Creating a prison break game that draws you into the story, invest into the main characters, and bring back the popularity of split screen games is the latest title from EA. Developed by Hazelight Studios, A Way Out is one of the best story experiences that I have had the chance to play through in awhile.
Before I get into the actual review I wanted to take a second and praise EA for their turn around attitude with this game launch. Not only has it been confirmed that they aren't going to be making much off of this game yet they still let Hazelight Studios use all the resources they needed to make the game, they have also added the "Friend's Pass" feature. This features allows players who own the game to play the entirety of the game with a friend, even if they don't own the game! Downloading just the demo and loading up through the Friend Pass option will let players who don't own the game play with their friends that do. After all the greediness and poor choices that they have made recently, this is an amazing turnaround attitude from EA. I hope to see more generosity coming from them in the future.
Vincent, a newly jailed convict, and Leo, a seasoned prisoner inside the jail, find that they have a common enemy not long after meeting. Their common enemy, Harvey, is the reason that both of them have ended up in jail and with revenge on both of their minds they decide to team up in order to not only escape from jail, but take down that bastard Harvey.
As you progress through the game, more and more of the backstories for both characters come to light. This reveals that not only do they have a common enemy, but similar family lives with a wife and kid each. Planning to do anything within their power to take down Harvey and return to their families, the duo will have to overcome so heavy-hearted moments while making some crucial decisions.
The first thing I noticed was that there is no AI option at all. If you were looking to get this game and hoping to play it solo with an AI while your friends are busy, you are out of luck. At least there is the Friend Pass option, so you will still get to play with any friend that is interested.
The entire game is split screen and full of moments where the players will have to work together. If there are moments where the focus is on one character, there is a smooth shift that lets that player have majority of the screen while maintaining the view for the other player. This helps a lot when it comes to doing difficult parts quickly and getting each other out of tough situations.
There isn't a lot of extra exploring to be done, but there are plenty of mini-games that you can find around while trying to solve the various puzzles that you will need to do in order to continue through the story. A lot of these puzzles will have a calm atmosphere while completing them, but every moment could lead into a fight right after.
The different mechanics range from simple walking around, to driving a car or rowing a boat, to some action packed gun fights! All the main aspects for making your way out of a prison and through the country are present on this cinematic journey.
Graphics and Sounds
A Way Out is visually beautiful and a treat for the eyes as you traverse through lush forests, as well as, suburban terrain. From the characters to the entire scenery, the game captures a nigh perfect realistic representation. The smooth transitions between gameplay and cinematic moments only help this game be pure eye candy for players.
The sound effects used help make everything that you go through to be really happening around you. I didn't see any times where the effects failed to match what was going on. Not only that, the intense moments and the emotional moments of the story were paired with some of the most appropriate music they could of put with it.
With multiple moments where players got to choose which path to take, there is plenty of reason to go back through the game. In order to see the different ways to complete puzzles and venture through the different pathways available to players, you will have to play through more than one time.
What Could Be Better
It would of been nice to have a way to skip the cutscenes when you beat the game. I understand the first playthrough forcing the cutscenes in, due to how smoothly they transition between cinematics and gameplay, but when I played through parts I have already completed I was hoping to have the option to skip the cutscenes I have already watched.
A Way Out is one of the most amazing story game experiences that I have had the chance to play through in some time. It has all of the best aspects that put a game in the style of a movie while making players truly invest in their characters, which ends up making for a very heavy story. I truly enjoyed having the chance to play this game and hope to see more games like this to follow!