You know that feeling you get when you return to a childhood game that you played all the time as a kid? You’ve beaten the game at least a hundred times, and yet each time you come back to it the memories flood back and you realize that the emotional connection between you and the game is still there, alive and well. A Way Out has quickly come to feel that way for me. Although I have yet to complete the main story, the game is still gripping me to return and find out what happens next.
What Makes a Good Game?
Visually, this game is absolutely stunning; every rock, bump, and crack rendered in beautiful Unreal Engine 4. Although integral to the overall experience, great graphics are not all that glitter. Hazelight Studios have done a great job with Leo and Vincent, our two lovable characters who are full of depth and emotion. The connection we get with the protagonists is probably one of the main features that draws me back to playing again. The voice acting is spectacular, and the game gives you just enough control over the dialogue to make you feel like you are in control.
The problem with traditional linear RPG’s is that we are given some characters with some random background stories, and you as the player either like it or you don’t. You either connect with the story or you don’t. I return to two of my childhood favorites, Splinter Cell and Star Wars the Force Unleashed, two old RPG’s that I still love to this day. Why? The answer lies in these two questions: Does the game cause you to feel? Do you feel for the characters? If a game fails to inspire emotion in the player, it remains largely forgettable. But the easier it is for players to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonists and “assume” their identities, the longer our emotional connections seems to be, transcending even beyond years.
“Co-op the Way It’s Meant to Be Played”
Many reviewers of the game describe the the co-op mechanics of A Way Out as “the way it’s meant to be played.” The characters rely on each other to open doors, pass tools to remain hidden from guards, etc. Both Ben and GRT agree, this is the other major replayability feature, unique and unseen in most any other multiplayer game. Both players share half of the screen (whether you’re playing on PC or on console), offering the ability to see what your friend is doing in real-time. Without question, A Way Out is a multiplayer adventure in the truest sense of the word. “It’s great to be able to work with my friend rather than against them for once.” The system can be exploited, as your friend pretends to walk away and leaves you shouting “COME BACK!” from behind a closed door, but ultimately they have to come back and let you through because two people are required to open the next door.
This game is a lot of fun to play, perhaps more so with a friend than with a random stranger on the internet. In terms of replayability, A Way Out could be almost as exciting as your first run through if you’re playing with someone who has never played before. They will be enjoying the emotional ride of the game, and you can’t help but enjoy a little bit of that with them as well. This is a tribute to the game’s wonderful friend-plays-free pass system. A Way Out isn’t necessarily the kind of game to be replayed every single week, but for only $30, this is a great co-op RPG adventure to come back and play with friends and siblings every now and again in the future. This game will be a great addition to every social gamer’s collection. Santa and I have enjoyed it so much, we recently bought it again on the PS4.
Watch for a speedrun live stream of A Way Out on Squad Plays’ Twitch in the near future!