Tropico 5
The Big Cheese

By Rituro - September 7th, 2014


Let’s say you’re running your own country. Things are going well – massive palace, fat bank account, a populace not yet attempting a mass uprising over the lack of health care – and you’ve started wondering if anything is missing in your life. You’ve got the economy, the industry, the agriculture, the fancy statue of yourself… could there be anything more? Oh my, yes! You see, there’s one thing you haven’t yet implemented – one hallmark of every ruler that would cement your legacy as the greatest despot ever to hoard cash, taunt the Russians and corner the basement rum market. Presidente, you still need cheese.

The Big Cheese is the first DLC pack for Tropico 5 and, as you might expect from the title, focuses around a single dairy product. First and foremost, a new building (Creamery), is added to the mix, taking milk and turning it into cheese. This is a much-needed boost to agriculture-friendly leaders, as it rewards a more diverse investment in food type – no longer will you be covering Tropico soley in farms, as taking even a few ranches will provide you with a decent cash return thanks to another link in the production chain having been added.

The first person to laugh at La Presidenta’s cheese-making hat was drowned in a vat of curds. His last words were, “No whey!”

Also included in The Big Cheese is a new avatar item (a chef’s hat, perfect for all your cheese-making adventures!), a new sandbox map, a new music track and, last but certainly not least, a whole cheese-themed scenario. The scenario is where the meat of the DLC’s content lies as you attempt to create a unique Tropico cheese using whatever island resources are available. Coffee-flavoured cheese? A fish-based ripening agent? Sure, why not? It’s definitely keeping with the goofy theme of the Tropico series, though the scenario does make the questionable decision to time-lock you in the colonial era. Having your tech artificially limited and the ever-present threat of your colonial mandate ending adds a layer of challenge that doesn’t scale effectively as the game marches on. All the things you need from later eras to meet your populace’s needs as the island grows (clinics and tenements being the prime examples) are unavailable, meaning managing an upset populace becomes a “when” rather than an “if”.

Fun fact: being named “King of Cheese” entitles you to a 15% discount at Cheesy Larry’s Cheeseburger Shack.

My biggest complaint with The Big Cheese is value for what you’re purchasing. A single scenario, map, building, accessory and music track doesn’t strike me as being a must-have addition for $3.99. Call me a cynic (and you should), but I have a feeling this wasn’t so much “stuff thought of later that could be a cool add-on to the game” as “stuff that was done in advance but held back to wring an extra four dollars out of the customer”. Still, I’ll readily admit the Creamery building is certainly an enticing reason to pony up the cash all by itself. If you’ve been looking for more single-player action and another facet to your economy, give The Big Cheese a try. Otherwise, you’re not missing out if you stick with the base game.

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