PC, PS4, Xbox One

A Way Out Review — A Fantastic Concept with Mixed Execution

Josef Fares, the author and manager of A Way Out, spoke about his game through  The Game Awards 2017 and claimed, “in the event that you play the game in the beginning to the end and now you see what it is, it’s hopeless [this] you don’t enjoy it. ” It’s a strong statement from a very ardent developer and over this; it’therefore an announcement I can greatly honor.

While I really did enjoy my time with all A Way Out it’s not without its moments of mediocrity. Much of the the storyline and the gameplay in  A Way Out is quite generic, though the co-op idea behind the game is extremely unique.   When you get to the game’s end though, you begin to comprehend exactly what  A Way Out is and may more competently enjoy it.

A Way Out is a co-op adventure game that has to be played only with a spouse from the split-screen view. Yes, even though you’re playing online, the game will still put you within this view because it’s necessary to play the game. Although this novelty of playing with the whole game in co-op is A Way Out’s main selling point, it’s also the best part of this game. I love that Hazelight has adopted a kind of play that they understand wouldn’t have the broadest appeal, but has dedicated to it yet.

The story of A Way Out tells the tale of two men, Vincent and Leo, who find themselves in an uncomfortable alliance after agreeing to rest out of jail together. Upon going, the 2 guys look to set right the situation that place them each in prison, while simultaneously   hoping to go back to the lives that they each understood before. It’s a simple assumption, however, the plot is about this journey and more about the two characters and their private arcs.

As expected, you and the spouse which you just play the game with each assume the role of these characters. For my playthrough, I opted to play like the loud, savage, and crass Leo while my friend played as the acute, and diligent Vincent. The difference in character between both of these characters lies at the core of A Way Out both thematically and regarding gameplay. Even though Vincent and Leo must learn how to set aside their differences and work together from the game, both you and your spouse often have to determine how to handle certain scenarios based upon how every personality will approach it.

A Way Out Review -- A Fantastic Concept with Mixed Execution

For instance, 1 portion of the game finds Leo and Vincent in need of cash, so they opt to rob a gas station. Before going into the gas station, however, you are given the choice to charge in using a gun in hand as Leo suggests , or to go to get a milder approach as Vincent proposes. Neither circumstance is wrong or right but A Way Out enables you to decide how best you’d love to manage it.

As for other gameplay segments in A Way Out, they tend to vary. Some sequences will have you solving a puzzle in the environment to progress, other departments will have you running away from police that are pursuing you, and some afterwards areas will have you shooting out using a multitude of unique enemies. This variant of styles of drama is one of A Way Out’s largest strengths, but also one of its biggest weaknesses.

Since there are so many distinct elements that make up A Way Out on the gameplay front, not one of them really feel fleshed out. The shooting sections fall short of nearly every other third-person shooter available on the market and the mystery parts are a far too simple.   A Way Out is in its finest in sequences where every player is doing a completely different task in another. One example of this is in a chase scene in which Vincent is driving a truck while Leo sits in the bed and wards off pursuing police cruisers with a shotgun.  

A Way Out Review -- A Fantastic Concept with Mixed Execution

Like other things to do gameplay-wise during  A Way Out, there’s a multitude of unique mini-games or NPCs to interact within the surroundings that you’ll encounter within the game’s 6-8 hour runtime. Not one of those interactions drastically enhance the encounter, but they do provide to get a wonderful break in-between the story setpieces. Playing baseball or Connect Four with a friend could be entertaining for a couple minutes however you won’t linger in one of these places for too long.

For getting such a exceptional concept centered entirely around co-op gameplay, I still feel like the game took advantage of the forces players to perform a lot of boring tasks. This also to having a control scheme that’s mostly focused around pressing buttons fast or timing presses up with your spouse made a lot of their gameplay experience boring. All in all, A Way Out was largely just too easy and basically never challenged me or my spouse whilst playing.

Unfortunately, most of the broad story defeats in A Way Out are also quite trite and the narrative telegraphs itself a great deal. There is a point about midway through the game in which both my partner and I managed to flat-out imagine what the subsequent plot points could be for most of the remainder of the game. Maybe these were only lucky guesses on our part, however, it appeared strange that we had the ability to consistently know what would be occurring in the next scene.

A Way Out Review -- A Fantastic Concept with Mixed Execution

Being a prison split story, A Way Out would obviously reap the benefits of some of those possessions, however I found the comparisons between the two to at times be overly on-the-nose.

As I stated earlier though, the motive to experience   A Way Out is about the trip which the story takes and is more about getting to know Vincent and Leo. In general, the two characters are fascinating and you would like to root for them. While they neglect’t evolve much over the duration of the game, the motives which every person has is persuasive and continues to induce you to find the narrative.

The rest of the surrounding cast of characters, however, are less interesting, and rather feel far too one-note. Leo and Vincent both have loved ones who you meet when enjoying with the game, but they don’t have enough time for you to ever actually feel a connection with them.

A Way Out Review -- A Fantastic Concept with Mixed Execution

The best thing I could say about   A Way Out is the fact that it’s a stunning final act. It’s this portion of the game that I genuinely need to dive into and talk about since it’s hands-down the reason to visit  A Way Out through the end. I truly can’t say much about this part of this game without devoting it, but I could mention that after you complete   A Way Out, you may better know the game’s goal and will have a much greater appreciation for it as a whole.

Part of me want to replay the entire game with a new pair of eyes to better love  A Way Out’s travel to this conclusion. Without giving away too much, the finale definitely serves as the ideal co-op moment of the entire adventure and it truly subverts your expectations at a novel way.

As a sort of final note, I believe it important to say the friend I played the game with mirrored nearly all of my own sentiments. He really liked the ideas behind the game but found it never actually evolved much beyond the initial concept. To include a direct quote from him, ” he told me via text, “The best moments on the game were if we had been made to talk to each other and figure something out. The majority of our time though was spent between cutscenes by smashing through doors and climbing up ledges. In the event the puzzles were more varied and difficult, I believe I would be more prepared to put up with the boring segments of the game. ”

A Way Out Review -- A Fantastic Concept with Mixed Execution

Also, as a disclaimer, I played completely in sofa co-op with this inspection, as servers were not live ahead of this game’s launch. While I don’t expect that the servers will cause fits for players on launch day, it isn’t a concern that I had to be concerned about and therefore was not taken into account.

A Way Out has a few rough, excellent ideas in its heart, however it’s unfortunately surrounded by dull gameplay mechanics along with a narrative that’s just a little too simple. While I believe that the co-op focused nature of A Way Out could have been executed upon, I credit Hazelight for attempting something which I’ve never really seen done this way.

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