Out of the box, The Escapists 2 presented both soothing and intense experiences for me and quite clearly serves no less a purpose than its predecessor.
The Escapists 2 is a top-down perspective, 8bit themed strategy game developed by Team17, the reputed developers of the Worms series. The game was released on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Macintosh operating systems on 22 August 2017.
The Escapist 2
To begin with, story forms the elementary component which enhances a game and makes it more appealing to the consumers. Games like Half Life, Uncharted and The Last of Us have often been called out for primarily establishing their focus in the region of narrative, and hence, the awards attained by the developers who created these games and the user ratings that go with them have stood up as a living testimony to their prodigious success. It is however safe to say that The Escapists 2 does not come with a convincing narrative which unfolds chapter-wise like most other games.
The Escapists 2, while it may not have a tantalizing narrative, mainly revolves around a common theme. The Escapists 2 and its predecessor draw a stream of influence from the cult of Jail Break games(a popular genre where the player endeavors to break out of prison while avoiding the guards) and has eventually evolved into something totally unique.
Gameplay & Mechanics
The second most important factor that affects the quality of a game is the gameplay. How a game plays out is just as cardinal a facet as the narrative itself. A game that merges well-defined narrative with well planned gameplay is likely to succeed, as is the case with games like Dues Ex. Talking about The Escapists 2, from my perspective, it plays out really well. Even though it might feel a bit complex to beginners, the tutorial ensures that the players are accustomed to that in no time.
The game starts off with the Warden introducing the character to the various services of the prison the player would/could utilize to break out and accustom them to the various areas they could use to ameliorate their skills. The Escapists 2 allows enough flexibility for the players to make their own choice. You can bash a hole into the door, cut through the fences or dig underneath the cemented ground.
How you plot your escape, is up to you.
What I absolutely adore about The Escapists 2 is the fact, that it does not restrict the player to a single 8bit character, but allows them to select and customize the appearance of the character the player wants to use as well as give them a chance to modify the NPCs to the their desire.
The player has the option to enroll themselves into different jobs in the prison via. the job board. These jobs ensure a steady flow of income. The money so earned can then be used to purchase various in-game items from the other inmates. These items are ultimately used to break out. For say, a screw driver is used to open vents, a shovel to dig underground, a hammer can be used to breach doors and a pair of cutters for the purpose of cutting fences. The players can also obtain additional objectives as side quests from the other inmates in return for monetary rewards. Some of them might be risky, others could be hideous.
Weapons are also available in plenty and can be crafted or obtained to defend the players from any imminent threat. Contraband items cannot be brought into certain parts of the prison. This is deliberately done with the help of metal detectors placed at strategic locations. Locations the player might need to circumvent in order to prevent themselves from being detained.
A well thought-out, yet simple crafting menu increases the potential of the game by a dainty figure. All one has to do is simply gather the mentioned items(some of these items may be rare or expensive), throw them in the box and click craft.
The combat system is also fairly simple. There are two kinds of attacks, the default attack and the long attack. The former deals minor damage while the latter inflicts greater wounds as the character performs a running-punch combo. An efficient parrying system ensures that the players receive a chance of defending themselves. When blocking, the character is invulnerable to damage by any melee weapon, be it the baton of a guard or the mop of a janitor.
The difficulty factor of the game rises with progression. The more levels passed the harder it becomes for the player to escape the following prison.
Graphics, Sound & Performance
Performance: The Escapists 2 was run in a mid-end PC of the following configurations and ran flawlessly at a stagnant 60 frames per second:-
1) Processor: Intel Core i5-4440 CPU 3.10GHz
2) GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 750Ti
3) RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8 Gigs
Therefore, it is needless to state that considerable effort has been put into optimising the game.
Graphics & Animation: The Escapists 2, while it may be an 8bit styled game has attractive visuals unlike its ancestor. The cardboard character designs have been replaced with 3D models, the graphics have been drastically improved and the animations have been reconstructed and made more fluid. For its rather peculiar yet unique art-style which finds itself far away from the general cliché, The Escapists 2 is a complete revamp of the its ancestor, and plays all the same if not better at some places. What’s worth applauding is its glamour and the way it outshines its prequel is genuinely impressive.
Sound: The sound selection does not go unheeded. The developers have taken time in choosing the best music that would suit with the environment and the theme. However, there seems to be a serious lack of hardcore action inspired music which would blend in well with the fight scenes.
As a jail break game, The Escapists 2 is probably one of the most strategy intensive games ever made. Despite a general lack of an emphatic story line, it plays out fantastically. The amount of hard work and money invested into the creation of this masterpiece has surely turned it into an outstanding product. In contrast to most other jail break games, The Escapists 2 unequivocally dominates the list by a land slide primarily because of its nostalgic yet modern art-style and whippy gameplay which leaves enough liberty for the player to take their own decisions.