherwise displeased superpower is enough to get you back into their good books, even when you use them as a scapegoat to win the next election (“I didn’t want to let those people die in the mines, it was the Axis’ idea, honest!”).
One thing that remains a mystery, however, is the world economy of Tropico 6. Through the vast majority of the eras, rum is by far the most valuable and easy to access resource you can trade, and is somehow the 11th most expensive thing you can trade, outranking even gold. Whether the rest of the world has an excess of the stuff and are all out there sitting on gold chairs and eating with golden knives and forks is as of yet unknown. It’s either that or Tropican rum is something more.
At its core, Tropico 6 doesn’t do much to evolve from its predecessors, especially as it keeps the era system from 5 and brings back the political speeches and work modes from 4. However, that doesn’t mean it should be skipped. It acts almost as a “best of” for the Tropico series, which makes sense, as it’s developer Limbic Studios’ first foray into the series. They certainly got it just right.