If you weren’t aware by now, Daniel and I love playing cooperative games together. I mean, it’s essentially the reason why this website exists in the first place. We are always on the look out for new co-op games to play and when we heard about A Way Out, we had to give it a shot. Firstly, the game is only $30 AND features a “friend pass” which means one person can buy the game and invite one of their friends to play with them, for free. The friend (in this instance, Daniel) receives your invite and is allowed to download a trial of the game which enables them to play through the entire game with you. How bad ass is that? I think it’s genius and adds incredible value.
The game opens up by introducing you two the two characters you can choose to play as: Leo, the hotheaded bad ass and Vincent the calm rational thinker. Each of them has a very distinct personality that you will discover by playing through the game. I chose to play as Leo since that was my older brother’s name. (And let’s be real: I’m also sort of a bad ass.) From the start of the game the split screen aspect plays a prominent role. There are moments when one person’s story takes precedence, but not very often and only when the narrative demands it.
The gist of the plot lies with the fact that both Leo and Vincent want revenge on a man named Harvey, each for differing reasons that are explained as the game goes on. In the interest of staying spoiler-free let’s say that both reasons make sense and fit the crime drama narrative perfectly. There’s a bit of a Tarantino-esque vibe to the game due to the fact that you find out bits and pieces of the overarching story via going back and forth from the past and to the present. As a Tarantino fan I feel like it’s a great storytelling tool and works within the confines of the game. If you aren’t a Tarantino fan or have an issue with a story that isn’t as straightforward as possible, then you might take issue with the game. But I will tell you right now that you should get over yourself because the game is worthy of your time.
Gameplay-wise there is enough variation to keep you entertained throughout the entirety of the action. One second you are escaping in a pickup truck with one person driving and the other shooting at the cop cars chasing you and the next you are stealthily trying to avoid detection. There are many more awesome experiences including some cool mini-games that I don’t necessarily want to spoil in this review but let’s just say that as long as you explore you will find a lot to hold your attention. Leo and Vincent have to rely on each other a lot in order to first break out of prison and then achieve their end goal of exacting revenge on Harvey. This transpires in a way that feels natural though, such as one person distracting a guard so that the other can steal a necessary object or using each other as a sort of lever to climb up a vertical shaft arm-in-arm. Everything plays out in an interesting way and never once did I feel bored while playing A Way Out.
On top of the aforementioned fantastic elements A Way Out also gives you choices at certain points in the game. Generally it plays out that Leo wants to do something crazy and over the top and Vincent wants to use stealth or brains to achieve the end goal without alerts or bloodshed. During our play-through we tended to side with Vincent more often than not, although deep down I knew that Leo’s ideas would have been a lot more fun. Especially the part about stealing the cop car…good thing we can go back and replay those missions in order to chose the other option! So add replayability on top of all of the other wonderful aspects of the game.
EA Originals and Hazelight studios managed to create an engaging emotional experience that is very deserving of your attention (and money.) The game can be beat in a relatively short time but that’s because there’s little to no “filler” in the game. Everything happens for a reason and that reason is to take you on an enjoyable ride with minimal breaks in the action. The one thing I want to actively critique about the game is the voice acting. It’s not incredibly bad, but the vocal performances definitely could have used a bit more direction. The dialogue itself would be fantastic (for the most part) if the acting were slightly better. Overall the voice acting doesn’t take away that much from the experience and it’s mostly a personal gripe. You may love the voice acting. Who knows? As it stands however, A Way Out is a very satisfying game that everyone needs to experience. Especially if you have a good friend to play it with.