Hey folks, Valkor here. Prison Break was a series I'd never gotten into, though I've been told that for guys lookin for a real "guy show", I should check it out; it's supposed to be highly suspenseful and if the videogame that's based off the TV series is any indication to this, I'd like to check that out. But until then, I'm gonna spend more time with Deep Silver's take on the show, aptly titled, "Prison Break: The Conspiracy".
In Prison Break: The Conspiracy, you play as Tom Paxton an agent for the company who's been sent undercover to go inside Fox Penitentiary. You're initial job is to keep an eye on Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows. It seems Mike has gotten himself thrown behind bars and if you're familiar with the show, you know he did this on purpose to get his brother out. (I know about that much of the show). But the story isn't as cut and dry as it seems; you have to make alliances with the different factions in the prison to get the things you need. And they're not gonna just gonna give you what you want - you have to do them favors in order to gain their trust and respect. And that's not as easy as it sounds as you'll have to perform some feats of stealth, breaking and entering different wards of the prison to get access to files, info, weapons, drugs, whatever these head honchos want. And all of this is done non-lethally. That's right you don't even get to knock anyway out; Oh you will get to fight, just not when you're in stealth mode. However you have to snake your way around areas to reach your goal. As you progress through the story Paxton will sum up what's happening by speaking into his voice-recorder, which summarizes the things he's done or has to do. If you're unsure of what you're next goal is, a "focus" prompt will pop-up on the screen informing you of where to go and also a marker on the map will guide you're way.
Once you enter a building that requires stealth, you'll get a sound and visual prompt (the borders of the screen will go dark) letting you know that you cannot get caught doing what needs to be done. Guards, inmates, and other prison workers (doctors, janitors, etc) all hinder your path and if you're caught, it's game over. In order to get past these guys you can take cover, peek through doors before entering, hide in lockers or ventilation shafts, or even cause distractions. If you're too close to someone, or within their sights, a sound prompt and red arrows of where that character is standing in relation to your position will set off, forcing you to move or be caught (and again game over). Fortunately you get to replay right where you left off, though if you're in the middle of characters interacting, the scene will replay each time you continue. Luckily the path to solving each puzzle is pretty linear and there's really only one way to solve each puzzle; it just takes some trial and error. And once you realize how to reach your goal, you'll always nail it after that, just be mindful because the difficulty increases as you progress. Finally you have quick time events that force you to push a button when prompted. Succeed and you move on. Fail and you start it all over again.
There are other tasks you can perform aside from the main mission. You can pick a fight with the inmates in the prison yard to prove just how tough you are. You're skills include a heavy punch, a normal punch, block and dash at your disposal. You're pretty weak when you begin, but you gain strength by lifting weights or hittin the bag. You can also participate in underground fights, which can earn you money; money you can use to buy tattoos or other items. With the tats, they vary in design and cost depending on what you want and where you want it.
So what did I think of this action/adventure/puzzler of a game?
First off this game is crazy addicting; I couldn't sleep at night knowing that with just one more try, I can make it past that one guard or get the item I need to progress the story. Prison Break is a total puzzle game that requires a lot of patients, which pays off when you succeed… it just feels so good to complete a mission. The level of suspense is high because in most cases, you really don't know what's behind a door or around a corner until you pass through or make that turn. Yea you can peek inside or around corners, but you're limited to what you can see, and who's to say who's in another room? It's crazy, intense! I freakin love it! You follow behind Tom third person, behind his shoulder and controlling him is easy without having to read the instructions, because the opening tutorials helps to get you started. Yea there are some hiccups (which I will touch on in the bad section), but for the most part your movements and actions are fluid, thus immersing you in the game. The story and the game as a whole, makes for a complete cinematic experience. As you follow along with Tom, talking to guards and other inmates, more of the story opens up. Yes you're watching a good deal of it, but that's what makes it so much fun – Prison Break the game has achieved "interactive movie status" that isn't boring. Actually it's rather compelling and you know what? I gotta check out the show! So a great story, plus tons of suspense, and awesome situations that you have to figure out equals one hell of a game experience!
First let's discuss those control hiccups shall we; when fighting other characters, your character moves almost like he's underwater. Sometimes he responds well, other times when you know you hit that punch button, he doesn't do anything. Plus you have no sense of impact. When fighting another character, you wanna have that sense that you're punch does damage. Yea you get the sound, but again, so sense of impact of fist against another man's face or gut. It just feels too soft. Also, no icons on the map for the guards? Actually that's more of a nitpick because as I play through it actually increases the suspense level of not knowing where they are or how to get past them. When I get busted, I really get startled because as you're sneaking past you're saying things like "just a little more… almost there…" then BAM! Dude's on top of you, game over! So yea forget that last part, no icons necessary for the guards.
Though Prison Break the series is off the air, Prison Break the game lives on and you too can relish in the fact that Deep Silver has brought unto us a great game, suspenseful, and compelling game. I really had fun with Prison Break and I think most of you out there will too, especially fans of the series. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give Prison Break The Conspiracy 4.5 stars and it's been Valkor tested and TOV Approved.