A Way Out was something I have always anticipated because of the hype it created. With Josef Fares f*cking the Oscars and the trailers that promised a very unique interactive experience between friends. For the duration of this review, I teamed up with Lex, our editor-in-chief, to help me get through and find my way out of this game. There was not a moment where I could not stop thinking about the game.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Hazelight Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: March 23, 2018
This review is based on a copy provided by Electronic Arts.
Let’s go over the controls very quickly. The game’s controls are very simple. Think of the interaction you have in Telltale Games. The game is pretty much an interactive movie where there’s one button to interact with any object and QTEs for any of the action sequences. The catch of the game though and its biggest selling point is that you can’t play the game alone. Whether be it online or offline, you have to play the game with someone all the way to the end. Unless you’re some supergamer who can multitask with two controllers then I suggest that you find a friend to play this game with.
The way the coop works in this game is that you will both be playing the game simultaneously in split screen mode. This is even true even when there’s a cutscene in your side of the game while the other is in free roam. There are moments though that the split screen merges into one and the game becomes an isometric top-down game. This was something that was never revealed in the trailers and which caught me by surprise when I encountered it. This added a new level of gameplay that made the game that much more appealing. There’s even this special moment where if the two of you do an activity in synch, a special cutscene occurs where both of the players share a wonderful moment.
The game relies a lot on its coop nature as most of the tasks in this game really encourages you to communicate with your teammate. Communication is an integral part of this game for you to progress as this will play a part in almost every crucial decision in the game. It could be that you’ll have to be the lookout while your partner is doing some stealing or if you both need to bust a door open. Moments like these is where the game truly shines and where the game is really good at. There has never been a game this successful in showcasing coop that nothing can truly compare to its seamless tag team mechanics.
Another thing that this game features are junction points where you both need to decide which route to take. The game doesn’t allow you to leave it to chance as both you and your partner need to agree on a choice that you need to follow. This adds another depth to the game because whatever the outcome is would change the course of the game and you both will have to live with the consequences of such an outcome. This could either strengthen the relationship between friends or destroy it but that’s up to you to decide. Let’s just hope that this game doesn’t end up making friends into enemies.
The last thing I’d like to highlight is that this is truly an interactive game. Almost all of the objects and people in the world of A Way Out can be interacted with. From sitting on a chair, to smoking a cigar, or talking to that random person to let them get out of your way. There’s nothing more immersive than this game that I could think of. You can also literally go anywhere in the game world although it is limited by the area that you are in. I could not imagine if this was an open world game but if it were as such then the possibilities would have been endless. It is amazing though how both characters can do two different things at the same time and the performance of the game doesn’t even get affected. We didn’t have any trouble in terms of performance even though a lot of things were going on in both screens.
I also like how there are tasks which involves the both of you to do it. For example, there was this long shaft that both Leo and Vincent need to climb up on and what they needed to do was use each other’s back to climb up. You and your partner need to be synchronized as you climb up because one mistake could cost both of you falling down and start over. Another memorable moment was when we had to take out these two guards simultaneously. You couldn’t just dash in and take out your guy before your partner takes out the other guy or you will both be caught.
There are also a lot of minigames scattered about the game which were fun to do and could become a nice way to break the ice. It also gives you a sense of competition against your partner as scores are tallied for each minigame. There was this one minigame that truly pits you against your partner which was arm wrestling. I couldn’t win against Lex on that one but I did give him a difficult time the second go around.
For an indie game, the graphics of this game is gorgeous. The environment is so detailed and beautiful that you can just stop and take awhile to admire its beauty. Objects in the game are destructible that they break up when riddled with bullets. The waters look crystal clear and the sunlight just shines brightly like the real thing.
What it lacks though is the abundance of action sequences. While there are high speed chases that involves riding cars and shooting guns. The QTE fist fights kind of takes away from the experience. I didn’t like how it’s more Telltale than Uncharted because I wanted it to be more like Uncharted with the fistfights. I wish there was more freedom with how you do the actual fights rather than just waiting for a prompt to occur.
Overall, I can truly say that the game has exceeded my expectations considering that my expectations were already high from the beginning. I loved the story that they developed. The buildup of the characters slowly lets you into their world making you like them more and more. Their relationship is convincing and they really make a good pair. Their snarky comments at each other are hilarious which makes them relatable and more human. I’m truly happy that they are not one-dimensional characters but characters with such a lot of depth and ability that complements each other. This is a great game to strengthen bonds between friends and can provide a lot of entertainment for the both of you. Like I said, this can either make or break friendships and can test the level of trust and communication that you both have.
I do believe there’s a replayability in the sense that, playing this game with a different person will give you a fresh new experience everytime. It will also tell you if you two can get along as you decide on the junction points or argue over who needs to drive the car or what. This is a great coop game for those wanting to have a great time with their bestfriends or someone who you’d like to get to know. Or even mix it up and make new friends out of strangers as you play online.
I highly recommend this game if you want to have a great coop experience. It’s like watching a movie and playing a game at the same time. The thrills and chills this game gives is like no other. And I can truly say that it provided an entertainment that no other coop game can provide.