I was surprised at how quickly I found myself readjusting to Prison Life. Having spent a full 8 months on the outside, I was a little worried that it would take me a good long while to find my feet again. Luckily for me, I managed to keep my head down and my nose clean, and earn myself a handy little transfer to a new circus themed prison upstate.
Fortunately, I am not writing this by candlelight from my 6 x 6 cell, but the metaphor still holds up. It has been 8 months since I last forayed into the world created by The Escapists 2, and venturing in for the first time in a few months to try out the Big Top Breakout DLC I was surprised at how quickly I managed to work out all the ins and outs that make up the game, from following the routine to earning coins to buy illicit items, to poking about in order to find a way to escape.
The DLC is by and large a new prison, themed around a circus and all the added accompaniments you would expect should such a place actually exist. The items you find as you explore the prison to the jobs you can undertake, and even down to the daily routine you must carry out in order to fly under the radar, all have a circus spin. The biggest addition is the added daily event “Showtime”, which requires you to perform in the Big Top Circus tent that dominates the prison. Here you can ride a unicycle, juggle or breath fire, under the watchful eyes of the Ringmaster (read, Warden), which add a daft take on the whole Roll Call dynamic established throughout the course of The Escapists 2. These activities are merely added L2/R2 activities, in the same vein as raising your stamina and intellect in order to escape, but should you so wish you can simply ignore these if you so wish as you can any other daily activity (in fact a trophy even encourages you to do just that).
To be honest you can jump in to this as much as you want or as little as you need in order to prepare and carry out your escape, but bar the circus themed coat of paint, I didn’t find anything that hooked me in or made me want to revisit and explore the many ways I could find to escape, which is a real shame. Truth be told I managed to complete a few favors, including the added circus themed activities, locate a few contraband items, get knocked out and lose said contraband items before exploring a bit more and reacquiring even more contraband to then craft a few necessary items that then allowed me to escape, all within a 15 minute time frame – a real time sink this is not.
For those of you like me returning to The Escapists 2 after a while away, Big Top Breakout doesn’t do anything new. Like many of the alternate prisons that shipped with the main game, Big Top Breakout essentially feels like one of those that didn’t make the cut. Behind the superficial circus themed additions the core gameplay remains the same – follow the routine, don’t arouse suspicion, escape by any means necessary. As I said in my original review, I found the DLC pretty much covered the same things as the Escapists 2 did – a fun distraction that ultimately lacks any real depth, but as a stand alone buy at £3.29 I don’t know what you could expect.
To be honest I think I have pretty much covered all the bases with what Big Top Breakout offers. For diehard fans of the franchise more than casual gamers or those looking to return in the hope of finding something new, Big Top Breakout is a fun if shallow addition – a must for owners of the season pass as it is included, but maybe give this one a miss if like me you are fully adjusted to life on the outside.
The Escapists 2 Big Top Breakout DLC PS4 Review
Overall - Not Bad - 5.5/10
Big Top Breakout brings a new prison to The Escapists 2, complete with new customisations, jobs and items, but as a standalone purchase it does feel a little shallow. Do yourself a favour and get the Season Pass.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.