WARNING: Effectively the entirety of the following contains spoilers for A Way Out by Hazelight Studios
Please be distracted by this photo of a fair use puppy to keep you away from dem sweet spoilahs.
A Way Out is a co-operative play only prison escape sequence, police officer murder simulator and revengeance shooter game for Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Personal Computer Device for People.
The core gameplay premise revolves around two players who will take on the roles of Vincent, a very relatable man in prison because he has been framed for murder or the Italian stereotype. The true game starts from the very beginning where you convince your friend that playing as the good character, Vincent, is bad so they excitedly pick other one and then lose for between 8-12 hours.
The game starts with the players meeting in prison where Vincent, the main character of our co-operative prisonventure, happens to meet Guido totally on accident for real. In a fun coincidence they are also cell mates but ONLY after Vincent saves Lasagna’s life a couple of times. He doesn’t even say “thank you” very good, someone should just shoot that jerk in his stupid chest.
Anyway, the game play uses a shared screen perspective regardless of whether the players are using local or online play modes. This helps to provide a shared screen experience even if you are playing with someone hundreds of miles away who is easily tricked into playing inferior, often irrational, characters.
By having a shared screen, it opened up the puzzle solving elements of the game. If, say, Luigi was stuck on how to get a screwdriver past the guard you could help by telling them that they probably need to press a button to win. I found this to be a helpful mechanic that allows for a smooth gameplay experience no matter who your prefered Paulie might be.
Luckily for Vincent and other one, Vincent is suspiciously good at prison escape. Using an almost supernatural knowledge of police procedures and a wicked set of facial hair, Vincent is able to out maneuver the guards at every turn and valiantly escape from prison and back to freedom…OR DID HE.
The core gameplay elements are almost all story driven with the interactive elements falling into a few scenarios: Quick time events/button mashing, 3rd person problem solving, and 3rd person action/shooting. While the mechanics are simplistic, they do enough to engage the user as they navigate through the story. In much the same way that Vincent will navigate his way into your heart as he bravely struggles through the story, almost single-handedly.
During the course of the game there are a number of mini-games that you can play as a distraction from killing more police officers than you might have guessed, even in a prison escape game. These fall into mini-games that are objectively bad (darts, wheel chair balancing) and mini-games that prove that you are superior to your friend in every meaningful way (Connect 4, Arm wrestling, struggling for a gun to murder the hell out of an irrational person who will only know reason through the sweet release of death).
Hey, I almost forgot to mention that Vincent and Pepperoni are super friends because they need to go and murder Harvey, the first focus of non-police murder. So that’s what they do next.
But the path to get to Harvey is paved in the blood of the boys and girls in blue in a shotgun filled car chase. It’s horrifying to even recall.
Through the mid-game, you learn more about Vincent’s tragic backstory as he was set up for the murder of his own brother. How, because of the set up, he’s emotionally and physically distanced from his wife. Also, he has a born right as you play the game aged child. Truly, he is the hero the game needed, even if we didn’t deserve him.
Naturally, Vincent, a bank employee of no particular connections or influence, is able to acquire the services of a private plane to Mexico so they can murder Harvey seven ways from Sunday. This is to be expected, because that’s how bank employees are trained when it comes to revenge plots and FDIC insurance training.
Jeeeeeeez, Vincent is super good at guns as well. Banks ARE well known for their comprehensive benefits packages including medical, dental, 401(k) match, profit sharing plan, airplane to drug cartel base acquisition training, and gun fluency and prolific murder certifications. Please don’t challenge your financial advisor in any meaningful way because, well, you just never know.
Harvey gets his face murdered. That’s just a thing that was always going to happen. When Vincent has been wronged this bad, there is nothing that will get in his way. Nothing.
Time to go home and celebrate!
Also, surprise Italian friend, Vincent has actually been a police officer this entire time. Turns out that banks don’t actually have a training program to rival MI6. This really takes Leonardo by surprise and he tries to run away even after Vincent HELPFULLY offers to reduce his sentence.
For the last stretch of the game, the events move from a co-operative puzzle and quicktime game and into a PvP style gamemode. Each player is provided similar equipment as Vincent, valiantly, chases after Digiorno to bring him to police justice. The players move from map to map, inflicting damage on each other which will lead to an advantage during the final, climatic button mash to see who will murder the heck out of who.
Vincent should win this unless he feels sorry for Bambini and allows him to win, which is really a moral victory. Whoever wins the button mash battle is offered only two choices:
Kill the other player dead in game
Turn off the game because you aren’t going to let no stupid game tell you that you have to murder your friend who you respect even if he has horrific choices in characters.
I killed Mr. Stereotype right in his chest.
Afterward, Vincent is a man about the whole thing and tells Italian widow about how dead her husband is and that it’s alright because he was going to be in jail for a very long time. Like, so long as to be effectively dead. So actually dead was a cleaner cut for everyone.
Man, Vincent really is a good guy.
I mean, Giovanni killed a LOT of police officers when they were driving away from prison. Just an awe-inspiring number of police officers. He was going to be in jail until his bones were bleach white from time.
Vincent, free from too much facial hair, is back in police officer mustache and resigns from the force to be with his family.
Truly, he is an inspiration to us all.
Vincent – Real good
Italian – Walkin’ over here
Officer fatalities – a whole bunch considering an undercover officer was involved but it really isn’t a reflection on his performance but, really, rather a reflection on us all as a people
Sound – 7/10