- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS4 (Reviewed)
- Developer: Mouldy Toof Studios
- Publisher: Team17
- Release Date: August 22nd, 2017
Mouldy Toof Studios’ cartoonish little prison break game is back with a sequel,The Escapists 2, which improves on every aspect across the board. From its diverse line up of prisons to choose from, new multiplayer modes, largely improved graphics and crafting mechanics, bustin’ out of the joint has never been so good.
If you’re unfamiliar with the first Escapists game, the concept is very simple. You begin each stage entering a prison, with you’re only objective being to escape. Once you’re in the prison you’ll have to balance everyday prisoner routine with formulating your escape plot. Missing roll call, exercise time, or any other duties will raise suspicion and get you in hot water with the guards.
Between all of your scheduled duties you’ll spend most of your time scrounging through other inmates cells and any room you can gain access to for basic items such as duct tape and files. More obscure items can be purchased from a select few of your fellow inmates, and can be combined to create tools and weapons to use for your grand scheme. Other inmates can also provide you with currency by completing errands and tasks for them. These tasks can be fetching quests, crafting them specific weapons, or something as easy as beating the tar out of an inmate they don’t particularly like.
One of the major flaws in the first Escapists title was the lackluster tutorial which resulted in players heavily relying on trial and error to figure out the ins and outs of the game. The tutorial prison in The Escapists 2, Precinct 17, does a much better job of teaching the player the basics of crafting, the day-to-day prison routine, and how to plan out an escape. While it does a much better job than its predecessor, the tutorial is still missing explanations on a few key gameplay elements that players who may not be familiar with the franchise may struggle with. It is a step in the right direction, but definitely still not perfect.
The Escapists 2, much like the first game, is very much throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, which is pretty much expected from a game revolved around breaking out of prison. If it really was that easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it? Each penitentiary has multiple ways to escape, some which take an extremely cunning mind and a ton of patience to execute. Of course you can always channel your inner Andy Dufresne and dig your way out Shawshank style, or you can work smarter and not harder and impersonate a guard or civilian to try and sneak your way out. The elaborate getaways are really intriguing to figure out, and bring a ton of replay value to each prison stage.
The Escapists 2 has a very diverse line up of prison stages, locking you up in P.O.W. camps, prisons in the Wild West, and even Area 51 themed prisons. Arguably the best new prisons are the three transport prisons, which place you on a train, ship, and aircraft. These prisons only last one day, so there are no routines or roll calls. You are however under a time limit, so it’s all about being stealthy and crafting on the fly.
The most significant addition to The Escapists 2 is the multiplayer modes. Each prison stage can be set to local or public, allowing other players to land in the slammer alongside you, working together to bust out. There are certain features in each prison that are only accessible with the assistance of another player, such as one player holding a reinforced door open for their partner in crime to squeeze through.
There is also an all-new Versus Mode, which is a ton of fun. Versus Mode operates on the same basic concepts as the standard mode, but have some drastic rule changes. Versus Mode is essentially a race, with the first inmate to escape being crowned the winner. Each stage only lasts for 1 day, and there are no routines such as roll call, meal times, and job times. All of the venders’ items are free, so it’s all about who can collect, craft, and dig their way out first.
Overall The Escapists 2 is an exponential improvement over its predecessor that will have you addicted to the thrill of the escape for hours on end. Whether it’s attempting to escape solo or buddying up with a few inmate friends, fans of the The Escapists and newcomers to the series are sure to have a blast scheming their way to their big breakouts.
A Playstation 4 review code of The Escapists 2 was provided by Team17