Tropico 4 (Review)

Tropico 4 took quite a lot of heat when it was released for basically feeling like a Tropico 3 expansion pack. I’m having a hard problem even calling it that, to be honest. The only two changes worth noting, aside from a slightly altered UI, are social networking integration and factions.

In the case of Facebook and Twitter functionality, it’s probably something that absolutely nobody asked for or even wanted in the first place. I didn’t even use either function because I didn’t want the game to be touching my defunct Facebook account nor did I want it to be spamming my Review Depot Twitter account with pointless updates about my papaya production or election results.

Factions (such as capitalists, environmentalists, nationalists, etc.) play a bigger role now and will frequently annoy you with offers to increase your standing with them. Environmentalists may want you to build gardens or cut back on pollution while other factions will want you to build military bases, destroy homes, and more. You can choose to ignore these faction requests without being punished much, but they are worth doing sometimes if you’re aiming to increase your standing with particular factions prior to the next election. My only complaint is that factions bother you far too frequently, constantly taking you out of the action of the game.

The rest of the game is pretty much identical to Tropico 3, so the following is copied from my review of the previous game.

“Good morning Tropico!” I should really have that set as my alarm in the morning after hearing it so many times in the game I am about to review, Tropico 3.

It wasn’t until April of this year that I even knew about the Tropico series, which is surprising considering that the first game came out a decade ago. As a fan of games such as SimCity, I’m really upset that it took me until the third game of this series to even know that it exists.

Tropico 3 is all about ruling over a Caribbean island known as Tropico. The game begins in the 1950s when you first seize power of the island. It is up to you to decide how your dictator did so, as you are presented with a character creator that allows you to choose your dictator’s appearance, background history, and character flaws. I opted to make my dictator a balding alcoholic Russian who was put in power by the USSR.

Tropico’s gameplay was quite interesting. The game started out slow and demanding like the Caesar game in which you have to micro-manage several small details in order for your city to get off the ground, but after that happened it just played mostly like a SimCity game thanks to messages always popping up and telling me what was going on in Tropico.

You basically start with nothing more than your presidential palace, a dock, some shacks, and a few businesses with terrible wages. You have to turn this around, so the first step is to make a good source of income that your populace will work at for little money. Cigars turned out to be a fantastic way to go about doing this, as all I had to do was first plant a farm and direct them to grow tobacco, and then build a cigar factory beside it. For a few ingame months, this did absolutely nothing for me financially until the tobacco began to grow at a good rate, allowing the nearby factory to begin manufacturing cigars and then sending them to the dock to be exported.

Once you start getting some decent money in and the quality of life starts to improve in Tropico, you’ll want to bring in tourists by building another dock or an airport. As I did this, I found that it was also imperative to remove shacks from the city, due to them being unpleasant to look at and they brought down the appearance of the neighborhoods that they popped up in. A good way for me to discourage many shacks from popping up was to increase the wages of many jobs.

Of course, there is more to Tropico 3 than just expanding your city and aiming for a higher population and bigger bank accounts. Unlike in games such as SimCity, your approval rating actually means something in the Tropico games. If it dips too low, you had better expect some serious consequences. The last thing any good dictator wants are riots and assassination attempts!

To make sure that your people respect you, it is important to make sure that Tropico has everything that your people need to survive, or even just have fun. When the city itself is just fine but your people are showing discontent, you can use edicts to sway their loyalty. Edicts are things such as introducing tax cats, bringing the Pope to your country for a visit, or declaring Mardi Gras. Some edicts, such as Mardi Gras, are wonderful for Tropico’s economy.

The game has a lot of content in it, ranging from campaigns to individual mission-style maps. If you don’t like being told to aim for a specific goal, there is also the sandbox mode in which you are free to just develop Tropico however you wish to.

I find myself really enjoying the visuals of Tropico 3. It is perhaps the best looking city management game that I’ve ever played. The buildings and terrain are loaded with detail, and all pedestrians are rendered in real time as they walk to work or just find things to do in the city. Animals, freighters, and more are also all visible most of the time, and many shacks like to pop up on vacant land as well. I expected Tropico to run slowly with so many things going on, but the game was silky smooth for me even on the highest display settings.

The sounds of Tropico 3 are magnificent. Even though there are only a few music tracks in the game and they play over and over again, they are all very fun to listen to and set the mood extremely well as they are all very Latin-based. Sound effects and voice acting are also great, and I never tire of hearing “Good morning Tropico!” from the ingame radio announcer who tells you what’s going on in Tropico, which is very helpful to you.

Overall, Tropico 3 is a lot of fun. Your cities are different each time you play, and the realism in Tropico 3 blows SimCity out of the water. If you’re looking for an enjoyable city game to spend time playing until the next big one comes along, then Tropico 3 is for you.

So is this game worth checking out if you’ve already purchased Tropico 3? No, unless you plan on playing the expansion pack which adds a lot of modern days flair to Tropico 4. If you are a Tropico 3 player who is uninterested in this game’s expansion, then stick with Tropico 3. Seriously. The few features added in Tropico 4 are not worth $40 or more. This is literally Tropico 3 with only a few changes and tweaks, and shame on the developers for thinking that this was acceptable. Because of this, I am going to give this game TWO scores. One score will represent what this game feels like as a returning Tropico 3 palyer, and the other score will be how I’d grade the game for someone who is brand new to the series.

What score would I award this as a Tropico 3 player?

5/10

Now, for those who are brand new to Tropico, this is surely the best in the series. You guys are in for a treat.

8.7/10

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Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Isn’t A Rip-Off

 

Note: I am speaking my mind with this post, so a bit of foul language will slip through. If you don’t enjoy reading colourful language, click here for something more suited to your tastes.

 


Over the past few weeks, I’ve spotted a really stupid trend spreading throughout the minds of disgruntled Capcom fans and such. This trend is the belief that the original Marvel vs Capcom 3 was some kind of beta. Um… Am I the only one who fails to see the rampant stupidity in such a belief?

For starters, betas are ridden with bugs, glitches, and many little nuances that will nag at players and interrupt their gaming on many occasions. None of this applies to the original Marvel vs Capcom 3 which is a finely crafted game that happens to be remarkably bug free and insanely enjoyable to play. The game is very polished through and through, and really the only two complaints about the game that I ever see are “boo hoo, no Mega Man” and “whine whine, no additional offline modes.” Sounds like minor gripes to me. Marvel vs Capcom 3 doesn’t smell like a beta at all, nope. Smells like a fully fledged game that is very well developed.

The reason for a lot of people blabbing that Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is an extension to a beta that we already played is different though. It has nothing to do with how the original game plays or how it feels, no. People are merely pissed off that they have to pay $40 for this wealth of new content which they all assume should have been in the original game… Not because Capcom planned everything from release (they didn’t). It is simply because all of these naysayers are merely greedy pricks.

Let’s look at some other games out there that threw additional content like this at us, shall we? First off, Diablo 2. Remember that awesome PC RPG? I’m sure many people do since, like Marvel vs Capcom 3, it’s pretty darn awesome. Now remember how fantastic the original Diablo 2 was? It was very playable, very fun, very great… And then about a full year later, the expansion was released. It introduced a lot of new gameplay mechanics, new classes, and new locations to play in. How did people react? “THIS IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE!”

Half-Life 2. A different genre, but another game that is right up there with other great games. Remember when Episode 1 was announced and later released? Everyone went batshit insane with joy. Same deal with Episode 2, and we still have people clammering for Episode 3. Both Episode 1 and Episode 2 were well made and exceptionally polished. They introduced a lot of new areas and enemies, and the fans really enjoyed it and appreciated it all. I don’t remember anyone crying that Episodes 1 and 2 should’ve been part of the original game. Valve wanted to continue the story of Half-Life 2 and give gamers more of what they loved. Doesn’t this sound a lot like, uhhh, the same thing Capcom is doing right now?

Then there are MMORPGs. Monthly subscriptions. This is a pretty crappy way to make people continue to play your games and in most cases it is a necessary evil (I said MOST cases), but nobody really whines about it too much. Heck, nobody even complains about MMORPG expansion packs. What happens when World of Warcraft gets a new expansion? The people who go “lol you have to pay for the game all over again” are few and far between. Most people will instead be analyzing the content and all that, and people will get hyped to visit various new areas, try out new hero classes or races, and so forth. Nobody ever seems to be too bothered by the price at all with MMORPG expansion packs as they instead nitpick about changes that expansions bring to the core gameplay (example: WoW Cataclysm completely changed and simplified talent trees, making people relearn a bunch of crap they already knew).

So if expansion packs are tolerated for higher quality first person shooters, roleplaying games, and MMORPGs… Why are they not viewed in the same light for fighting games? Enter Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.

We are getting twelve brand new characters and eight new stages. To top this off, there will be new modes to play, tons of new moves for existing characters, and more. The game has even received a completely new look! Such extensive changes prevent Ultimate from merely being DLC or a patch because there’s just too much darn content. There is too much… Expansion. Oh my.

Because of the extensive additions the game is receiving, it is required for it to be distributed in physical disc form only. Essentially we’re getting a $40 expansion pack that doesn’t require the original MvC3. This is where a lot of the naysayers just start plugging their ears and refuse to listen to anything that is said. Look, this is nothing more than a standalone expansion pack to a fighting game. We’ve never had issues with these before, so why now? Just because it is Capcom? Because they cancelled your beloved Mega Man games? What’s the problem here? I played the hell out of the original MvC3 to a point where I justified paying the $60 price tag and then some. $40 more for a wealth of content is just fine in my books.

Look at it this way. Twelve characters. One DLC character usually costs about $5. If we were to receive them all as DLC, it would cost $60. Eight new stages? I’m sure we’d have to pay between $10 and $20 in total for those if they were DLC. Capcom is saving you money, you ignorant fools! People just seem to completely overlook this fact for some stupid reason, presumably because they’re angry that people who didn’t buy the original will only have to pay $40 to get everything (minus Jill and Shuma). So what if new players get the full deal for less money than you did? Street prices of games go down with time after all, and eight or nine months after release I’m sure that MvC3’s price would have sunk by a few bucks at the very least.

So Capcom is saving the money of existing players while also making it cheaper for new players to get into Marvel vs Capcom 3. What the hell is the problem with this? I can answer that. There is no freaking problem!

I didn’t even mention the incompatibility issues that would crop up if Ultimate was DLC. What would happen? Well, for starters, Ultimate players would not be able to fight against Vanilla players and vice versa. There are too many changes to the existing characters, as well as the overall gameplay, in Ultimate for it to ever be a simple DLC patch. Compatibility patches (like the ones Mortal Kombat use) will be 100% impossible. There is just too much data, too many new features. Plus wouldn’t it be unfair for an Ultimate player to go online, fight a Vanilla player, and fight with moves that aren’t even accessible to the Vanilla player? That would be horribly unfair, and it would not be able to be remedied with simple little compatibility patches.

There’s also a ridiculous claim that, because existing characters can refer to the new characters by name when tagging them in and such, apparently Capcom recorded all of these lines from the start and it was all pre-planned. Oh yeah, obviously! Because it is clearly the only possible explanation, right? Capcom decided to do a lot of extra work for content that may not have even seen the light of day. Yeah, that makes sense. “Let’s pay all of these expensive and industry-leading voice actors for extra lines that we may never use.” Great logic guys. Really.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is not “”the full game” and the original was not a beta. This is a standalone expansion that saves ALL gamers money by giving us a wealth of content at a price that is cheaper than we’d see it up for if it were to be offered as DLC (which would be impossible anyway).

And who cares if it is coming out less than a year after the original? Eight months, a year, two years, who gives a shit? Don’t people usually want new content sooner rather than later?

Capcom’s decision to make and release Ultimate are both justified. If you enjoy MvC3 and have played it enough, then there’s really no problem here. Don’t want to fork over $40? Then don’t. The MvC3 fanbase doesn’t need whiners like you. Get lost and go play MUGEN.