When comparing Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation vs Prison Architect, the Slant community recommends Prison Architect for most people. In the question“What are the best singleplayer games on Steam?” Prison Architect is ranked 24th while Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation is ranked 76th. The most important reason people chose Prison Architect is:
The game consists of a wide variety of overlapping systems that work together to create excellent depth. You have to figure out the layout of your prison, how to manage the needs of your inmates, how to earn enough money to expand and hire new staff, what to do in the case of a natural disaster, a riot or attempted escape and so on. Every decision you make will impact all other elements of the game. For example, instituting regular shakedowns will help prevent prisoners from carrying banned items like forks taken from cafeterias that can be used to dig tunnels, but will also make the inmates more angry and thus more likely to riot. You can decide to instead use tunnel-sniffing dogs set to patrol around the perimeter, but that will cost more money and if the inmates pick up on the patrolling patterns they will tunnel around them. Or you may decide to check each inmate individually to see who's tired from staying up late to dig while everyone else has been sleeping though that approach may not scale.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Better framerate when ran in DX12
This game is DX12 compatible which allows for a higher frame rate over DX11. DX12 is only able to be taken advantage of on Windows 10, so that is something to consider, but for those that can take advantage, there is a slight gain to be had.
Pro Pleasing graphics
The graphics stand out as polished and make for a really nice looking RTS. This is top of its class in graphics for an RTS in 2016.
Pro Cool mechanic for controlling troops
There is a tool in the game that allows one to "lasso" their units together into an army. By making an army the player can then control that army as they would one troop unit, meaning that all micromanagement for a large group of troops is unnecessary as the game will deal with it in a more intuitive an easy manner. This can be done with as little or as many troops as the player want, which overall makes for an easy way to control the game when in the heat of battle.
Pro Good mix of gameplay modes for any skill level
The game features a single player story mode, a story mode called Ascendancy that will walk the player though how to play the game and multiplayer modes that are ranked as well as custom multiplayer modes. Through the assortment of modes the game allows for any type of player to find gameplay that they may like, whether they are a seasoned RTS player or a newcomer to the genre. Whether playing locally in single player or online with friends or random people, there should be plenty on offer for any skill level.
Pro Focuses on positioning over micromanagement
The maps in this game are large, sometimes taking up as many as 20-30 zones in a single map. What this means is that the player will need to focus a lot more on position of their units over actually micromanaging every aspect of each unit (due to the vast size of maps and the amount of units on them). This allows for gameplay that has a broader scope in strategy, as it forces the player to plan out what is best to protect and the best position to hold of enemy attacks all while still trying to grow their army in order to overpower their enemy.
Pro Easily allows the player to utilize specific info on their enemies
At all times the player can vies on a mini map how much their enemy has expanded and into what areas. There is also a thing called player power rating, which allows the player to know on a point scale what their enemies military and economic power level is. Which means you can get a sense of what fields your enemy is expanding into. Combining these tools allows for a quick way to know where the enemy is expanding and into what fields of tech they are concentrating on. This way the player can adjust their strategy accordingly, making for an even deeper level of strategy overall.
Pro Amazing depth
The game consists of a wide variety of overlapping systems that work together to create excellent depth. You have to figure out the layout of your prison, how to manage the needs of your inmates, how to earn enough money to expand and hire new staff, what to do in the case of a natural disaster, a riot or attempted escape and so on.
Every decision you make will impact all other elements of the game. For example, instituting regular shakedowns will help prevent prisoners from carrying banned items like forks taken from cafeterias that can be used to dig tunnels, but will also make the inmates more angry and thus more likely to riot. You can decide to instead use tunnel-sniffing dogs set to patrol around the perimeter, but that will cost more money and if the inmates pick up on the patrolling patterns they will tunnel around them. Or you may decide to check each inmate individually to see who's tired from staying up late to dig while everyone else has been sleeping though that approach may not scale.
Pro Works great for both long and short play sessions
The gameplay lends itself well to both doing a couple of things around the prison every once in a while or setting up elaborate systems that can take hours upon hours of time. The game can be saved at any time so you don't have to make commitments in one way or another.
Pro Great freedom of playstyle
You can run the prison in the way that you see fit. You can put the wellbeing of prisoners at the top of the priority list by making sure their living spaces are comfortable, that they're well-fed, have the opportunity to educate themselves and often get to go outside in the yard to socialize and exercise or you can run the prison with an iron fist by instituting regular shakedowns, putting CCTVs, metal detectors, K-9 units and armed guards in every corner. Whichever play-style you choose, the game will offer challenges that will keep the game interesting.
Pro Developers are releasing free updates and additions to the game
Developers have been updating the game almost every month with new content, improvements and tweaks to the game.
Pro Relaxing to play
Building your prison is almost zen like. There are periods of stress when there are riots or things going wrong, but you can always pause to take your time and figure out a good solution.
Pro Lots of mods available
A wide variety of user-created modifications to the game are available including mods that change the theme of the game, look of the game, add new objects, grants, programs, scenarios and new mechanics. They're listed in the game's wiki, here.
Con Physics are unrealistic
Many of the units will pass right through each other, making for units that behave in an unrealistic way and can pull the player out of the immersion of the title. The units also all hover over the ground, which means they have no real weight to their actions, when combined with the unrealistic way they move makes for something that just does not looked polished.
Con Demanding system requirements
The game requires a high end GPU as well as at-least a 4 core processor. This means the game is quite demanding and needs to take advantage of multi-cores in order to play smoothly at high graphical settings. So for those with a mid-range system, the game may play at lower frame-rates, which can be frustrating.
Con Lacking in options for factions and units
There are only two factions available in the game to play with, so makes for limited choice. On top of this each faction has only so many different units, which also shows a lack of choice. Combined, once the game has been experienced and both factions played with there will be little in surprise as to what the game has to offer.
Con Gameplay is poorly explained
The game does a poor job of explaining all the mechanics to the player when they begin the main game which leaves the player guessing as to what they need to do in order to be successful.