The analysis of ‘A Way Out’ should consist of only five words. Anything that can be said more is a tremendous risk for the experience, and of course, it is one that you do not want to take. I assure you. It is curious to say this when I have to write here why I find it one of the most rewarding games that I have had the opportunity to try. Even more so when doing this is what he feeds me and I should be the first interested in you reading what I have to say about him.
I will survive, don’t worry. I only tell you the same thing that I have commented to my colleagues from VidaExtra. Do not read anything. Don’t see anything. If you ever have to have blind faith in my criteria, if you only trust me once, let it be this. Get as virgin as possible to EA’s game and, with it, you can enjoy ‘A Way Out’ as it really deserves. If not, it is worth it if you at least get to it.
What is A Way Out?
If you are here it may be for two reasons. Either trusting me is mission impossible or the game interests you too much not to want to know more. I can help you with the first, but not with the second, and it is that here you will not find a spoiler or anything like it. Not even details of its history or evolution, but how ‘A Way Out’ manages to create the ultimate cooperative experience.
The only thing you should know about its plot, something that can already be guessed from the image on its cover, is that ‘A Way Out’ is the story of Leo and Vincent, two prisoners who will collaborate with each other with the sole objective of escaping from the jail. The difference compared to any other work on prison escapes, and it has merit because both the audiovisual world and the reading world have a bag of them behind them, is that here the experience can only be enjoyed cooperatively.
Either in local or online mode (where you can play with friends even if only one of you has the game), at the start of the game each of the players chooses a character and, from there, will be in charge of controlling their evolution in history until the end.
As if it were a polyptych, the game constantly recreates a split-screen scene (not to be confused with the split screen of video games, although also, but the way of showing scenes that became famous from series like The X-Files and 24 ). In it we can see what each character does at the same time, but also other moments that may or may not be related to what is happening to both.
Either in different scenarios or sharing the same space, each player will have a specific role or set that will be necessary to move forward, from helping your partner open a door to creating a distraction so that he can achieve a goal. It is something that is more palpable during the moments when it is convenient to shoot stealth, but that is also extrapolated to all the others, either in an area where you have to run or jump, as in one where shootings prevail.
The best successor to Uncharted
As I said, it is difficult to go into detail without falling into possible spoilers that spoil the experience, but you should think of ‘A Way Out’ as a kind of cooperative ‘Uncharted’ . The technical invoice is lower than in the Sony saga (also it’s budget), but despite the fact that the realism in certain animations such as facials is far behind, something that also happens at work in the modeling of certain characters, the Josef Fares and EA’s game pursues a similar goal.
This is to tell an interesting story at a fast pace. It’s a very smart game that doesn’t make stupid concessions. He knows his story lasts (around six hours in my case), and he’s willing to tell it without trying to scratch too many minutes.
While it is true that there are a huge number of characters to talk to or things to interact with, at all times make it clear what goal you have and how you should achieve it. He doesn’t want to make you dizzy. He doesn’t want you to wander around unnecessarily. He wants you to focus on what he wants to tell you and that, if you want to waste time or explore in search of more details or conversations, it is because you have chosen that path.
In fact, the vast majority of those things are there so that when one of the characters is having an important conversation or action, the other can be entertained with activities that do not divert their attention from the mainstream. Exercising in the prison gym through a minigame could well be one such example.
With that intention of not wasting time unnecessarily, he even allows himself the luxury of separating the game into short chapters. In this way, if you have made a decision at a specific point in the game, you can return to that part to see in a few minutes what would have happened if you had chosen another path. It’s a tremendously brave game in that sense. More from player to player than a company to the player .
The cooperative experience of A Way Out
It is not a difficult game, neither when it comes to overcoming puzzles or completing certain areas. In fact, it is open enough that anyone can approach it with a basic understanding of how a controller works. In my case, I have played it for three nights with my partner, who is by no means assiduous to play, and I was surprised by the ease with which we got along.
Beyond being clear and concise in the objectives that you have ahead, at all times it facilitates progress by showing you simply and effectively what action you can take in front of each object or character. I love that you never take anything for granted, that it’s accessible without being annoying, and most importantly, without being patronizing.
These last three nights have been a roller coaster of emotions for both of us. A fantastic experience that someone who has a controller in his hands daily, and another who only approaches it once a year, we have enjoyed as if it were the latest Netflix bombshell. In fact, despite finishing the last stage at midnight and having to get up early the next day, no one hesitated to go back to see what would have happened to other decisions, the game dragging on until dawn.
The best of all this is that, because of how his cooperative is oriented, because of how Fares seeks to take that idea several points further, it is actually an experience that can be just as enjoyable with a friend next to you as with a stranger on the other side of the world. It is original, it is unique and, in case you had not already guessed it from my enthusiasm, it is a masterpiece.
As was already ‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’, the previous work in video games of the also actor and screenwriter Josef Fares, ‘A Way Out’ is an independent game in which the narrative, and especially in how the player enters in that story, it is what hides much of his magic. There are fantastic ideas condensed into a handful of hours, and all of them deserve to be enjoyed to understand what it is that the director wanted to make us understand.
It is also a song to that ” fuck the Oscars ” by Fares turned into a meme. Proving for the umpteenth time, but with a unique and special force, that the world of video games and the interaction it proposes cannot be compared to the films that adorn Hollywood festivals. May ‘A Way Out’ is a vision more than the trite and gender prison, but certainly, the most original and genuine vision that I had the opportunity to witness.
Maybe if you have come this far and are still wondering what five words I was referring to at the beginning of the analysis, although I imagine that by now you will have guessed them. Buy ‘A Way Out’ now. It’s not that there is room here for something hackneyed like “it‘s the indie of the year ” or ” a firm candidate for GOTY “, it’s that it has everything you need to create a new trend when creating video games, and I’m looking forward to seeing what that show may entail.