Prison Architect Game Preview

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Welcome to my review for Prison Architect Game Preview on Xbox One. Please note the game is still in Preview, therefore it does not mean that all content will remain for the final release of the game.

Prison Architect is being Developed and Published by Introversion Software. The preview was made available to Xbox One owners on October 6th 2015 for Xbox 360, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Prison Architect is a Construction and Management Simulator, where play the role as Warden, and given the task of the day to day running of your prison facility.

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There are 3 game modes available to you.
World of Wardens: In this mode, you have the opportunity to download and play worlds created by other members of the community. There are easy and hard prisons currently available. Each offering a different challenge.

Stories: This acts as a Scenario mode, and also features tutorials to gently ease you into the game. To move onto the next scenario, you must first complete the requirements from the previous Prison scenario.

Campaign: You can start off with a plot of land, and nothing else on screen, with just your ambition and vision for a better prison to guide you along the way. Or, you can choose a preset prison for a little help to kick off our career as Warden. But that’s not all. The menu before you start offers you quite the selection of options to modify parameters that can dictate how events may unfold. The standard difficulty settings are there, with set options, but there is also a Custom difficulty available to you. Set how much money you start off with, even what your Warden Avatar personality traits are. Do you have a relaxed Warden, or a strict one? Or maybe somewhere in between.

The game is viewed from a top down perspective, which is suitable for the game, although having a 3D isometric camera may have worked better. But as it is, it works well. Left stick will move your cursor, whilst the Right stick will move the camera. Triggers will allow you to zoom in and out at will to overlook your creation of the perfect prison. Or if your like me, utter chaos and neglect. Not intentional of course.

My first loom at how the game worked was the first scenario in Stories. You have an inmate on Death Row, and have to construct the Death Chamber for him. You do get some cut scenes detailing events that brought our inmate to death row, and in a way, I kind of felt sorry for him. But justice must be served.

 

 

Your superior will make telephone calls to you, giving you instructions on what to do during this tutorial. You will learn how the menu system works, and what is available to you. There is a multitude of items to build your ideal inmate habitat, and construction is very easy to perform. Your construction team will appear shortly after you have chosen the building, and begin their task with haste.

The menu system is easy to navigate, and button markers appear on screen when useful items can be interacted with. Introversion Software have made this genre work very well on console, which is something of a great feat. Many gamers feel that simulation games don’t do so well on console, but by golly they got it spot on.

Graphics: Visuals are kept simple for prisoners, and other NPC characters. Just a simple shape for a body with a plain looking circle for a head and simple face to boot. So it’s certainly not a AAA game affair here. But given the genre of game, it really doesn’t have any need for graphics of that calibre. It works, and in a cartoon style way. The frame rate runs smoothly, and that offers no concern.


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Music/FX: Nothing special here, but again, there is no need for a simulation game such as this. Usual noises expected when your construction crew is on the job, or when security doors open inside the prison.

Gameplay: It works perfectly on console, and all the menus are easily accessible, and all sub menus are labeled for you. It’s all easy to find even for beginners. Learning curve is just about right too. The tutorials in Stories will give you all tr information you need.

Summary: Prison Architect, is still in preview, so some aspects may change, as there are constant updates. This is not a bad thing, as Introversion will be able to keep working on making the game better and getting rid of any bugs that may surface. As for the genre, it’s quite a niche on console, as most gamers prefer their FPS games and the like. But this is a whole new change of pace, and one that’s certainly worthy of your time, if you’ve ever played a management sim before, or even a construction sim. I for one am glad a game like this has made its way onto console, and if you’re thinking of giving your money to this game, you may find yourself losing several hours as you become warden of your dream prison. Highly recommended for Simulation fans.

Preview by Graham Sherry. Thanks to Xbox for the preview code.

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