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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Deep Silver
Developed By: Zootfly
Genre: Action
Players: 1 (2 Versus)
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: March 31, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

April 8, 2010 - When Prison Break hit the televisions worldwide back in 2005, Fox didnít have any idea how captivating this show would be for millions around the world. It thrusted two well versed actors --Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller-- into another stratosphere by which neither actor could have dreamed. After four seasons on the air, the show was canceled, leaving millions of fanatics wanting more. In comes developer Zootfly and Deep Silver to publish what would become the next chapter in the Prison Break universe; Prison Break: The Conspiracy. Set within the confines of Season 1, you play an agent from The Company who is out to make sure Lincoln Burrows (Purcell) gets the electric chair for the murder of the Vice President; which he was framed for. So you go undercover within Fox River Penitentiary and this is where the game begins.

Prison Break: The Conspiracy shouldnít be compared to other action/stealth video games that have already been released simply because this game was designed with the intent of doing fan-service for those who wanted more Prison Break. However, due to the nature of the material, comparisons will be made and some people will be left wanting more. The entire cast from the first Season of Prison Break makes a return to do the voiceover work for their respective character with the exception of Sarah Wane Callies, who played Dr. Sara Tancredi on the show. However since you are telling a story within a 6-8 hour span, some characters only have a cameo appearance. There is also the addition of cast member David Boat, who does the voice work for Tom Paxton, the protagonist for Prison Break: The Conspiracy.

Within Prison Break: The Conspiracy, you play as agent Tom Paxton from The Company who is sent into Fox River Penitentiary to make sure Lincoln Burrows meets his fate with the electric chair, while also trying to figure out what Lincolnís brother Michael Scofield (Miller) is doing there as well. As you progress through the game you soon discover that Scofield is planning on breaking his brother out by stealing the blueprints to the prison and hiding the detailed layout within a body tattoo he has etched onto his body. Along the way, after recording information on your recorder and relying it to your boss over at The Company, your mission soon changes and it because a matter of completing your new task or being eliminated for failing to do so.

The gameplay within Prison Break: The Conspiracy is a mixture of hand-to-hand combat and stealth, of which most of your time will be spent within stealth mode. In order to find out more about whatís going on within the prison and to get closer to Scofield, Paxton will make business dealings with some of the hardest inmates at the prison. The business dealing require you to sneak here and get these documents, sneak there and find a shank (weapon), etc. all while not being spotted by guards, workers or security cameras placed throughout the prison. The stealth mechanic is not on the level of a Metal gear Solid 4; however it works quite well for this title. There will be moments where you must sneak passed workers/guards while they are cleaning up or guiding a truck in. These moments you wonder how did they not see or hear me. I have walked by a worker no more than a couple inches from them and they did not see nor hear me. Albeit I am sneaking, but that close and you donít see or hear anything makes me wonder about the personís health. You can hide under vehicles, on the side of boxes /crates, in the darkness but cutting power to the lights; out of the view of security and workers. However, these various sneaking task can get repetitive over time; so Zootfly implemented other tasks that can be performed to lessen the repetitive nature of the game.

In between missions, you can hit the bag or weights to increase your strength and ability to take hits. While you actually donít have to do this to progress through the game, it does indeed make the fighting encounters much easier. You also have the ability to participate in underground fights, which are actually run by the prison security at Fox River. These fights help you earn cash, which can then be used to cover your upper body with an assortment of tattoos. Within these underground fights, you have about 8 different opponents which you can fight with, all of which bring a different flavor to the fight, though a punch is a punch. The higher the payout for the fight, the hard the fighter is to defeat. The combat mechanic entails four buttons --X (punch), Square (hard punch), R1 (block/reversal) and Triangle (showboating) Ė which are easy to grasp. In order to perform reversals, you have to time your blocks carefully, which will bring up a second button prompt for one of three different reversals. Once the fighterís health is depleted low enough, the Triangle button prompt will appear for you to perform a finishing move to end the fight.

Whether fighting individuals within the underground fights, random prisoners within the compound or within the Versus Mode, it all seems a bit clunky. The way the fighters swing at each other seems unrealistic and the move set is too simplistic. I know it wonít be on the level of a Tekken or Virtua Fighter, however being able to perform maneuvers and different styles of fighting would of opened this mechanic up to be more friendly to the gamer. It also doesnít help that itís hard to gauge when your health meter will run out from one to many punches. The more damage you take, the boarders of the screen start flashing red. The closer you get to a failed attempted, the more of the screen flashes red. I have been in a couple of the underground fights where the screen was barely flashing red and with one punch, I lost the fight. There have been times where the screen was practically flashing completely red and I was still standing on my feet and won matches. I like what they were doing which the health gauge mechanics, however itís hard to tell when your time is up or when you have some more fight left in you.

In terms of visuals, it is clear that this title doesnít take advantage of the power the PS3 or the Xbox 360 can muster up. The visuals are solid, nothing within the realm of Uncharted: Drakeís Fortune, which was released back in 2007. Itís not to say that the character models and environments arenít well designed, itís just they lack the level of visual detail you come to expect from a game released on a next-gen console. Character motions are fluid for the most part, however there are moments here and there where character animations seem to skip a frame or two and you see quick jerking motions from characters as they turn or when they use their arms for anything. In regards to the audio, I got to hand it to Deep Silver and Zootfly for acquiring the original cast from the hit TV show to reprise their roles. It helps to flesh out the characters and allows the user to better connect with the individual; albeit if you actually watched the show. The musical score was ok in setting up a particular moment within the game, however itís not something you will easy recall if someone asked you to.

Trophies and Achievement points are the norm when it comes to PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Playing through the game twice; unless playing on the hardest difficulty, can net you all the accolades the game has to offer. You also have the ability to replay completed chapters within the game, which can lend itself well to acquire trophies/achievements you may have missed along the way. If that isnít enough, you have a Versus mode which allows you and a friend to fight it out like in the Underground battles. While this is certainly a nice addition, the fact that you canít go online with this mode takes away from the replayability this title had to offer.

There are very few licensed games that have been able to live up to expectations of the movie/TV show/comic book/novel counterpart. While there is indeed so much to look forward to with Prison Break: The Conspiracy, it just seems there wasnít enough time and money in the budget to make this an experience thatís truly worthy of the hit series. On its own, itís a solid gaming experience worth playing.


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