Getting out from behind bars in an orange jumpsuit is one thing, but a Big Top Breakout in face paint and clown shoes is another.
Something The Escapists 2 has managed to grasp better than its predecessor is not to take itself too seriously. And it’s paying dividends. This latest DLC is as ridiculous and over-the-top as you might expect, yet it works brilliantly.
Big Top Breakout sees you play a prisoner ejected from his cell and transferred to the Cirque Du Catastrophe under the care of its Ringmaster. While you’re still confined to the same routines as a prisoner – attending roll calls, eating meals on time, performing favours, and doing jobs – you also need to play the role of the entertainer. Every day, the circus hosts a spectacle in the big top where the prisoners will perform stunts and acrobatics, like swallowing fire, juggling, and staying balanced on a Unicycle.
Has this DLC tempted you? See what we thought of The Escapists 2 in our full review.
In Big Top Breakout, then, it’s important to get your strength and stamina attributes up in order to perform the different feats. These are usually done through tapping the LT or RT at the right time in order to keep up the momentum. Mistime one, though, and you start to slow down and lose some of the crowd’s attention. Perform well, and you may just start impressing the boss.
You’ll also be able to apply these traits to new jobs, like taming lions, sticking job posters up, and putting face paint on willing audience members. Each job offers something a little different, and the more you work towards improving and developing yourself, the more job opportunities will be available to you.
But while there’s much fun and frivolity to be had, the task at hand is to escape, whether you do it together as a team, or decide to go it alone. And there’s options, as there always is. The most obvious and clear one presents itself early on with an old, out of action cannon positioned near the big tent. One option is to figure out how to fix it in order to launch yourself out of there before anyone realises. Definitely an opportunity for the thrillseeker.
There’s also various doors which can be opened with a slew of different keycards and those can be crafted at different points in the game providing you have the right materials. And, of course, there’s one or two secret routes which you’ll have to figure out for yourself. All part of the fun, after all.
And that’s exactly what Big Top Breakout is – fun. In fact, I had more fun with this DLC than I did all of The Escapists 2. It added a refreshing spin on the mechanics while still making sure everything felt familiar. The brand new environment was quirky, creative, but always entertaining. And even though the concept is radical and borderline ridiculous, it genuinely works well in context of the game.
This is a team at the height of their creativity, bold and unafraid to try new things because they understand their product inside and out. Big Top Breakout is everything I could have wanted from an Escapists DLC, and for a measly £2.49 is an absolutely essential purchase for anyone who already owns the game. Heck, we could even make the case it’s a reason to buy The Escapists 2 just to play it.
Big Top Breakout is Big Time Fun!
+ Clever play on existing mechanics
+ Cool new jobs and great looking environment
+ Funnier than ever
+ Nice benefits to both solo and multiplay
+ Unintense, casual and fun gameplay without tough difficulty
– Slight graphical hitches
– Some favour repetition
The Escapists 2 Big Top Breakout
9 out of 10
Tested on PC