A Way Out: A Closer Look at the Action-Adventure Game
A Way Out is an action-adventure game developed by Hazelight Studios and published by Electronic Arts under their EA Originals program. It is the second video game to be directed by Josef Fares after Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Announced at E3 2017, the game is only played in either online or local split-screen co-op between two players with no single player mode. The game was dropped on the world on March 23, 2018, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, in both physical and digital format for 30 US dollars.
A Way Out plays through with a narrative story of two convicted criminals (Vincent and Leo). You and a buddy must break out of jail and survive the ensuing police chase. Also, a bunch of thugs want Leo dead before the two of you can finish an evil dead. You cannot play this game alone. It takes two players to guide the pair of convicts, as they progress through a series of interconnected scenes of their prison break and the manhunt that follows. Whether it be online play or you and a buddy sitting on the couch you will soon find yourself buried in the storyline and fantastic cutscenes that deliver all the action of a thriller movie.
At no point in the game do they leave out a character. You may be sitting and watching the cutscene that involves one character. While at the same time your story continues or your left in a hospital lobby throwing playing cards into a garbage can. However, at no point do they leave out your character. As the story continues to develop you find yourself getting deeper into it. Thus becoming the character you and your buddy chose to be.
The story plays out like a 70s crime thriller with a bit of the flash forward/ flashback with the same plot twists you’d expect of a multi-million dollar movie production. At any given moment, A Way Out shifts to provide new experiences, from river-rafting and basketball to wild car chases. Each new activity retains a simple control scheme that starts to build a language that the player understands. Chief among these is the prompt for cooperative action, like pushing a car or catching someone when the jump. And then there’s the back and forth action between the two characters, the decisions one has to make to distract a guard, and a nurse so one character can steal a tool to aid in the jailbreak. Most of the time the game plays as if you are writing the story. Hence, this is exactly what Hazelight Studio’s intended.
At no point in this game did I sit back and wait to do something. Your actions, almost all the time, are an important part of the story. Even if it’s looking around and talking/interacting with NPC’s. The developers reveal the story through interactions of the player characters or through cutscenes. You find your self-questioning the decisions you and a buddy make soon after their made.
Early on, Vincent and Leo need to steal sheets as part of their plan to escape prison. In order to make it past one of the guards, you have to distract him. It’s up to the player to either instigate a fight between two inmates or to sabotage a laundry machine. Sometimes the game will ask the players to choose a course of action before the level begins—Vincent’s way or Leo’s way. You first see this when you happen across a cabin. Both characters think it’d be a good place to change clothes, and hopefully steal a car.
Unfortunately, there’s a couple inside. Vincent wants to release the horses from the barn so they can distract the couple in a nearby house and steal their car. Leo wants to just tie the couple up, steal their shit and bounce. Everything the players do is in service of building out Vincent and Leo as characters. Even though their methods differ, you ultimately see two men who are trying their best. Two men who need to rely on each other.
I won’t go into too much detail on the storyline as not to give too much away. Nonetheless, with its cinematic beauty, and plot twists (especially the ending) there isn’t a dull moment in this game. Its been a long time coming since the thoughtfulness of such a game has hit the market. The co-op experience of a game like this is one that seems to have been forgotten. Games of the past like “Army of Two” always left you with the feeling of wanting more of that experience. This is where “A Way Out” excels. It gives you that feeling, experience of accomplishment after every chapter. Also, the cinematic experience of “LA Noire” is perfect for this game.
At 30 bucks and only needing 1 copy for a friend to play along it’s well worth the money…
Consider this, you only need to buy one copy for two people, even if you are playing online.
Therefore, it is the equivalent of going to the movie theater with a friend. Except the movie is 6 hours long and interactive. And honestly, it’s really worth it.