reviews\ May 2, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Prison Break: The Conspiracy review


Some prison breaks are successful but most fail. Having said that ...

While the television show ended in 2009, ZootFly has finally been able to deliver their video-game adaptation of the series under the publishing direction of Deep Silver. Having been already canceled once, Prison Break: The Conspiracy should’ve been left on the cutting room floor instead of hitting store shelves for the masses.

What could’ve been entertaining and an excellent fan service turned out to be a poor attempt at pushing an outdated product out the doors. For those that haven’t watched the television series, here’s a quick rundown: season one rocked, season two disappointed and it was all downhill from there. There was a reason why Prison Break’s popularity waned after the second season – it couldn’t keep the interest of the viewers for too long after the breakout occurred. The video game falls into the same trap; it peaked about an hour in and dropped like a fly hit by a gust of wind.

Luckily, the video game centers itself around the first season. Unfortunately for the players, it doesn’t put them in the role of anyone known from the series, instead opting for an attempt to create a new character – such as Lost: Via Domus did – that interacts with the main characters. The end result, no one wants to play with a no-name character that doesn’t provide any cherished memories. So … strike one!

Playing as Tom Paxton (no, he’s not a brother or cousin of Twister-crazed Bill Paxton), an agent for The Company, the organization behind the master plan that murdered the brother of the Vice-President of the United States. The plot has Paxton watching over the Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows, the brothers attempting to escape, but it’s generally yawn-worthy. Many of the cast regulars provide voice-overs, along with their likenesses kept intact, but there’s not enough T-Bag! Other inmates do show their faces, but they are often reduced to cameo roles. Strike two!

With two strikes already marked down for Prison Break: The Conspiracy, is there anything that can save this sinking ship? Nope, not even the slightest chance. There are too many fetch missions that are intermixed with a terrible focus on stealth and hand-to-hand combat.

Step 1: Sneak around to find information or an object Step 2: Fight an enemy Step 3: Rinse and repeat

Stealth is as basic as it comes; advanced techniques found in Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell aren’t needed. To ZootFly’s credit, the stealth isn’t broken, so at least players have something that is functional. There aren’t any alternate routes or options for stealth; players simply must perform the actions in front of them in a linear fashion and continue on their path towards “stealthily” accomplishing tasks.

The action never peaks at an extraordinarily high level; it’s a punch or be punched world. Sure, blocking and countering is factored into the combat in more difficult situations, but Prison Break: The Conspiracy is much more about the simple 10-second brawl that guys are used to in real life – it’s done and over with before you know it and nowhere near as brutal as it played out in your head. If players do enjoy the brawls they get into, they can brawl for money to buy tattoos, but in the end, it’s pointless since it doesn’t affect the end game.

There’s not much here to keep fans coming back for more. Equally, there aren’t any features that will draw in newcomers to the series, thus, Prison Break: The Conspiracy is a letdown on all grounds. If this had released 3-4 years back, it would’ve been a passable game, but in today’s landscape, the title is nothing more than a grasp at straws.


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