Immediately, not sooner or later, I was drawn in. The Team17 logo that shot across my screen assembled itself into from panes of material and shattered only to reveal the start of your captivating experience. The title of the game,‘Escapists 2’, makes its appearance. I’m excited, I haven’t even pressed a button yet, and already my imagination is lit up with different imagery. Prisoners squeeze through the cracks of the game title, emphasizing the name of the game. Quick, they’re escaping! Sirens and flashing neon flood the screen. On queue, the men in blue arrive in full force ready to detain all the convicts they think will get away. The chase has begun. As for spot on intros…. nailed it.
The splash screen, and introduction to the theme of the game got me amped. I was ready to go, and when I got to the initial game play screen where I could select options like play versus, play game, my characters, criminal record, and leaderboards, I didn’t hesitate. I clicked ‘PLAY GAME’, and was ready to go. Unexpectedly, I got a lovely note from my warden. He even offered me a place to learn how to escape. I mean, I got this in the bag if the wardens on my side. So I figured I’d make like Andy Dufresne and escape this tin box. I mean, how often do you look at a man’s shoes?
Interestingly enough, I wrote the last paragraph before continuing with the tutorial. I mean why not write your initial thoughts down while through the progression of trying something? I’d rather have that genuine feel too each and every word then well thought out after-the-fact. I made a Shawshank Redemption prior, and how spot on I was. Sipping on the beach, enjoy the sand and sunshine. You won’t understand how great this tutorial is until you try it yourself, it even makes you feel rushed like you would in a real prison escape. Guards chasing you while you’re trying to read what to do. I’m sure you can’t actually get caught in the tutorial, but it definitely gives you the vibe that it’s over for you. I won’t ruin the end for you, but the tutorial is worth it just for the story line. This initial prison gives you just enough information to stomp out the learning curve, and get you onto the track of escaping. Tutorial… nailed it.
After figuring out the basics of the game, I headed back to the character screen. I wanted the prisoner to be a representation of me in pixel form. I got to work. I killed Clive, and that’s why I’m a prisoner to begin with, but I also needed a spot for me. After renaming my character too ‘Johnny’, I was disappointed with the face selection options. Apparently I could only have a round ball head or an oval egg head, and skin tones seemed lacking as well. I felt like there could have been a larger range here. There were only three options, however those options were satisfactory. The hair options were great, tons of them. However, I also felt like they could have had a better selection of hairstyles if you were able to select a hairstyle and then choose the color of that hairstyle. Instead they give you some basic options that you can choose from, and their hair color variations. This is true for the beard, hat, and eye wear options as well. For character creation, I was a little disappointed however it wasn’t terrible. In the end, I still made a pretty bad-ass mockup of me. They call me Mr. Johnny.
It was time to get the ball rolling for real! So I moved on to my first real prison, and I was loaded up with all kinds of information beforehand. Apparently the warden had a lot of escape attempts and successes before so they built a new more ‘secure’ prison. This warden is probably a walk in the park, so breaking out is probably going to be easy. Plus, with these epic glasses I got on, I’ll have everyone begging to be my friend. Center Perks 2.0, I’m going to show you who the boss is.
I was excited to play after reading about the prison and what not, but I was slowed down by the prison customization screen. I thought it was awesome that I was able to update every single guard, and every single prisoner to have a look that I deemed necessary or a name of my choosing. Well, and that is how my entire family got locked up with me. Don’t worry family, I’m going to break us all out! However, I’m still disappointed with the character creation screens here because they’re exactly the same when I created my character. I’m liking them a little bit more because I still get mostly the desired effect, however I feel as if more work could of went into this. Into gameplay!
Boom, I’m in the first prison straight off the bus. I don’t spawn somewhere random like my cell, and the warden walks me through the prison like its a fancy hotel. Shows me where to get my hot meals, how I can gain strength, speed, and intellect, and he hands me the keys to the gate. Alright, alright, he didn’t hand me the keys to the gate of the prison, but he might as well have. I didn’t feel the character strength I should have from the warden, as he lead me to my cell that was nicer than a Hilton Suite. The best part of all of this? The film crew recording everything. I’m going to be on television, ma!
On my first day to breakfast, I immediately made the mistake of left clicking and getting into a fight. I got the rocks kicked out of me. I saw all the pretty coins above people’s heads, and I thought I could chat to them with my left mouse click, and then I realized… Nope, I’m going to wake up in the hospital. I will say, the way the infirmary staff carries you from the place you get knocked out at to a bed is pretty awesome. I later learned that all I had to do is hold my action key to shop from someone. Lessons are learned quickly. Time to hit the gym!
Gaining stamina, strength, and intellect are repetitive, but they go up really fast. So they’re easy to get high quick. So I didn’t have to worry too much about all my skills, I quickly skipped any part of the routine that I could without getting into to much trouble. I made sure to get my energy up by napping, taking showers, and attending all meal times. Every chance I could I went to go raise my skills ‘cause I knew I’d need them high to build things that would help me escape, and rob people who had things I needed. I also learned during this period that as long as you show up during the last minute of the task you get credit for it. So I would skip some of the tasks that I didn’t need. Like dinner time was after shower time, and both raise your energy. I didn’t need dinner so I showed up at the last minute, and didn’t get in trouble by the guards and still got extra study time in. Day one was over before I knew it.
Day two- I knew it, I had to prep for my escape. These walls had too been closing in, I started to feel like I’d be trapped here forever, and I knew that I had to get out. Lucky me, when I woke up I had found some screwdrivers in a fellow prisoners bunk, and I took them for my own. I weakened the vent in my cell to 10% and found the target cell I’ll need to be hide in when I make my great escape. I’ve located a weak path to the North of the facility, I’ll just need to hide in the cover of night. Somehow the guards found damage that I had made earlier in the game, while attacking a wall and they beat the snot out of me in my own cell. Was a good time, but I’m still on the war path to escape. Well, I was then several days passed.
Needless to say I eventually escaped, however its not as easy as it looks. This game is totally worthwhile, however may take up some time in your life. I would recommend this to a friend or family member who wants to burn some time. Once you have played this game a few times it gets really easy, however it is pretty hard at the start. The online play is almost not worth it because you have to escape with all the other prisoners. Sometimes other players can be hard to work with. I mean, we’re all supposed to be convicts after all sometimes someone gets left behind. However, when you get out, Red, I’ll be waiting for you on the other side.