Split-screen games can now be considered as a relic of the good old days. Long gone are the days when we invited some friends over, sat on a couch, and played like crazy while munching greasy potato chips. The advent of the internet made sure that things won’t be like the way they’re used to be. But that doesn’t mean that it’s outdated or old. It’s just somewhere there, waiting to be uncovered and offered up in a new way or form. Something like “A Way Out”.

Another gem coming from the creator of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (review here), A Way Out doesn’t seek to reinvent games per se. It just wants to tell a story while making sure that players remember it. At first glance, it might look like just another co-op game, but there’s more to it than just that.

Army of Two Meets Prison Break

A Way Out tells the story of two inmates: Vincent and Leo. The two guys come across each other while inside the pen. Leo is introduced as brash and hot-headed, while Vincent acts like the bigger man, being more mature and calm. Both characters have their own respective take on various choices in the game.

Both characters can talk to the same person, eliciting different lines of dialogue.

The story initially starts with the two wanting to get out of prison and it is up for the players to see to it that they succeed. As this game is heavily reliant on its story, I’ll save you the agony of not telling 95% of it. Don’t Wiki it.

Split-Screen Mayhem OR Press X to “Vincent”

Some scenes give both players specific tasks. In later parts of the game, players can freely switch roles.

For starters, if you buy a copy of A Way Out, you can freely invite a friend to play with you. This is a multiplayer only game. That means that if you don’t have a friend (oh, poor you), you won’t be able to play. If you do have at least one, and provided that they have the game installed on their PC or console (you can download it for free), you can immediately invite him/her to your game.

Concentrating on two screens at the same time isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Okay, now that you have your friend with you online, let’s get into the game’s basics. Again, this is split-screen most of the time. It is co-op, so most puzzles need player cooperation and communication. For example, there was this certain part in the game that both players have to climb a shaft. In order to ascend, both players must time their button-presses. Should one be faster or slower, the pair would then ultimately fall to their deaths. Either way, succeeding gives you a sense of satisfaction, while failing still gives you enjoyment in flinging the blame.

Mini-games are also splattered across the game. As this is a two-player endeavor, it’s not hard to make some games competitive. I and my friend often found ourselves immersed in mundane mini-games that have no weight in the outcome.

Why is this game so pretty? 

It runs on the Unreal Engine 4, that’s why. Other than that, it’s well-detailed and you can see the effort done on even the minor doodads.

Verdict

Sometimes you just have to take things slow.

With all things said, this is definitely one game to own, or at least experience. The two-player split-screen dynamic is already a good point to look at. The story’s great and is a must-see until the very end. Lastly, the presentation, both visual and audio, leaves a mark on one’s heart and mind.

But the large quantities of praises do not necessarily mean that this is perfect. A Way Out is a short game. While it might be said that there are multiple ways of tackling things, the outcome is pretty much decided only at the very end of the game. There are a lot of things to do such as mini-games and conversing with bystanders, but as my friend said, “it doesn’t advance the story, so why bother?” But honestly, some mini-games did provide some fun, just only for a minute or two.

A Way Out should be on your list of games to play. It’s not that expensive as it is half the price of a full-game, it’s very enjoyable since you’re going to play it with a friend, and lastly, it’s gorgeous. Oh, AND THE TWIST! Believe me when I say this: it’s worth every penny spent (by my friend).

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