A Way Out, an exclusively-cooperative video game from the same director who dished out the critically-acclaimed Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Originally, I didn’t have high hopes for this game, I mean I enjoyed the thought of it on a conceptual level but thought it was going to end up a poor execution, boy was I wrong! I played the game with three different people and through that I realized that, first, choose your partner for this game wisely and, two, this game played like a six-hour movie that you couldn’t help but get invested in. A Way Out managed to drive a compelling narrative that kept you invested, while also giving you (and your partner-in-crime) so much stuff to do until it reached its heartbreaking conclusion, in similar vein to the Telltale games but with a heavier focus on gameplay mechanics.
Now, we get to the story, A Way Out tells the tale of a duo of incarcerated convicts with conflicting, but ultimately entertaining, distinct personalities who devise a plan to escape the facility they’re housed in and take down the man who’s responsible for putting them there. From the start, the game seems like a tropey revenge narrative that you can find in any number of other mediums. However, this becomes radically changed due to the playstyle of the game, as the “forced” cooperation between you and your partner becomes a bromance between the characters in the game and, as you continue your trek through the story, you become enveloped in your characters through the dialogue-based cutscenes and standard rapport in-game. This really isn’t a game that you’d want to play by yourself, this is a game that you’d definitely want to play with a close friend, or hell even someone you want to get to know more about.
The cooperative gameplay is both exciting….. and leaves much to be desired. The situations, whether it be deciding to take on a elderly couple who could call the cops or keeping watch for guards while your partner removes the bolts from the back of a toilet, are fantastic gameplay constructs. Yet, when executed, they seem to take on the most boring approach to those particular circumstances. However, even with that, the friends I played with and I argued with one another if someone screwed up and shouted with excitement when we got out of the several predicaments laid within the game. The utilization of a split-screen set-up, whether couch co-op or online, was definitely an interesting addition by Hazelight Studios and was an must-have for a number of the circumstances my partner and I found ourselves in. The set-up worked for much of the gameplay, however when it came to trying to talk to the non-player characters (NPC’s) around us at the same time, it was less than beneficial. But, even with such a cooperative set-up, the game still allowed the individual players to explore the (rather linear) world at their own pace and interact with different objects, such as prison exercise equipment.
Through constant communication and determination, my partners and I were able to complete the tasks set within the game in usually one or two tries. That’s not to say that the game is an easy time that you can just breeze through (it’s really not) but as long as you and your partner are on the same page about the objective at hand, you should be able to complete it with no worries (and no cursing). But, besides the occasional slip-up in a simultaneous button-pressng, some not-so synced voice work, more than enough quick-time combat scenarios, and an appearance of graphical downgrade compared to more modern action titles, the game is helluva fun time with a tearful finale and action sequences that look as if they were a spiritual successor to the Uncharted series which will leave you wanting to play the game a second time through.
A Way Out gets 8.5 out of 10 exhilarating car chases.