The Escapists 2 - Steam/PC Preview/Impressions

Trying to escape from a high security prison has never felt more satisfying than this.

Game Info

  • System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam, Nintendo Switch (In development)
  • Publisher: Team 17
  • Developer: Mouldy Toof
  • Release Date: August 22, 2017

The Escapists 2 Pre-order & Release Date Trailer

Who it Caters to

You’ve seen it in blockbuster films or you’ve read about it in the daily newspaper, someone broke out of jail and is on the run from the law. We all know of the now iconic Alcatraz prison breaks that occurred decades ago, and since then it’s been every prisoner's dream to be the next to break free and recreate their life in a major way. Of course, this is no walk in the park as breaking out of a high security prison not only requires proper planning and execution, but a group of strategists who are just as hungry to get out as you are. One slip up and you’re right back to where you started or worse, you’re put into solitary confinement with little to no food as your punishment. Luckily for us, we don’t have to go through that arduous ordeal in real life and can sit down with Team 17’s fun and challenging title The Escapists 2 and pretend like we’re bad guys (or girls), plotting our escape at every opportunity.

What to Expect

The Escapists 2 is the follow up to the successful debut title The Escapists, in which you take control of an inmate and it’s your objective to come up with divisive ways of breaking out of jail without bringing attention to yourself. There’s so much in store for those who pick up this title because the game has been revamped in a major way, allowing for online play up to four players (co-op and VS) and upgraded multi-level prisons to always test your abilities to survive without getting caught. The combat system has also evolved in a big way, allowing players to lock onto their targets with precision, block incoming attacks, and perform powerful blows to the enemy with a combination of light and heavy attacks. On a visual level, The Escapists 2 still retains its very cartoonish appeal but with significant upgrades that allow the game to look and play smoother than before. Pick up jobs while in jail such as being the garbage man, or perhaps signing up for a painting position. All of the options are there for you which only provide a more immersive environment to play in, which only adds more to the overall lasting appeal of this incredibly witty and challenging title.

Gameplay

Anyone who dabbled with the original will feel right at home with the sequel, because the premise behind the game is still there. Your mission is to plan your escape out of this multi-level high security prison, with some assistance from inmates around you. Of course, it’s no walk in the park as you’ll need to build a reputation among the inmate family either by doing missions for them or purchasing goods for you to craft with. Speaking of crafting, a lot of that has been improved vastly as well in the sequel allowing you to come up with some cool tools to take out the guards with, or blackmail someone to make your escape that much more efficient. There’s no right or wrong way to approach the game because it allows you to carve your own path in order to successfully escape without a baton swatting your head. The humor is what really sells the game and perhaps it’s just that classic slapstick British wit that gives The Escapists 2 its charm, because as you play through the game, every character around you is having a conversation of their own. Some are random and others are so perfect in their timing that you can’t stop laughing after one of the inmates gets thumped for trying to be an attention seeker.

There’s no timer when it comes to plotting your escape either, which makes playing such a thrill because you can be very meticulous about your steps and who to work with. The only “timer” perhaps is just the schedule you follow such as being on time for roll calls, being in your cell before lights out, or hitting up the gym to pump iron to raise your fitness level. Even those timer rules can be broken since the guards will only pester you if you continue to show up late but if you’re quick about your objectives then you can slip and slide your way out of trouble with ease. Our first several attempts were a nightmare because for one. We almost got fired from our garbage disposal job and received some severe warnings from the guards, then we got too cocky and tried taking out a group of guards only to get pulverised and sent straight to the doctor office. There’s no game over if you get pummeled, which is a great thing because you simply just regenerate your health by resting, and get right back to plotting that legendary escape. The single player aspect of The Escapists is deep enough that you often forget that there’s a multiplayer mode where you can play with other people! We didn’t really spend much time with the multiplayer side but we can safely say that it’s just as fun as the single player because of the abundance of content that’s available to everyone.

Since we were playing with the preview build of the game, we expected that a lot of content wouldn’t be available, but to be honest, we didn’t even really realize anything was out of whack. So much of our time was just spent running around trying to craft the right tools to dig ourselves out of the joint. The AI at times were a bit repetitive in their speech though which is one thing we noticed. Quite often, we’d be in the shower and the guards would always say the same line or one of the inmates would say “EAT THE CHEESE!” while being seated in the cafeteria eating our grub. It didn’t affect the overall appeal of the game but it certainly stood out and became repetitive after awhile which depleted that humor we enjoyed. The Escapists 2 allows you to customize your own character which was quite fun. We hope come full release we’ll have more options to choose from. It doesn’t have Elder Scrolls’ level of customization, but it fits the overall construct of what The Escapists 2 is trying to accomplish, a simple yet effective game with a deep and rewarding experience.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

The Escapists 2 is truly one exciting game that feels like an RPG in a way because you’re constantly trying to level up your character but also your cognitive abilities to ensure that you don’t find yourself behind bars every attempt. There are rogue-lite elements implemented into the game too for example after getting battered by the guards, you lose all of the tools that you received and have to go back out to recraft them. It trains you to be very mindful of your actions so as to not lose very important materials along the way, and to be attentive of the patterns that each guard illustrates as you play. It’s a game of cat and mouse. Often times you’ll get caught by the cat but it’s that thrill of being caught that makes playing The Escapists 2 so entertaining. Strategically hide tools in places around the jail to avoid getting searched, plant objects in other inmate’s cells to gain status or simply run a muck and cause havoc. With a plethora of ways to approach the game and a multitude of options with regards to fighting, collecting and crafting, The Escapists 2 will keep you locked down in your own little cell (bedroom) for hours on end.

Honey's Pros:

  • Hours upon hours of non-stop gameplay.
  • Great visual upgrades from the original.
  • Simple yet deep strategic gameplay mechanics that allow for versatility.
  • Multiplayer mode just adds another layer of fun and replayability.

Honey's Cons:

  • Repetitive text from AI drags the humor down.
  • Some of the AI act really random at times and feel a little dumb.
  • Wish we could customize our character more.

Honey's Final Verdict:

Since this is the preview build of the game we totally are looking forward to the full game’s release which is a month away. We didn’t find that many issues with the gameplay albeit a few dumb AI squabbles, but those didn’t really phase us in a major way. Breaking out of prison is like playing a game of chess because it’s all about using inmates as your pawns, while you strategically construct a plan to strike down the wall of guards that oppose you, in hopes that you break free and become the king of all kings. We hope you found this preview to be insightful and that you too will put your money aside for The Escapists 2 when it drops August 22nd on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.

As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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