A Way Out is a coop game with a proper story, no PvP, and no microtransactions. In short, it is not the kind of game someone associates with EA. More surprisingly, it is one of the most satisfying coop experiences I’ve ever had.
The game follows the story of Vincent and Leo, a duo of fugitives on the run after escaping from prison. Each has their own personality, backstory, and motivations, and a huge part of the experience is about knowing those characters better.
A Way Out plays like a movie, with 37 distinct chapters that make up about eight hours of gameplay. From a night escape through the middle of a forest to a rooftop brawl amidst a rainstorm, the game features several environments and gameplay scenarios – you will punch, shoot, run, sneak, climb, drive, and even fly through the game’s levels, and that is just the main story stuff. Each level also features mini-games to pass the time that range from balancing on wheelchairs and playing baseball to an impromptu music number.
A Way Out’s refreshing gameplay is made even better by a very good plot and superb soundtrack, both of which raise the title from a linear coop game to an exciting shared experience. Leo and Vincent both have families and reasonings for being in jail, and the plot perfectly motivates them to work together and put them in the situations they find themselves in.
One of my favourite chapters has the duo visiting a hospital to find Carol, Vincent’s labouring wife, and it basically consist of exploration and choice dialogues in a semi-open environment. The visit ends with a daring escape that was one of the best action sequences of the game, and instead of a split screen, the chase focuses on one character at a time, quickly interchanging viewpoints as their paths cross on the way out of the hospital. It is a fast, dynamic, and exciting – and something no game has done before.
Technically, A Way Out has outstanding production values. Music, sound design, and voice acting are all top notch, and Eric Krogh and Fares Fares (brother of game director Josef Fares) perfectly deliver every one of Vincent and Leo’s lines, as does the supporting cast. However, the graphics are nothing to write home about, even if they create some pretty vistas – the textures and overall complexity clearly show the game was made for consoles first instead of the PC.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind with A Way Out: it is a very linear game by design, and it features split screen even when playing online. It can only be played with someone else, but EA only requires a single copy to be bought – whoever owns it can send an invite to any friend via Origin, at which point they can play the whole game together. It’s a very interesting and novel concept, and one that I honestly wish more developers would adopt.
In the end, A Way Out is without a doubt the most satisfying coop experience I’ve ever had. It’s a superb experience made from the ground up to be purely cooperative, and it creates a unique sinergy that even coop classics like Left 4 Dead can’t come close to achieving. The truth is, A Way Out not only holds itself alongside the best coop titles out there – it surpasses them.
A WAY OUT VERDICT
A Way Out not only holds itself alongside the best coop titles out there – it surpasses them.