STAFF REVIEW of Tropico 6 (Xbox One)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019.
by Kirsten Naughton

Tropico 6 Box art El Presidente is back ladies and gentlemen and Tropico 6 is ready for the world to see! I did an article on the Game Preview of Tropico 6 back when it was in its beta phase and really enjoyed the game preview that Limbic Entertainment provided. The next question I had after playing the early version was "When does the real game get released?". I've taken a ton of time in ensuring Tropico 6 gets represented in the best way possible and that my writing is spot on. In short, I think Limbic Entertainment should give themselves a pat on the back. Even before I start explaining everything to you, you'll be impressed. I promise you.

Tropico 6 introduces itself on the main menu as many video games you and I have started playing. There's a really gorgeous background with the usual options. So, already my expectations are fairly high. I tend to like to start my gameplay as soon as possible, usually skipping any tutorial. Who needs them, right? Me and you. That's who needs it. At first, I didn't think I needed a tutorial to tell me how to essentially play a tropical version of Sim City, as I've played Sim City for hundreds of hours. So, I figured that Tropico 6 would be a piece of cake. Well, just like the Game Preview, I was very, very wrong. Sim City has NOTHING on Tropico 6. In my opinion, Tropico 6 overtakes Sim City on so many levels that I'd need a few hours to explain everything. Lucky for you, I have condensed all you need to know in this review. It's almost like Sim City is for beginners, and those of us who have previously are seasoned and have a firm grasp of it, will get Tropico 6.

Now, before you say "Well, Kirsten. What about new players that want to play Tropico 6?", Limbic Entertainment has you more than covered. In my opinion, if you don't know how to play Tropico 6 after playing through all five chapters of the tutorial, that's on you. The tutorial chapters consist of the basics of economy, citizens and politics, government, advanced economy and advanced gameplay. In Chapter 1: 'Basics of Economy', I learned quite quickly that I was in for a very in-depth experience with Tropico 6. Learning the basics is crucial for success within your island you're in charge of. You'll learn how to control your camera, how to speed up, slow down, pause or start your gameplay. Then, after you get the core 'bare bones' as I call it, you get into the good stuff. As you complete the tutorial chapters, you'll learn more and more about the islands you're in control of.

As I finished the tutorial chapters and wanted to start on the Campaign, I quickly noticed that Tropico 6 doesn't have a traditional Campaign mode. Rather, it has a set amount of missions you can complete. Once you unlock a mission, another one becomes available, and I found the missions to be very engaging. They kept my attention and the information I learned in the tutorial chapters really applied to the missions and made gameplay much easier to understand and execute. As you begin a mission, El Presidente will be featured in a short cutscene explaining the island you're about to step foot into. This is a nice touch, because after all, El Presidente is in my opinion one of the highlights of Tropico 6 and is polarizing.

If you want to be a successful dictator, you need a treasury for all your necessary expenses. There is one main way of making money in Tropico; producing good and exporting them. Your main team behind your export and trade success belongs to your dock and your teamster's office that essentially get the goods and deliver them so they can be exported. At the dock, they are stored until a freighter arrives. Without a teamster's office, no goods will get moved to and from the dock and you won't make money. Freighters come in and automatically load and export the goods stored in the dock, so you don't have to worry about that part. Your dock is a trans-shipment centre for logistics. It handles your importing and exporting of goods along with the immigration and emigration of your citizens. Your wish is a button press away and to the people of Tropico, your voice is the only one that matters. The more employees you have between your teamster office and dock, the more you can process through both buildings and make more money, though at a cost.

The UI in Tropico 6 is another highlight in Tropico 6 that took me by surprise. I've played games that had a very poorly designed UI making gameplay difficult, if not near impossible. I am happy to report, Tropico 6 has a very well designed UI, with the build menu as a wheel, it's easy for you to move around and choose what you need quickly. As you know, time is money, and in Tropico 6, money is important. You can't be a successful island without making some serious coin. The one nitpick that I didn't overall enjoy with the UI was the camera controls. While in the tutorial it was easy to learn, during gameplay I felt it was a little difficult to navigate to where I wanted to go. But, that's a very minimal gripe. I still thoroughly enjoyed Tropico 6 and everything it had to offer.

The only real negative I have about Tropico 6 is that I can't stand it when I get overloaded with options, quests and menus. While I thoroughly enjoyed navigating through the main wheel with all your building options, I found that finding the exact building I was looking for was a little difficult. I found this to be particularly annoying when I would be building one structure, only to move around a little and find that two or three buildings would be on fire. It makes managing an island really hard when you're buildings are on fire and you can't react quick enough because you're scrolling through an extremely detailed menu to find something else. There is no denying that Limbic Entertainment worked very hard thinking of damn near everything a dictator of an island needs to build and operate a functioning island at top performance, but it can be quite overwhelming, especially for someone brand new to the series or genre.

I loved “Missions” so much in Tropico 6 that I enlisted the help of my best friend to experience Tropico's Multiplayer mode. There's both co-op and online play. Compared to Tropico 6's “Missions” mode, Multiplayer mode follows the same quest base as the base “Missions” mode. You are able to tweak your political influences such as your election speech and catering to certain trade countries. Multiplayer though feels much more overwhelming than “Missions” mode ever was. At the beginning, I wasn't told how Multiplayer works. What's different about Multiplayer than Mission mode? How are the tasks and quests divided up amongst and your team of up to four players? While I was building, I know for about ten minutes, my best friend was having some serious issues finding out how to get power to his buildings.

Naturally, he leaned on me a little and asked how to do it. Then, I realized, in “Missions”, I never had that problem of no power, so I was just as curious as he was. The descriptions of the buildings are the same as “Missions” mode, but if there's the icon floating above, it doesn't necessarily tell you what action that building needs, which personally left me frustrated and confused, unsure how to solve the problem. In “Missions”, you were pretty much hand held and given enough time to navigate and figure things out. I can't say the same for Multiplayer because at one point, we lost the match and not really sure why. Tropico 6 is a game where time and money mean everything. If you're struggling to find out why you're building isn't powered, you could lose the game in a matter of minutes if you don't act quickly. Overall, I'd steer clear from Multiplayer unless you and your friends have a moderate grasp of Tropico 6's mechanics and systems. Multiplayer mode left me with more questions than answers to be honest.

Limbic Entertainment has done a great job overall, and Tropico 6 is a fantastic addition to the strategy genre. With the amount of content in the “Missions” mode alone, I feel it's well worthwhile to try it out if you're a fan of the genre. Some gamers may thrive in a game that literally gives you every option you could ever think of in addition to a ton of quests and challenges to keep you on your toes. Although I didn't care too much for Multiplayer, I thoroughly enjoyed the core campaign 'missions' and really enjoyed learning how the entire game works through the tutorial chapters. I'm sorry I have to cut this short, I need to tend to my citizens because I know what's best for them!

Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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