Kalypso has brought their dictator-centric city/empire builder Tropico to consoles once again. Tropico 6 is now available for Xbox One and PS4 – how does it play?
Of course, Tropico 6 isn’t the first outing for the franchise on consoles – we reviewed the Penultimate Edition of Tropico 5 for Xbox One almost three and a half years ago. It’s nice to see publishers like Kalypso leading the charge in bringing traditionally PC-oriented games like this to console though, as they’re still a bit of a rarity. We’ve seen Skylines and Stellaris from Paradox make the jump, and only just this week we heard that Civilization 6 is heading to consoles as well. Other than that, PC gaming is probably still where it’s at for strategy/empire building fans.
The nice thing about Tropico 6 on console, however, is that it’s not Kalypso’s first rodeo. Tropico 5 even came out on the Xbox 360, and their previous experience has no doubt led to console owners getting this game relatively quickly after their PC brethren. We reviewed the PC release just a few months ago and you can read a more in-depth take on the game’s new features here.
That’s not to say that the conversion went without a hitch – those who played the Xbox Game Pass version prior to release complained about performance issues, for instance – though most of these were on a standard Xbox One console and not an Xbox One X, which we used. Performance in the final release build, both on Xbox and PS4 (using a PS4 Pro), felt absolutely fine to us – so those issues seem to have been ironed out.
The controls are another area where the developer’s experience in bringing these games to console shines through. If you played Tropico 5 using a gamepad before, then you should feel right at home here due to a control scheme that is fundamentally the same, with small tweaks to allow for new features that mostly have to do with changes in the user interface on screen.
So is this the exact same game as the PC version? Yes and no. Content-wise, you’re not getting anything new – which is a bit of a change from the release of Tropico 5 which came bundled with a ton of post-release DLC that was developed for the original PC version. With number 6, the fact of the matter is that there’s no DLC to include just yet, so you’re essentially getting what PC gamers got a few months ago.
There’s a big difference though, because an absolutely massive list of balance tweaks, bug fixes and (mostly cosmetic) content updates were introduced to the PC version after the initial release – all of those have made it into the console version at launch (though a PC update went live today as well and I’m not sure if those changes are included as well). In other words, you’re getting the same Tropico 6 that PC owners got, but in a highly polished version.
I briefly tried out the game’s online multiplayer modes as well, which include the option to either play cooperatively or competitively with up to three other players. In my experience, playing cooperatively is a great way to help each other learn the ropes, while competitive multiplayer is where the real fun lies. After all, where’s the fun in being a dictator if not in keeping others down to enhance your personal glory?