... I played T3 for about a year, but found the political and economic settings too weak, with little challenge, even at the highest settings.
I have thus returned to T1 and found a game now 10 years old can still stoke my fire. I will therefore keenly observe the initial feedback on T4, as to whether it is just a "shiney" T3, or if it reverts to an appropriate balance of economics and politics.
As an aside, I found in T3 the application of cars poor. It felt like Sim City and this - I fear - is what T3 became. A city builder on a tropical island.
I'm very happy that you took the time to post a brief comment on T3. So many of the complaints about the ease of play coming from those who claim to have played T1 seem to be from those who have only a vague memory of T1. They are hard to give much credence. So it's good to have an expert opinion from a player such as yourself.
I fear that the feed-back on T4 is going to be nothing more than a wave of shouts from the usual "cheer-leading squad" gorged on the eye-candy. So far, the claims of new stuff amount to nothing more than additional bells & whistles centered on eye-candy and making El Presidente into the main, on-screen feature - making it into a first person shooter type or into an adventure type. The latest comment from the publisher surprised me -- it was in reply to complaints about the non-functioning tourist industry. They admitted (almost) that tourist use of attractions was broken and essentially non-functional and the hotels alone made it a money fountain. That despite the hard limit on the number of tourists. Anyway, they now have claimed that T4 includes a complete retooling of the tourism feature.
It's interesting that you reached such a conclusion about the introduction of vehicles. Instant construction of one flavor, perfect
roads - apparantly with no serious charge to the treasury - was too much for me. None-the-less, it could have worked if: 1} the cars had been limited to the elite (upper class) and Teamsters at work, and 2} the "garage" function had been subsummed into all the necessary buildings and no separate parking garage added. It is interesting how the current crop of players has no patience to watch the NPCs walk, but finds unending hours of gameplay in devising a road network with the least number of traffic jams. Of course, they would like to have four and six lane highways at their disposal.
T3 is an interesting game, but it is not Tropico because the ambiance of the original died the death of a thousand cuts. I think it is impossible to find that any one of the hundreds of "tweeks" in the underlying code did anything to capture better or sweeten the ambiance of the original. If T1 had a glitch, the developers made it worse; if T1 had it right and the developers tried to make it better, they broke it. T3 is no longer in the Caribbean and is no longer in the "Cold War" era. T4 crows that it has moved into the new century. I think it has moved to a new planet.