It’s with great pleasure that I mention that Tropico 3 for Xbox 360 is not a direct sequel to Tropico 2: Pirate Cove and it’s a direct fallback to what made the first game as solid as it was: straightforward dictatorship, and none of this silly pirate influence. Seeing as the title is first and foremost something that only PC gamers would know and care about, a little bit of information about Tropico 3 for you. While it might be easy to lump it into a real time strategy game, that’s not quite the right space for it. Sure there is resource management and you have to build up a society, but it’s more akin to SimCity and the Caesar series such that you must manage your population and keep them happy to stay in power. There is no troop creation or leading armies into battle, and that’s a good thing. Trust me.
Being a port of a PC title there are automatically going to be some issues when it comes to controls, mainly due to the limited button layout. Pretty much every button comes into play when you’re in the midst of a game; whether it be to build a building or road, or to pop up one of the other menu systems to order an edict or control your dictator of choice. Thankfully, there is a very intense tutorial included in the game which may actually serve as a detriment and turn off some players because of the depth. But if you’re a gamer who enjoys titles that are very light on the action and more about manipulation of people and empire building, Tropico 3 is for you.
The game features both a campaign mode and sandbox mode. Campaign takes you through a slew of small island nations where you take on the role of dictator with some specific goals. Some islands will require you stay in power for a period of time while other will make you exploit tourists or the natural resources that the island has to offer. Not only do you have to keep your people happy, but both the USA and the USSR are both keeping an eye on you making sure you fall within both of their definitions of a good leader. Keep them happy and they’ll send over yearly contributions, but start to stray from their desired path for you and the money well dries up. Sandbox mode puts you on a blank randomized island, and you can set your own path to greatness without the nagging feeling that you need to mine another 1000 units of iron to complete a task.
Some fantastic Latin music plays throughout the game with a nice mix of tracks. The only downside is that there really wasn’t enough of them. Other sound effects are adequate to convey the intended action, be it cars honking or trees being felled in a forest. Graphically the game is suitable as well, nothing too groundbreaking but based on the style of game this holds up quite nice. My one complaint with the presentation is the camera does sometimes get in the way, and it tends to move a little slowly when you want it to move quickly. This happens somewhat frequently; if you want to build something on the opposite side of the island and have the item already selected the camera seems to crawl. The workaround here is back out of the build option and move the camera, but us gamers are lazy and want things fast.
Console gamers who are tired of the action packed, twitch reflex based games can finally kick back on the couch and enjoy a nice strategy game not called Civilization Revolution. I wholeheartedly recommend this title to fans of the genre and the niche that it fills on the Xbox 360 definitely has room to grow.
Click the following link to buy Tropico 3 for Xbox 360 on the cheap from Amazon.com.
- Score: 8.5
— Jeff Paramchuk