Although it's been a while since the first series, we're fairly sure that as Michael Scofield went about his attempts to 'break' out of 'prison', there wasn't a crudely animated, vest-wearing man following him about, peeking over windowsills with binoculars and carrying out weight-lifting minigames within earshot. And yet that's you in Prison Break: The Conspiracy.
You're Tom Paxton, an agent from the shady Company sent to Fox River prison to keep an eye on Scofield and his brother. Not so close an eye that you can hear or see the series' two main characters actually say or do much (presumably they're quite expensive to get into the recording studio), but close enough to watch them scurry away around corners.
From start to finish this is a shocking chore, a series of frustrating quick-time events punctuated by the most basic stealthing you'll ever bear witness to. The prison is riddled with waist-high crates, and the guards follow simple, predefined paths, sometimes stopping to point their torches at all the climbable surfaces in the room. Those surfaces - along with doors, usable ledges and reachable pipes - are all painted fluorescent orange, so that you need only a pair of eyes to notice how linear the routes through each level actually are.
Go directly to jail
You trudge back and forth through the same buildings, chasing an endless stream of prisoner records, shivs, access cards and medicine. All of them involve avoiding guards in the least entertaining way possible. Getting caught or failing a QTE instantly launches you back to the last checkpoint, and with them spaced just seconds apart, the rapid-fire repetition of failure becomes comical.
Levels which give you access to the prison yard allow you to train with weights or punching bags, improving your combat ability in imperceptible ways. Combat itself is a tiresome, combo-free slog, which becomes an irritating non-challenge once you learn how to counter-attack. Plus, like a well-cooked chicken, stab wounds produce only clear, BBFC-appeasing fluid. Way to recreate gritty prison drama, guys.
If you're a fan of Prison Break, why not consider assaulting some strangers and being sent to a real prison? You'll end up feeling marginally less violated than if you played this dog turd tie-in.
Off the shelf and down the toilet
- Character likenesses are all in order
- Nice brickwork on the prison walls
- Heavily prescribed stealth bits
- Disappointingly basic combat
- Achingly linear