Name: A Way Out
Developer: Hazelight Studios
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided from publisher for review purpose
During E3 2017 A Way Out really caught my attention with its concept. You’ve got a “Split Screen” game you always have to play with someone else. Either online or the old fashion way sharing a couch with a buddy. In this day and age that’s a rarity and it is certainly missed. With everything moving over to online only, moments where you share your experience with friends is fading. And being directed by Josef Fares, maker of some of the most memorable gaming moments of 2017, I was hyped for what A Way Out would have to offer
The plot of A Way Out revolves around two inmates Leo and Vincent who have to work together to get out of prison. They have a common goal as motivation to help each other, and have to put their differences aside to achieve what they want. They are opposites of each other which also reflects in their play styles. Vincent is calm and calculated and will think before he acts, and Leo will often be hot headed and act out of feelings. The story was interesting and with some surprises, and watching how the two bit by bit start to care about each other and work together in parallel with how me and my partner are cooperating with each other just strengthened the experience.
The graphics are wonderfully done as well. You won’t be showing this off to your friends as a visual masterpiece, but there’s virtually no difference between the cut scenes and the game play, outside of the slick transitions between the two. The style as its own charm, the visual style really fits the game and it runs smoothly, and not often were there any drops in frames.
Apart from the splitscreen side of the game, what will A Way Out offer, and how do you play it, you ask? Well, the short answer is that A Way Out is a compilation of mini games with elements borrowed from other games you might have played before. It will often feel similar to things you played before, but the gameplay constantly changes. It starts out with a lot of sneaking and exploration, then moving on to an escape and finishing it all with a 3rd person shooter. The best part was the start and middle part of the game, since we had to cooperate to not be caught by guards and police. We had to scout for each other from our cells and distract so the other one could complete tasks. It felt like Prison Break mixed with some Splinter Cell, and a certain hospital escape is one of the best highlights. With the camera shifting between the two of us in different situations, it was a blast. At times this could easily be a great Prison Break game, not counting the horrible Prison Break: Conspiracy released some years ago. Only complain I can mention is that some parts felt subpar, though this swath of activities often left me smiling. The trade-off is that none of them control and feel as good as games dedicated to those ideas, but even so it put a smile on my face. “Clunky” is probably the best description of the worst A Way Out’s minigames ever get, with the gunplay feeling particularly subpar in this, the age of spectacularly polished shooters.
A Way Out controls relatively easy, buttons are usually prompted to when you will have to press them, and mini-games have specific buttons you will have to press. Only time I struggled was when wall covering and moving, since I often walked away from the wall when sneaking, which is unfortunate. It’s pretty straight forward and won’t give you any problems. It can be a bit stiff in some areas, but it won’t ruin the experience.
This might be the one big flaw with A Way Out after completing it, there isn’t much left to do. You could do a new playthrough trying out the other character. But it will not change anything except for what task you will do, but since you have shared the whole experience with your buddy you have seen and know what he has done.
A Way Out is maybe nothing new and fresh but rather old and missed, it’s a game you can play from start to finish with a friend. This was a blast to play, you can finish it in 5-6 hours but it’s fitting since you can’t play it alone, and have to have someone to play with. It was a great experience with laughter and joy. It’s just something you will have to experience cooperating like you do in this game. It did what I hoped it would, giving me great moments and story to experience with a friend. It started to feel like he was Vincent and I was Leo and funny enough their personalities fitted with ours. Josef Fares has made a lot of hype for this game, but have also delivered pretty much on that hype. It’s not a perfect game, but just the experience is worth it. And I hope more games will go back to the roots of sharing the experience.
Replay Value: 6/10
Total Score: 8/10
Great – “Maybe not a must buy, but this is a game with high quality and is great if you have missed Split Screen”