A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Escapists 2 is a prison escape strategy game available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch, as well as Windows, Linux, and Mac-based computers. There are no real "heroes" in the game, with players taking the role of a convicted felon trying to plan an escape from prison. This involves a number of questionable and even blatantly immoral decisions. If players make a mistake and get caught over the course of plotting the escape, they lose most -- or all -- of their progress and are forced to try again. There's a fair bit of violence in the game, though it's presented in a cartoonish manner, with no blood or gore.
What's it about?
THE ESCAPISTS 2 puts players back behind bars, once again challenging them to serve out their sentence while they figure out the best ways to scheme, craft, and even fight their way to the fugitive freedom that lies beyond the prison walls. Spend your time learning new skills, building your reputation, and always watching for the opening to make your escape. It won't be easy, though. The prisons are bigger, the guards are tougher, and the inmates are always itching for a fight. Lucky for you, you don't have to go it alone. With local and online multiplayer, you can coordinate your escape efforts with a few fellow inmates ... or shank them with the proverbial shiv, and leave 'em all behind.
Is it any good?
This prison life sim is a rigid, rough, and none too easy experience that's meant both to punish offenders and to ultimately offer them a chance at rehabilitation. That's the perfect way to describe the gameplay in The Escapists 2, Team17's sequel to the indie prison break simulator. The sequel follows the original's formula, but smuggles in a few new features to make your prison time a little less lonely. Multiplayer support adds a new twist, with players working together to set up their great escape while also increasing the chances of getting caught in the act. Of course, if you're not feeling particularly friendly, you can go head-to-head in the prison yard, with each player masterminding their own escape in a frantic rush to freedom. While it's fun to let friends take a more active role in the game, admittedly the solo play is still the deeper and most rewarding experience.
All of your escape preparations need to be made while still carrying out your strict prison schedule and while making sure not to arouse any suspicion from the guards or getting caught in the wrong end of an inmate brawl. To say the game's difficulty is brutal is an understatement. Even with near-perfect planning, there are high-tension trial-and-error moments where you hold your breath and simply hope for the best. And yet, as infuriating as it is when one mistake costs you all of your progress, it also makes things all the more rewarding when things go right.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about playing different roles in games. What's the appeal of playing a character with a questionable moral compass? Can such characters have an impact on a younger audience outside of the game?
Talk about time management and problem-solving. What are some good tips for making the most of your time and planning to accomplish your goals?
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Team 17
- Release date: August 22, 2017
- Genre: Strategy
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: T for Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.