Joined at the screen, two men learn to balance their revenge and climb up walls together.
I enjoyed this game. While not perfect, A Way Out shows us a glimpse into some really nice storytelling built around a co-op experience. You get to see everything unwind while our two escapees plot out their desire to exact a reckoning-if you will, on a man that ruined both of their lives. That man goes by the name of Harvey, and right from the start, you realize this is a man who not only has connections, but will pave his way to an end with your body laying at his feet. But just how did our unlikely duo end up working together to plan to bring down this Harvey character? I won’t spoil much, so read on!
I mentioned this game is co-op, right? Well, you have to play it co-op, either with a friend or a complete stranger. While some may argue about the price of admission, the neat part is that you only need one copy of the game. You can invite a friend to play, and they can download the game and play it all the way through with you for free! I am a fan of this. The downside is that person won’t get any achievements/trophies for their playthrough. Only the person who bought the game will. But if you were on the fence about getting it anyway, a free playthrough will do the trick, right? Right. Now pick between Vincent or Leo. Vincent has a way of thinking situations through, and picking his option will generally be the quieter of the two, opting for stealth and minimal confrontation. Leo on the other hand, is a shoot first ask questions later kind of guy, and his choices will be direct and in your face. Both options lead to different gameplay.
While you are playing A Way Out, most of the time the screen is split vertically, showing both players at the same time on each side of the screen. This is to show you what is happening to both players at the same time. Most of the time, this really brings little to the game here other than the feeling of old school couch co-op. But every now and then there are scenes that play out that utilize this feature in really original ways. I won’t spoil anything, but I was really entertained by these parts, and hope other games move into this area as well. The way it frantically jumps back and forth, and cuts away with some really nice cinematic flair made me want more of this.
Controlling either Vincent or Leo, you get to hear about how Harvey managed to get them both arrested and put into prison. Not knowing each other, they soon find their paths intertwined with fists, fighting inmates that were paid by you know who to get rid of our duo. Both want revenge. Both need to escape from prison. Unlikely team up. Oh yeah. And this is where the game picks up. While planning the escape, you have to travel around and plan out your course of action. Here is where I felt the need to talk about the controls. A bit on the clunky side is how I would describe them. Whether it is sneaking around, mashing buttons, or getting into a firefight in the later levels, I kind of felt this was the one thing not up to par for the rest of the game. Sure, it works fine enough to get what you need done, but I felt it could have been quite a bit better with a little bit of polish.