What is it? – The latest game from the developer of critically acclaimed Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Local or online co-op only, A Way Out is a third-person crime action adventure that revolves around two prisoners seeking to escape prison to exact revenge on a common enemy.
Brothers was one of my favourite games that I finally got round to playing in 2017, and pegged Josef Fares as a game director to keep an eye on. A Way Out takes many of the key motifs and in-game mechanics from Brothers and builds an intriguing and more cinematic tale around them.
It is by no means perfect – the voice acting is functional at best, the controls can be clunky and the story lacks the genuine emotional gut-punches of Brothers – but its implementation of co-op mechanics is excellent, making sure that both players have plenty to do or interact with at all times. It is also wonderfully intuitive, with every environmental interaction feeling entirely natural.
However, my favourite thing about A Way Out was its reverence to film and television – a little heavy-handed at times, sure, but always sincere and never better illustrated than in an extended sequence set in a hospital which was full of nods towards some of the media’s more iconic setpieces, with one segment in particular giving me legitimate goosebumps.
Ultimately, my main takeaway from playing A Way Out is that games could use more bespoke, unique co-op experiences like this. Sure, I enjoy your more standard “single player campaigns, but with 2-4 players” style of co-op, but it’s rarely memorable, and yet I could easily reel off at least half-a-dozen moments from A Way Out, and that’s a five-hour game – that, in itself, makes it a game worth experiencing. Grab a mate and stage your own great escape.