Ah, The Escapists. Such a great game. Where do I start? Let's just do the old pro's and con's.
"Simple" objective (escape the prison) and there are sidequests that you can do for your fellow prisoners.
Ok, this might sound weird, but this game actually has its own way of a character development. Let's say that you do some sidequests and give away items or cash, then the prisoner(s) that you gave away items to or did sidequests for will have a better opinion on you. That's actually very important. If the prisoners rate you a good opinion (50+), then they will never attack you, give you more money for quests, and give you information when talked to. If the player recieves a bad opinion, then the prisoners that view you that way will attack you, say really useless or mean stuff to you, and give you less money for sidequests. Wait, one more thing, you can buy things from prisoners, and if they like you, then you get a discount. If not, more money.
This game for the most part is somewhat realistic. You're in a prison, and you have to escape. You scout around the prison and see what there is to be seen. However, time goes by really quickly (one hour in the game feels like 1 or 2 minutes). Oh yeah, and you can get money in prison. How neat is that?
There are different prisons, each one being more easy or more difficult than the others. I'm telling you, after you beat the easiest prison, you go to another one, it's gonna be really really difficult. The two problems is that the easiest prison gives a bad impression to the future ones, and that the harder ones are impossible if you use a guide.
Since you're in a prison, this should be pretty obvious, but still. I have to warn you, you get so little time to move around and explore, that this game is a ton harder than it should be. You try to escape, but you see a guard in a place that you never knew about and then you get sniped and lose all of your stuff. I know it's realistic, but the player should be able to explore more of the prison.
Now, I'm only talking about hard to get items. You somehow manage to knock out a guard, and steal his key. You better escape within a short amount of time, 'cause he's gonna wake up soon and you'll get taken in again. Now, there are different keys. Each one opening a specific amount of doors. And you have no idea how to get the keys, so those items that you see in the isolated hallway is gonna be impossible to get to, and that weird room with the generator is a no-no.
One hour in this game literaly feels like a minute. I know you're not supposed to play a game for 12 hours straight, but it all feels so fast. So much you have to do in so little time, that I think it's a little stressful and intense for players who are new to this game.
-The first prison (easiest)
Ok, this is kind of a weird con. But I think it's appropriate that I place this here. The very first prison, the easiest one, gives a terrible impression on how future prisons will be. You do all of this work to escape, only to figure out it's really really easy. You expect the next one to be slightly harder, but no. The next prison after that is very, very hard. I still have a lot of trouble to escape it. The first prison should give the player more of a challenge. All you really gotta do is lure a guard near a door, knock him out, steal his key and go. The next prison, I didn't even know how to escape it for a long while.
Overall, this is a pretty neat game. Not bad at all, only I would recommend looking up a beginners guide first to get an idea of things rather than just charging in. I rate this game a 7/10. The replay value is amazing, the concept is really nice, but there are some things that could make this game a little better.
I hope this review helps.