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The Escapists 2

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 6 - 2017

I’m getting out of here.

 
I must admit that I never got around to playing the original The Escapists, but I always fancied the idea of living out my own prison break fantasy. Now that Mouldy Toof Studios have released the sequel, the imaginatively titled The Escapists 2, and I have covered myself from head to toe in tattoos and picked up a fair number of pin up posters, I think it is time to give this prison breaking lark a try. It can’t be that hard, can it?

 
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The Escapists 2 is a top down strategy title in which the player must plan an escape from incarceration. This will involve following the daily routine, so as not to raise suspicion, finding or crafting the items needed for escape and plotting a route to freedom. It really does sound quite straight forward.

 
But I am not fool. The game encourages the player to first head to a tutorial prison where they will be guided through the process of escaping. Those who played the previous title could probably skip this, but there is no harm in a quick refresher.

 
It turns out that the tutorial is a bit of an eye opener. It basically guides the player from one action to another, resulting in the players escape. Combine soap with sock to make soap sock weapon, attend roll call and hope that the guards don’t randomly search your cell, smack some bloke in a random room around the head and then break into the room opposite. Go for lunch. Hang blankets on the cell and break through the wall into a storage room where access to an air vent will see the inmate crawling above the cells to another room where a tunnel can be dug to near freedom. There were plenty more steps to this process, but to be honest it is all a bit of a blur.

 
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It also made my head spin. While the tutorial guides the player to escape, it really didn’t explain why the player needed to do the things they did, or how they knew how to do it. While I now knew the various possibilities available to my inmate, I found myself feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the task ahead.

 
With no real idea of how I would escape, I headed into the game proper. The Escapists 2 really is quite difficult and I found myself just going through the daily routine to begin with, trying to get a sign of what I needed to do. Gradually, it all began to make some form of sense. Talking with other inmates, improving my intelligence through learning in the library, crafting contraband or other required equipment from the massive selection of items, and plotting guard routines. Much like the escape in Shawshank Redemption, slow and steady wins the race.

 
The grand escape requires an investment in time, and any little mistake can lead the player to lose essential items and progress. All of the planning and slow progress can drag on, along with the daily routine of prison life. But it can also be incredibly tense, especially when it comes time to put all of the hard work to use and actually make the escape. I love it when a plan comes together.

 
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The prisons come to life with really great visuals that give the different inmates their own personalities. It is like watching an ant farm as day to day life carries on regardless of what the player is actually up to. A great soundtrack and sound effects further enhance the time spent in each prison.

 
The variety of different prisons that the player will be escaping from is quite impressive, with places of incarceration ranging from a wild west setting to outer space. There are also some levels that mix up the gameplay by placing a time limit, forcing the player to forgo any careful planning and throw caution to the wind as they make their escape. These settings ramp up the excitement in a game that is more usually about steady progress.

 
The original game didn’t feature any form of multiplayer, so this new addition of both local and online multiplayer for The Escapists 2 will be something different for both veteran prison breakers and new. There is co-op available, where players will need to work together in order to plot their escape, and a versus mode where players compete in a much more simplified setting to be the first to escape. Both modes bring further variety to the game and round out the whole package well.

 
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The Escapists 2 is a very challenging game, and one that can easily lead to frustration. But it can also be incredibly rewarding when everything comes together just perfectly. I would imagine that fans of the previous game would get the most out of this sequel, while newcomers may struggle a bit. Once things start to click though, it is a satisfying game to play. The inclusion of multiplayer options only adds to the fun of incarceration.

 

 ★★★★★★★½☆☆ 



 

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