I haven't gotten too far into the game just yet. I replayed the tutorial missions, in order to reacquaint myself with the basic controls, but that turned out to be unnecessary. The actual physical mechanics came right back to me. I guess game controls are getting more and more standardized as time goes on.
The thing that I'm having trouble getting back into is the strategy. The sort of reflexive knowledge of what to build and when, and the nuance of how to set wages and policies. It's tricky because income in Tropico 4 is intermittent. You engage in various manufacturing and primary resource gathering activities, but while the expenses of running these enterprises is constant, you only get paid when the stuff actually leaves on the freighter. That means that it's nearly impossible to track profit and loss without a spreadsheet and you have to rely extensively on personal experience to make everything balance out.
In theory, I have that experience, but as I replayed the first campaign mission, I definitely felt myself flailing a bit. I wound up chasing objectives instead of having any sort of plan. I'm left to wonder whether this is a pattern or whether I was just feeling a bit off when I was playing it. I do tend to be impulsive about these sorts of things, building whatever feels right not out of any grand plan or rational analysis, but in answer to the needs of the moment.
It's not a good approach, per se, but with enough practice you start to develop instincts and can steer the direction of your islands with a minimum of problems.
For now, I'm out of practice. Since the early levels are easy, it hasn't been a problem so far. Hopefully, by the time I get to the later levels it will all come back to me.