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The Escapists 2 Game Review

The Escapists 2 Game Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Aug 30, 2017
( Rating: 3 Star Rating)

The ultimate prison-break sandbox gets a sequel with The Escapists 2. Check out Kidzworlds review to see if this game improves on the original or struggles to break out of the first games shadow.

By: Max Cannon

Just like the original game, The Escapists 2 has one of the best premises in all of gaming. Exploring, devising, and executing a prison escape is an idea ripe for video games and while there can be some intense moments and a satisfying conclusion to your escape, The Escapists 2 is bogged down by some annoying menus and pacing that too quickly throws you in the deep end.

Breaking Out of the Mold

The Escapists 2 kicks off with a tutorial that attempts to show you the lay of the land. There really is no series like The Escapists and the tutorial took me about 3 playthroughs to help me fully grasp how to play the game. While most games have some sort of semblance to another title that makes it easier to figure out how to control the game, this title is so unique that I felt like I was struggling to really understand the best plan. And while I respect how quickly the developer wants to get the player into the action, the short length of the tutorial means that there is a huge overload of information.

When a prison is in lockdown you'll find every guard around after you.When a prison is in lockdown you'll find every guard around after you.
 

Once you start a new game in any of the available prisons, you're going to want to spend the first day getting a feel for the prison's schedule. You must attend roll call early in the morning or the prison will go into lockdown and missing other appointments in the prison like one of your three meals, exercise, shower time, or work will make the guards more and more suspicious. In the coming days, you'll need to make use of your available free time, as well as make judgment calls about when it's appropriate to break away from the schedule, to devise an escape plan, acquire/craft the needed tools, and execute your breakout. The tools can either be stolen from the cells of fellow inmates or bought with money earned by doing odd jobs for the prison or prisoners.

Teaming up with other players is the most efficient and fun way to play.Teaming up with other players is the most efficient and fun way to play.

This is a great setup but The Escapists 2 is NOT an easy game to play, especially when you're alone. Adding another player into the mix makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Coordinating an escape plan with a friend means that you can cut the time it takes to scavage for supplies in half. If you're planning to cut through a fence and dig to freedom you will need nail files, duct tape, and metal sheets which can take an annoying amount of busywork to acquire. Most slip ups will bring the wrath of the security guards upon you and force you into solitary confinement while also removing any contraband in your inventory.  Of course, actually finding that freedom is so thrilling and satisfying because of the challenge but when you lose every inch of progress and find yourself back to square one it's more frustrating than anything. Navigating the game's menus isn't often intuitive and when you quickly need to hide a dangerous item before a guard sees you, it's frustrating to be caught because of how slowly you'll make the right selection.

Standard Issue Orange Jumpsuit

The Escapist 2 continues the retro art style of the previous game and is visually similar to an NES game like the original Final Fantasy, but obviously with a more diverse color palette and a lot more detail. Where you're going to see the most personality in The Escapists 2 is the game's writing. The guards are constantly referencing other games or are making darkly tongue-in-cheek jokes, the game's first main prison puts players across from a therapist who just berates the player for an hour's worth of game time before sending you on your way with 15 coins in your pocket, this prison's version of your job time.

Following the schedule will be your best method to getting the lay of the land in each prison.Following the schedule will be your best method to getting the lay of the land in each prison.

The game's atmosphere brought a smile to my face during the opening tutorial as well as the tutorial's protagonist recalls his prison break from the comfort of a beach -- and also makes the game look easy. I'm unfamiliar with the first title so I can't speak to how this new game has evolved but I hope to see more from this series. If future titles can trim the fat, streamline the experience, and really evolve the gameplay I'd be more than happy to play The Escapists 3

Different prisons will offer up different challenges.Different prisons will offer up different challenges.
 

Final Thoughts

I wish The Escapists 2 was as fun in execution as it sounds on paper. Throwing a friend into the mix cuts down on some frustration but it doesn't fully make up for the game's constant busy work and unintuitive menus. Much of this game is clearly well thought out and maybe a third entry in the series will finally strike gold but as it stands I had more headaches with The Escapists 2 than thrilling escapes.

Pros

  • Awesome/Original Premise
  • Great Atmosphere

Cons

  • Confusing Gameplay
  • Busywork

The Escapists 2 Game Rating:3

The Escapists 2 Box ArtThe Escapists 2 Box ArtCourtesy of Team17

 

Available Now on PC, PS4, Xbox One!

Have Your Say!

Have you played the previous entry in The Escapists series? Will you give this game a play? Share your comments below!

 

 

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