Tropico 5's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness in all of these layers. Buildings have several upgrades that can be applied, and it's clear cut what they do. But sometimes a building “isn't producing” and the game does a really poor job communicating why. Hiring certain types of managers for a building might produce a better result, but it's unclear what type would produce the best without some trial and error. Managers can influence things like beauty, economics, and production rates - but how those numbers change when you install the manager isn't clear. The layers of Tropico 5's onion are many, and that's a good thing for hardcore strategy fans. But there can be a steep learning curve to be truly successful.
Tropico 5 features multiplayer modes as well, one of which is co-op play. In co-op each player can build their own respective city on an island. You can team up and form trade routes between players, share resources, finances, or even workers to help complete buildings faster. For the most part you'll simply be working on your city with another player that just so happens to be on the same island.
In the few rounds of co-op play we tried, gameplay didn't feel all that enhanced by having another player present. There wasn't any special projects we could both work on, I couldn't send soldiers to defend my partners in time of need, or anything like that. In fact during one game my partner failed to appease the crown really early on and I didn't even realize he had been booted out of the game.
It's along these lines that there's a huge piece missing from Tropico 5's multiplayer and co-op - the ability to save a game in progress. A later game I was playing with a friend, we had about an hour of time invested, and were just about to break out of the Colonial era. We decided to call it a night but much to our dismay there was no way to save and resume where we were sometime later. This means if you want to play and enjoy an online game with a friend you're going to have to invest several hours into the game at one time.
Tropico 5 isn't a game for everyone, but it does do enough to create its own style and differentiate itself from other sim style games out there. There's a off sense of humor present throughout the game, some of which featured some pretty questionable jokes, but for the most part you'll get a chuckle from your advisors commentary. If sim games are your thing there's lot of layers here to learn and take advantage of as you build your perfect island paradise.
The Co-Optimus review of Tropico 5 is based on the PC version of the game. A code was supplied by the publisher for evaluation purposes.
The Co-Op Experience: Up to four players can build up their own cities and economies on any given island map. Players can share resources and citizens, or declare war on each other.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.