496 Tropico 5 Owns Me

Something about this game has its grubby city-building clutches around my unsuspecting neck, refusing to let go, as I refuse to try and escape. It’s the first game in quite a while that has me certifiably addicted. In the future, I’d love to do a full-scale investigation into why strategy games like this are so hard to put down. But for now, we’ll just analyze locally with Tropico 5.

This game is great at striking the balance (read FLOW) between being too easy or mindless, and too difficult or requiring too much investment. It’s also designed in an interesting way that lends itself to game mechanic exploration. What I mean is that the game mechanics are obscured slightly, but not so much that they are hidden. At first pickup, this makes the game seem relatively simple, but as you explore the menus and information of the game, it slowly reveals its depth at a pace that gives it an wonderful balance.

It also has, unabashedly, a carrot-on-a-stick design; missions are dealt out at perfect intervals to always ensure the player has something to do, but never so many missions that you feel lost or overwhelmed. This is the crux of the addiction for sure. I’m pulled along slowly but steadily through an entire 2-hour mission, even if I sat down to play only 30 minutes. That said, I’ve come to adjust my expectations, and now won’t play it unless I know I have a large(r) chunk of time to devote to it (of which those chunks have miraculously presented themselves to me regularly, and how convenient…).

I’ll save a discussion about the game’s campaign design for another post (and once I finish it), as it’s worth exploring in depth!

[ Today I Was Playing: Tropico 5 and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End ]

May 10, 2016

#game-opinion, #game-review-critique