Prison Architect: Second Chances Review — Rehabilitation for Profit

Prison Architect: Second Chances adds some features the game has sorely needed for some time, but as usual for PA DLC, it's not without its issues.

Prison Architect continues to grow under the wings of Paradox Interactive and developer Double Eleven. The latest DLC, titled Second Chances, expands on the game's formula in a different way than the previous Going Green release and finally gives players a way to actually reform their prisoners.

Where Going Green added new solar options and the ability to get your prisoners to work the land for food and profit, Second Chances gives you options to rehabilitate them into (hopefully) productive members of society. Between the two DLCs, this one is a more flexible Prison Architect experience.

Prison Architect: Second Chances Review — Rehabilitation for Profit

So how can you rehabilitate your prisoners in this DLC? Through counseling, animal therapy, and hard work. The hard work is working at the new Restaurant and Bakery rooms, where prisoners undergoing rehabilitation can feed the non-incarcerated masses for work experience toward their reintroduction to society.

From a gameplay standpoint, these two rooms add another business management layer on top of what Prison Architect already has.

With the Restaurant, you can choose the quality of food available and business can boom or fail based on staffing. However, the Bakery doesn't demand all that hubbub and just functions as long as you have the basics and staffing set, without the added stress of whether everything's being kept up with well enough.

In the case of either room, there are profits to be had, which is admittedly a better racket than the old method of just getting prisoners to toil away in the Workshop to ship out license plates. Being the more complicated venture, the Restaurant brings in more money out of the two; honestly, it's a nice addition to the crop growing and selling of Going Green.

So why bother with all this? Why would you, dear Warden, bother rehabilitating these probable dregs that keep your prison afloat? Cold hard cash, baby!

Each successfully rehabilitated and reformed prisoner nets you a tidy bonus, which is an added draw to getting them the heck out of your prison later on in a game.

On the flip side, prisoners who leave your prison and re-offend when back out to the greener pastures of freedom will cause you to incur a penalty and receive the prisoner once more. Reforming them properly pays off, while a little bad luck and some lazy management can be costly.

For those who have been playing Prison Architect for a long time, the added features found in Second Chances and prior DLC releases add some much-needed complexity and are more than welcome. But true to form, this DLC isn't without its bugs.

While the bugs found in Second Chances are not as pervasive as they were in the last DLC release, Going Green, they are still present and should be noted. The biggest and most obnoxious bug is the inability to reassign prisoner security levels, which can be a big deal for some playstyles (my own included).

Those who aren't particularly hands-on in that manner won't find this to be a huge detriment, but if you're like me and really like tinkering with your inmates directly to keep things as peaceful as you can manage (or for some "experiments"), then it is absolutely something to be aware of.

Prison Architect: Second Chances Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Overall the new additions are very welcome...
  • ... and they're not overly complex, either

Cons

  • As always with Prison Architect DLC, there are bugs, and they are noticeable

I can't say no to further complexities added to my Prison Architect experience, even if they tend to come with some detriments. Finally being able to reform prisoners after playing this game on and off for so many years is a boon, especially the extra income from the rehabilitation process and the Restaurant and Bakery.

Why Double Eleven always introduces new bugs to the game with DLC releases is a bit beyond me, maybe the way Introversion initially developed the game is finicky. Who knows. Somebody knows, and it's not me.

If you are on the market for a single paid Prison Architect DLC, this is probably the one to get. It's the cheapest by default, the bugs can be.. accepted.. and it adds enough to make it more than worth its small price compared to what we got with Island Bound and Going Green.

[Note: Paradox Interactive provided the copy of Prison Architect: Second Chances for this review.]

Our Rating
7
Prison Architect: Second Chances adds some features the game has sorely needed for some time, but as usual for PA DLC, it's not without its issues.
Reviewed On: PC

Associate Editor

Ashley is pretty lost in most things, but not the FFXIV smol life. Oh yeah, there's someone impersonating me. Trust me: I didn't email you.

Published Jun. 17th 2021

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