You ever watch a prison break movie and think “Yeah, I could totally do that!” Well good news, it’s time to put your skills to the test once again in The Escapists 2. So before you go changing your name to Andy DuFresne, let’s see just how good you are.
This is my first go at The Escapists series. After watching a bunch of Youtubers play the original game, I was itching to get started. I always thought it had to be a lot easier than they were making it out to be. It cannot possibly take someone that long to find duct tape! Oh, how wrong I was.
The biggest appeal of The Escapists for me is the idea you could literally get out with anything. Dig a tunnel, cut the fence, sneak out with a film crew, anything you want! You might be running around every day digging tunnels with spoons before you realise there’s an open fence right beside your cell. There’s just never 1 set way of doing things. It gives the player a lot of room to get creative and really tests your limits. That said, things don’t always go your way.
One of the big determining factors for how you can escape is what can you find. For example, if you’re dead set on digging out, where do you find a shovel? If you want to just beat down the guards to victory, what weapon do you use? You really have to adapt and just pray for a lucky drop a lot of the time. In other games, this mechanic can make players feel frustrated. If you don’t get blessed by RN-Jesus, your game is down the drain. That said, I’ve yet to run into too much trouble. Assuming you can scavenge up some goodies and keep them hidden, there doesn’t seem to be much cause for alarm.
In The Escapists 2, they’ve managed to make all the prisons feel distinct and unique. With different locales, maps, dialogues and quests you never feel like you’re just repeating yourself. They’ve also added cleverly scripted events so that each prison has a unique escape route to go through. This can be seen as a mixed bag for some players. Personally, I love the idea of going through a little story and having the escape be unique. That said, others may feel it’s too restrictive. It’s as if you’re crafting a recipe for an auto win. Get A, go to B, press E, you win! It really depends on whether you want the escape to feel more organic. In my opinion, I feel like it gives the player a reason to play over the prisons again in different ways.
For example, there are escapes you can only achieve in multiplayer. Yes, for the first time in the series you can escape with your friends! I really like this mechanic. I think it’s natural that you’d make a bunch of buddies in prison to help you break out. It’s just a shame the NPC’s are too stupid to do it with you. Plus, I like the security of someone yelling “Get out of the hole, they’re onto us!” In multiplayer you can do things like keep watch on an area, hold a door open or complete unique escapes such as uncoupling a train car. It adds a little extra help to the game, and also give you more spots to hide contraband.
I do feel like there are a couple missed opportunities for a break out here and there. Maybe you bribe one of the guards to sneak you out, hide in a laundry bin, break into the control room, start a riot. The assets for these escapes are there. For example, there are guard control rooms on every map. Sadly, they weren’t implemented. Perhaps we’ll see master hacking or riot jailbreaks in future patches though. Only time will tell!
Unfortunately, the build I played was a little buggy. Whilst playing through Rattlesnake Springs I experienced multiple crashes and found my enthusiasm for escaping slowly dwindling. Thankfully the crashes didn’t set me back too far. The auto save mechanic saved my ass a lot. With luck, the crashes will be patched out pretty soon. I had seen previous versions with far more bugs that I’ve yet to encounter, so I can only imagine they’re slowly but surely getting squashed.
All in all, I really The Escapists 2. It’s a pleasant little sandbox game that can really snare you in. After you’ve spent days planning your escape it can feel really crushing that one wrong move blows the whole thing. But there’s plenty of reason to get up and try again. I would really recommend the game if you have a friend to play with since Team17 seems to really be pushing the multiplayer experience with this one. However, there’s still plenty of fun to be had on your own if you prefer it. If you want to check it out, The Escapists 2 is available now on PC, Xbox One and PS4.