Splitscreen co-op is far more rare than it used to be, but it’s coming back in A Way Out. The latest game from Hazelight studios and Electronic Arts, the game has come out to mixed reactions, leaning towards positive acclaim.
The game focuses on Leo and Vincent, two prisoners who want to break out of prison, and find themselves solving puzzles in a roughly six-hour adventure. Here’s what the critics are sayng:
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At IGN, Ryan McCaffrey declares that the two-player co-op is not at all a gimmick and that it’s at its very best during cinematic moments.
Pros: “You get a free download token to give to a friend, so you only have to buy one copy to play online.”
“I don’t want to spoil anything about its finale, but know this: A Way Out is worth seeing through to the end.”
Cons: “‘Clunky’ is probably the best description of the worst A Way Out’s minigames ever get, with the gunplay feeling particularly subpar in this, the age of spectacularly polished shooters.”
Chaim Gartenberg at The Verge suggests that the game’s story is derivative and cliche, and that some of the mini games were odd choices for the story. But the two-player co-op, he says, makes the experience memorable.
Pros: “Simply having someone else to experience A Way Out with makes it a more compelling game.”
“Also strange is a variety of fun co-op mini-games scattered through the levels, letting you play against your couch co-pilot in things like Connect 4, horseshoes, darts, or a wheelchair balancing minigame. They’re fun diversions, but they felt at odds with the story.”
Cons: “But the actual story itself is cookie cutter to the extreme, liberally borrowing cliches from The Shawshank Redemption, Scarface, Prison Break, and The Fast and Furious movies over the course of the roughly five- to six-hour story.”
Kotaku’s Gita Jackson and Heather Alexandra suggested that gamers go in to the game blind, but loved the game overall. They described it as a “smart, taut game” with an incredible ending that made for a great bonding experience with a friend.
Pros: “It also has a surprising ending that feels like a punch in the gut.” “Each beat, each moment, was expertly presented and edited tightly.”
The Next Web
Tristan Greene of The Next Web praised A Way Out’s simplicity, and says that the story is tight and wastes no time. He also praised the game’s production, including beautiful graphics and great voice acting.
Pros: A Way Out is an experience that stands apart from other games by clearing the cobwebs of ‘progress’ out of its way and returning gamers to the days when a game was considered great if you and your friends had fun playing it together.
“From start to finish the seamless integration of split-screen in half a dozen different aspects is jaw-droppingly well done.”
Cons: “Your friend won’t earn achievements or trophies unless they purchase the full version of the game, but otherwise they can enjoy the entire ride from start to finish.”
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Andrew E. Freedman is an editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming as well as keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag, Complex, Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag among others.