A Way Out

After the critical success that was “Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons”, game director Josef Fares followed it up in 2018 with “A Way Out” when Hazelight Studios teamed up with Electronic Arts to release the game for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A Way Out is a 100 percent co-op game that requires two players throughout its entirety. Would A Way Out find the same success that Brothers did or would this game be stuck in the dark?

Story:
You and a friend will take control of Vincent Moretti and Leo Caruso, two men that have been sent to prison. Leo is rash, reckless, and quick to anger while navigating through the prison system while Vincent is calmer, thinks before he acts, and likes to avoid confrontation. Set in 1972, these men meet through a prison fight as Vincent helps Leo fight off an attack from a gang of prisoners who are working for a man named Harvey who wants Leo dead.

Slowly, Leo begins to trust Vincent and the two develop a plan to escape prison. After a series of successful thefts including stealing a chisel, sheets, and a wrench, the two escape the prison and begin a life of running away from the police. Vincent has a wife who is pregnant but they have been on the outs for some time. Leo has a wife and a boy who is probably around ten. Leo’s wife is fully aware of the criminal lifestyle and she’s on board with it as she defends him and hides him from the police.

Vincent wants to work with Leo to kill Harvey as he has a hidden history with the man. Vincent’s brother introduced Harvey to him and Vincent began to launder money for him at the bank. When it became too much, Harvey killed Vincent’s brother in front of him and framed him for the murder. Leo was working with Harvey stealing a very expensive and rare jewel before trying to sell it. When Harvey and Leo try to sell the jewel to a buyer it goes bad when Harvey betrays the buyer and kills him before turning the gun on Leo. Harvey escapes in a car and runs Leo over knocking him unconscious as the police arrive.

Before the two travel to kill Harvey, they stop at the local hospital where Vincent’s wife has gone into labor. They stop by and say hi before the police are called where they must escape in a wild chase. After surviving the hospital scare, Vincent and Harvey travel to Mexico to take down Harvey once and for all. The two infiltrate his mansion killing Harvey’s guards before shooting him to death.

As Leo and Harvey travel back from Mexico in a private plane flown by Vincent’s friend, Leo encourages Vincent to write a letter to his estranged wife and tell her how he feels. When the plane lands the police are waiting for them and surround the plane with guns pointed at them. Vincent steps aside and turns a gun on Leo revealing that he was an undercover cop the entire time and that his mission was to escape with Leo and track down Harvey. The story of Harvey killing Vincent’s brother and framing him for murder was made up, but Harvey did kill his brother who was part of the police force when he acted as the buyer when Leo and Harvey tried to sell the jewel. Vincent was listening in an unmarked van just a few feet away.

Leo steals a gun and holds Vincent hostage before shoving him into a cop car and leading the police on a wild chase to a warehouse. Vincent and Leo are now pitted against each other in a shoot out to the death. If Leo kills Vincent, he is shown with his family leaving town as Vincent’s funeral proceeds. Before he leaves town, he gives the letter to Vincent’s wife. If Vincent kills Leo, he delivers the news in person to Leo’s wife and son before rekindling his relationship with his wife.

Gameplay:
A Way Out is the most co-op game I’ve played. It was tons of fun to play with my wife as we worked together on almost everything from chiseling away at a toilet as the other watch out for guards, to fighting off prisoners together or running from the cops and so many more instances. The entire game is about teamwork. Both Vincent and Leo are likable characters and you can interact with every character in the game. You’ll have dialogue options that can change how characters speak back to you.

To progress through the game, you’ll have to work together on various objectives. Sometimes the game will present two options to an issue, Vincent will come up with a plan that is typically less chaotic with Leo countering with some action-packed sequence. You both have to agree on what to do before proceeding. My favorite sequence throughout the game was when I was driving the beat-up truck that my wife and I stole as she was in the bed of the truck shooting the cop cars that were chasing us.

The ending to A Way Out was brilliant and it left both my wife and me with our mouths open. We didn’t see that “betrayal” coming with Vincent revealing he was a cop. I was Vincent, so my wife was pretty salty about my character betraying hers. The fact that the game makes both players work together so closely throughout the entire game and then pit them against each other for the final sequence is genius. Naturally, I won the shootout but if there was an option to spare Leo I would have. My wife on the other hand was out for blood. The final moments of the game has each player beating each other as memories flashback before one of them takes control of a gun and fires a fatal bullet. The environments were great throughout the entire game but the graphics were a little rough around the edges. There were some strange slowdowns in action sequences and textures on objects like hair weren’t sharp.

Memories:
I purchased A Way Out randomly after hearing about it. There was a huge sale digitally and I got it for something like $5-$10. It made fun a really fun weekend with my wife and it’s a game we’ll always remember, especially when Vincent turned on Leo.

Overall:
A Way Out is a great co-op experience and a unique video game overall. The ending is perfect and the game offers various elements including stealth, puzzles, shoot outs, and car chases. It’s on the shorter side and can be completed in less than ten hours. Once you beat the game, you probably won’t replay it unless you find a new friend who doesn’t know the twist. Either way, Josef Fares made another great experience.

A Way Out scores an 8.8 out of 10.

Do you remember when A Way Out first came out? Who did you play it with, your friend or your lover? What did you think of the plot twist? What’s your favorite co-op game? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!

If you’d like to own a copy of A Way Out, you can purchase a used copy of it for the PS4 from eBay for $40.

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