Ever since Team 17 released The Escapists in 2014, I have been looking forward to seeing what more they can make out of this universe. After releasing several DLC’s for the first game (some were fun, others not so much), and releasing a Walking Dead-version, it is now time to move on.
I got the awesome opportunity to test both the PS4 version and the PC version, which is really nice for comparison. Because testing both platforms takes time I have, sadly, not had the chance to test out the multiplayer part yet – it will therefore not be included in this review. However, if I manage to test it out in the near future, expect an update on it for sure!
The Escapists 2 is a strategy sandbox game with pretty pixel graphics, offering as much as 10 new prisons with various difficulties for you to twist your brain and escape in new, creative ways. Personally, I’ve only managed to escape from two prisons (no judging, I’m slow, okay!), but I’ve used a lot of time just wandering around the prisons and exploring what the game has to offer.
While I would normally prefer playing a game like The Escapists on the computer, I was pleasantly surprised when discovering that the game is equally comfortable to play on the PS4. It looks really good on both platforms, and the controls are smooth. Even though the controls (at least on the computer) are a bit different now than in the first game, I managed to adjust after a short while.
The music of the Escapists 2 is just as catchy as it was in the original game. It changes with different times of the day, which creates a nice and fitting ambience, and a great change of pace. With enough hours played, you’re going to start humming the music like working songs. I love that the prisons have different themes, and music that fits accordingly.
With as much as 10 prisons available, many hours of gameplay await you. As if that weren’t enough, in order to proceed and unlock the different prisons, you have to collect keys – and the way of collecting these keys is to escape the prisons in different ways. There are set ways that you can escape, and you have to do it the way the game was designed to earn the key. I am guessing that you don’t have to play every single prison in every way, but it is definitely a challenge for the achievement hunters out there. You have to get creative, though – some of the prisons are timed!
Deeper character customization is also available, and you unlock more stuff for your character as you play through the different prisons. This is a relevant addition in regards to the multiplayer function, as it, obviously, makes it more fun to be playing against others with your very own customized character(s). It also creates a greater sense of ownership to the character, I think. It’s the little things in life, you know?
If I’m allowed to give some advice, get to know the place first – because each prison has its weaknesses. Get used to the routines of the prison, get a job and earn additional money by doing quests given by the other inmates. There are also ways of getting hints in the game to help you escape… But you have to be observant, and look closely. Remember that each prison is different, and needs a different strategy. Create a facade for yourself. Follow the schedule, don’t make the guards angry, and go do what you gotta do.
Personally, I don’t like the autosave function on a general basis. Therefore I get a tad annoyed when a game like The Escapists 2 has that feature because I have a need to be able to save when I want, not when the game decides to. My wish is that the game would enable a manual save feature.
I would also like information about the items you can craft in an update. Either a short description of what the item is or perhaps a little hint as to what you can use it for. I found myself stuck a couple of times because I didn’t know what to make and I didn’t know what they were for. Sure, I could’ve just tested it out, and figured it out on my own, but resources are pretty valuable in The Escapists, and I didn’t want to use my hard-earned resources for nought.
The recipes for the items and how to use them are different now than they were in the first Escapists-game too. For example: in the first game, one could hide the fact that you were digging a hole in the wall by placing a poster in front of it. Now, you have to make a fake wall out of paper maché – which is more logical, I guess, but it requires more resources and more work. It just took a heck of a lot of time to figure that out. However, it is the little things like that that makes The Escapists 2 feel quite different from the first game.
All in all, The Escapists 2 is a great game with a lot of potential, but there’s room for improvement with small things such as a manual save function and more information on items. The online and multiplayer function creates an even bigger replay value to the game, which is a huge plus.
The Escapists 2 offers new ways of escaping, more prisons, character customization, multiplayer (versus and co-op mode) plus online, new items to craft, more stuff to do. In short, the new Escapists is bigger, better, improved. It offers levels that are fun, but also challenging. Strategy is required, and it gives you a great sense of accomplishment if you manage to escape. It is a game that will definitely make the hours fly by, and is as addicting as it has always been.