When I initially heard of Prison Break: The Conspiracy I was cautiously optimistic. Everyone knows that games based off of television shows and movies generally don’t work out very well, however, since I am a fan of this particular television series I was hoping this would be different. Sadly, this title falls in line with the rest of the licensed games that have been released for no other reason other than to try and get some more money out of Prison Break fans. Prison Break: The Conspiracy focuses on the first season of the television show although it only focuses on a few key events. The majority of what took place in the first season is not in this game. You assume the role of Tom Paxton, an agent for the Company, who is there to make sure that Lincoln’s execution happens as planned. Along the way you will hear some familiar quotes that were pulled directly from the television show, however, these are generally few and far between. The game in general feels pretty half assed and some of the things that they chose to include from the television show were changed. In the television show Michael Scofield initially meets his brother, Lincoln Burrows, in the prison chapel and quietly informs him that he is there to break Lincoln out before he is executed. They are talking quietly so that no one overhears them and it makes sense. In the game they changed that scene to where Lincoln and Michael initially meet when Michael is in the yard and Lincoln is walking by with a prison guard. Lincoln is surprised to see Michael and asks him why he is in prison. Michael responds that he is there to break Lincoln out of jail. The problem here is that the guard is only a few feet away and surely had to hear the conversation right? I still can’t figure out why the development team changed things like that other then they didn’t really care about creating the authentic Prison Break experience for the fans that would be playing this game.
Prison Break: The Conspiracy attempts to put itself in many different genres. There are times when it is a fighting game, times where it is a bit like an rpg when you are exercising to get stronger and times when it tries to be a stealth title. The problem here is that the controls are incredibly clunky, especially during the stealth portions. You need to try and hide in the shadows as best you can as you navigate areas of the prison that you aren’t supposed to be in. This experience is hampered by the control scheme as there were times when my character would take an extra step that I didn’t want him to thereby leaving me exposed to be discovered. There were other times when I was hiding behind cover and needed to turn a corner but the game refused to let me so I had to leave my cover to turn the corner and risk the guards discovering my position. If you are discovered you are immediately sent back to the latest checkpoint to try again. It doesn’t matter who sees you whether it is a guard or a janitor mopping the floor. It would have been nice in these instances to have the chance to fight or get away so you don’t have to start over again. Then, of course, there are all of the quicktime events in the game. I have no problem with quicktime events when they are done correctly, however, the quicktime events in Prison Break: The Conspiracy are a mess. For starters, if you are on normal or hard difficulty it is damn near impossible to successfully complete any of these events. You simply aren’t given enough time to push the appropriate button and then once you mess up you have to start all over again. I realize that the purpose of quicktime events is to try and increase the tension in a situation and that you need to be able to push a sequence of buttons quickly, however, you need to give the gamer a chance to do so.
This brings me to another problem that plagues Prison Break: The Conspiracy, the intelligence of the NPC’s. The A.I. in this game is pretty dumb. There were times during a stealth mission where I would literally be standing next to a guard and he never discovered I was there because I was outside of his vision cone. There were other times where I would have to pick a lock to get in a room and sometimes when you are doing that a guard shows up so you have to pick the lock quickly and get in the room before you discovered. This is a pretty cool concept, however, once again, there were times when the guard was only a few feet from me and I managed to get myself into the room at the last possible second and the guard acted like I was never there and continued patrolling the area. There were also times when Paxton would record his thoughts on a voice recorder that he smuggled into prison. Paxton would do this both in his cell as well as in very public places where everyone was gathered and, for some reason, neither the inmates or the guards thought this was weird and seemed to ignore it.
Prison Break: The Conspiracy is pretty much a disaster on all fronts. They did manage to get some of the actors from the series to provide voice work and their likeness, however, not all of them. Dr. Tancredi is one example where the actress probably didn’t want to have anything to do with this game and so they didn’t even bother to model her character correctly. During the first season of the television show there was an interesting dynamic between Tancredi and Scofield, however, since you don’t even get to play as one of the main characters in this game you don’t get to experience any of that. From a storyline perspective this doesn’t offer Prison Break fans anything they don’t already know. In fact they even tried to change some of it as I discussed above. It would have been nice if they went the route the 24 game went in this aspect. With the 24 game the storyline took place in between seasons two and three thereby giving 24 fans some brand new storyline that they could enjoy. The game itself really wasn’t much better then Prison Break, however, at least the fans were treated to new storyline content from the show as well as some interviews from the 24 cast. If you are a big Prison Break fan and you still want to experience this title for yourself then do yourself a favor and rent it before you buy it so you know what you are getting into. You will probably get a kick out of being able to explore a couple of locations from the television show and seeing some of the main characters walking around. Everyone else should just go watch the show via Netflix instant streaming.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network