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    GingerbreadFetus's Prison Architect (PC)

    [September 1, 2017 05:31:57 PM]
    So this is actually a repost of my third entry since my previous one was lost to the ether.

    I've grown to enjoy Prison Tycoon a bit more since I unlocked free play mode, but there are a few things in the game that I really think could have made it more compelling if perhaps they were tweaked just a little bit. As well as some mechanics that I find really confusing to work with.

    I will start with the latter. It has taken me quite a bit of time to figure out why my workmen build walls the way that they do. After considerable time playing around with the quick build options I've found that for me the quickest way to build a cell block is to place a foundation of carefully considered dimensions. This is made easier with the planning tool. Which is a wonderful feature I wish a similar game, Rimworld, would outright steal. Leave a little space for the hallway, and then place one cell. Then use the clone tool to copy paste that cell outline up and down the row. Repeat until the cell block is done. This is actually the kind of thing I enjoy in tycoon games. Careful planning, and decision making. It is hampered however by the bizarre choices that the workmen AI use. Sometimes I'll find that they've torn down a wall that I didn't want removed and I won't know why. So far, I'm still getting surprised by brick walls vanishing. Sometimes only to be rebuilt.

    The other problem that I have with the game is I think it is far too easy for me to make money with a prison. And there's no real motivation that I feel makes me want to have the most profitable facility. The grant system is an interesting way to encourage this. However, with my prison already running profitably, I didn't feel the need to take on some of the more unscrupulous ones.

    I've never been the type to feel like a moral decision that is too easy to make is a compelling one in a game. So when I'm making plenty of money and have a well funded education program in my prison, what reason could I have for making my prison less hospitable? But I think if the game was rebalanced so that education was more expensive, or so it was harder to turn a profit. The decision between offering awful meals and dog patrols would be a lot more tempting.

    But still though, I am compelled with Prison Tycoon to find out what that's like. So I think that the designer was onto something.
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    [August 31, 2017 05:16:59 AM]
    On my second session of Prison Architect I found that in sandbox mode the player faces some difficulties and they aren't necessarily ethics quandries. I've had a lot of frustration with figuring out how to place cells optimally. You typically have to draw out the foundations before you section them into cells. The issue is it is rather hard to say how big you want it to be if you want say, 15 cells. I think more or less I've got the pattern now. But sometimes I seem to get one side of the cell block wrong, and the other just fine.

    I think this game could have a bit more intrigue to it too if the game had more interesting quests. Perhaps given by specific characters in the game. In Tropico, a game I see this one having more and more similarities with. You have faction quests in both Tropico, and Abroad in foreign powers. As such, you have a wealth of quest-givers. I don't think Prison Architect has anything like this. And it could make for really interesting gameplay if you could take quests from prison gangs. Or from politicians. Maybe even unscrupulous scientists!
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    [August 29, 2017 09:14:03 AM]
    I was pretty glad that there was actually a game from the list that I could afford to play at the moment. There were other games on the list that I would have rather tried, since I've never played them before. But in the end I definitely found Prison Architect enjoyable. I think that a person could probably get through the campaign pretty fast. I had the spare time so I decided to get through all of it.

    There isn't much special about the campaign, since it really just serves as a tutorial. I think the more interesting part of the game is the sandbox mode, since it gives you a greater control of your own goals and your prisoners. This makes for some much more interesting ethical choices that makes the game a lot like Tropico. However, all the time I spent with the game today was in the campaign so I guess I'll spend a little more time talking about that.

    The campaign has five parts and takes you through some interwoven stories about the prison system, from building an execution room to end the life of a double murderer, to a psychologist who is an advocate for prison reform. But one of the more interesting segments in the entire tutorial campaign for me, especially since all of the cutscenes can be skipped and you won't miss much. Is the way that every character except for one has so much contempt for prison reform. And it's something that I think shows in the gameplay itself, I'm not sure because I haven't put enough time in yet. But I did notice that if you have classes and courses for your prisoners, many of them will not be interested, and it wouldn't help you if they did. Since the money you make is directly tied to how many prisoners you have. You can even choose not to make a parole room to hold onto parolee prisoners for potentially twice as long.

    There is also no shortage of prisoners though, and you're always able to ask for more. And so long as you keep them healthy and relatively happy, you'll make plenty of money off of each one.
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    GingerbreadFetus's Prison Architect (PC)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 29 August, 2017

    GingerbreadFetus's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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