Prison Break: The Conspiracy Xbox 360
Published by: Deep Silver
Developed by: ZootFly
I always feel a bit of a fraud when reviewing games based on TV shows. I don’t watch much TV and when I do it tends to be DVD’s of older TV programs or films. Whilst Prison Break has been a popular TV series then, to me it’s a complete unknown. The only TV program about a prison that I’ve watched is Porridge which I enjoyed immensely. Had this been a game about Norman Stanley Fletcher, Godber, Mr Mackay and the genial Harry Grout I would have been in my element. Sadly it isn’t but at least having no prior knowledge of the Prison Break TV show; I get to see the game for what it is without being swayed by personal preference. Sadly however, Prison Break: The Conspiracy is so poor that it needs all the bias it can get.
In Prison Break: The Conspiracy you’ll play as undercover agent, Tom Paxton, who’s been sent to Fox River Penitentiary by ‘The Company’ to observe and report on prisoners Michael Scofield and his brother Lincoln Burrows. Lincoln has a date with the electric chair but it’s believed that plans are afoot for him to miss his appointment with execution. It’s up to Paxton to make sure that his appointment is kept. The storyline isn’t up to much but in theory at least there’s enough here to have made this a potentially interesting game.
Any potential the game had to be good however hasn’t been realised. Essentially Paxton is a gofer and practically all game long you’ll be doing a string of tedious tasks that will begin to grate far too early into the game. To find favour with the inmates you’ll have to do jobs for them to win their favour. You’ll have to engage in fairly poor fist fights but what will really irritate are the stealth-based tasks you’re given. The reason they will irritate so much is because they have been badly handled. Make one mistake in your stealthy approach and you’re instantly failed and thrown back to the last checkpoint prior to the commencement of the mission. This punishing take on stealth-based game-play means that what was already a tedious experience, becomes a highly frustrating one. There are some other things to do in the game such as a few mini-games but none of them actually feel worthwhile. The game even manages to throw in a few quick time events but even these don’t feel right or appropriate.
One of the biggest problems with the game is that you never feel as though having the game set in a prison does anything to make the game feel unique in any way. The plethora of tedious fist fights and stealth-based tasks do nothing to make this feel like an original experience and that’s incredibly disappointing. The game is an extremely linear one and if you don’t take the exact course of action required, you’re not going to succeed. Of course the fans of the series will be disappointed that they are not in control of one of the characters from the series. Surely it would have made more sense to have put you in the shoes of a popular character or have given you the choice of which character to play as.
The graphical quality of the game is best described as mediocre. The character models are rather basic, and their animations could have been much better, but at least the character likenesses are close enough to please those who are acquainted with the TV series. The game’s camera is problematic however and doesn’t afford you an adequate view during the stealth-based tasks you have to carry out. It’s zoomed in too close and at times this makes the already troublesome tasks even more of an annoyance.
Prison Break is subtitled and the subtitles are enabled by default. The game’s essential dialogue is subtitled but doesn’t have any character names or portraits placed alongside it although it’s usually clear to see who is saying what. Peripheral comments made by other prisoners aren’t always subtitled although this really isn’t much of a problem as the comments are of no importance. All of the game’s tutorial messages are shown in text. You can also access text records that will help to jog your memory of the game’s events which are very useful if you need to refresh yourself on what’s happened so far in the game. Objectives are shown in text so you’ll be aware of what needs to be done.
Prison Break: The Conspiracy is only for the most forgiving fans of the TV series. Anyone else should really give the game a wide berth. In many respects it’s a poor effort and only those with a strong love for the source material will find themselves able to overlook what is a very disappointing experience. Even if you do fit the aforementioned description, it’s probably best to wait until the game has been reduced in price as it’s far from being value for money at the full asking price of £39.99.