Frankly, I am not the man you want running your country. Over the course of my extended presidency I’ve smuggled rum into a prohibition America, sided with Axis powers during both World Wars, systematically stripped away the rights of my citizens, and assassinated a grandma for opposing my regime. I’m not proud of these things, but I’m glad I felt the need to do them. For all that Tropico 5 adds to the city-building series—and all the ways it doesn’t advance the formula enough—its greatest success is in pushing you towards the murkier aspects of dictatorial rule.
El Presidente, in his infinite wisdom and kindness, has opened registration for the Tropico 5 beta. If you think you’d be a good leader of a banana republic, you can register for an opportunity to test the game early on publisher Kalypso’s website.
This review was written by Jon Morcom.
Venice, 1455. The Renaissance is stimulating dizzying levels of creativity and La Serenissima is acknowledged as if not the crossroads, then at least the Spaghetti Junction of all trade in the Occident. Born into a city rife with political manoeuvring, family feuds and rising damp, you are Giacomo da Narni, continuing your family’s proud mercantile tradition and advancing yourself socially until you reach the exalted title of Doge.
A new trailer for the upcoming trade building sim Rise of Venice has been released, detailing the buy-low, sell-high mechanics of the game’s economic routes. It also features the soothing tones of the game’s narrator; I don’t think a trailer has been this relaxing since those Leviathan: Warships smooth jazz trailers. It must be something about boats.
Before Dark even begins, it spends a couple of hours staring into the mirror and hating its wannabe-vampire self for still having a reflection. It’s That Guy at the goth club, desperate to fit in, its clothes and makeup a copied uniform rather than a personal statement. Just for starters, its protagonist is called ‘Eric Bane’. Please let that sink in.
I know. I know. City builders aren't renowned for their CPU-straining graphics. Perhaps unfairly. While the Tropico series didn't dazzle you with its depictions of dictatorial splendour, they had a warm and vibrant beauty to their tenements, shanty towns and decadent tourist traps. And these first 'pre-alpha' screenshots of Tropico 5 show the series' first major upgrade since El Presidente's third outing.
Kalypso have announced Tropico 5, the next game in the light-hearted banana republic dictatorship simulation series. Where Tropico 4 drew slight criticism for being a marginal improvement over its predecessor, the sequel's plans are more wide-ranging. The game will feature multiple eras, with players taking El Presidente from the colonial 19th century, through to the future. Not that you'd know it from the announcement trailer, which is more concerned with showing the great dictator's creepy fascination with globes.
The Dark Eye: Demonicon should unleash its ruthlessly-forged fantasy world in late October, according to a new press release from publisher Kalypso Media. Previously slated to surface sometime during the first quarter of 2013, the action-oriented, third-person RPG is being developed by Noumena Studios in Berlin.
I'm still holding out a small amount of hope for Realmforge Studios' vampire stealth game Dark, but I'm beginning to think that might just be leftover enthusiasm for the excellent Vampire: Bloodlines. The following video, produced to coincide with E3, offers a masterclass in how not to make a trailer, comprised as it is of vaguely positive quotes by people who haven't played it, backed up by some truly awful music. Despite that, hey, at least it features actual gameplay, focusing mainly on our hero John Vampire's - sorry, Eric Bane's various supernatural powers.
And there I was, fashionably believing that vampirism was all about eternal romance, unfulfilled bloodlust, and flawless porcelain skin. Silly me! This new trailer for DARK is here to remind us what vampirism is really about—sustaining one's life on the blood of one's enemies, say, and lots of ominous stalking around in the shadows. Cheerful stuff, you know.
Sandy Beech, my latest gang boss, is a complicated capo. Before breakfast (mine not his) he torched a speakeasy and a casino, shot three men in the gut and two in the feet. After breakfast he set up a soup kitchen, built a clinic, and rescued a nightclub owner from the klutches of the Ku Klux Klan.
I’ve no idea whether Sandy enjoyed his morning of slaughter and social work, but I know I did. Though Omerta lacks the humour and economic subtlety of Haemimont’s Tropico 4 there’s ample compensation in the engrossing campaign and cracking turn-based combat.
You know what they say: The first taste is free. In this case, the taste in question is the leaden shell casings you'll be leaving in your wake in Omerta: City of Gangsters, which has just released a single-player demo. Detailed extensively in our preview, Omerta is a hybrid turn-based squad shooter/strategic crime empire management romp through 1920s Atlantic City.
Kalypso have released a deluge of details about their prohibition-era tactical strategy, Omerta: City of Gangsters. I'm fighting a strong urge to say that they've "broken silence" here. I'll try to hold off, if just to avoid the Godfather of obvious clichés ordering a hit on my knees.
The new Jagged Alliance game, Back in Action is due to arrive on February 10 in Europe, and February 14 in the US. A new Jagged Alliance: Back in Action trailer has appeared as well.The new Jagged Alliance will show all of your orders unfolding at once, a la Frozen Synapse, a slightly snappier version of the traditional turn-based model which would have your soldiers taking their turns individually while the rest of the battlefield remains locked in stasis.
Jagged Alliance: Back in Action simultaneously attempts to recreate and reinvent the king of the tactical RPGs, Jagged Alliance 2. After a few hours with a preview build, I'm surprised at how well developer Coreplay has manged to square those contradictory objectives. Back in Action looks a great deal more fun and elegant than I ever expected, and I quickly got over my skepticism about its attempts to fix what was not broken. However, I also saw signs that it is hamstrung by its faithfulness to its predecessor, and has also cast aside some features that seem crucial to a good a tactical game.
Hard Reset was a futuristic love letter to first-person shooting's past, but it quickly succumbed to "if you've shot one million robots, you've shot 'em all" syndrome. Flying Wild Hog, though, isn't throwing in the towel after one go at robot-blasting nirvana. Coming in March 2012, Hard Reset: Extended Edition will be a standalone expansion with five new levels, four new enemies, upgraded graphics, and "additional gameplay elements" (via Blue's News).
As of now, Flying Wild Hog is "discussing" how it'll deliver the new content to owners of the original game. Personally, I'm hoping they'll bundle it with a free pony. But - if I were a betting man - I'd put my money on some sort of DLC.
I’m guessing Haemimont’s last Latin American despot simulator didn’t go down too well in Havana or Buenos Aires. In Tropico 3 if you chose Che Guevara as your avatar you got an inspiring workhorse with alcohol and anger issues. Picking Juan Peron meant donning the dinner jacket of a flatulent moron.
This time out Che’s only vice is his paranoia, and super-smart Juan leaves the gaseous emissions to his chemical works. Welcome to the subtly tweaked world of Tropico 4.