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Tropico 4

E3: Get close and personal to your citizens in Tropico 4

12:40 PM on 06.13.2011 // Tony Ponce

Tropico 4 is a continuation of the popular dictator sim from the last decade that places you in the role of the nameless "El Presidente." Seizing control of an island nation, you choose whether you want to be a benevolent leader, an malevolent tyrant, or something in between.

The game was demonstrated for me last week, and I've got to be honest: there's a lot of micromanagement involved. If that doesn't deter you, the game otherwise looks like good fun.

The game builds upon Tropico 3 by giving you more of everything. Islands are three to four times larger, imports in addition to exports have to be monitored, and relations with a greater number of superpower nations have to be carefully managed. There may be a major disaster, such as a tanker spill, requiring a quick decision that improves favor with one nation while decreasing favor with another. The line is very gray; someone will inevitably be unhappy with your choices.

At the center of it all is a city-building sim that should make fans of Sim City very happy. A lot of focus is placed on the residents of your island; it is actually possible to zoom down to a street view and see your people going about their daily business. In fact, by clicking on any person, you can inspect their income, career, and even family tree! You also select department ministers from among the residents by weighing their qualifications and backgrounds, then give them autonomy to handle their new role.

New to the series is Facebook and Twitter integration, so players can share screen captures with their friends or compare ruling styles against fellow players. Just about everything has social integration these days, but it doesn't hurt to have some available. I'm more curious as to how the 360 version of the game will work on a controller. I've been told that the 360 version of Tropico 3 had intelligently mapped controls, so I can only assume the controls this time around will be even better.

Tropico 4 will release on both the PC and 360 in August. Which version are you grabbing?

Tony Ponce, Contributor
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