Hands-on | Prison Break: The Conspiracy
Format: Xbox360/PS3 | Genre: Action adventure | Publisher: Deep Silver | Developer: Zootfly | ETA: 26/03/10
I sneak through the side entrance of the Soho Hotel’s restaurant, guests distracted as I stumble between tables. They’re staring at my scruffy backpack, faded brown sneakers and recently shaven head. The receptionist surveys me as I take my surroundings. There’s a 10-foot porcelain sculpture overlooking an immaculately laid out driftwood lobby, and I feel utterly out of place in it.
As does the Prison Break: The Conspiracy press conference being held in this hotel. Not because of the game or show’s status, of course. In a sea of American serials, Prison Break has been a steadfast, venerable success. Its name clearly deserves a classy venue.
The show’s dark, gritty and grimy subject matter, however, has more in common with my haircut and South London roots. That said, I’m not complaining that the event wasn’t held in Broadmoor.
Lingering insecurities fade when, after an awkward preamble, we’re humbled by the introduction of Robert Knepper, a.k.a ‘T-Bag’, from the show. Knepper’s acting talents are clearly equalled by intensity and charisma you hope all Hollywood actors have. He’s an absolute delight to talk to. I almost forget why I’m here.
I’m whisked away for some hands-on time with The Conspiracy – oh, that was why. So, does this Prison Break game match up with the decadent surroundings, the charming TV star, and the expectations that come with the name?
First thoughts are on the authentic presentation. Likenesses of leads like Purcell, Miller, and Knepper himself are all striking and well complemented by a near-complete voice roster. Authenticity is key as The Conspiracy takes place in the show’s first season. It’s promising, then, that as I take my first few steps in Fox River’s murk, I’m impressed by its digital reproduction.
Then I focus on my avatar and Prison Break new kid, Tom Paxton. It’s smart to introduce a Company agent to the mix. He has an agenda that makes sense in the story arc: keep tabs and get blood on your hands. He could’ve operated behind the scenes as a pretend prisoner… with a healthy suspension of disbelief, that is.
Such suspension is needed when I see Paxton encroach on actual scenes from the show. For example, when Michael has his medication taken off him by force, Paxton is there in the aftermath to pick up the discarded pill bottle. It’s not like he’s suddenly in the middle of the scene waving jazz hands, but watching him watch on these events from afar is both interesting and difficult to swallow.
It reminds me of 24: The Game, an inevitability given that I’m a huge 24 fan who was left dejected by that particular associated product. The comparison is probably unfair in many respects, yet I find it totally valid when it comes to Prison Break and 24 as shows that share a lot of stylistics and themes.
I have a mental checklist of 24: The Game’s qualities: a plot that slots in against that of the main show, strong visual and auditory likenesses, aping of the show’s format and tropes, all within a reasonable main playing style that’s accompanied by a variety of sub-par ones. The Conspiracy has already ticked off the first two of those. Then the familiar transitional music blasts out – make that three.
I remind myself that the comparison is likely unfair, but in the back of my head I’m well aware The Conspiracy will present a variety of play styles, mainly because it was all shown in the introductory trailer. There will be things to distract Paxton from whatever his main play mechanic is – but what is that going to be? Half an hour in, I establish this game’s particular main play style as stealth.
Pages: 1 2