There are some buildings that are a little different, however. They seem to be more like Wonders. Usually only one can be built, they don't employ anybody, and they have some sort of global effect. For example, the “Golden Statue” (exactly what it sounds like) must be unique, has no employees, and raises the entire island's tourist rating while changing some Tropicans into Loyalists. These are powerful and expensive buildings and add some strategic depth given their high cost-benefit tradeoff.
You will unleash these new powers on the unsuspecting 10-island campaign. The basic idea of the original campaign is preserved: each island has a problem, or at least a dream. As El Presidente your job is to run things so the problem is solved, or the dream realized. In the original the game set fairly broad goals: support 500 citizens, have $100,000 in the bank, maintain a 75% approval rating, or the like. Some criticism of the original centered around the goals being either too easy, too nebulous, or both. It was possible to feel adrift at time given the number of different ways to win some scenarios.
T3AP tightens the mission structure up. Goals are now more definite. Scenarios now call for a certain building to be built, or for a certain ability to be reached by a certain time, or a particular chain of events to be triggered. As an example, one island needs to boost its tourist industry by popularizing the local Chupacabra legend to visitors. The player needs not only to attract tourists and support the relevant buildings, but provide goat farms (for sightings to occur at) and make costly in-game decisions that support the spread of the legend.
The new missions can seem a bit strange at times. You have to fix a rift in time and space – really? The best thing is to relax and roll with it. Tropico 3 has always had a zany side to it and the new missions just add to it. There is a serious (and good) city simulator underneath all the island color and strange goings-on, but the developers keep the focus on having fun with it.
The nits to be picked are small. There is little if any new music and it gets really old, really quick. Also, Betty Boom is no better than Juanito, if not worse. School buses (or some other way for children to get around) would be nice. There are still no difficulty levels. Some users report instability issues. There is nothing here that really kills the game, just nagging issues.
In summary, Absolute Power does what a good expansion should do. It utilizes the core of the original game while providing more options without breaking anything. It should take about 20 hours of gameplay to get through the missions, though it is easy to extend that by trying out different ways to meet each goal.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
An evolution of the Tropico 3 engine, Absolute Power takes a good game and makes it better. While situations are often played for laughs there is a serious simulation in here and the new features show more of it. Definitely worth the purchase price for fans of the original.
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