A WAY OUT
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on March 27, 2018
If there is one genre that the gaming industry is severely lacking in games-wise, it has to be the two player coop genre. Lucky for us, game developer Hazelight now adds its brand new game called A Way Out to the genre. And what a game this is, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! A way out is a game in which working together is key to your survival. No leaderboards, no kill-streaks, no bullshit; just pure and awesome cooperative gameplay!
In A Way Out you take the role of one of the two protagonists: Leo or Vincent. While Leo is somewhat cocky and more prone to physical and verbal violence, Vincent is more thoughtful and calculating. Between the both of them, they truly have what it takes to make it in this crazy world. If they can agree on how to work together long enough without biting each other's head off, that is.
You play this game together with a friend through a local or online split screen system, which shows what each of the two protagonists is doing. What I like most about this split screen, is the fact that it is not static as we're used to from other coop titles, like Army of Two and the likes. Instead of dividing the screen exactly in half, the split screen system in A Way Out is dynamic. If, for instance, Vincent's part in the story deserves more attention, the divider slides across the screen, making Vincent's half of the screen bigger. This, of course, also Works the other way around. If Leo's situation deserves more attention, he will get the bigger half of the screen.
Now, you might think that this will look weird, but quite the opposite is true! In fact, if you're not specifically paying attention to it, you might even start noticing it when the transition is already complete. I, for one, think this is an awesome way to play split screen and it makes the entire experience much more dynamic and cinematic. This technique is mostly applied during the more story-orientated portions of the game. During action sequences, when both protagonists are in the thick of it, the screen will be neatly divided in half, so neither of the players has a disadvantage because of a smaller screen. I can only say: two thumbs up for this innovative design!
As we meet our hardened heroes, Vincent is being transported to jail and, wouldn't you just know it; it happens to be the same jail in which Vincent is currently interred. Now, at first, Leo and Vincent do not know each other, so there is no interaction between the two for the first ten minutes of the game. This, however poses no problem whatsoever; Both players can freely control their own character without interfering with the story or gameplay of the other. Through a series of events, our heroes come together at a certain point, after which the main adventure begins.
It seems both Leo and Vincent were wronged by the same man, which inevitably led to their incarceration. Both men are not planning on staying in jail for too long and reluctantly decide to work together and stage a daring escape. To this end, they will have to work together and watch each other's back for patrolling guards. If one of them is caught by a guard when doing something he shouldn't be doing, it's game over for both players, so it is of the utmost importance that you work together as closely as possible. After they make their escape, the real adventure begins and Leo and Vincent start hunting down the criminal that scorned them.
What ensues is a cinematic adventure of epic proportions! Wide vistas, heart-pounding Chase scenes, lethal gunfights, truly beautiful camera shots and, above all, an extremely well-written story, filled with excellent dialogs and really strong characters. Although the intro establishes both Leo as well as Vincent as hardened criminals, both guys are easily likeable and it's very easy to bond with the character whose role you play. This is something that, in my opinion, you simply cannot do without when playing a story-based game with a deep and emotional storyline. And, as luck would have it; Hazelight excelled in delivering just that!
As far as gameplay is concerned, A Way Out has something for everyone; stealth missions, explorations sections, gunfights and chase scenes on foot or in a vehicle of some kind. And, when a ledge is too high to reach, why not give the other character a leg up so he can open a door from the other side, enabling both characters to resume this amazing journey? Both characters have the same abilities, so , most of the time, it's really up to you and the friend you're playing the game with to decide who goes ahead and who stays behind and waits. I prefer this way to the hard-coding of events to a certain character; it offers the player just that extra bit of freedom.
Visually, A Way Out can only be described as absolutely stunning! Everything about this game looks top-notch, be it the characters or the environments. When an action scene reaches its pinnacle, we are treated to truly epic slow-motion shots that would even stand out in any Hollywood action movie! As I've already mentioned, the story is really well-written and truly forms the basis for this grand adventure. Come to think of it, there's absolutely nothing that I could possibly find wrong with A Way Out. Well, one thing kind of bugs me. and that is that the game ends.
Now, I know everything has to end sometime but, for me personally, A Way Out could have gone on forever with its awesome combination of in-depth storytelling and action. But alas, after about six hours, our time together came to an end. And what an end it was! I can't really say too much about it without spoiling things, so I won't. But I will tell you that the ending of A Way Out is one for the books! It caught me by surprise and left me somewhat flabbergasted, I must say.
So, in the end, I can only come to one conclusion: A Way Out is a truly awesome action-filled emotional rollercoaster experience that no gamer should do without. Please trust me when I say that absolutely everyone should play this game. Please, do yourself a favor, get your hands on this game, invite a friend over and play the hell out of this amazing adventure!