The other day me and my pal finished A Way Out, the newest game from Hazelight Studios, the same studio that was behind the critically acclaimed Brothers- A Tale of Two Sons. And it is safe to say that I loved every minute of it, from start to finish Hazelight studios has crafted an interesting story mixed with exciting game play that changes frequently enough that it feels fresh at the beginning of every chapter. Both protagonists, Vincent and Leo, have interesting backstories that intertwine with the main plot that keeps you and your co-op partner wondering what is going to happen next.
And that is the real kicker about A Way Out, you can’t play it by yourself, you need another player to play the other protagonist. And that’s the beauty of this game, it forces you to sit down with a friend on the same couch and play the game. Yes you can play online with your co-op partner but being able to sit right beside your friend and see their reactions to what is happening in the story and being able to make decisions throughout the game makes it an extremely unique experience. Sitting beside my friend while playing through the story took me back to the old Playstation 2 days, it was just two friends sitting down to laugh at the silly things that happen as you play and the memories you have after you finish. It all feels very nostalgic and makes me hope that other companies use A Way Out as a foundation to make great story driven multiplayer games.
The story of A Way Out is your typical one, two inmates escape from prison (very much ShawShank Redemption style) and go on a quest to get revenge on the villain for screwing them over in the past. It goes from robbing a petrol station to flying to Mexico to fight your way through an army of mobsters. The story flows really well, some of the voice acting is a bit cringe worthy at some points, but if you look past these moments and focus on the story then the game is amazing.
The ending was the part that really got me (spoilers) you manage to get your revenge on Harvey and make a daring escape from his mansion. You then fly back to America feeling like free men. Leo will go back to his family and Vincent will go back to his wife and his newborn child. A happy ending right? No. When you land the police arrive, and while you’re standing there thinking that it’s all over, you’re both going back to prison, Vincent pulls out a gun and aims it at Leo and says, “you’re under arrest”. This caught me and my friend completely by surprise, we were not expecting such a twist at what we thought was the end of the game. But it wasn’t the end yet, you’re suddenly pitted against each other in a factory sneaking between cover while taking shots at each other. And that’s the interesting thing about the ending, it can go either away. I manged to defeat my friend (I was playing Vincent) and as Leo is sitting on the ground all bloody and about to die, you grab each others hands as one last gesture of mateship. And then my friends side of the screen started to go black, and my side of the screen started to take up the whole TV. And then it was over, there was only Vincent left standing. It was such a perfect ending for the story, it was an ending that I did not see coming and I loved every minute of it.
A Way Out is an amazing co-op experience, it blends a great story with interesting gameplay. Hazelight studios have announced that they are starting on a brand new project, I’m very excited to see what amazing product they release next.