Prison Break: The Conspiracy Review
By Gaetano Prestia
Imagine being thrown into a dark, damp prison cell, where you’re set to spend the next 20 years of your life living alongside the rats that plague the building. Every day you’re fed the lowest of the low when it comes to food, normally consisting of baked beans with no sauce, moldy bread, runny scrambled eggs, all served on a rusting plate that hasn’t been cleaned in years. You’re allowed two hours per day of free-time outside in the sun, although your new home is actually on a small island off the coast of Tasmania, meaning sunny patches are about as common as a visit from Santa Claus. It all sounds pretty bad, ha? Yep, it really does. It’s probably the last place on Earth anyone would want to be. And yet, it’s probably better than having to sit through Prison Break: The Conspiracy.
The only thing worse than games based off movie licenses are games based off TV licenses. The Sopranos and 24 say hello. Prison Break’s first foray onto consoles is no different, because it’s bad. About as bad as being dangled by a piece of floss over a pile of used syringes infected with HIV. Yep. That bad.
Developer ZootFly have essentially lost any respect they had gained for releasing that awesome footage of a Ghostbusters tech demo they had made. It’s funny how things can change so drastically, going from being a developer everyone thought had potential, to being a developer that made THAT Prison Break game. The only good thing this game has going for it is that it’s set around the time of the show’s first season, which is about as promising as things get. If you’ve watch the show from start to finish, you’ll know how vastly superior the first season was to the rest of the show, because the whole gimmick of trying to break out of prison amid conspiracy and corruption was still fresh in our minds. After the third season, not so much.
Surprisingly, you won’t get to play as Michael Scofield, instead taking the reins of “The Company” undercover agent Tom Paxton, whose goals is to ensure the falsely incarcerated Lincoln makes it to the electric chair. The idea itself isn’t all that bad considering you’re essentially playing as the bad guy and rooting for him the whole way through, which is the complete opposite with the show.
Unfortunately, a good idea doesn’t automatically transfer into a good experience. The entire game is essentially one large fetch expedition, having you complete chores and do favours for inmates in Fox River so as to gain their trust. You’ll be running around the place getting medication and drugs for whoever asks for it, and this makes up a vast majority of the experience. What makes it even worse is that the stealth aspects are outdated and dull, making playing the game at times a chore. For whatever reason, you automatically fail a mission whenever you’re seen sneaking around, even if it’s not a guard. It would be fair enough to fail if a guard was the one who caught you, but if you happen to run into the old and cranky kitchen staff, you’re suddenly returned to your cell to start over again. Argh!
The funny thing is that the game tries to give you “options” in order to avoid guards and the like, but the truth is that these “options” are the only ways in which to avoid them. One such instance has you tuning a radio to distract a guard. Text appears on screen saying you can “tune the radio”, as if you have a choice. You really don’t though, and the only way you can get past the guard is by doing just that. This only happens two or three times throughout the entire game though, and that’s about as challenging and thought provoking as the entire stealth aspect of the gameplay gets.
There is a fighting element to the game – you can fight inmates to earn cash and buy tattoos – but the combat gameplay is horrendously shallow. You’ll be playing with a combination of punch, kick and block combos, but that doesn’t really matter because the inmates go down quickly anyway. Hilariously, there is a two-player option for this part of the game, meaning you can introduce a friend to this insipid excuse for a fighting experience. Your best bet is to leave playing this mode until you have someone you don’t like in your house and you want to punish them.
The Final Verdict
Prison Break: The Conspiracy
is about as fun as dropping the soap while showering with 15 criminals. And no, that’s not fun. There are nine chapters to play through, but after you play through the first three or so, you’ll have seen everything this game has to offer, which isn’t much. This game should only be used to punish people.
lol no. Imagine being flicked really hard with an elastic band while having someone blow air into your eye constantly with Enya music playing in the background. That’d be more fun than this.
Not bad, but not great either. Character likeness is pretty spot on, but there are some jagged edges here and there.
The music is OK, but the voice acting is terrible. Just terrible.
You won’t want to play through the whole game.
A score between 0.0 and 2.9 deserves to be burnt.