Couch co-op returns in A Way Out
A game that makes you rethink everything you know about the game industry and how it works such as EA’s A Way Out, doesn’t come along very often. It’s a game that has managed to surprise me in a totally unexpected way. The developers at Hazelight Studio mix several types of gameplay, that you would never think of doing, and in turn have created a fresh new experience.
In an era when online play is king, it is nice to see a game come along that brings back the couch co-op experience and makes it hugely enjoyable.
A Cinematic experience
Before starting to play, in the character selection screen, you are given some background on the game’s two protagonists, Leo and Vincent. Here you’ll find out their temperament, family life and their criminal history. It’s early on when you discover why both Leo and Vincent are in prison, and it is their lives beyond the walls of the prison that really gives the body the story of A Way Out.
You start out in prison and, as you might have guessed, your primary objective is to escape. However, it is just when this happens that the background of the game begins to develop and you start to learn more about Leo and Vincent.
Neither of them is an ordinary prisoner and both believe that they should not be behind bars, as well as a strong reason why they should escape. As you progress through the game, Leo and Vincent begin to trust each other, and gradually uncover details of their past. Thus, as the characters themselves on the screen get to know each other, so do we.
Ever since A Way Out was revealed at E3 2017, its cooperative gameplay caught my eye. You see, A Way Out was designed from the very beginning with cooperative gameplay in mind. In turn, this means that because you need two players to play, you’ll encounter situations unlike anything before. These range from the classic one player drives and the second shoots to distracting the guards while the second player is trying to break free from the cell.
Occasionally, there are instances where you’ll split up from your friend. For example, one player will have to light the way with a flashlight so that the second player can find their way out of the dark. It’s these creative gameplay ways that Hazelight Studios have used, which keep A Way Out exciting and fresh.
What I love about this game is that it doesn’t tell just one story while controlling two characters. In fact, A Way Out tells two different stories that eventually converge into one. The game completely changes the rules of the cooperative gameplay by allowing, for example, Leo can be immersed in kinematics while the player controlling Vincent has total control over the character and can move freely. This means that one player will face a challenge while the other is doing something completely different.
Two radically different characters
One of the things that makes A Way Out interesting is that the story changes depending on who you choose to play as. Each character’s story is told via split screen and then joins together when by Leo and Vincent are close. The world of A Way Out goes beyond simply moving forward and solving puzzles.
The game offers many different characters that you can interact with and I found it interesting who Leo and Vincent react differently. Leo is impulsive, so there are times when this impulsiveness will get you exactly what you want. And, Vincent is laid back with a calmer demeanor that results in handling things in a much different way.
While it is true that this is not the first game where the relationship between the two lead characters plays an integral part of the game, it is one that will get you and your family and friends talking. By this I mean you and your fellow co-op partner on the couch next to you. In A Way Out, to be successful, it is important that you both communicate to each other.
It’s all about team work
While playing A Way Out you’ll be faced with decision that need to be made—this is where it becomes very interesting. One character will propose to do things one way while other will want to do things in a completely opposite manor. It’s in situations like these that you need to strategize with your partner, which decision is best.
This may involve situations where you are in need of money and you decide to rob a bank. Leo might suggest entering the bank by force and taking everyone out who stands in the way. While, Vincent might be in favour of sneaking into the bank and getting the money without anyone knowing. In order to make this decision, you’ll see both situations presented on the screen and you both have to agree on, which option is the best.
This not only takes the gaming experience beyond the screen, as well as redefines the meaning of cooperative games, but also adds a replayability component to the game. It is important to understand that the story in A Way Out doesn’t branch. Both choices lead to the same place. It is your decisions in the final stretch of the game will lead you to one of several different endings.
A Way Out provides a co-op experience like no other game has in recent memory. There are several fantastic moments in the game that will really hit home for Leo and Vincent. The game offers plenty to see and do and is definitely worth sharing the experience with a friend.
If you are looking for a game that stands out from the rest, I highly recommend you pickup A Way Out. You will not be disappointed.
+ Revolutionary gameplay
+ The two protagonists are distinctly different
+ Emotional story
– Some may find the game to be too short
– Occasional glitches in the game
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5