It's based around the events of the first season, with Lincoln Burrows wrongly committed of a crime he didn't conduct. You play as Tom Paxton, an undercover agent sent by "the Company" into Fox River Penitentiary to keep an eye on Burrow's brother, Michael Schofield, who's planning a jail-break. There are more twists-and-turns throughout Prison Break's running time than we could possibly detail in this paragraph, but they are all well delivered and it'll please fans to see events unfold from a different angle.
Prison Break: The Conspiracy will take roughly seven hours to complete, with a versus mode providing multiplayer fist-fights.
Prison Break: The Conspiracy tackles numerous gameplay mechanics each with good effect. The stealth is clearly the biggest element of the gameplay, requiring you to sneak past somewhat dozy guardsmen in order to meet a slew of objectives - but the game doesn't rely on a singular mechanic. It varies the gameplay by introducing elements of exploration, fist-fighting and platforming. While the game relies a little too heavily on the stealth elements in the mid-section of the campaign, it's the variation consistent elsewhere that stops the game from getting repetitive. Also, like Batman: Arkham Asylum, the confined prison environment allows the level design to be focused and interesting right the way through the campaign.
Prison Break's AI isn't particularly brilliant, meaning the stealth portions are broken down into puzzles. Take nothing away from the game though - the stealth sections are still fun despite the often silly AI. That's mainly thanks to some clever uses of the camera. Much of the stealth gameplay relies on you using the Circle button to find "cover", and then move between cover without being discovered. That means, yes, you have to observe changing guard patterns and largely be observant of your surroundings. What's cool though, is the way the camera splits in moments of high tension. For example - you might need to unscrew a power-box in order to turn off the lights, but there's a guard fast approaching your position. The camera will split and show your progress aswell as the guards position. If you screw too fast the guard will hear you. If you screw too slow the guard will catch you. It's a cool method for delivering high tension in this dicey situations.
The worst thing that can happen in a stealth game is for you to make a mistake, get caught, get booted out to a loading screen and have to start the whole level again. Prison Break does away with all that, providing plenty of checkpoints and really prompt restarts. Do not underestimate how important this point is.
Again with the Arkham Asylum comparisons: Prison Break's combat revolves around countering. You can quick-punch with the X button and heavy-punch with Square. R1 allows you to block and, most importantly, counter. You can button-mash a little bit in Prison Break, but it's most fun to counter. Here, you'll need to press the R1 button just at the moment an opponent's punch is about to land. This'll initiate a Quick Time Event and if you succeed at that you'll do some pretty heavy damage. Despite the game's lack of blood and bruising, the counters are pretty satisfying to watch and are definitely the best way to fight.
You're able to up your character's strength in Prison Break: The Conspiracy by hitting the punching bag or lifting some weights. These mini-games aren't particularly complex, but once again add to the variety of content. You'll also be able to take part in some "underground" streetfights, which earn you money that can be spent on various tattoos.
Prison Break's ultra-tight camera positioning can be a bit jarring at first. The game plays in a third-person perspective throughout, with the camera super close to your character's back. That makes movement in tight-spots difficult to gauge. After spending some time with the game you can compensate, but we're not sure why the camera was positioned so closely when it's detrimental in the first hour or so.
Despite featuring a vast majority of the TV show's cast, the voice acting in Prison Break: The Conspiracy is pretty horrific throughout. Lead character Agent Paxton sounds more wet-blanket than undercover agent; and the cast characters sound far too detached to be interesting to listen to. The story-telling also isn't brilliant, with far too much plot emphasis delivered through overheard conversations. While it makes sense in the context of the game, it can be hard to pick up on the subtlest details. Thankfully the game provides a textual recap at the end of each chapter.
Prison Break: The Conspiracy is a very good game, but we can't help but feel it would have benefited from an extra couple of months polish. The mechanics and design are all in place, but things like the camera and the odd checkpoint glitch (one of which restarted us in front of a security camera meaning we were caught instantly over and over) could have done with being ironed out. They're not detrimental to the experience by any means, but with the extra time the package could have been even better.
Prison Break: The Conspiracy bares comparison to Batman: Arkham Asylum in more ways than one might expect: the confined prison setting provides a focused stomping ground for a variety of interesting objectives, the hand-to-hand combat relies on well-timed countering, and the tense elements of stealth gameplay are incredibly well constructed. But above all, like Batman, Prison Break provides that same refreshing pang of shock as you realise it's a franchise tie-in that bucks the trend and is actually rather good.
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