At a distance of 5 years since the last chapter, after various vicissitudes and last-minute postponements, Tropico 6 is on the home straight on our PCs since 29 March, while a console version is scheduled for this summer.
Behind the scenes we no longer have Haemimont Games, which took care of the game from the third to the fifth chapter, but Limbic Entertainment, known above all for the work done on Might & Magic, a change probably necessary to bring a breath of fresh air to the series.
HASTA LA REVOLUCION, ALWAYS
In a videogame era where action titles reign supreme, being able to get your hands on an old style management is an increasingly rare occasion. For this reason I would like to alert newcomers to the genre, or even those like me who are a bit rusty about the fact that Tropico 6 is not a simple title to master.
Fortunately, a large tutorial section comes to our rescue. To tell the truth the wide word does not give a good idea: the various "training" missions last almost 2 hours, but trust me that time is spent really well, given that Tropico 6 has within it an almost infinite amount of menus and submenu. For those who have already played Tropico 5 in the past, some important changes to the gameplay are immediately evident from these tutorial missions.
The first, quite obvious, is the expansion of the map, since from the simple island we pass to the management of an archipelago. In this way the player must pay close attention to the management of transport infrastructures such as ports and bridges. The second is rather less obvious, but just as important: as was the case in the past, every inhabitant is simulated in a realistic way and for this reason needs to have access to all the structures of the game through the transport network. However, unlike what happened before, where the structures worked continuously once the workers were placed, in Tropico 6 these are activated only when the worker is on site, since these enter and leave the buildings to which they are assigned as if normal working hours followed. Between the structure of the archipelago map and this level of advanced simulation, it becomes clear that one of the main tasks of the player is to build an efficient, efficient transport network with shorter travel times. Without considering that you must also think about all the social classes of your population: only the richest will be able to afford a car to travel on the bridges, which is why you will have to resort to the creation of bus lines, to edicts that give incentives for the purchase of cars or use ferries with fast routes.
As you can see, we haven't started talking about trade, politics or pirates at all, and Tropico 6 already offers so many choices and possibilities. Obviously for the novice player all this information is simply overwhelming, but also for someone more experienced the options available are so many that you can feel lost At first.
Once I get over some initial discomfort, I must admit that I began to appreciate the complexity and depth of Tropico 6: every element of the game is never an end in itself, but is always part of something bigger. Building a chapel rather than a prison fundamentally changes what the people think of their leader, but even a single building has options within it that make it usable in various ways. For example, or you can use a gold mine in a normal way to extract the metal and export it to fatten the state coffers or set the production in secret mode and divert the proceeds of the sale to phantom personal Swiss accounts that we can use to finance shares. not really lawful. On the other hand, a politician must know how to get his hands dirty when needed.
Unlike many other management titles where the player is facilitated by the presence of requests from the population, in Tropico 6 it is not always possible, or advisable, to accept and satisfy the will of all. This is due to the fact that within the population there are several factions, each of which makes requests often contrary to those of the other party. For example, militarists would like safe streets with Guard Towers on every corner, but these buildings limit individual freedom, coming up against the creed and will of the revolutionary faction. If at first it is easy enough to give in and please everyone, there comes a point in the game where it becomes impossible or at least counterproductive both politically and economically. For this reason the player must immediately understand what strategy he wants to adopt and try to keep his positions as close to the faction that most closely matches the goals we set for ourselves.
From the interface point of view, Tropico 6, although having a myriad of windows and submenus at its disposal, is quite intuitive. If I really have to indicate a defect is to have found, but perhaps I have not been able to find it myself in this chaos, the lack of a summary table of the productions and products in stock in our islands, in order to better manage the import / export in the menu dedicated to trade. Once the tutorial is over, the game offers us two game modes: Sandbox and Missions. In Sandbox mode we have full control over the creation of the game world, from the shape and size of the archipelago to the determination of alternative victory conditions. The Tropico 6 Multiplayer mode allows players to play up to 4 on a map constructed in a manner quite similar to the Sandbox mode, but unfortunately I have not had the chance to try it since the gaming Lobby were still always empty.
But in my opinion the true heart of Tropico 6 remains the Missions. At the moment 15 missions are available, which are unlocked as the previous ones are completed. In this mode the developers really had fun testing us with some really crazy scenarios, like making Tropico the nation more "communist" than ever or that, where due to lack of natural resources, we must rely only on our pirate strength, one of the most interesting innovations of Tropico 6. In fact, thanks to the construction of the Covo dei Pirati, like the new English or French rulers of the 1700, we have at our disposal a private fleet that allows us to perform actions that are not very "clean" such as smuggling, looting of materials, smuggling works that are the envy of today's Libyan routes or even theft of Wonders, buildings that offer unique bonuses once built.
The great merit of the Missions is to force the player to think and play outside the classical schemes of any other management. I imagine that some players can interpret this choice of developers as a negative point, but coming from years of seriousness and logic of titles like Civilization, I have to admit that I put myself to the test with some Tropico 6 missions stimulated and amused me in a completely unexpected way.
LONG LIFE TO "EL PRESIDENTE"
Behind the light tones, almost hilarious given by the "El Presidente" and his second in charge "Penultimo", hides what I consider the Dark Souls of the management systems. A dangerous, abused and perhaps a bit exaggerated statement, but I don't think it is completely wrong in this case. In fact, as in the FromSofwtare title, Tropico 6 punishes the player's mistakes in a fairly decisive manner and often, to try to get a game started badly back on its feet, one enters a whirlwind of wrong choices that lead inexorably to defeat, or worse, not re-election!
Without too many rounds of words I do not consider Tropico 6 a title suitable for newcomers to the genre, but for management enthusiasts it certainly represents an excellent purchase, thanks to its complexity and depth, but above all to the degree of challenge provided by some of its missions, hoping that with time Kalypso Media and the developers of Limbic Entertainment continue to support the game. Small bonus: the soundtrack, if you love Latin American rhythms, is really a bomb!
Finally, we point out the future availability of a very tasty limited edition: the El Prez Edition. This little gem includes four postcards dedicated to the beaches of Tropico, two tourist suits, an exclusive project to create "Il Laghetto dei Fenicotteri" in the presidential palace, the soundtrack of the game based on Caribbean melodies and a digital calendar that marks the days that are missing until the next elections. Unmissable, if you love the series.