E3 is a great place to see and experience upcoming games, but it’s hardly ideal for a proper time-sink for genres like world-building sims and role-playing. Which, of course, is precisely what our friends at Kalypso Media had in store for me when I arrived on the show’s last day.
El Presidente is back in Tropico 6. Full disclosure: I’m unfamiliar with the Tropico series, but from what I could gather it’s a civilization-building sim with the real possibility of becoming a dictator. How could I resist? This new addition returns a few features I was told were absent in past releases, like tunnels that allow citizens to pass through mountains. Don’t want to go through these obstacles?
Players can now build over mountains and hills using lifts that give citizens the ability to get up and over. It’s also possible to trade in order to get hard to find supplies. If you still don’t have enough goodies, raids can be conducted when there’s not enough to go around.
One of the most information-dense demos I had the pleasure of seeing had to be Shadows: Awakening. My faithful colleague Cory Galliher was kind enough to fill me in on a bit of history on how this game got its start as a project called Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms, which was released with only the first acts of content available. The rest of the story never materialized, though; Kalypso Media has not only continued the story but had to rebuild the entire RPG from the ground up. The best news is that players who already owned Heretic Kingdoms will be receiving Awakening for free.
The main character is a shape-shifting demon who possesses other characters and changes in appearance based on the choices the player makes. Good choices will cause the demon to develop an “angelic” appearance while evil choices will cause it to become more demonic over time. Players will also have the ability to switch between the shadow realm and the living world as they explore. Certain monsters like ghouls can only be found and fought in the shadow realm while creatures like spiders can only be found in the living world.
There’s a rich cast of characters, including a wide selection of potential host bodies for the demonic protagonist. At the start of the game players are given their choice of three main characters and the story will change slightly based on the chosen hero, so each adventure will be a little different. I was told there was over 60 hours of content and with at least up to three potential playthroughs you’re looking at over 180 hours of game time. Characters also change as the story progresses so that can also increase Awakening’s replayability.
Both Tropico 6 and Shadows: Awakening are due later this year – and I can’t wait to get my hands on final versions to spend an astonishing amount of time with both.