If you have an intense god complex that allows you to throughly enjoy civilization management games like SimCity, Total War, or Civilization then Tropico 4 is a great game for you. Since it is called Tropico 4 this means there are three games that come before it, there are indeed, but Tropico 4 are the most advanced of them all.
Unlike SimCity, there is an overall plot to Tropico 4. However, like all other Tropico games, it's pretty much the same. You play as the El Presidente of the Caribbean island of Tropico. You and your always loyal man servant Penultimo are charged with rebuilding the third world nation into the best country in the world.
However, the rest of the world is in turbulent times, which can often mess with your grand master plan. In Tropico 4 you often have to balance relations with the outside world. If you do they may even try to take your island by force.
These nations include:
The United States
The USA is capitalism at it's peak and they want you to be too. Your island of Tropico has products and they want to trade them with you. However, they do not respect you, they only respect money.
Like the USA, the USSR wants your goods. However, they want them to feed their communist government. They are constantly at odds with the USA. It is hard to balance both but sometimes necessary.
The below are other nations are bonus nations. They will not invade your island if your relations get too low, but keeping good relations with them can result in some nice bonuses.
The Middle East
Like with the outside world, you also have to balance the needs of the people inside your country.
These basic needs are:
This is how safe your citizens feel. If you have a lack police force, the crime safety of the citizens living in the area go down. More of your citizens will also become criminals.
This is how much democracy your citizens are being given. You can rule with an iron fist and not allow elections or people to voice their option, or you can let all that happen. People on your island, especially foreigners from democratic countries will become upset if you limit their democracy.
This is how much food your citizens are given. If you grow enough food bearing crops on the island, this will satisfy your people enough.
This is how good of a house your citizens live in. If they live in shacks this will be very low, but if they live in mansions they will be very happy. This is one of the most essential things to keep people happy.
Tropico is not exactly full of atheists, they need churches. They like churches close to their home. If you lack churches you will lose respect with the religious factions.
This is how happy they are at their job. To raise job quality, you increase their pay. This is one of the most ignorable things in the game.
Like religion, the people of Tropico need to unwind and again, they want entertainment near their housing.
This is the hardest thing to keep high. The environment means keeping natural beauty, having no logging companies, and no factories. This also means managing trash and using wind turbines to generate power. Not a whole lot of people care about this except for the environmentalists.
This is important, your people need doctors. You need to have enough clinics and hospitals to help your people.
This is how much your people respect you. If you run your country like a dictator, this will be low. However, if you are a man of the people they will generally really respect you.
Now that you have fulfilled the basic needs of your people, it is important to know the factions of your island. Depending on what faction the person on your island is, the more important the satisfaction of the basic need that that faction depends on.
Now that your people are happy it is time to make money for your island and maybe skim a little off the top for yourself. there are a number of ways to make money off your island. You can go with the classic agricultural and mining route if your island is rich with minerals and fertile land. If your island is not fertile, you can import the good and go with an industrial economy.
If neither of those things are for you, give tourism a try. Everyone wants a vacation in the Carribean.
Sadly, Tropico 4 is a whole lot like Tropico 3. There is really nothing new. However, unlike Tropico 3, Tropico 4 actually has a plot. There are 20 scenarios that you play through on the campaign mode that cycle through 10 maps. They are all pretty much the same thing, you know, build island up and make is prosper. However, there is always a stipulation that really taunts you into playing through the whole campaign.
There is also the old freeplay option where you can pick your own island. Tropico 4 is really fond of the old "If it ain't broke, don't change it" mantra.
Like Tropico 3, you can also customize your leaders looks and background. There are a lot more options for the background this time, but the actual look of your leader has pretty much stayed the same.
Tropico 4, like its predecessors, really gives you the option to be a complete dick to your people like you would like to do in SimCity. Though be warned, if you are going to be a jerk, have a big army first.
It is also really nice how they mixed in a lot of political humor into the game. There are a lot of badly formed alter egos of famous political figures that make a lot of cheesy jokes and threats at you throughout the game.